Washington -- North Dakota was the nation's fastest-growing state over the last year, for the fourth year in a row, according to a year-end report from the United States Census Bureau.

North Dakota’s population increased 2.3 percent, followed by 1.9 percent growth in Colorado, the District of Columbia and Nevada. Each of the 10 fastest-growing states was in the South or West, with the exception of North Dakota. Texas had the largest numeric increase in population.

By adding an average of 281 people per day during the last year, North Carolina's population crossed the 10 million mark, making the state the ninth in that category, according to U.S. Census Bureau state population estimates.

North Carolina's population gain over the July 1, 2014, to July 1, 2015, period ranked it behind only Texas, Florida, California, Georgia and Washington.

Also, Florida added more people than California for the first time in nearly a decade. Florida's gain of 365,703 people also pushed it past 20 million, becoming the third state to reach that milestone. California continued to be the most populous state on July 1, 2015, with 39.1 million, followed by Texas with 27.5 million.

Seven states lost population between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015: Illinois, West Virginia, Connecticut, Mississippi, Vermont, Maine and New Mexico.

The United States as a whole saw its population increase by 0.79 percent over the period to 321.4 million, slightly faster than the rate of growth over the previous one-year period (0.78 percent).

The 10 most populous states are California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan.

The Census Bureau produces population estimates each year, allowing the public to gauge the growth and demographic composition of the nation, states and communities. These statistics use administrative data to estimate population change between census years, using the decennial census count as a starting point. Local governments use estimates to locate services, and the private sector uses them to locate businesses.

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