By: Associated Press

MITCHELL (AP) – South Dakota’s population growth last year was slightly ahead of the national rate, and better than the rates of neighboring states, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The state’s population grew by 0.9 percent between July 2016 and July 2017, the Daily Republic reported. Nebraska’s population grew by 0.7 percent and Iowa’s increased by 0.5 percent.

The U.S. population increased by more than 1 million people last year.

“The fact that South Dakota grew 0.9 percent in 2016-2017 is exceptional – especially since the U.S. only grew by 0.72 percent,” said Aaron Scheibe, deputy commissioner of the state Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Scheibe said that United Van Lines named South Dakota as the top state for inbound migration last year. He said the top reasons to move to the state were for a job and for family.

“This latest statistic is further proof that South Dakota bolsters an unbeatable quality of life,” said Scheibe.

He said the increase could boost economic opportunities for residents, such as more small businesses and a strengthened workforce.

“From helping those businesses meet customer demand to generating more sales tax revenue and higher school enrollment, new residents can help our state grow in many ways, and I am confident that trend will continue,” said Scheibe.

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