By Mary Steurer
Via- Wyoming News Exchange
CASPER — For the first time in at least a century, Wyoming recorded more deaths than births over a year-long period, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The state reported 6,679 deaths between July 2021 and July 2022 compared to 6,189 births.
In a census data table dating back to 1922 compiled by the Wyoming Department of Health, it’s the only year where deaths overtook births.
According to a report published by the Wyoming Economic Analysis Division, 23 other states also recorded more deaths than births from July 2021 to July 2022.
Births in Wyoming have been steadily declining for a number of years, the data show. Deaths have jumped sharply since 2020, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Wyoming still had 1,898 more people in July 2022 compared to the year prior, however. That’s because 2,494 more people moved into the state than moved away.
Wyoming reported similar growth between July 2020 and July 2021, according to the report.
As of July, Wyoming’s population was 581,381, which represents an overall year-over-year growth of .3%.
“Wyoming’s positive net migration could indicate that the experience of COVID-19 may have prompted more people to move to Wyoming than leave the state,” Amy Bittner, principal economist for the state’s Economic Analysis Division, said in the report. “For some sectors of the economy, telework opportunities are now available to workers. This provides workers with more choices on where they live. Some of these permanent teleworkers may be choosing Wyoming as their home.”
The United States as a whole grew by .4% over that same time period.
About 1 million new people migrated to the U.S. between July 2021 and July 2022, according to Census Bureau data.
As of July, unemployment in Wyoming was at 3% — the lowest it’s been since 2008, according to the report. That suggests the state’s economy bouncing back from the doldrums of the pandemic, especially its mining, retail and tourism industries.