Journal Article

Population scenarios for U.S. states consistent with Shared Socioeconomic Pathways

There is a growing demand for subnational population projections for informing potential demographic influences on many aspects of society and the environment at the scale at which interactions occur and actions are taken. Existing US subnational population projections have not fully accounted for regional variations of demographic rates and therefore under-estimate the uncertainties in and heterogeneity of population trends. We present a first set of population projections for US states that span a wide but plausible range of population outcomes driven by changing state-level demographic rates consistent with the widely used SSP scenario framework. The projections are carried out for all 50 states integrated through bilateral gross migration flows. They update the original national-level SSP population projections based on recently available data and introduce more plausible assumptions on long-term international migration. We project a national population ranging from about 250-650 million by 2100, somewhat lower than the SSP projections due mainly to updated base year data. Utah and other states in the Rocky Mountain region see the largest increases in population in proportional terms, while the Northeast and Great Lakes regions see the slowest growth or most decline, along with individual states like Alaska, California, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Aging occurs in all states and scenarios, but is most prominent in the Northeast, Florida, and in some cases states in the West and the Great Lakes region. The relative contributions of fertility, mortality, and migration to population change varies substantially across states.