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Baby

Ashleigh Tieszen holds her newborn daughter, Adaline, after the child's first bath in April 2018. The number of births in Wyoming fell to a 15-year-low last year.

Mothers gave birth to 6,551 babies in Wyoming last year, the lowest number in more than 15 years, the Wyoming Department of Health said Tuesday.

The downward trend began in 2015. That year — which coincided with the state’s largest energy bust in decades, mothers gave birth to about 7,700 babies. Wyoming’s population dropped in the first three years following the bust.

Last year’s drop in the number of births occurred at the same time as the number of resident deaths increased, according to the health department. There were 5,069 deaths reported in 2018, up from 4,767 a year earlier, which itself was a a jump from 2016.

“With Wyoming’s aging population, we expect these numbers will likely continue increasing in future years,” Guy Beaudoin, Vital Statistics Services deputy state registrar, said in a statement.

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The news from the Health Department is the latest in a recent slide in the Wyoming birthrate. Last year, the department announced that there were just 6,904 births in 2017 — the lowest since 2005 and a 7 percent drop from 2016. That low has now been eclipsed by the 2018 figure.

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Health Department spokeswoman Kim Deti explained last year that the drop in the state’s overall population is an exacerbating factor, as is the declining teen birthrate. The former factor has plagued Wyoming in recent years. In April, the state announced that its population had dropped by about 1,200 over the past year, the third consecutive year of decline.

Emma was the most popular name for baby girls in Wyoming last year, following by Amelia, Elizabeth, Evelyn and Harper. Oliver topped the list for boys, followed by Jackson and Logan (which were tied), Wyatt and Theodore.

Emma has consistently been a top choice for newborn girls in the Equality State, while Oliver, Logan and Wyatt have remained in the top-five for boys recently.

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Editor

Joshua Wolfson joined the Star-Tribune in 2007, covering crime and health before taking over the arts section in 2013. He also served as managing editor before being named editor in June 2017. He lives in Casper with his wife and their two kids.

Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

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