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Census: ND fastest-growing state in nation

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- U.S. census data released Thursday shows North Dakota is the leading the nation in population growth and the state's population is at an all-time high.

The Census Bureau's data shows North Dakota's population is pegged at 699,628 residents. That's up almost 15,000 from last year.

Census data show North Dakota's total population jumped 2.17 percent over the past year and it's growing nearly three times faster than the national average.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple says he welcomes the growth in North Dakota, which had suffered decades of population decline. The state's strong economy led by its booming oil patch has attracted thousands of new residents in the past few years.

The state's population has increased by almost 67,000 residents from a decade low of 632,809 reported in 2003.