Facts About Wyoming - The Smallest State In America By Population
Facts About Wyoming - The Smallest State In America By Population

What is the smallest state in the US?

Wyoming is one of the 50 states of the United States. The trapezoid-shaped landlocked state is located in the Mountain Division in the western US mainland.

A census performs a systematic calculation of the number of residents within a specific geographical area. As of 2010, the five smallest states by population are Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, and South Dakota, according to azcentral.

Of all 50 states, Wyoming has the lowest population, with 563,626 people. Wyoming's capital and largest city is Cheyenne, and the state's land area is 97,100 square miles, with a population density of 5.8 persons per square mile.

It is the tenth largest state in the US, with a total area of 253,348 km² (97,818 sq mi), [2] compared, Wyoming is somewhat larger than the United Kingdom. Compared with other US states, Wyoming would fit into Texas almost three times but is 11 times larger than New Jersey.

Its most famous national park, Yellowstone, was the first national park in the U.S. and is now home to many animals, including the otherwise-rare American bison. Located in the West, two-thirds of Wyoming is covered with mountain ranges in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Original inhabitants of the region include the Arapaho, Crow, Lakota, and Shoshone. Southwest Wyoming was claimed by the Spanish Empire and then as Mexican territory until it was ceded to the U.S. in 1848 at the end of the Mexican–American War. The region acquired the name "Wyoming" when a bill was introduced to Congress in 1865 to provide a temporary government for the territory of Wyoming. The name had been used earlier for the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania, and is derived from the Munsee word xwé:wamənk, meaning "at the big river flat".

Where Is Wyoming On The Map?

Facts About Wyoming - The Smallest State In America
Where in the United States is Wyoming? Location map of Wyoming in the US.

Six states border Wyoming: Wyoming borders Montana to the north, South Dakota and Nebraska to the east, Colorado and Utah in the south and Idaho in the west.

The Wyoming Location Map refers to the accurate geographical position of the state, which is 43.0° N and 107.5° W. Situated in the northwestern region of the United States of America, in the Rocky mountainous part, Wyoming encompasses total area of 97,809 Miles (253,325 square kilometer).

Read More: 10 Facts About Rhode Island - The Smallest State in America by Land Area

History of Wyoming

Photo: Coolkidfacts
Photo: Coolkidfacts

The U.S. acquired the land comprising Wyoming from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. John Colter, a fur-trapper, is the first white man known to have entered the region. In 1807 he explored the Yellowstone area and brought back news of its geysers and hot springs.

Robert Stuart pioneered the Oregon Trail across Wyoming in 1812 - 1813 and, in 1834, Fort Laramie, the first permanent trading post in Wyoming, was built. Western Wyoming was obtained by the U.S. in the 1846 Oregon Treaty with Great Britain and as a result of the treaty ending the Mexican War in 1848, according to Infoplease.

When the Wyoming Territory was organized in 1869, Wyoming women became the first in the nation to obtain the right to vote. In 1925 Mrs. Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first woman governor in the United States.

Wyoming's towering mountains and vast plains provide spectacular scenery, grazing lands for sheep and cattle, and rich mineral deposits.

Wyoming is the leading coal-producing state and a leader in the production of petroleum and natural gas. Wyoming has the world's largest sodium carbonate (natrona) deposits and has the nation's second largest uranium deposits.

A leading producer of sheep and wool, Wyoming is also a major producer of beef cattle and hogs. Principal crops include wheat, oats, sugar beets, corn, barley, and alfalfa.

Second in mean elevation to Colorado, Wyoming has many attractions for the tourist trade, notably Yellowstone National Park. Hikers, campers, and skiers are attracted to Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole National Monument in the Teton Range of the Rockies. Cheyenne is famous for its annual Frontier Days celebration. Flaming Gorge, the Fort Laramie National Historic Site, and Devils Tower, and Fossil Butte National Monuments are other points of interest, cited by Infoplease.

Wyoming was selected as an official state of the Free State Project, a political migration. The plan was to have all Libertarians relocate to one state so they could live free. The project was started in 2001. Members voted on select states for the migration. Wyoming received 498 votes, coming in second behind New Hampshire.

Wyoming Still Remains The Smallest State In The US

Although Wyoming’s population grew 2.4%, from 563,626 to 576,851 people, only nine of the state’s 23 counties grew, according to AP News.

