New Wyoming residents older, wealthier

Courtesy image

CASPER — In line with other Mountain West states, wealthier, older Americans made up an outsize share of Wyoming’s newcomers in 2019 and 2020, according to new data from the Internal Revenue Service. 

While the region as a whole has been experiencing a population boom for years now, things really ramped up during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Many people chose to relocate to less populated, lower cost areas during the pandemic, and the increased availability of remote work made this possible,” Wenlin Liu, chief economist for the Wyoming Economic Analysis Division, said in a Monday report on the data. 

Wyoming gained a net 1,400 people between 2019 and 2020. 

That wasn’t the case a few years prior — between 2014 and 2019, its population went down. 

Most of the new arrivals came from Washington, California, Texas and Arizona, or neighboring states like Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, the report said. 

Due in part to the fact that they tended to hail from more urban states, people moving to Wyoming also made much more than the average resident. 

In 2020, the average adjusted gross income in Wyoming was $92,786, for example. 

But for someone who moved to Wyoming within the previous year, that figure was about $138,789. For people who moved away, it was $72,065. 

Recent arrivals also had a lot more people reporting average gross incomes of $200,000 a year or more compared to recent departures. 

“The first year of COVID-19 appeared to have prompted a number of professionals with higher earnings and ‘work at home’ opportunities to relocate to Wyoming,” Liu wrote in the report. 

Taxpayers ages 26 and under were more likely to leave the state than move in. 

For a while, Wyoming was also reporting a net loss of people 65 or older. That wasn’t the case in 2020, though. The state gained a net 200 seniors that year. 

Total migration in Wyoming (meaning the sum of both those who moved to and away) was about twice the U.S. average. For the last few years, Wyoming’s total annual migration has been about 26,000 people a year, the report said. That represents about 4.6 percent of the state’s population. 

By comparison, roughly 2.3 percent of the U.S. population moved across state lines in 2019 and 2020. The data were compiled based on address changes and other tax information submitted to the IRS in 2019 and 2020.