Texas zipped past the 25 million mark as it topped the national growth chart for the last decade by adding 4,293,741 residents, according to 2010 Census figures released Tuesday.
The Lone Star State's population swelled to 25,145,561, a 20.6 percent increase since 2000, Census Director Robert Groves announced at a news conference in Washington, D.C.
By comparison, the United States population grew to 308,745,538, up 9.7 percent since 2000, the slowest growth rate since the Great Depression, Groves said.
Texas' numbers add up to one word for Texas demographer Steve Murdock: "Phenomenal."
"I was a little bit surprised about how large the change was," said Murdock, a Rice University professor and former U.S. Census director. "I thought it would be about 25 million, but that 4.2 million increase is unprecedented in Texas history."
By percentage, Texas' growth was the fifth-highest, trailing Nevada (35.1 percent), Arizona (24.1 percent), Utah (23.8 percent) and Idaho (21.1 percent).
"That percentage growth is really surprising. It's striking because size typically brings down rates," said Karl Eschbach, director of population research at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
California, which grew by 10 percent, remains the most populous state (37,253,956). Texas is second, followed by New York (19,378,102), Florida (18,801,310) and Illinois (12,830,632).
"To put those numbers in perspective, California, which grew by 3.3 million, has 12 million more people but grew by 900,000 less than Texas did," Murdock said.
Texas' growth continues a decades-long trend.
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