Education in Wyoming

This article is about the U.S. state of Wyoming. For other uses, see Wyoming (disambiguation).

State of Wyoming
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): Equality State (official);
Cowboy State; Big Wyoming
Motto(s): Equal Rights
Official language
English
Demonym Wyomingite
Capital
(and largest city)
Cheyenne
Largest metro Cheyenne Metro Area
Area Ranked 10th
 - Total 97,814 sq mi
(253,348 km2)
 - Width 360 miles (581 km)
 - Length 280 miles (450 km)
 - % water 0.7
 - Latitude 41°N to 45°N
 - Longitude 104°3'W to 111°3'W
Population Ranked 50th
 - Total 576,412 (2012 estimate)[1]
 - Density 5.85/sq mi  (2.26/km2)
Ranked 49th
Elevation
 - Highest point Gannett Peak[2][3][4]
13,809 ft (4209.1 m)
 - Mean 6,700 ft  (2040 m)
 - Lowest point Belle Fourche River at South Dakota border[3][4]
3,101 ft (945 m)
Before statehood Wyoming Territory
Admission to Union July 10, 1890 (44th)
Governor Matt Mead (R)
Secretary of State Max Maxfield (R)
Legislature Wyoming Legislature
 - Upper house Senate
 - Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators Mike Enzi (R)
John Barrasso (R)
U.S. House delegation Cynthia Lummis (R) (list)
Time zone Mountain: UTC -7/-6
Abbreviations WY, US-WY
Website

Wyoming Cheyenne is the capital and the most populous city in Wyoming, with a population of 91,738 in the metropolitan area (as of the 2012 census).

Geography

Location and size


As specified in the designating legislation for the Territory of Wyoming, Wyoming's borders are lines of latitude, 41°N and 45°N, and longitude, 104°3'W and 111°3'W (27° W and 34° W of the Washington Meridian), making the shape of the state a latitude-longitude quadrangle.[5] Wyoming is one of only three states (along with Colorado and Utah) to have borders along only straight latitudinal and longitudinal lines, rather than being defined by natural landmarks. Due to surveying inaccuracies during the 19th century, Wyoming's legal border deviates from the true latitude and longitude lines by up to half of a mile (0.8 km) in some spots, especially in the mountainous region along the 45th parallel.[6] Wyoming is bordered on the north by Montana, on the east by South Dakota and Nebraska, on the south by Colorado, on the southwest by Utah, and on the west by Idaho. It is the tenth largest state in the United States in total area, containing 97,814 square miles (253,340 km2) and is made up of 23 counties. From the north border to the south border it is 276 miles (444 km);[7] and from the east to the west border is 365 miles (587 km) at its south end and 342 miles (550 km) at the north end.

Mountain ranges

The Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming. The state is a great plateau broken by many mountain ranges. Surface elevations range from the summit of Gannett Peak in the Wind River Mountain Range, at 13,804 feet (4,207 m), to the Belle Fourche River valley in the state’s northeast corner, at 3,125 feet (953 m). In the northwest are the Absaroka, Owl Creek, Gros Ventre, Wind River and the Teton ranges. In the north central are the Big Horn Mountains; in the northeast, the Black Hills; and in the southern region the Laramie, Snowy and Sierra Madre ranges.

The Snowy Range in the south central part of the state is an extension of the Colorado Rockies in both geology and appearance. The Wind River Range in the west central part of the state is remote and includes more than 40 mountain peaks in excess of 13,000 ft (4,000 m) tall in addition to Gannett Peak, the highest peak in the state. The Big Horn Mountains in the north central portion are somewhat isolated from the bulk of the Rocky Mountains.


The Teton Range in the northwest extends for 50 miles (80 km), part of which is included in Grand Teton National Park. The park includes the Grand Teton, the second highest peak in Wyoming.

