Jan 2, 2014 - StaffWyoming remains the least-populated state in the nation as 2014 arrives, but the state did grow faster than the national average last year.
The U.S. Census Bureau's annual New Year's Day estimate calculates that Wyoming grew by 1 percent to just under 583,000 between July of 2012 and July of 2013.
The national growth rate was 0.7 percent. The U.S. population is now estimated at more than 316 million.
State analysts say job openings in construction and tourism drew new residents to Wyoming during the year, and births in the state outnumbered deaths by about 3,100 in the same period.
The next-smallest state
population is in Vermont's, just under 627,000 residents. North Dakota is the third-least populated with about 723,000 residents.
Among Wyoming's neighboring states, South Dakota has the smallest population at just under 845,000 residents. Wyoming's other neighbors -- Montana, Idaho, Utah, Colorado and Nebraska, all have 1 million residents or more. Colorado has more than 5 million, Utah nearly 3 million.
Wyoming officially has been the smallest state in the nation by population since 1980. In the 1970 census, Alaska still had fewer residents but now outnumbers Wyoming by more than 150,000 people.
Wyoming ranks ninth in the nation geographically.
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