The American population might be growing, but Pennsylvania remains a leading state for Americans to flee, rather than stay.

The commonwealth is one of 18 states to lose population in 2022, according to new data from the Census Bureau, and one of the worst performers. The data is confirmation of a long-running trend: Pennsylvania has a population problem, and the end isn’t yet in sight.

The latest Census data shows the American population grew by 1.26 million (0.4%) since a year ago, with the primary growth being more than 1 million immigrants landing on American soil. Natural change (births minus deaths) added almost 250,000 Americans.

Pennsylvania, however, is seeing little of that growth. It was second in the nation (behind Florida) with the biggest natural decrease (more deaths than births) of 23,000 residents. Neighboring Ohio was third, with a 19,500-resident drop.

While Pennsylvania remains the fifth most populous state with just under 13 million people, it’s ranked fourth for the biggest one-year population decline. Since July 2021, the commonwealth has lost 40,000 people.

Some of the Keystone State’s woes reflect regional trends. While the South and the West have continued to grow in population and in economy, the Midwest and the Northeast keep losing population.


Anthony Hennen is a staff writer for The Center Square (

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