In the last state population estimates before the official 2010 census counts, Texas gained more people than any other state, according to a report the U.S. Census Bureau released Wednesday.

In the last state population estimates before the official 2010 U.S. Census counts, Texas gained more people than any other state from July 2008 to July 2009, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report.

The state gained 478,000 people and remained the nation’s second most populous state, with 24.8 million people. The nation’s largest state, California added 381,000 people, for a total population of 37 million. The next largest states were New York (19.5 million), Florida (18.5 million) and Illinois (12.9 million).

The agency based its estimates on data gathered between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2009, using births, deaths, administrative records and survey data to measure population change from last year’s revised population estimate.

"We are focused now on ensuring we get a complete and accurate count in 2010. The census counts will not only determine how many U.S. House seats each state will have but will also be used as the benchmark for future population estimates," said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. The next official counts will be out in December 2010, he added.

Wyoming had the largest percentage growth: its population climbed 2.12 percent to 544,270. Utah had the next largest, growing 2.1 percent to 2.8 million. Texas ranked third, climbing 1.97 percent, and Colorado was fourth, growing 1.81 percent to 5 million.

After Texas and California, the states with the next largest population gains include North Carolina (134,000), Georgia (131,000) and Florida (114,000).

Although Florida experienced gains driven by natural increase (births minus deaths), the state experienced negative net domestic migration, which means more people moved out than moved in. Florida and Nevada, which earlier in the decade had net inflows, are now experiencing outflows, the report said. Both states also have the highest rate of foreclosure filings in the nation (see related story), according to statistics released by foreclosure data company RealtyTrac.

Net domestic migration has slowed dramatically in many states in the South and West that had previously boomed, including Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, South Carolina and Montana, the report said.

The only states to lose population over the study period were Michigan (-0.33 percent), Maine (-0.11 percent) and Rhode Island (-0.03 percent).

The total U.S. population estimate as of July 1, 2009, was 307 million, an increase of 0.86 percent from the year before.

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