What Are The Biggest States In The US - Top 10 By Population and by Size
What Are The Biggest States In The US - Top 10 By Population and by Size

As of spring 2021, the population of the United States is approximately 331,449,281. This population is distributed unevenly across 50 states. Generally, states that are around the country’s border – West Coast, East Coast, and southern states – are the most populous. States that are more interior, such as those in the Great Plains and Midwest, tend to be less populous. However, there are some exceptions, such as Illinois, which is in the Midwest but has a high population, mainly centered in the Chicago area, according to World Population Review.

By far, the most populous state in the United States is California. It has nearly 40 million residents, comprising a whopping 12% of the country’s population. If California were a country, it would have the eighth largest economy in the world and the 36th highest population!

After looking through websites, several sources, and researches, we have compiled a list of the 10 biggest states in the US by population and information of each state.

List of top 10 biggest states in the US by population

10. New Jersey. Population size: 8,874,520

9. North Carolina. Population size: 10,701,022

8. Georgia. Population size: 10,830,007

7. Ohio. Population size: 11,714,618

6. Illinois. Population size: 12,569,321

5. Pennsylvania. Population size: 12,804,123

4. New York. Population size: 19,299,981

3. Florida. Population size: 21,944,577

2. Texas. Population size: 29,730,311

1. California. Population size: 39,613,493

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What are the biggest states in the US?

10. New Jersey

Photo:  Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

New Jersey is a state in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York; on the east, southeast, and south by the Atlantic Ocean; on the west by the Delaware River and Pennsylvania; on the southwest by Delaware Bay and the state of Delaware. At 7,354 square miles (19,050 km2), New Jersey is the fifth-smallest state based on land area, but with close to 9.3 million residents, is the 11th-most populous and the most densely populated. New Jersey's state capital is Trenton, while the state's most populous city is Newark. With the sole exception of Warren County, all counties in the state lie within the combined statistical areas of New York City or Philadelphia; consequently, the state's largest metropolitan area falls within Greater New York.

New York City gets tens of millions of visitors per year, but its neighbor to the east, New Jersey, shouldn’t be overlooked. The Garden State, as New Jersey is known, was the third state to enter the Union, and boasts an incredible array of history, culture, and nature. Visit New Jersey to relax beachside at the ocean, take in bustling metropolises, shop at famous bazaars and stores, try your luck in Atlantic City, and indulge in the opulent Gold Coast, according to Travel + Leisure.

New Jersey experiences four distinct seasons. Summers can be scorching, but the heat is dry and refreshing. The best time to travel to New Jersey is in the late spring or early summer. Autumn is another ideal time—the Garden State earns its name when the leaves change. One more thing travelers should be aware of: city traffic in New Jersey can be heavy, so if possible, save the city touristing for the weekend and the shore excursions for the weekdays.

9. North Carolina

North Carolina is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States. North Carolina is the 28th largest and 9th-most populous of the 50 United States. It is bordered by Virginia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Georgia and South Carolina to the south, and Tennessee to the west. Raleigh is the state's capital and Charlotte is its largest city. The Charlotte metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 2,569,213 in 2018, is the most populous metropolitan area in North Carolina, the 23rd-most populous in the United States, and the largest banking center in the nation after New York City. The Raleigh-Durham-Cary combined statistical area is the second-largest metropolitan area in the state, with an estimated population of 2,079,687 in 2019, and is home to the largest research park in the United States, Research Triangle Park.

North Carolina from the mountains to the coast is a beautiful place to travel and explore. The state offers a wide range of activities and settings including the mountains in the western part of the state to the beautiful sandy beaches on the Atlantic Coast and the remote islands that make up the chain of islands on the Outer Banks, according to North Carolina.

Whether you live in North Carolina and want to explore the state, or if you are from out-of-state and want to vacation or travel to the state, North Carolina Travel can provide the information you need. We let you know about the cities and towns, the exciting places to visit and the events that are taking place. From the mountains to the coast North Carolina is full of things to do and places to see.

