CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The state Department of Health says there were fewer than 7,000 babies born to Wyoming residents last year, the first time the birth total dropped below that level since 2005.

The 6,904 births in 2017 was a 7 percent drop from 2016, when there were 7,384.

It continues a recent trend of decline. Births have dropped by more than 800 since 2015, when there were 7,716 infants born.

In December, the state's Economic Analysis Division found that nearly 6,500 residents have left Wyoming since the energy industry took a nosedive. That's the most significant population dip since the bust of the 1980s, in which 57,000 Wyoming residents left over seven years.

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