According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2022 population estimates released today, 37 of the 75 counties in Arkansas gained population from July 1, 2021 to July 1, 2022. The fastest-growing counties were in the Northwest or North Central regions of the state. Madison County led with a population increase of 3.2%, followed by Benton County at 2.9% and Van Buren County at 2.2%.
There were 38 counties that lost population between 2021 and 2022. The majority of these counties were located in the Delta or Southwest regions of the state. Phillips County experienced the largest decline (-3.3%), followed by Desha County (-2.5%) and Lee County (-2.3%).
Pulaski County remains the most populated county in the state with 399,145 people, followed by Benton County (302,863) and Washington County (256,054). Conversely, Calhoun County was the least populated county with 4,695 residents.
Two-thirds of the counties in Arkansas (50 of 75) had a population less than 25,000. Of these 50 counties, 14 had less than 10,000 residents. Only 10.7% (or 8 counties) had a population of 100,000 or higher.
Components of Change
The Vintage 2022 estimates also include components of resident population change that help explain how counties are gaining or losing population. These components are vital events (births and deaths) and net migration. Net migration looks into both international and domestic migration.
Natural Decrease and Increase
The vast majority of counties in Arkansas (68 or 90.7%) had a natural decrease from 2021 to 2022. This means that more deaths occurred than births. This is a trend that can be seen nationwide as the population is aging.
There were seven counties that experienced a natural increase (more births than deaths) from 2021 to 2022. The largest natural increase occurred in Benton and Washington Counties (1,295 and 1,120, respectively).
More counties in Arkansas experienced a positive net migration (46) than a negative (28) or zero (1) migration. Positive net migration means that there were more people moving into the county than out of the county. Benton, Washington, and Saline Counties had the largest net migration in the state (7,028, 3,195, and 2,146 respectively). Most of the migration in Benton County was domestic versus international (6,152 versus 876).
Jefferson County had the largest negative net migration with 1,172 more people moving out of than into the county. Mississippi County experienced the next largest negative net migration, losing 602 people.
For More Information
If you are interested in exploring more population estimates for Arkansas you can visit this page.