CHEYENNE — With 1.6 percent population growth between July 2011 and July 2012, Wyoming's growth rate was fourth in the nation.
"People tend to move to areas where economies are viable," said Dr. Wenlin Liu, senior economist with the state's Economic Analysis Division, "which is particularly true for Wyoming."
It is also true for North Dakota, which has enjoyed growth fed by the Bakken drilling boom and had the highest growth rate in the nation at 2.2 percent. Washington, D.C. and Texas also grew faster than Wyoming at 2.1 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
More than 576,000 people now call Wyoming home, according to estimates provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. The uptick of more than 9,000 people from the previously measured period accounts for more than 7,400 births and 4,400 deaths. The remaining growth is attributable to net migration, meaning about 6,000 more people moved to the state than left it during the period.
During the previous period, Wyoming hosted a minor exodus, with slightly more people leaving the state than moving in. The change indicates a growing economy and improved employment opportunities, according to the department.
"Wyoming's energy market is expected to improve as the U.S. economy is poised to pick up speed in 2013, so the uptrend of population movement to the state may follow," a release from the Economic Analysis Division stated.
Nationally, only two states saw net population decline: Rhode Island and Vermont.
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