The Continental Divide spans north-south across the central portion of the state. Rivers east of the divide drain into the Missouri River Basin and eventually the Gulf of Mexico. They are the North Platte, Wind, Big Horn and the Yellowstone rivers. The Snake River in northwest Wyoming eventually drains into the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean, as does the Green River through the Colorado River Basin.

The continental divide forks in the south central part of the state in an area known as the Great Divide Basin where the waters that flow or precipitate into this area remain there and cannot flow to any ocean. Instead, because of the overall aridity of Wyoming, water in the Great Divide Basin simply sinks into the soil or evaporates.

Several rivers begin or flow through the state, including the Yellowstone River, Bighorn River, Green River, and the Snake River.

Islands

Main article: List of islands of Wyoming

Wyoming has 32 named islands, of which the majority are located in Jackson Lake and Yellowstone Lake within Yellowstone National Park in the northwest portion of the state. Green River in the southwest also contains a number of islands.

Public lands


More than 48% of the land in Wyoming is owned by the U.S. Government, leading Wyoming to rank sixth in the U.S. in total acres and fifth in percentage of a state's land owned by the federal government.[8] This amounts to about 30,099,430 acres (121,808.1 km2) owned and managed by the U.S. Government. The state government owns an additional 6% of all Wyoming lands, or another 3,864,800 acres (15,640 km2).[8]

The vast majority of this government land is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service in numerous National Forests, a National Grassland, and a number of vast swaths of public land, in addition to the F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne.

In addition, Wyoming contains areas that are under the management of the National Park Service and other agencies. They include:


Parks

Recreation areas

National monuments

National historic trails and sites

National parkways

Wildlife refuges and hatcheries


Grand Teton National Park.

Climate

Further information: Climate change in Wyoming


Wyoming's climate is generally semi-arid and continental (Köppen climate classification BSk), and is drier and windier in comparison to most of the United States with greater temperature extremes. Much of this is due to the topography of the state. Summers in Wyoming are warm with July high temperatures averaging between 85 °F (29 °C) and 95 °F (35 °C) in most of the state. With increasing elevation, however, this average drops rapidly with locations above 9,000 feet (2,700 m) averaging around 70 °F (21 °C). Summer nights throughout the state are characterized by a rapid cooldown with even the hottest locations averaging in the 50–60 °F (10–16 °C) range at night. In most of the state, most of the precipitation tends to fall in the late spring and early summer. Winters are cold, but are variable with periods of sometimes extreme cold interspersed between generally mild periods, with Chinook winds providing unusually warm temperatures in some locations. Wyoming is a dry state with much of the land receiving less than 10 inches (250 mm) of rainfall per year. Precipitation depends on elevation with lower areas in the Big Horn Basin averaging 5–8 inches (130–200 mm) (making the area nearly a true desert). The lower areas in the North and on the eastern plains typically average around 10–12 inches (250–300 mm), making the climate there semi-arid. Some mountain areas do receive a good amount of precipitation, 20 inches (510 mm) or more, much of it as snow, sometimes 200 inches (510 cm) or more annually. The state's highest recorded temperature is 114 °F (46 °C) at Basin on July 12, 1900 and the lowest recorded temperature is −66 °F (−54 °C) at Riverside on February 9, 1933.

The number of thunderstorm days vary across the state with the southeastern plains of the state having the most days of thunderstorm activity. Thunderstorm activity in the state is highest during the late spring and early summer. The southeastern corner of the state is the most vulnerable part of the state to tornado activity. Moving away from that point and westwards, the incidence of tornadoes drops dramatically with the west part of the state showing little vulnerability. Tornadoes, where they occur, tend to be small and brief, unlike some of those that occur a little further east.

