pa population decline

Pa.’s Population Continues Its Troubling Decline

Harrisburg, Pa., December 20, 2023 — Pennsylvania’s population continues to decline, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report showing a total loss of 10,408 residents between July 2022 and July 2023. According to the report, Pennsylvania ranks eighth nationally in domestic outmigration, with about 25,000 people, on net, leaving the commonwealth for another state. This decline follows the net loss of nearly 40,000 residents the year prior.

Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) projects that the state’s population will continue to decline. Per the IFO’s estimates, Pennsylvania’s working-age population (20 to 64) will fall 2.6 percent between 2020 and 2025 and an additional 1.7 percent between 2025 and 2030.


“Pocketbook issues are driving the exodus,” said Nathan Benefield, the senior vice president at the Commonwealth Foundation. 

The latest Commonwealth Foundation survey found that over half (52 percent) of Pennsylvanians under 30 years old said they or someone they know have considered leaving Pennsylvania due to the state’s policies. The top three reasons for considering a move were a lower cost of living, lower taxes, and better jobs and opportunities. More than half of voters said Pennsylvania was on the “wrong track.”

“With economic issues on the top of voters’ minds, it’s not surprising that the places seeing significant population gains are low-tax states, such as Florida, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee,” Benefield said.

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Benefield continued: “To stem this exodus, Pennsylvania lawmakers need to address our high taxes and excessive red tape and follow the lead of those states attracting individuals seeking better opportunities and a higher quality of life. Businesses and families should know they can come to Pennsylvania—or stay here—and thrive.”


The Commonwealth Foundation turns free-market ideas into public policies, fostering prosperity for all Pennsylvanians.