According to a recently released report, Wyoming continues to age at a rapidly increasing rate, which will force policymakers to divert their attention to a "larger and more dependent" aging population.

The Wyoming Economic Analysis Division report also says that the number of people in Wyoming age 65 or older increased 3.9% between 2017 and 2019, higher than the US rate of 3.1 percent.

The Cowboy State saw one of the most significant drops in its birthrate, down to 61.0 per 1,000 females aged 15-44 from 64.1 the year before.

Wyoming's population still increased by 1,158 from July 2018 through July 2019 representing a growth of .2%.

The data in the report is drawn from an estimate recently released by the US Census Bureau. The increase comes on the heels of three consecutive years of decline, according to the Wyoming Economic Analysis Division.

The increase was due in part to there being more births than deaths (6,601 vs. 4,971). However, 470 more residents left Wyoming than moved into the state.

Economic Analysis Division Chief Economist Dr. Wenlin Liu credited that to economic improvement.

"People tend to move to areas where the economy is vibrant," Liu said in a press release, "which is particularly true for Wyoming."

Following a severe downturn in the state's oil and gas industry in 2015 - 2016, Wyoming's economy began rebounding in 2017 and into 2019.

Increased operational efficiency in drilling meant for fewer workers being hired back during the rebound. However, a significant increase in oil production in eastern Wyoming required for more pipeline to be built.

Construction jobs — mostly in infrastructure — also added to Wyoming's population increase.

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