Casper climate: Average maximum and minimum temperatures, and average rainfall.
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average max. temperature °F (°C) 32
(0)
37
(3)
45
(7)
56
(13)
66
(19)
78
(26)
87
(31)
85
(29)
74
(23)
60
(16)
44
(7)
34
(1)
58
(14)
Average min. temperature
°F (°C)
12
(−11)
16
(−9)
21
(−6)
28
(−2)
37
(3)
46
(8)
54
(12)
51
(11)
41
(5)
32
(0)
21
(−6)
14
(−10)
31
(-1)
Average rainfall
inches (mm)
0.6
(15.2)
0.6
(15.2)
1.0
(25.4)
1.6
(40.6)
2.1
(53.3)
1.5
(38.1)
1.3
(33.0)
0.7
(17.8)
0.9
(22.9)
1.0
(25.4)
0.8
(20.3)
0.7
(17.8)
12.8
(325.1)
Source:[9]
Jackson climate: Average maximum and minimum temperatures, and average rainfall.
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average max. temperature °F (°C) 24
(−4)
28
(−2)
37
(3)
47
(8)
58
(14)
68
(20)
78
(26)
77
(25)
67
(19)
54
(12)
37
(3)
24
(−4)
49
(9)
Average min. temperature
°F (°C)
-1
(−18)
2
(−17)
10
(−12)
21
(−6)
30
(−1)
36
(2)
41
(5)
38
(3)
31
(−1)
22
(−6)
14
(−10)
0
(−18)
20
(-7)
Average rainfall
inches (mm)
2.6
(66.0)
1.9
(48.3)
1.6
(40.6)
1.4
(35.6)
1.9
(48.3)
1.8
(45.7)
1.3
(33.0)
1.3
(33.0)
1.5
(38.1)
1.3
(33.0)
2.3
(58.4)
2.5
(63.5)
21.4
(543.6)
Source:[10]

History

Main article: History of Wyoming

Several American Indian groups originally inhabited the region now known as Wyoming. The Crow, Arapaho, Lakota, and Shoshone were but a few of the original inhabitants encountered when white explorers first entered the region. What is now southwestern Wyoming became a part of the Spanish Empire and later Mexican territory of Alta California, until it was ceded to the United States in 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American War. French-Canadian trappers from Québec and Montréal ventured into the state in the late 18th century, leaving French toponyms such as Téton, La Ramie, etc. John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, itself guided by French Canadian Toussaint Charbonneau and his young Shoshone wife, Sacagawea, first described the region in 1807. At the time, his reports of the Yellowstone area were considered to be fictional.[11] Robert Stuart and a party of five men returning from Astoria discovered South Pass in 1812. The Oregon Trail later followed that route. In 1850, Jim Bridger located what is now known as Bridger Pass, which the Union Pacific Railroad used in 1868—as did Interstate 80, in ninety years' time. Bridger also explored Yellowstone and filed reports on the region that, like those of Colter, were largely regarded as tall tales at the time.

The region had acquired the name Wyoming by 1865, when Representative J. M. Ashley of Ohio introduced a bill to Congress to provide a "temporary government for the territory of Wyoming". The territory was named after the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania, made famous by the 1809 poem Gertrude of Wyoming by Thomas Campbell. The name ultimately derives from the Munsee word xwé:wamənk, meaning "at the big river flat"[12][13]

After the Union Pacific Railroad had reached the town of Cheyenne in 1867, the region's population began to grow steadily, and the federal government established the Wyoming Territory on July 25, 1868.[14] Unlike mineral-rich Colorado, Wyoming lacked significant deposits of gold and silver, as well as Colorado's subsequent population boom. However, South Pass City did experience a short-lived boom after the Carissa Mine began producing gold in 1867.[15] Furthermore, copper was mined in some areas between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Snowy Range near Grand Encampment.[16]

Once government-sponsored expeditions to the Yellowstone country began, reports by Colter and Bridger, previously believed to be apocryphal, were found to be true. This led to the creation of Yellowstone National Park, which became the world's first national park in 1872. Nearly all of Yellowstone National Park lies within the far northwestern borders of Wyoming.

