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The states where cities are growing fastest

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Cities like New York and Los Angeles have long been hailed the go-to places for those wanting to dive into big-city life. They’re the glamorous industrial and business meccas of the country. Traditionally, if a homegrown farm girl wanted to experience a truly urban area, somewhere like Iowa wouldn’t instantly come to mind.

But America is changing, and so are its centers of life. More and more people are moving from rural to urban areas—many of them in states that have been traditionally regarded as mostly rural, according to research from MooseRoots.

Using statistics from the Census Bureau and the National Historic Geographic Information System (NHGIS), MooseRoots calculated the change in each state’s urban population over time. They compared the percent of a given state’s population that was living in an urban area in 1970 to that in 2010. MooseRoots then ranked the top 13 states by the largest percent growth in city-dwellers.

Below you can see the linear increase of urbanization in the country. But which states lead the pack?

 

#13. Nevada

 

Total Population in 2010: 2,633,331
Percent of population living in cities (1970): 80.9%
Percent of population living in cities (2010): 94.2%

Percent change from 1970 to 2010: 16.4%

#12. Nebraska

 

Total Population in 2010: 1,799,125
Percent of population living in cities (1970): 61.5%
Percent of population living in cities (2010): 73.1%

Percent change from 1970 to 2010: 18.9%

#11. Virginia

 

Total Population in 2010: 7,841,754
Percent of population living in cities (1970): 63.1%
Percent of population living in cities (2010): 75.5%

Percent change from 1970 to 2010: 19.7%

#10. Oregon

 

Total Population in 2010: 3,761,925
Percent of population living in cities (1970): 67.1%
Percent of population living in cities (2010): 81%

Percent change from 1970 to 2010: 20.7%

#9. Vermont

 

Total Population in 2010: 624,258
Percent of population living in cities (1970): 32.2%
Percent of population living in cities (2010): 38.9%

Percent change from 1970 to 2010: 20.8%

#8. Georgia

 

Total Population in 2010: 9,468,815
Percent of population living in cities (1970): 60.3%
Percent of population living in cities (2010): 75.1%

Percent change from 1970 to 2010: 24.5%

#7. West Virginia

 

Total Population in 2010: 1,840,802
Percent of population living in cities (1970): 39%
Percent of population living in cities (2010): 48.7%

Percent change from 1970 to 2010: 24.9%

#6. South Dakota

 

Total Population in 2010: 799,462
Percent of population living in cities (1970): 44.6%
Percent of population living in cities (2010): 56.7%

Percent change from 1970 to 2010: 27.1%

#5. Idaho

 

Total Population in 2010: 1,526,797
Percent of population living in cities (1970): 54.1%
Percent of population living in cities (2010): 70.6%

Percent change from 1970 to 2010: 30.5%

#4. North Dakota

 

Total Population in 2010: 659,858
Percent of population living in cities (1970): 44.3%
Percent of population living in cities (2010): 59.9%

Percent change from 1970 to 2010: 35.2%

#3. Alaska

 

Total Population in 2010: 691,189
Percent of population living in cities (1970): 48.4%
Percent of population living in cities (2010): 66%

Percent change from 1970 to 2010: 36.4%

#2. South Carolina

 

Total Population in 2010: 4,511,428
Percent of population living in cities (1970): 47.6%
Percent of population living in cities (2010): 66.3%

Percent change from 1970 to 2010: 39.3%

#1. North Carolina

 

Total Population in 2010: 9,271,178
Percent of population living in cities (1970): 44.9%
Percent of population living in cities (2010): 66.1%

Percent change from 1970 to 2010: 47.2%