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Wyoming's population rises slightly to 582,658 -- still lowest of any state
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Wyoming's population rises slightly to 582,658 -- still lowest of any state

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On July 1, there were 582,658 of us living in the Cowboy State, according to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

That’s a 1 percent increase in population from July 1, 2012. Wyoming’s year-over-year increase was higher than the national average, which was 0.7 percent. On July 1, there were 316,128,839 people living in the United States.

Thank the state’s economy for bringing in more residents, said Wenlin Liu, interim administrator for the Wyoming Division of Economic Analysis.

Whereas in states such as Florida and Arizona, people move for retirement, Wyoming’s main draw is jobs, Liu said.

“You can certainly see job increases in construction, in tourism,” he said. “Also, it’s the improvement in the mining industry. The mining (including oil and natural gas) industry still had a job decrease, but not as bad as in 2012.”

Helping the state are natural gas prices, which currently hover around $4.50 for every 1,000 cubic feet. That’s up from $2 in April 2012, Liu said.

In addition to people moving to Wyoming for work, population increased because the birth rate was higher than the death rate.

About 7,500 babies were born in Wyoming from July 1, 2012 to July 1, 2013. In that same time, 4,400 people died, Liu said.

Despite a faster-than-average growth rate, Wyoming is still the nation’s least populated state. The second least populated state is Vermont, with 626,630 residents. North Dakota is the third least populated with 723,393 residents.

Nationally, the population rate is lower because fewer immigrants are moving to the U.S. because of the slower economy, Liu said. In fact, demographers believe many migrants are returning to home countries such as Mexico.

Reach state reporter Laura Hancock at 307-266-0581 or at laura.hancock@trib.com. Follow her on Twitter: @laurahancock.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau. The first column shows each state's growth by percentage from July 1, 2012, to July 1, 2013. The second column sho…

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