On December 10, 1869, territorial Governor John Allen Campbell extended the right to vote to women, making Wyoming the first territory and then U.S. state to grant suffrage to women. In addition, Wyoming was also a pioneer in welcoming women into politics. Women first served on juries in Wyoming (Laramie in 1870); Wyoming had the first female court bailiff (Mary Atkinson, Laramie, in 1870); and the first female justice of the peace in the country (Esther Hobart Morris, South Pass City, in 1870). Also, in 1924, Wyoming became the first state to elect a female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross, who took office in January 1925. (In fact, Wyoming and Texas both elected female governors at the same time, but Wyoming's took office sixteen days before Texas's.)[17] Due to its civil-rights history, Wyoming's state nickname is "The Equality State", and the official state motto is "Equal Rights".[18]

Wyoming's constitution included women's suffrage and a pioneering article on water rights.[19] The United States admitted Wyoming into the Union as the 44th state on July 10, 1890.[18]

Wyoming was the location of the Johnson County War of 1892, on which the controversial 1980 film Heaven's Gate was based, which erupted between competing groups of cattle ranchers. The passage of the federal Homestead Act led to an influx of small ranchers. A range war broke out when either or both of the groups chose violent conflict over commercial competition in the use of the public land.

See: List of counties in Wyoming

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
18709,118
188020,789128.0%
189062,555200.9%
190092,53147.9%
1910145,96557.7%
1920194,40233.2%
1930225,56516.0%
1940250,74211.2%
1950290,52915.9%
1960330,06613.6%
1970332,4160.7%
1980469,55741.3%
1990453,588−3.4%
2000493,7828.9%
2010563,62614.1%
Est. 2012576,4122.3%
Sources: 1910–2010[20][21][22]


Population

The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Wyoming was 576,412 on July 1, 2012, a 2.3% increase since the 2010 United States Census.[1] The center of population of Wyoming is located in Natrona County.[23][24]

According to the 2010 Census, the racial composition of the population was:

Ethnically, 8.9% of the total population was of Hispanic or Latino origin (they may be of any race) and 91.1% Non-Hispanic, with non-Hispanic whites constituting the largest non-Hispanic group at 85.9%.[25]

As of 2012, Wyoming had an estimated population of 576,412, which was an increase of 9,056, or 1.6%, from the prior year and an increase of 12,786, or 2.3%, since the 2010 census. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 12,165 people (that is 33,704 births minus 21,539 deaths) and an increase from net migration of 4,035 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 2,264 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 1,771 people. In 2004, the foreign-born population was 11,000 (2.2%). In 2005, total births in Wyoming numbered 7,231 (Birth Rate of 14.04).[26] Sparsely populated, Wyoming is the least populous (total number of people) state of the United States, and has the second lowest population density, behind Alaska. It is one of only two states with a smaller population than the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. (the other state is Vermont).

The largest ancestry groups in Wyoming are: German (26.0%), English (16.0%), Irish (13.3%), American (6.5%), Norwegian (4.3%), and Swedish (3.5%).

As of 2011, 24.9% of Wyoming's population younger than age 1 were minorities(note: children born to white hispanics are counted as minority group).[27]

Religion

The religious affiliations of the people of Wyoming are shown in the table below:

  • Non-Religious – 21%

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Catholic Church with 80,421; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 47,129 (in 2010 was 63,069); and the Wyoming Southern Baptist Convention with 17,101.[28]

Economy

According to the 2012 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis report, Wyoming’s gross state product was $38.4 billion.[29]

As of January 2010, the state's unemployment rate is 7.6%.[30] Components of Wyoming's economy differ significantly from those of other states.

The mineral extraction industry and travel and tourism sector are the main drivers behind Wyoming’s economy. The federal government owns about 50% of its landmass, while 6% is controlled by the state. Total taxable values of mining production in Wyoming for 2001 was over $6.7 billion. The tourism industry accounts for over $2 billion in revenue for the state.

In 2002, more than six million people visited Wyoming’s national parks and monuments. The key tourist attractions in Wyoming include Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Devils Tower National Monument, Independence Rock and Fossil Butte National Monument. Each year Yellowstone National Park, the world's first national park, receives three million visitors.

