1990 United States census

Last updated

Twenty-first census of the United States

  1980 April 1, 1990 2000  

Seal of the United States Census Bureau.svg
U.S. Census Bureau seal
General information
CountryUnited States
Total population248,709,873 (Increase2.svg 9.8%)
Most populous state California
Least populous state Wyoming

The 1990 United States census, conducted by the Census Bureau, determined the resident population of the United States to be 248,709,873, an increase of 9.8 percent over the 226,545,805 persons enumerated during the 1980 census. [1]


Approximately 16 percent of households received a "long form" of the 1990 census, which contained more than 100 questions. Full documentation on the 1990 census, including census forms and a procedural history, is available from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series.

It was the first census to designate "Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander" as a racial group separate from Asians. The census was also the first census to be directed by a woman, Barbara Everitt Bryant.

To increase black participation in the 1990 United States census, the bureau recruited Bill Cosby, Magic Johnson, Alfre Woodard, and Miss America Debbye Turner as spokespeople. [2] The Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. Aggregate data for small areas, together with electronic boundary files, can be downloaded from the National Historical Geographic Information System. Personally identifiable information will be available in 2062. [3]

This was the first census since 1880 in which Chicago was not the second-largest city, having been overtaken by Los Angeles. As of the 2020 census, Los Angeles has remained the nation's second-largest city.

