North Dakota was the fastest growing state this past year, growing three times faster than the nation as a whole, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Thursday.
North Dakota's estimated population on July 1, 2012, was 699,628, up 14,888 people or nearly 2.2 percent from the same time a year earlier. This is an all-time high. The 2011 estimates broke the previous record of 680,845 residents in 1930.
North Dakota also is the fastest growing state since the April 1, 2010, census, up 4 percent.
"The increase in our population isn't a surprise considering how our state's economy and workforce has grown," Rod Backman, chairman of the North Dakota Census Committee, said in a prepared statement. "If anything, the estimate is probably low. We continue to work with the U.S. Census by providing them local context in identifying areas where residential population change may be missed in their current population estimates procedure."
The state census office considers the number of people in the state to be higher than estimates show because people living in hotels or crew camps are not included.
Still, the Census Bureau estimated net in-migration at 11,654 people, compared to an estimated net in-migration of 6,714 people from July 2010 to July 2011.
North Dakota's population has grown during eight of the past nine years, reversing a persistent trend of decline. Census figures show the state's population has increased by 66,820 residents from a decade low of 632,809 reported in 2003.
Other top gainers based on growth rates were the District of Columbia, Texas, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada. In population numbers, the greatest growth was in Texas, which gained 427,400 people.
The only two states to lose population between July 2011, and July 2012 were Rhode Island and Vermont.
The census bureau will release the July 2012 population estimates for counties in the spring and for cities next summer.