Historically, agriculture has been an important component of Wyoming’s economy. Its overall importance to the performance of Wyoming’s economy has waned. However, agriculture is still an essential part of Wyoming’s culture and lifestyle. The main agricultural commodities produced in Wyoming include livestock (beef), hay, sugar beets, grain (wheat and barley), and wool. More than 91% of land in Wyoming is classified as rural.

Mineral production

Wyoming’s mineral commodities include coal, natural gas, coalbed methane, crude oil, uranium, and trona.

  • Coal: Wyoming produced 395.5 million short tons (358.8 million metric tons) of coal in 2004. The state is the number one producer of coal in the U.S.[31] Wyoming possesses a reserve of 68.7 billion tons (62.3 billion metric tons) of coal. Major coal areas include the Powder River Basin and the Green River Basin
  • Natural gas: Wyoming produced 2,254 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2007. The state ranked 2nd nationwide for natural gas production in 2007.[32] The major markets for natural gas include industrial, commercial, and domestic heating.
  • Coal Bed Methane (CBM): The boom for CBM began in the mid-1990s. CBM is characterized as methane gas that is extracted from Wyoming’s coal bed seams. It is another means of natural gas production. There has been substantial CBM production in the Powder River Basin. In 2002, the CBM production yield was 327.5 billion cubic feet (9.3 km³).
  • Crude oil: Wyoming produced 53,400,000 barrels (8,490,000 m3) of crude oil in 2007. The state ranked 5th nationwide in oil production in 2007.[32] Petroleum is most often used as a motor fuel, but it is also utilized in the manufacture of plastics, paints, and synthetic rubber.
  • Trona: Wyoming possesses the largest known reserve of trona in the world[33] Trona is used for manufacturing glass, paper, soaps, baking soda, water softeners, and pharmaceuticals. In 2008 Wyoming produced 46 million short tons (41.7 million metric tons) of trona, 25% of the world's production.[33]
  • Diamonds: The Kelsey Lake Diamond Mine, located in Colorado less than 1,000 feet (300 m) from the Wyoming border, produced gem quality diamonds for several years. The Wyoming craton, which hosts the kimberlite volcanic pipes that were mined, underlies most of Wyoming.
  • Uranium: Although uranium mining in Wyoming is much less active than it was in previous decades, recent increases in the price of uranium have generated new interest in uranium prospecting and mining.

Taxes

Wyoming receives more federal tax dollars per capita in aid than any other state except Alaska. The federal aid per capita in Wyoming is more than double the U.S. average.[34] Unlike most other states, Wyoming does not levy an individual or corporate income tax. In addition, Wyoming does not assess any tax on retirement income earned and received from another state. Wyoming has a state sales tax of 4%. Counties have the option of collecting an additional 1% tax for general revenue and a 1% tax for specific purposes, if approved by voters. Food for human consumption is not subject to sales tax.[35] There also is a county lodging tax that varies from 2% to 5%. The state collects a use tax of 5% on items purchased elsewhere and brought into Wyoming. All property tax is based on the assessed value of the property and Wyoming's Department of Revenue's Ad Valorem Tax Division supports, trains, and guides local government agencies in the uniform assessment, valuation and taxation of locally assessed property. "Assessed value" means taxable value; "taxable value" means a percent of the fair market value of property in a particular class. Statutes limit property tax increases. For county revenue, the property tax rate cannot exceed 12 mills (or 1.2%) of assessed value. For cities and towns, the rate is limited to 8 mills (0.8%). With very few exceptions, state law limits the property tax rate for all governmental purposes.