Teton and Laramie counties — home, respectively, of booming Jackson Hole and the state capital of Cheyenne — tied with a population growth of 9.6%.

Lincoln County, on the border with rapidly growing Utah, came in third with an 8.1% increase.

Sheridan (6.2%) and Natrona (6%) counties were the fourth- and fifth-fastest growing. Park County grew 5%, Albany County 2.1%, and Campbell and Crook counties less than 2% each.

Once-booming Sublette County in western Wyoming’s gas patch lost almost 15% of its population over the decade. Washakie County was next with a nearly 10% loss. Carbon County lost 8.5%, and Weston and Goshen Counties both lost more than 5%.

Wyoming remained majority white while the state’s Hispanic or Latino population grew from 8.9% of the state in 2010 to 10.2% in 2020. People who identified as two or more races grew from 1.5% to 4.1%

Wyoming remains far too small to pick up a second U.S. House seat, like neighboring Montana. Still, the numbers will help allocate a variety of state and federal dollars to communities.

Wyoming receives nearly $1 billion in population-dependent federal dollars every year for programs including Medicaid, housing vouchers, and food assistance.

10 Facts About Wyoming – The Smallest State In The US

1. Experts aren’t sure where Wyoming’s name originated. The name might come from a Delaware Indian word meaning “mountains and valleys alternating,” or “large plains.” It might also come from the Munsee language, meaning “at the big river flat,” or the Algonquin language meaning, “a large prairie place.”

It’s nicknamed the Equality State because it was the first state to grant women the right to vote and to have women serve on juries and hold public office.

2. Buffalo, pronghorn, black bears, grizzlies, and bighorn sheep are among Wyoming’s many mammals. Red-tailed hawks, prairie falcons, pinyon jays, and mountain bluebirds are a few of the birds that soar overhead. Reptiles include western painted turtles, rubber boas, Great Basin skinks, and Great Plains earless lizards. Amphibians such as Columbia spotted frogs, Wyoming toads, and western tiger salamanders can be found here, according to National Geographic.

Grasses, semidesert shrubs, and desert shrubs cover nearly all of the state. Sagebrush and Rocky Mountain juniper are examples of these plants. In forested areas, you can find ponderosa pines, lodgepole pines, and Douglas firs. Yarrow, sticky purple geranium, pink fairies, and Indian paintbrush (the state flower) are a few of the wildflowers that grow throughout Wyoming.

3. The Wyoming territory became the first in the nation to grant women over the age of 21 the right to vote in 1869.

Motivated more by interest in free publicity than a commitment to gender equality, Wyoming territorial legislators pass a bill that is signed into law granting women the right to vote.

Western states led the nation in approving women’s suffrage, but some of them had rather unsavory motives. Though some men recognized the important role women played in frontier settlement, others voted for women’s suffrage only to bolster the strength of conservative voting blocks. In Wyoming, some men were also motivated by sheer loneliness–in 1869, the territory had over 6,000 adult males and only 1,000 females, and area men hoped women would be more likely to settle in the rugged and isolated country if they were granted the right to vote, according to History.

Some of the suffrage movement’s leaders did have more respectable reasons for supporting women’s right to vote. William Bright, a territorial legislator who was in his mid-forties, had a persuasive young wife who convinced him that denying women the vote was a gross injustice. The other major backer, Edward M. Lee, the territorial secretary who had championed the cause for years, argued that it was unfair for his mother to be denied a privilege granted to African-American males.

Ultimately, though, appeals to justice and equality did not pass the legislation–most Wyoming legislators supported Bright and Lee’s bill because they thought it would win the territory free national publicity and might attract more single marriageable women to the region. Territorial Governor John A. Campbell appreciated the publicity power of the policy and signed the bill into law, making Wyoming the first territory or state in the history of the nation to grant women this fundamental right of citizenship.

4. The country’s first female governor was also elected in Wyoming

Photo:  Casper Star-Tribune
Photo: Casper Star-Tribune

Nellie Tayloe Ross, née Wynns, (born Nov. 29, 1876, St. Joseph, Mo., U.S.—died Dec. 20, 1977, Washington, D.C.), the first woman in the United States to serve as governor of a state and the first woman to direct the U.S. mint, according to Britannica.

