There is one competition where Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia aren’t beating other major locations in this country. It is in persuading people to stay there.

The Census Bureau this month released its estimates on the populations for each American county as of July 1, 2023. In a release about this data, the agency included a table listing the 10 counties with the largest one-year decline in population as of that date.

Los Angeles County ranked first, as this writer reported for the Daily Caller News Foundation. As of July 1, 2022, it had a population of 9,719,765. By July 1, 2023, that had dropped to 9,663,345.

This one-year decline of 56,420 was approximately twice the decline in Kings County, New York, which ranked second. Kings County, which is the borough of Brooklyn, saw its population drop from 2,589,531 to 2,561,225—a decline of 28,306.

Queens County, New York, which is the borough of Queens, ranked third. Its population dropped from 2,278,558 to 2,252,196—a decline of 26,362.

Bronx County, New York, which is the borough of the Bronx, ranked fourth. It dropped from 1,381,808 to 1,356,476—a decline of 25,332.

Cook County, Illinois, where Chicago is located, ranked fifth. Its population dropped from 5,111,566 to 5,087,072—a decline of 24,494.

Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, which is the city of Philadelphia, ranked sixth. Its population dropped from 1,566,836 to 1,550,542—a decline of 16,294.

The other four counties ranked by the Census Bureau in the top 10 for population losses between July 2022 and July 2023 were: Orange County, California, which lost 14,617 residents; Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, the home of Pittsburgh, which lost 7,780; Wayne County, Michigan, the home of Detroit, which lost 7,773; and San Diego, California, which lost 7,203.

It should be noted that two of the counties in New York City—New York County (which is Manhattan) and Richmond County (which is Staten Island)—didn’t have the dramatic population losses seen in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. In Richmond County, the population declined by only 671 from July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023.

Although New York County did see a significant population decline in the year that ended July 1, 2021 (when it dropped by 99,177), it saw population increases in the years that ended July 1, 2022 (16,488) and 2023 (2,908).

So, why did Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Chicago, and Philadelphia all lose population?

Did people stop having babies there? No.

In Los Angeles County, 95,354 babies were born in the year that ended July 1, 2023, according to the Census Bureau. At the same time, there were 73,138 deaths. That resulted in what the agency calls a “natural change” in population of 22,216.

Did Los Angeles County lose population because people didn’t migrate there from foreign countries? No. In the year that ended July 1, 2023, according to the Census Bureau, “international migration” brought 40,388 people to the county.

However, during that same period, Los Angeles lost 119,037 residents to “domestic migration”—people who moved from that county to somewhere else in the United States.

When you subtract the 40,388 who came to the county from foreign locations from the 119,037 who left for other domestic locations, it results in what the Census Bureau calls a “net migration” loss of 78,649 for Los Angeles in the year that ended July 1, 2023.

Subtract the natural change that resulted from births exceeding deaths (22,216) from the population lost through net migration (78,649), and it gives you 56,433—or approximately the 56,420 in total population that the Census Bureau estimates Los Angeles County lost in the year that ended July 1, 2023.

Kings, Queens, the Bronx, and Cook and Philadelphia counties were similarly affected by negative domestic migration.

In Brooklyn (Kings County), births (31,066) exceeded deaths (16,892) in the year ending July 1, 2023, resulting in a natural increase of 14,174. In addition, the borough saw 13,292 residents come in through international migration. But 55,308 left Brooklyn through domestic migration, resulting in a net migration loss of 42,016.

There were 23,304 babies born in Queens in the year leading up to July 1, 2023, and 15,544 persons died —resulting in a natural change of 7,760. International migration brought another 16,290 to the borough. But domestic migration drew 50,161 out of Queens, giving the borough a negative net migration of 33,871.

In the Bronx, the number of babies born (16,614) outnumbered the number of residents who died (10,684); international migration brought in 10,224 from outside the country. But then, 41,473 migrated out of the Bronx to somewhere else in the U.S.

In Cook County, Illinois, the 53,124 babies born in the year ending July 1, 2023, outnumbered the 43,149 who died; international migration brought 23,790 to the county. But 58,105 migrated out.

In Philadelphia, 19,208 babies were born and 14,689 residents died; international migration brought in 7,038, but 27,667 migrated out.

Where did counties grow the most in population, according to the Census Bureau? Texas.

Eight of the 10 counties that had the largest growth in the year ending July 1, 2023, are in Texas. The other two are in Arizona and Florida.

Although the population of Los Angeles County declined by 56,420, Harris County, Texas, grew by 53,788.

Harris County was followed by Collin County, Texas (36,364); Montgomery County, Texas (31,800); Maricopa County, Arizona (30,038); Polk County, Florida (29,948); Denton County, Texas (29,943); Fort Bend County, Texas (27,859); Bexar County, Texas (27,488); Tarrant County, Texas (27,301); and Williamson County, Texas (24,918).


The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.