Personal property held for personal use is tax-exempt. Inventory if held for resale, pollution control equipment, cash, accounts receivable, stocks and bonds are also exempt. Other exemptions include property used for religious, educational, charitable, fraternal, benevolent and government purposes and improvements for handicapped access. Mine lands, underground mining equipment, and oil and gas extraction equipment are exempt from property tax but companies must pay a gross products tax on minerals and a severance tax on mineral production.[36][37]

Wyoming does not collect inheritance taxes. Because of the phase-out of the federal estate tax credit, Wyoming's estate tax is not imposed on estates of persons who died in 2005. There is limited estate tax related to federal estate tax collection.

In 2008, the Tax Foundation ranked Wyoming as having the single most "business friendly" tax climate of all 50 states.[38] Wyoming state and local governments in fiscal year 2007 collected $2.242 billion in taxes, levies, and royalties from the oil and gas industry. The state's mineral industry, including oil, gas, trona, and coal provided $1.3 billion in property taxes from 2006 mineral production.[32]

Transportation

The largest airport in Wyoming is Jackson Hole Airport, with over 500 employees.[39] Three interstate highways and thirteen U.S. highways pass through Wyoming. In addition, the state is served by the Wyoming state highway system.

Interstate 25 enters the state south of Cheyenne and runs north, intersecting Interstate 80 in Cheyenne. It passes through Casper and ends at Interstate 90 near Buffalo. Interstate 80 crosses the Utah border west of Evanston and runs east through the southern half of the state, passing through Cheyenne before entering Nebraska near Pine Bluffs. Interstate 90 comes into Wyoming near Parkman and cuts through the northern part of the state. It serves Gillette and enters South Dakota east of Sundance.

The U.S. highways that pass through the state are U.S. Highways 14, 16, 18, 20, 26, 30, 85, 87, 89, 189, 191, 212, and 287.

See also: List of Wyoming railroads, List of airports in Wyoming, State highways in Wyoming.

Wyoming is one of only two states (the other being South Dakota) in the 48 contiguous states not served by Amtrak.

Wind River Indian Reservation

The Wind River Indian Reservation is shared by the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes of Native Americans in the central western portion of the state near Lander. The reservation is home to 2,500 Eastern Shoshone and 5,000 Northern Arapaho.[40]

Chief Washakie established the reservation in 1868[41] as the result of negotiations with the federal government in the Fort Bridger Treaty.[42] However, the Northern Arapaho were forced onto the Shoshone reservation in 1876 by the federal government after the government failed to provide a promised separate reservation.[42]

Today the Wind River Indian Reservation is jointly owned, with each tribe having a 50% interest in the land, water, and other natural resources.[43] The reservation is a sovereign, self-governed land with two independent governing bodies: the Eastern Shoshone Tribal Government and the Northern Arapaho Tribal Government. The Eastern Shoshone Business Council meets jointly with the Northern Arapaho Business Council as the Joint Business Council to decide matters that affect both tribes.[41] Six elected council members from each tribe serve on the joint council.

State law and government

Wyoming's Constitution established three branches of government: the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

The Wyoming state legislature comprises a House of Representatives with 60 members and a Senate with 30 members.

The executive branch is headed by the governor and includes a secretary of state, auditor, treasurer and superintendent of public instruction. Wyoming does not have a lieutenant governor. Instead the secretary of state stands first in the line of succession.

Wyoming's sparse population warrants it only a single at-large seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and hence only three votes in the Electoral College. Its low population renders Wyoming voters effectively more powerful in presidential elections than those in more populous states. For example, while Montana had a 2010 census population of 989,415 to Wyoming's 563,626, they both have the same number of electoral votes.

Wyoming is an alcoholic beverage control state.

Judicial system

Wyoming's highest court is the Supreme Court of Wyoming, with five justices presiding over appeals from the state's lower courts. Wyoming is unusual in that it does not have an intermediate appellate court, like most states. This is largely attributable to the state's size and correspondingly lower caseload. Appeals from the state district courts go directly to the Wyoming Supreme Court. Wyoming also has state circuit courts (formerly county courts), of limited jurisdiction, which handle certain types of cases, such as civil claims with lower dollar amounts, misdemeanor criminal offenses, and felony arraignments. Circuit court judges also commonly hear small claims cases as well. All state court judges in Wyoming are nominated by the Judicial Nominating Commission and appointed by the Governor. They are then subject to a retention vote by the electorate.