Ross was elected governor of Wyoming in 1924, succeeding her husband, incumbent Democrat William Bradford Ross, who died just prior to the election. After narrowly losing to a Republican candidate for governor in 1926, Ross was appointed vice-chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

In 1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt named Ross director of the U.S. Mint, making her one of the first women to hold a federal post of that importance. During her 20-year term, the mint introduced the Roosevelt dime, the Jefferson nickel, and the steel penny, the latter an emergency measure during World War II.

Ross won the distinction of becoming the first woman governor by a small margin; Miriam Ferguson was inaugurated governor of Texas just 16 days later.

5. Wyoming is the least populous state in the country, even though it’s the 10th largest by area. According to census records, approximately 586,000 people live within its 97,818 square miles. To put that in perspective, the smallest state in the U.S., Rhode Island, has an area of only 1212 square miles and is home to around 1.055 million people, according to Mental Floss.

6. The official motto of Wyomingites is "Equal Rights".

Though lovingly referred to as the “Cowboy State,” Wyoming’s true nickname is the “Equality State.” And for good reason. On December 10, 1869, Wyoming passed the first unconditional law in the U.S. permanently guaranteeing women their inherent right to vote and hold office, according to Travel Wyoming.

On September 6, 1870, in Laramie, Wyoming, Louisa Swain made history by becoming the first woman in the world to cast an electoral ballot under laws giving women full civil and political equality with men. These same laws were never changed even as Wyoming was admitted to the Union in 1890.

And those weren’t the only female firsts that took place in Wyoming. The first female governor was elected in Wyoming and the nation’s first woman to be appointed to public office was done so in South Pass City, Wyoming. In addition, the Equality State is home to the first female jurors, the world’s first female bailiff, and the first town that was governed entirely by women.

When invited to join the Union only if women’s suffrage was revoked, Wyoming’s legislature said, “We will remain out of the Union one hundred years rather than come in without the women.” In 1890, Wyoming became the 44th state… with the women.

7. Most of the nation’s first national park, Yellowstone, is within the borders of Wyoming. Yellowstone is home to almost 300 species of birds, 67 species of mammals, and 16 species of fish. Over 4 million people visit the park each year.

Old Faithful, a geyser in Yellowstone National Park, earned its name because its eruptions are so predictable. The geyser erupts almost every hour and a half.

The park service can accurately predict Old Faithful eruptions within a 10-minute window.

Photo:  Travel + Leisure
Photo: Travel + Leisure

8. The outlaw Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, a.k.a. The Sundance Kid, took his nickname from the town of Sundance, Wyoming, where he was jailed at the age of 15 for stealing a horse.

Harry Alonzo Longabaugh (1867 – November 7, 1908), better known as the Sundance Kid, was an outlaw and member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch in the American Old West. He likely met Butch Cassidy (real name Robert Leroy Parker) after Cassidy was released from prison around 1896. The "Wild Bunch" gang performed the longest string of successful train and bank robberies in American history. Longabaugh fled the United States along with his consort Etta Place and Butch Cassidy to escape the dogged pursuit of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. The trio fled first to Argentina and then to Bolivia, where most historians believe Cassidy and Longabaugh were killed in a shootout in November 1908.

9. Abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock was born in Cody, Wyoming, a town named after the man who helped establish it, William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody. Pollock’s family then moved to Arizona and California, and Jackson later followed his older brother Charles to New York.

Jackson Pollock was an influential American painter and the leading force behind the abstract expressionist movement in the art world. During his lifetime, Pollock enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety. Jackson Pollock's greatness lies in developing one of the most radical abstract styles in the history of modern art, detaching line from color, redefining the categories of drawing and painting, and finding new means to describe pictorial space.

Photo: Art of Wolf
Photo: Art of Wolf

10. Bison is the official state mammal of Wyoming, but the relationship between the animals and their human neighbors is complicated. According to the National Park Service, there are more people hurt every year at Yellowstone by bison than by bears. Because conservation efforts have been so successful, there's also an initiative to keep the bison population down: this year, the goal is to capture and kill between 600 and 900 of the animals, according to Mental Floss.

A bull bison can weigh over 1800 pounds and stand 6 foot tall at the shoulder. Bison once roamed the American prairie by the tens of millions and provided a way of life for Native Americans of the Great Plains, but European settlers hunted bison to the brink of extinction (it's estimated that between 300 - 500 animals remained when the federal government passed stricter game laws in 1889).

Photo:  Peapix
Photo: Peapix
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