State rankings

A map showing the population change of each US State by percentage. 1990 US Census Map.png
A map showing the population change of each US State by percentage.
Population and population change in the United States by state
RankStatePopulation as of
1990 census
Population as of
1980 census
1Flag of California.svg  California 29,760,02123,667,902Increase2.svg 6,092,119Increase2.svg 25.7%
2Flag of New York.svg  New York 17,990,45517,558,072Increase2.svg 432,383Increase2.svg 2.5%
3Flag of Texas.svg  Texas 16,986,51014,229,191Increase2.svg 2,757,319Increase2.svg 19.4%
4Flag of Florida.svg  Florida 12,937,9269,746,324Increase2.svg 3,191,602Increase2.svg 32.7%
5Flag of Pennsylvania.svg  Pennsylvania 11,881,64311,863,895Increase2.svg 17,748Increase2.svg 0.2%
6Flag of Illinois.svg  Illinois 11,430,60211,426,518Increase2.svg 4,084Increase2.svg 0.0%
7Flag of Ohio.svg  Ohio 10,847,11510,797,630Increase2.svg 49,485Increase2.svg 0.4%
8Flag of Michigan.svg  Michigan 9,295,2979,262,078Increase2.svg 33,219Increase2.svg 0.4%
9Flag of New Jersey.svg  New Jersey 7,730,1887,364,823Increase2.svg 365,365Increase2.svg 5.0%
10Flag of North Carolina (1885-1991).svg  North Carolina 6,628,6375,881,766Increase2.svg 746,871Increase2.svg 12.7%
11Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg  Georgia 6,478,2165,463,105Increase2.svg 1,015,111Increase2.svg 18.6%
12Flag of Virginia.svg  Virginia 6,187,3585,346,818Increase2.svg 840,540Increase2.svg 15.7%
13Flag of Massachusetts.svg  Massachusetts 6,016,4255,737,037Increase2.svg 279,388Increase2.svg 4.9%
14Flag of Indiana.svg  Indiana 5,544,1595,490,224Increase2.svg 53,935Increase2.svg 1.0%
15Flag of Missouri.svg  Missouri 5,117,0734,916,686Increase2.svg 200,387Increase2.svg 4.1%
16Flag of Wisconsin.svg  Wisconsin 4,891,7694,705,767Increase2.svg 186,002Increase2.svg 3.9%
17Flag of Tennessee.svg  Tennessee 4,877,1854,591,120Increase2.svg 286,065Increase2.svg 6.2%
18Flag of Washington.svg  Washington 4,866,6924,132,156Increase2.svg 734,536Increase2.svg 17.8%
19Flag of Maryland.svg  Maryland 4,781,4684,216,975Increase2.svg 564,493Increase2.svg 13.4%
20Flag of Minnesota.svg  Minnesota 4,375,0994,075,970Increase2.svg 299,129Increase2.svg 7.3%
21Flag of Louisiana (1912-2006).svg  Louisiana 4,219,9734,205,900Increase2.svg 14,073Increase2.svg 0.3%
22Flag of Alabama.svg  Alabama 4,040,5873,893,888Increase2.svg 146,699Increase2.svg 3.8%
23Flag of Kentucky.svg  Kentucky 3,685,2963,660,777Increase2.svg 24,519Increase2.svg 0.7%
24Flag of Arizona.svg  Arizona 3,665,2282,718,215Increase2.svg 947,013Increase2.svg 34.8%
25Flag of South Carolina.svg  South Carolina 3,486,7033,121,820Increase2.svg 364,883Increase2.svg 11.7%
26Flag of Colorado.svg  Colorado 3,294,3942,889,964Increase2.svg 404,430Increase2.svg 14.0%
27Flag of Connecticut.svg  Connecticut 3,287,1163,107,576Increase2.svg 179,540Increase2.svg 5.8%
28Flag of Oklahoma.svg  Oklahoma 3,145,5853,025,290Increase2.svg 120,295Increase2.svg 4.0%
29Flag of Oregon.svg  Oregon 2,842,3212,633,105Increase2.svg 209,216Increase2.svg 7.9%
30Flag of Iowa.svg  Iowa 2,776,7552,913,808Decrease2.svg –137,053Decrease2.svg –4.7%
31Flag of Mississippi (1894-1996).png  Mississippi 2,573,2162,520,638Increase2.svg 52,578Increase2.svg 2.1%
32Flag of Kansas.svg  Kansas 2,477,5742,363,679Increase2.svg 113,895Increase2.svg 4.8%
33Flag of Arkansas.svg  Arkansas 2,350,7252,286,435Increase2.svg 64,290Increase2.svg 2.8%
34Flag of West Virginia.svg  West Virginia 1,793,4771,949,644Decrease2.svg –156,167Decrease2.svg –8.0%
35Flag of Utah (1913-1922).png  Utah 1,722,8501,461,037Increase2.svg 261,813Increase2.svg 17.9%
36Flag of Nebraska.svg  Nebraska 1,578,3851,569,825Increase2.svg 8,560Increase2.svg 0.5%
37Flag of New Mexico.svg  New Mexico 1,515,0691,302,894Increase2.svg 212,175Increase2.svg 16.3%
38Flag of Maine.svg  Maine 1,227,9281,124,660Increase2.svg 103,268Increase2.svg 9.2%
39Flag of Nevada (1929-1991).svg  Nevada 1,201,833800,493Increase2.svg 401,340Increase2.svg 50.1%
40Flag of New Hampshire.svg  New Hampshire 1,109,252920,610Increase2.svg 188,642Increase2.svg 20.5%
41Flag of Hawaii.svg  Hawaii 1,108,229964,691Increase2.svg 143,538Increase2.svg 14.8%
42Flag of Idaho.svg  Idaho 1,006,749943,935Increase2.svg 62,814Increase2.svg 6.7%
43Flag of Rhode Island.svg  Rhode Island 1,003,464947,154Increase2.svg 56,310Increase2.svg 5.9%
44Flag of Montana.svg  Montana 799,065786,690Increase2.svg 12,375Increase2.svg 1.6%
45Flag of South Dakota (1963-1992).svg  South Dakota 696,004690,768Increase2.svg 5,236Increase2.svg 0.8%
46Flag of Delaware.svg  Delaware 666,168594,338Increase2.svg 71,830Increase2.svg 12.1%
47Flag of North Dakota.svg  North Dakota 638,800652,717Decrease2.svg –13,917Decrease2.svg –2.1%
Flag of Washington, D.C. (1938).svg  District of Columbia 606,900638,333Decrease2.svg –31,433Decrease2.svg –4.9%
48Flag of Vermont.svg  Vermont 562,758511,456Increase2.svg 51,302Increase2.svg 10.0%
49Flag of Alaska.svg  Alaska 550,043401,851Increase2.svg 148,192Increase2.svg 36.8%
50Flag of Wyoming.svg  Wyoming 453,588469,557Decrease2.svg –15,969Decrease2.svg –3.4%
 Flag of the United States.svg  United States 248,709,873226,545,80522,164,0689.8%


The results of the 1990 census determined the number of seats that each state receives in the United States House of Representatives starting with the 1992 elections. Consequently, this affected the number of votes each state has in the Electoral College for the 1992 presidential election.