Politics

Presidential elections results[44]
Year Republicans Democrats
2012 68.64% 170,962 27.82% 69,286
2008 64.78% 164,958 32.54% 82,868
2004 68.86% 167,629 29.07% 70,776
2000 67.76% 147,947 27.70% 60,481
1996 49.81% 105,388 36.84% 77,934
1992 39.70% 79,347 34.10% 68,160
1988 60.53% 106,867 38.01% 67,113
1984 70.51% 133,241 28.24% 53,370
1980 62.64% 110,700 27.97% 49,427
1976 59.30% 92,717 39.81% 62,239
1972 69.01% 100,464 30.47% 44,358
1968 55.76% 70,927 35.51% 45,173
1964 43.44% 61,998 56.56% 80,718
1960 55.01% 77,451 44.99% 63,331

Wyoming's political history defies easy classification. The state was the first to grant women the right to vote and to elect a woman governor.[45] On December 10, 1869, John Allen Campbell, the first Governor of the Wyoming Territory, approved the first law in United States history explicitly granting women the right to vote. This day was later commemorated as Wyoming Day.[45] On November 5, 1889, voters approved the first constitution in the world granting full voting rights to women.[46]

While the state elected notable Democrats to federal office in the 1960s and 1970s, politics have become decidedly more conservative since the 1980s as the Republican Party came to dominate the state's congressional delegation. Today, Wyoming is represented in Washington by its two Senators, Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, and its one member of the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis. All three are Republicans. The state has not voted for a Democrat for president since 1964, one of only eight times since statehood. At present, there are only two relatively reliably Democratic counties: affluent Teton and college county Albany. In the 2004 presidential election, George W. Bush won his second-largest victory, with 69% of the vote. Former Vice President Dick Cheney is a Wyoming resident and represented the state in Congress from 1979 to 1989.

Republicans are no less dominant at the state level. They have held a majority in the state senate continuously since 1936 and in the state house since 1964. However, Democrats held the governorship for all but eight years between 1975 and 2011. Uniquely, Wyoming elected Democrat Nellie Tayloe Ross as the first woman in U.S. history to serve as state governor. She served from 1925 to 1927 after winning a special election after her husband, William Bradford Ross, unexpectedly died a little more than a year into his term.[47]

Counties

The state of Wyoming has 23 counties.


The 23 counties of the state of Wyoming[48]

Rank County Population Rank County Population
1 Laramie 94,483 13 Converse 14,008
2 Natrona 78,621 14 Goshen 13,636
3 Campbell 47,874 15 Big Horn 11,794
4 Sweetwater 45,267 16 Sublette 10,368
5 Fremont 41,110 17 Platte 8,756
6 Albany 37,276 18 Johnson 8,615
7 Sheridan 29,596 19 Washakie 8,464
8 Park 28,702 20 Crook 7,155
9 Teton 21,675 21 Weston 7,082
10 Uinta 21,025 22 Hot Springs 4,822
11 Lincoln 17,961 23 Niobrara 2,456
12 Carbon 15,666 Wyoming Total 576,412

Wyoming license plates contain a number on the left that indicates the county where the vehicle is registered, ranked by an earlier census.[22] The county license plate numbers are as follows:

License
Plate
Prefix
County License
Plate
Prefix
County License
Plate
Prefix
County
1 Natrona 9 Big Horn 17 Campbell
2 Laramie 10 Fremont 18 Crook
3 Sheridan 11 Park 19 Uinta
4 Sweetwater 12 Lincoln 20 Washakie
5 Albany 13 Converse 21 Weston
6 Carbon 14 Niobrara 22 Teton
7 Goshen 15 Hot Springs 23 Sublette
8 Platte 16 Johnson    

Cities and towns

The State of Wyoming has 98 incorporated municipalities.

