Florida has passed New York to become the nation's third most populous state, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Tuesday.

The statistics show the Sunshine State added an average of 803 residents per day between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014. During that time, its population grew by 293,000, reaching 19.9 million.

New York grew too, but not as fast, increasing by just 51,000, to 19.7 million.

Jan Vink, a researcher with Cornell University's Program on Applied Demographics, said baby boomers from all over the country -- including New York -- are flocking to Florida in their retirement years for lower taxes and better weather.

"There are a lot of motivations for people to move around," he said. "The economy is only one of them."

The shift occurs not only in later life, he said; many people who move to New York for college leave when they get a job.

Kenneth M. Johnson, professor of sociology and senior demographer with the Carsey School at the University of New Hampshire, said rankings changed because of new patterns in domestic migration.

"Immigration to the two states is roughly equal," he said. "New York actually has a higher natural increase -- births minus deaths -- because Florida's population is older, resulting in fewer births and more deaths."

The data show California remains the nation's most populous state, with 38.8 million residents, followed by Texas, with 27 million inhabitants.

The United States as a whole saw its population grow by 2.4 million to 318.9 million -- a 0.75 percent increase.

Outside some rearrangements on the list, the 10 most populous states were unchanged.

After California, Texas, Florida, and New York are Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan.

Also of note: Georgia saw its population pass 10 million for the first time.

Census data show, too, that North Dakota was the nation's fastest-growing state during the July to July time frame, with its population increasing by 2.16 percent. Nevada was second on that list, with a 1.71 percent boost.

The Census Bureau reported that six states shrank in population during the year time frame. Illinois dipped by 9,972 people, West Virginia by 3,269, and Connecticut by 2,664.

New Mexico shed 1,323 residents, Alaska dropped by 527 and Vermont lost 293 people.

Morris Peters, a spokesman for the New York State Division of the Budget, said New York's movement on the list does not reflect the state's financial health.

New York created more than 500,000 new, private-sector jobs in the past four years, he said, and unemployment is down substantially in every region.

 

WHERE THE PEOPLE ARE

The 10 most populous states

on July 1, 2014

1. California: 38,802,500

2. Texas: 26,956,958

3. Florida: 19,893,297

4. New York: 19,746,227

5. Illinois: 12,880,580

6. Pennsylvania: 12,787,209

7. Ohio: 11,594,163

8. Georgia: 10,097,343

9. North Carolina: 9,943,964

10. Michigan: 9,909,877

Source: U.S. Census Bureau