Because of population changes, twenty-one states had changes in their number of seats. Eight states gained at least one seat, and thirteen states lost at least one seat. The final result involved 19 seats being switched. [4]

Gained seven seatsGained four seatsGained three seatsGained one seatLost one seatLost two seatsLost three seats
California Florida Texas Arizona
North Carolina
New Jersey
West Virginia
New York

City rankings

RankCityStatePopulation [5] Region (2016) [6]
01 New York New York 7,322,564 Northeast
02 Los Angeles California 3,485,398 West
03 Chicago Illinois 2,783,726 Midwest
04 Houston Texas 1,630,553 South
05 Philadelphia Pennsylvania 1,585,577 Northeast
06 San Diego California 1,110,549 West
07 Detroit Michigan 1,027,974 Midwest
08 Dallas Texas 1,006,877 South
09 Phoenix Arizona 983,403 West
10 San Antonio Texas 935,933 South
11 San Jose California 782,248 West
12 Baltimore Maryland 736,014 South
13 Indianapolis Indiana 731,327 Midwest
14 San Francisco California 723,959 West
15 Jacksonville Florida 635,230 South
16 Columbus Ohio 632,910 Midwest
17 Milwaukee Wisconsin 628,088 Midwest
18 Memphis Tennessee 610,337 South
19 Washington District of Columbia 606,900 South
20 Boston Massachusetts 574,283 Northeast
21 Seattle Washington 516,259 West
22 El Paso Texas 515,342 South
23 Cleveland Ohio 505,616 Midwest
24 New Orleans Louisiana 496,938 South
25 Nashville-Davidson Tennessee 488,374 South
26 Denver Colorado 467,610 West
27 Austin Texas 465,622 South
28 Fort Worth Texas 447,619 South
29 Oklahoma City Oklahoma 444,719 South
30 Portland Oregon 437,319 West
31 Kansas City Missouri 435,146 Midwest
32 Long Beach California 429,433 West
33 Tucson Arizona 405,390 West
34 St. Louis Missouri 396,685 Midwest
35 Charlotte North Carolina 395,934 South
36 Atlanta Georgia 394,017 South
37 Virginia Beach Virginia 393,069 South
38 Albuquerque New Mexico 384,736 West
39 Oakland California 372,242 West
40 Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 369,879 Northeast
41 Sacramento California 369,365 West
42 Minneapolis Minnesota 368,383 Midwest
43 Tulsa Oklahoma 367,302 South
44 Honolulu Hawaii 365,272 West
45 Cincinnati Ohio 364,040 Midwest
46 Miami Florida 358,548 South
47 Fresno California 354,202 West
48 Omaha Nebraska 335,795 Midwest
49 Toledo Ohio 332,943 Midwest
50 Buffalo New York 328,123 Northeast
51 Wichita Kansas 304,011 Midwest
52 Santa Ana California 293,742 West
53 Mesa Arizona 288,091 West
54 Colorado Springs Colorado 281,140 West
55 Tampa Florida 280,015 South
56 Newark New Jersey 275,221 Northeast
57 Saint Paul Minnesota 272,235 Midwest
58 Louisville Kentucky 269,063 South
59 Anaheim California 266,406 West
60 Birmingham Alabama 265,968 South
61 Arlington Texas 261,721 South
62 Norfolk Virginia 261,229 South
63 Las Vegas Nevada 258,295 West
64 Corpus Christi Texas 257,453 South
65 St. Petersburg Florida 238,629 South
66 Rochester New York 231,636 Northeast
67 Jersey City New Jersey 228,537 Northeast
68 Riverside California 226,505 West
69 Anchorage Alaska 226,338 West
70 Lexington-Fayette Kentucky 225,366 South
71 Akron Ohio 223,019 Midwest
72 Aurora Colorado 222,103 West
73 Baton Rouge Louisiana 219,531 South
74 Stockton California 210,943 West
75 Raleigh North Carolina 207,951 South
76 Richmond Virginia 203,056 South
77 Shreveport Louisiana 198,525 South
78 Jackson Mississippi 196,637 South
79 Mobile Alabama 196,278 South
80 Des Moines Iowa 193,187 Midwest
81 Lincoln Nebraska 191,972 Midwest
82 Madison Wisconsin 191,262 Midwest
83 Grand Rapids Michigan 189,126 Midwest
84 Yonkers New York 188,082 Northeast
85 Hialeah Florida 188,004 South
86 Montgomery Alabama 187,106 South
87 Lubbock Texas 186,206 South
88 Greensboro North Carolina 183,521 South
89 Dayton Ohio 182,044 Midwest
90 Huntington Beach California 181,519 West
91 Garland Texas 180,650 South
92 Glendale California 180,038 West
93 Columbus Georgia 178,681 South
94 Spokane Washington 177,196 West
95 Tacoma Washington 176,664 West
96 Little Rock Arkansas 175,795 South
97 Bakersfield California 174,820 West
98 Fremont California 173,339 West
99 Fort Wayne Indiana 173,072 Midwest
100 Arlington Virginia 170,936 South

Locations of 50 most populous cities

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