The 20 Most Populous Wyoming Cities and Towns[49]
Rank City County Population
1 City of Cheyenne Laramie 60,096
2 City of Casper Natrona 55,988
3 City of Laramie Albany 31,312
4 City of Gillette Campbell 29,389
5 City of Rock Springs Sweetwater 23,229
6 City of Sheridan Sheridan 17,517
7 City of Green River Sweetwater 12,622
8 City of Evanston Uinta 12,282
9 City of Riverton Fremont 10,867
10 Town of Jackson Teton 9,710
11 City of Cody Park 9,653
12 City of Rawlins Carbon 9,203
13 City of Lander Fremont 7,571
16 City of Douglas Converse 6,084
15 City of Powell Park 6,393
14 City of Torrington Goshen 6,690
17 City of Worland Washakie 5,458
18 City of Buffalo Johnson 4,624
19 Town of Newcastle Weston 3,485
20 Town of Wheatland Platte 3,680

In 2005, 50.6% of Wyomingites lived in one of the 13 most populous Wyoming municipalities.

Metropolitan areas

The United States Census Bureau has defined two Metropolitan Statistical Areas and seven Micropolitan Statistical Areas for the State of Wyoming.

U.S. Census Bureau Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas of Wyoming[50]
Census Area County Population
Cheyenne, WY, Metropolitan Statistical Area Laramie County, Wyoming 91,738
Casper, WY, Metropolitan Statistical Area Natrona County, Wyoming 75,450
Gillette, WY, Micropolitan Statistical Area Campbell County, Wyoming 46,133
Rock Springs, WY, Micropolitan Statistical Area Sweetwater County, Wyoming 43,806
Riverton, WY, Micropolitan Statistical Area Fremont County, Wyoming 40,123
Laramie, WY, Micropolitan Statistical Area Albany County, Wyoming 36,299
Jackson, WY-ID, Micropolitan Statistical Area Teton County, Wyoming 21,294
Teton County, Idaho 8,833
Total 30,127
Sheridan, WY, Micropolitan Statistical Area Sheridan County, Wyoming 29,116
Evanston, WY, Micropolitan Statistical Area Uinta County, Wyoming 21,118

In 2008, 30.4% of Wyomingites lived in either of the Metropolitan Statistical Areas, and 73% lived in either a Metropolitan Statistical Area or a Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Education

Public education is directed by the state superintendent of public instruction, an elected state official. Educational policies are set by the State Board of Education, a nine-member board appointed by the governor. The constitution prohibits the state from establishing curriculum and text book selections; these are the prerogatives of local school boards. The Wyoming School for the Deaf was the only in-state school dedicated to supporting deaf students in Wyoming, but it closed in summer of 2000.

Higher education

Wyoming has one public four-year institution, the University of Wyoming in Laramie. In addition, there are seven two-year community colleges spread through the state.

Before the passing of a new law in 2006, Wyoming had hosted unaccredited institutions, many of them suspected diploma mills.[51] The 2006 law is forcing unaccredited institutions to make one of three choices: move out of Wyoming, close down, or apply for accreditation. The Oregon State Office of Degree Authorization predicts that in a few years the problem of diploma mills in Wyoming might be resolved.[52]

Sports

  • Wyoming Cavalry, American Indoor Football Association
  • Swimming, racquetball, diving, soccer, golf, wrestling, tennis, volleyball, track and field, and rodeo.

State symbols


Wyomingites

Notable Wyomingites are listed in the List of people from Wyoming.

See also

References

External links

  • State of Wyoming government official website
  • Official Wyoming State Travel Website – Forever West
  • DMOZ
  • Geographic data related to OpenStreetMap


Preceded by
Idaho
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on July 10, 1890 (44th)
Succeeded by
Utah

Coordinates: 43°00′N 107°30′W / 43°N 107.5°W / 43; -107.5

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