By MEAD GRUVER, AP
Cheyenne, Wyo. – U.S. Census data show Wyoming's natural gas industry is responsible for large population gains around the state.
Data released Thursday show Gillette's population increased 48 percent between 2000 and 2010 to just over 29,000. Drilling for coal-bed methane caused the population of Gillette and surrounding Campbell County to increase steadily over the past decade.
Rock Springs' population increased 23 percent to just over 23,000. Rock Springs is the closest large city to the Jonah and Pinedale Anticline gas fields, which now rank among the most productive gas fields in the U.S.
Overall, Wyoming's population grew 14 percent but the state remains the nation's smallest at 563,000 people.
Laramie County remains Wyoming's most populated county with just under 92,000 people, up 12 percent since 2000.