- Associated Press - Friday, December 22, 2017

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The population of Arkansas has topped 3 million this year for the first time in state history.

Arkansas’ population climbed more than 16,000 from July 2016 to July 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released this past week.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday that he’s “delighted” to see the state reach the population milestone, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported . The state is still the 32nd largest state in the U.S., the same rank as last year.

“The census report is another confirmation that life in Arkansas is good and getting better,” Hutchinson said. “Many Arkansas companies are expanding, and we continue to attract new business from across the nation and from other countries.”

About half of the state’s population change was because of a “natural increase,” according to the bureau. Births outnumbered deaths by more than 7,800.

The rest of the population increase was a result of net migration. A little more than half the net migration came from other states; the rest came from outside the country, the bureau reported.

“This is one of the results of a growing economy, and that’s been the focus that we have had,” Hutchinson said. “It shows that there is job creation and that’s attracting people to our state.”

The report says 42 states and Washington, D.C., grew in population over a year, while eight states’ populations dropped. California remains the country’s most populous state, with nearly 40 million residents.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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