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Census numbers show Wyoming among slowest growing states

US Census Photo, AP Images
US Census Photo, AP Images(AP Images)
Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 11:59 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (RELEASE) - Wyoming’s total resident population grew moderately to 576,851 from April 1, 2010 to April 1, 2020.  The U.S. Census Bureau has completed data processing and just released the first 2020 Census results – resident population totals for the nation and the states as well as the congressional apportionment totals for each state.

The population change during the decade of 2010 for Wyoming was 13,225, or 2.3 percent, the 7th slowest growth rate in the U.S., and the slowest since the 1980s for the state.  There are two factors contributing to the population change.  The natural increase (72,000 births less 47,000 deaths) was about 25,000, but the derived net migration (in-migration less outmigration) was about -11,775, which means that approximately 11,800 more residents left Wyoming than moved into the State between 2010 and 2020.  In contrast, the population increased 14.1 percent between 2000 and 2010.

For the U.S., the population count was 331,449,281 on April 1, 2020, an increase of 22.7 million or 7.4 percent from 10 years ago, the second slowest growth rate ever, slightly higher than the 1930s.  Utah’s 18.4 percent led the nation, followed by Idaho (17.3%), Texas (15.9%), and North Dakota (15.8%).  Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia saw population increase.  Only three states lost population during the decade, including West Virginia (-3.2%), Mississippi (-0.2%), and Illinois (-0.1%).

The main reason for the negative net migration and consequently the slow population growth in Wyoming was the downturn in the energy industry since mid-June of 2014, particularly in 2015 and 2016 when the state lost 9,200 or one-third of its mineral extraction industry payroll jobs.  “Change in employment always tends to drive and lead the change in migration for Wyoming, and generally speaking, people tend to move to areas where economies are vibrant,” said Dr. Wenlin Liu, Chief economist with the Economic Analysis Division, Wyoming Department of Administration & Information.  “In addition, the economy nationwide, particularly in neighboring states such as Colorado, Utah, and Idaho showed strong expansions, which attracted many Wyoming energy workers and residents during the second half of the decade.”

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