By: Sam Hoey | CRP, GMS

June 10, 2019

A recent report by the Economic Innovation Group describes United States demographic trends. As a result of these trends, several of the country’s cities, counties, and states experience declining population. Declining population negatively impacts economic growth in several ways:

Impacts of Declining Population

  • Housing market demand falls
    • Downward effect on home prices
  • Local government finances decline
    • Higher taxes to maintain current level of government services
    • Reduction in government services
  • Population of working age adults declines
    • Productivity falls
    • Economic opportunities stagnate
    • Reduced business startups

United States Demographic Trends: States and Territory Losing Population

According to the United States Census Bureau, nine states and one territory lost population in 2018. While the nation’s total population grew by 0.6%, the following states and territory experienced significant declines:

  • Puerto Rico: -129,848 -3.91%
  • New York: -48,510 -0.25%
  • Illinois: -45,116 -0.35%
  • West Virginia: -11,216 -0.62%
  • Louisiana: -10,840 -0.23%
  • Hawaii: -3,712 -0.26%
  • Mississippi: -3,133 -0.10%
  • Alaska: -2,348 -0.32%
  • Connecticut: -1,215, -0.03%
  • Wyoming: -1,197 -0.21%

Of particular note, Puerto Rico’s population has been declining over the past decade. However, Hurricane Maria in 2017 accelerated the population decline even during the recovery period.

Counties with Declining Population

The Economic Innovation Group reports that all states have areas with declining population. As a result of uneven population growth as well as migration patterns, the United States demographic trends from 2007 to 2017 resulted in:

  • 50% of states losing working age population
  • 43% of counties in the average state losing population
  • 76% of counties in the average state losing working age population

Possible Solution for United States Demographic Trends

There is a possible solution that might help states and counties experiencing population decline. For example, a visa program that specifically targets immigration to these places with a range of incentives might bring new residents. Highly skilled immigrants currently gravitate to leading tech centers such as San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Boston/Cambridge.

A “Heartland Visa” program as described in the Economic Innovation Group’s report might provide incentives for other areas of the country to benefit from highly skilled immigrants. Canada actively pursues immigration as a solution to temper the effects of an aging population, and to ensure future success from immigrant’s contributions. Ontario province is seeking to attract highly skilled immigrants to smaller cities and towns. A similar program might help alter United States demographic trends so that states and counties losing population could lessen its impact, if not reverse the trends.

What Should Employers do?

Employers in locations experiencing population decline due to United States demographic trends should investigate all of the current United States visa programs. They also might consider advocating for a targeted visa program with incentives that would encourage highly skilled immigrants to migrate to their specific area.

Employers should also review their talent acquisition and management programs to ensure they remain competitive to attract and retain new hires and transferees. Relocation Management Companies (RMCs) can provide expert assistance to employers to benchmark their relocation policies and add enhancements that attract talent.


GMS’ team of global relocation experts has helped thousands of our clients develop relocation programs that attract and retain qualified employees. Our team can help your company determine how to leverage United States migration patterns for talent acquisition and management.

GMS was the first relocation company to register as a .com, created the first online interactive tools and calculators, and revolutionized the entire relocation industry. GMS continues to set the industry pace as the pioneer in innovation and technology solutions with its proprietary MyRelocation™ technology platform.

Global Mobility Solutions is proud to be named and ranked #1 Overall, and #1 in Quality of Service by HRO Today’s 2019 Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Learn best practices from Global Mobility Solutions, the relocation industry and technology experts who are dedicated to keeping you informed and connected. Contact our experts online to discuss your company’s relocation and visa program needs. Since United States demographic trends may result in challenging employment situations, companies should verify their relocation program supports talent acquisition. Give our experts a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.

Request your complimentary relocation policy review

Senior Vice President, Global Account Management Sam joined Global Mobility Solutions in 1996 and has a unique perspective with her 25 years of industry experience. Samantha offers her clients relocation expertise and a commitment to excellence in her. Her proficiency in orchestrating the BVO and GPO Programs, as well as relocation policy design and implementation, are invaluable assets to the accounts she manages. Her experience in administering Pre-Decision Relocation services to enhance the recruiting process further demonstrates her unique abilities to service her clients. Samantha’s diverse experience, leadership, and outstanding communication skills enable her to manage the relocation process for her clients with finesse and polished professionalism.

Related Posts

Looking for something?