8. Georgia

Photo:  UNIMATES Education
Photo: UNIMATES Education

Georgia is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the north by Tennessee and North Carolina; to the northeast by South Carolina; to the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean; to the south by Florida; and to the west by Alabama. Georgia is the 24th-largest in the area and the 8th-most populous of the 50 United States. Its 2020 population was 10,711,908, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Atlanta, a "beta" global city, is both the state's capital and its largest city. The Atlanta metropolitan area, with a population of more than 6 million people in 2020, is the 9th most populous metropolitan area in the United States and contains about 57% of Georgia's entire population.

As an iconic destination of the U.S. South, Georgia welcomes visitors with a wealth of unforgettable sights and experiences that can only be found here. Georgia stands out for how it lives up to expectations – and how it defines them. With big cities and small towns, a diverse population, thriving arts and culture, and a geographical range from the mountains to the beach, there’s a lot more to Georgia than its famous peaches. This state constantly redefines what it means to be Southern through the places, perspectives, and people that make Georgia so unique, cited by Visit The USA.

7. Ohio

Ohio is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. Of the fifty states, it is the 34th-largest by area, and with a population of nearly 11.8 million, is the seventh-most populous and tenth-most densely populated. The state's capital and largest city is Columbus, with the Columbus metro area, Greater Cincinnati, and Greater Cleveland being the largest metropolitan areas. Ohio is bordered by Lake Erie to the north, Pennsylvania to the east, West Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Indiana to the west, and Michigan to the northwest. Ohio is historically known as the "Buckeye State" after its Ohio buckeye trees, and Ohioans are also known as "Buckeyes". Its state flag is the only non-rectangular flag of all the U.S. states.

Large numbers of visitors travel to Ohio for the prehistoric Indian culture, skiing areas, and sandy beaches of Lake Erie. Great varieties of fish are found in Lake Erie in all seasons with parasailing, jet skiing, and power boating opportunities also available. Restored villages and Amish country take visitors back to a simpler time in Ohio.

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6. Illinois

 Photo: The Atlantic
Photo: The Atlantic

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois has been noted as a microcosm of the entire United States.

With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base and is a major transportation hub. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean, and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois River, through the Illinois Waterway.

The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.

5. Pennsylvania

From the rich farmland to the skyscrapers of Chicago, this unique Midwestern state offers one of the most diverse economies and geographic landscapes in the country. It is also home to a slew of natural resources, including coal, petroleum, and timber. Often referred to as the “Land of Lincoln,” the State of Illinois is home to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum as well as the future Barack Obama Presidential Center.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Illinois’s population density is 228.24 people per square mile, making it the 12th most densely populated state. A large chunk of Illinois’s population is centered around Chicago, which is home to over 2 million people, according to Moving.

Illinois Policy reports that the state’s “population dropped by 168,700 people from 2010 to 2019, the largest raw decline of any state.” From 2018 to 2019, U.S. Census Bureau data shows that Illinois’s population dropped by 51,250 people.

State capital: Springfield

Major cities in Illinois include Chicago, Springfield, Aurora, Rockford, Joliet, Naperville, and Peoria.

Fun fact: Illinois is nicknamed “The Prairie State.”

5. Pennsylvania

Photo:  Healthcare Innovation
Photo: Healthcare Innovation

Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked state in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, and Appalachian regions of the United States. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east, while the Appalachian Mountains run through its middle.

Pennsylvania is the 33rd-largest state by area, and the 5th-most populous state with a total population of 13,011,844 according to the most recent official U.S. Census count in 2020. It is the 9th-most densely populated of the 50 states. Pennsylvania's two most populous metropolitan areas are the Delaware Valley, centered around the state's largest city Philadelphia (6.25 million), and Greater Pittsburgh (2.37 million). The state capital and its 15th-largest municipality is Harrisburg. Pennsylvania has 140 miles (225 km) of waterfront along Lake Erie and the Delaware River.

As a state steeped in colonial history, overly proud of their sports teams, and decorated with some of the best art in the United States, why wouldn’t you want to travel to Pennsylvania? You’ll want to see the Keystone, Coal, Oil, and Quaker State for its locals, vibrant cities – Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, and Pittsburgh, the Birmingham of the north – and the extensive landscapes that dominate the rural parts of the state in northern Pennsylvania. History buffs shouldn’t pass up a chance to travel to Pennsylvania for some of the battle sites of the Civil War in Gettysburg or the birthplace of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in Philadelphia. Sports fans won’t want to miss some of the most popular, often sold-out stadiums and arenas in the state, like Heinz Field, the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Panthers. If those options aren’t enough, visit Pennsylvania for the elaborate museums, which are so plentiful, it, would probably take a month just to see all of them, according to Travel + Leisure.

