Fireworks

Fireworks explode over the Nebraska State Capitol to conclude the Nebraska 150 Celebration on Friday. Census figures released Wednesday show the state added more than 12,000 people in the past year.

FRANCIS GARDLER, Journal Star file photo

Nebraska's population continues to inch closer to the 2 million mark.

Census figures released Wednesday show the state added 12,473 people between July 1, 2016, and July 1 this year, an increase of 0.65 percent. That put the state's total at more than 1.92 million.

Nebraska's growth ranked 31st overall by numbers but 20th by percentage. Among bordering states, only Colorado and South Dakota grew faster on a percentage basis than Nebraska.

David Drozd of the Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Nebraska at Omaha called it "another good year," even though the 0.65 percent growth rate was the second-lowest this decade.

Nebraska's growth was right on par with the nation as a whole, which grew to 325,719,178 people, up from 323,405,935. That's an increase of 0.7 percent.

Idaho was the nation's fastest-growing state, with a population increase of 2 percent, while Texas added the most people, nearly 400,000.

Illinois experienced the largest population loss in terms of numbers, losing 33,703 people, while Wyoming saw the largest percentage decline, of 1 percent.

According to the Census estimates, nearly 90 percent of Nebraska's growth came from natural increase, meaning more births than deaths. Migration accounted for a gain of only 1,360 people, with all of that because of international migration. Nebraska had a net loss of nearly 3,500 in the domestic migration category, which Drozd said was the worst by far this decade. In fact, it was about 1,000 more than than 2014-2015, which previously was the worst period for domestic migration this decade.

Drozd said the large deficit in domestic migration was expected and likely because of changes at major employers, including ConAgra and Cabela's, that cut jobs in the state.

Drozd also said that with Nebraska's growth rate continuing to be close to the national average, it's "becoming more and more certain" that the state will keep its three seats in the House of Representatives when reapportionment occurs after the 2020 census.

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