What percentage of the US population lives in the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones respectively?

What percentage of the US population lives in the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones respectively?
What percentage of the US population lives in the Eastern, Central and Pacific time zones respectively?

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The US has several time zones, with the Eastern, Central, and Pacific being the more populated of them. But what percentage of the population of the US lives in each time zone?

You can find 47.6% of the population in the Eastern time zone, 29.1% in the Central time zone, and 16.6% in the Pacific time zone. The rest of the population is spread over the various other time zones in the US.

Let’s give you a bit more information, shall we?

What Percentage of the US Population Lives In The Eastern, Central, and Pacific Time Zones Respectively?

We are purely focusing on the continental United States here. The US has territories and states outside of the continental US, but we will come to those in the next section. For now, let’s just talk about the population that lives in the Eastern, Central, and Pacific time zones:

  • 29.1% of the continental US population lives in the Central Time Zone 
  • 47.6% of the continental US population lives in the Eastern Time Zone
  • 16.6% of the continental US population lives in the Pacific Time Zone

The numbers can change a little bit over time, but these are correct at the time of writing. This means that:

  • 92.3 million people live in the central time zone
  • 150.2 million people live in the eastern time zone
  • 53 million people live in the pacific time zone. 

What Percentage of the US Population Lives in Other Time Zones?

6.7% of the US population lives in Mountain Time. This is 21.3 million people. Barely anybody lives here, but we will talk about the reasons why shortly. 

On top of this, we have non-continental US states such as Hawaii and small fractions of Alaska. These have their own time zone (Hawaiian-Aleutian Time). 

On top of that, you have non-continental US territories:

  • Puerto Rico
  • US Virgin Islands
  • American Samoa
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Guam
  • Republic of the Marshall Islands
  • Republic of Palau

The population of these places (including Hawaii) isn’t too high. Around 2% of the total US population lives outside of the continental United States. They will be spread around different time zones. Obviously, we are not including US citizens living in different countries.

Why Are The Time Zones So Unequal In Terms of Population? 

Because that is how civilization works. 

The greatest number of people live in the Eastern Time Zone. This was the first place that the original US settlers headed to. As a result, it is where the population really boomed. Those early settlers didn’t want to traverse across an incredibly big country to get somewhere else. They were right by the sea. All of the supplies that they needed were right there on their metaphorical doorstep. There was no sense going somewhere else as they probably would have died. 

Those that did decide to move on didn’t move that far. They went into the central time zone, which is the second largest of the time zones. It didn’t place them too far from Eastern, which meant that getting supplies was still easy, and they didn’t have to travel so far.

While Mountain Time isn’t mentioned in our title, it is worth pointing out too. Mountain Time is the least populated of the continental United States. Most of the places in Mountain Time are completely barren. Devoid of human life. This is because there isn’t much in the way of good farming land, water, etc. Everything that the settlers would have needed to thrive. Those that did attempt it would have abandoned their towns shortly after.

Then we get to Pacific Time. This is on the west coast of the state. It is the third most populated time zone. Again, we go back to what people would have needed i.e. easy access to the sea, farmable land, etc. However, the population of these areas is much, much lower because it was populated at a much later stage. That, and most people were not massive fans of living in this area because it was insanely hot. When the settlers first settled in the US, they didn’t really know how to get there, other than sailing around the US or walking across the country. Neither was viable. 

The Eastern Time Zone

Part of the reason why the Eastern Time Zone is so populated is due to the massive number of states in the time zone:

These are all fully in the time zone:

  • Delaware
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Ohio
  • North Carolina
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • New Hampshire
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Georgia
  • West Virginia

These states are only partially in the Eastern Time Zone:

  • Almost all of Florida
  • Parts of Indiana
  • Chunks of Kentucky
  • Parts of Michigan
  • Parts of Tennessee

The Central Time Zone

The Central Time Zone includes:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Wisconsin
  • The rest of Florida, Indiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
  • Parts of Kansas
  • Parts of Michigan
  • Parts of Nebraska
  • Parts of both North Dakota and South Dakota
  • Parts of Texas

The Pacific Time Zone

Finally, we have the Pacific Time Zone. Parts of this time zone are shared with places in Canada, although we are focusing purely on the United States here.

  • California
  • Washington
  • Parts of Idaho
  • Parts of Nevada
  • Parts of Oregon
  • Parts of Alaska

The states that are not fully in the Pacific Time Zone are also in the Mountain Time Zone. The exception is Alaska, which is split across two other time zones. This includes its own time zone called ‘Alaskan Time’ and ‘Hawaii-Aleutian Time’, although the latter only applies to a few small Alaskan islands, and it is barely inhabited there. 

Final Thoughts 

Almost all of the population of the continental United States lives in the Eastern, Central, and Pacific Time Zones. In fact, 94% of the people living in the continental United States live here, with the final 6% living in the Mountain Time region instead. The total sum of people living in the non-continental United States lives in Hawaii and the various US territories. They each have their own time zones. 

Similar Topics 

Time Zones

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!