4. New York

Photo:  Cathay Pacific
Photo: Cathay Pacific

New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State, or NYC for short is the most populous city in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over 300.46 square miles (778.2 km2), New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the State of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban area. With over 20 million people in its metropolitan statistical area and approximately 23 million in its combined statistical area, it is one of the world's most populous megacities. New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, significantly influencing commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, dining, art, fashion, and sports, and is the most photographed city in the world. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy and has sometimes been called the capital of the world.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, New York’s population density is 412.80 people per square mile, making it the seventh most densely populated state. Much of the population lives in and around New York City.

Cool, cosmopolitan, crowded, constantly evolving … the Big Apple blends big city splendor with small-town charm. Amid Gotham's iconic landmarks and towering skyscrapers, you'll experience a vibrant culture permeating each of the city's distinctive neighborhoods and boroughs. Follow trendsetters to the East Village and Brooklyn to check out indie boutiques, iconic bakeries and trendy coffee shops. Afterward, peruse the racks of the sleek shops lining Fifth Avenue, admire the cutting-edge art collections at the MoMA and the Met, catch a memorable show on Broadway or sit down for a meal at the latest "it" restaurant, according to U.S News.

3. Florida

Photo: The Times
Photo: The Times

Florida is a state located in the Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Bahamas and the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida and Cuba; it is the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Spanning 65,758 square miles, Florida ranks 22nd in the area among the 50 states, and with a population of over 21 million, is third-most populous.

The state capital is Tallahassee and the most populous city is Jacksonville. The Miami metropolitan area, with a population of almost 6.2 million, is the most populous urban area in Florida and the seventh-most populous in the United States; other urban conurbations with over one million people are Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Jacksonville.

With its accessible and varied pleasures, Florida is a favorite of many. Drawn to the colonial charm of St. Augustine, Miami's pulsing nightlife, the glitz of Palm Beach, or the quiet expanse of the Everglades, almost all visitors find something to love here. From the powdery white beaches of the Panhandle to the vibrant coral reefs of the Florida Keys, the ocean is always calling—for sailing, fishing, diving, swimming, and other water sports. Stray off the path a few miles, and you might glimpse a bit of the Florida of old, including cigar makers and mermaids, according to Fordors.

2. Texas

Texas is a state in the South Central region of the United States. At 268,596 square miles (695,662 sq km), and with more than 29.1 million residents in 2020, it is the second-largest U.S. state by both area (after Alaska) and population (after California). Texas shares borders with the states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the south and southwest. It has a coastline with the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.

Texas is so big and diverse that it’s practically its own country. It was, in fact, a nation of its own from 1836 to 1845. The Texas landscape ranges from desert badlands and swimmable coastlines to lush mountains and sprawling prairies. Its communities go from the heights of urban sophistication (and size!) on down to the tiniest, most charming out-of-the-way towns, according to Visit The USA.

There is surely no shortage of Country culture here: rodeos, line-dancing, and ample opportunities for an adventure by horse or mule. And then there’s the barbecue. It’s hard to find a better place on this planet for a plate of ribs or brisket (served with a heaping helping of Texas home-style side dishes). The legendary Franklin Barbecue in Austin can boast all-day waits – and it is worth it.

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1. California

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

California is a state in the Western United States. California borders Oregon to the north, Nevada and Arizona to the east, and the Mexican state of Baja California to the south. With over 39.5 million residents across a total area of approximately 163,696 square miles (423,970 km2), it is the most populous and the third-largest U.S. state by area. It is also the most populated subnational entity in North America and the 34th most populous in the world. The Greater Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions respectively, with the former having more than 18.7 million residents and the latter having over 9.6 million. Sacramento is the state's capital, while Los Angeles is the most populous city in the state and the second most populous city in the country (after New York City).

Los Angeles County is the country's most populous, while San Bernardino County is the largest county by area in the country. San Francisco, which is both a city and a county, is the second most densely populated major city in the country (after New York City) and the fifth most densely populated county in the country, behind four of New York City's five boroughs.

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