The nation's population stood at 257,908,000 on July 1, up 2.8 million from a year earlier, the Census Bureau says.

Utah's population was put at 1.86 million. The Beehive State and Arizona were tied as the fourth-fasted growing states at 2.7 percent over the previous year.The government's population estimates, released Tuesday, showed that for the first time in 20 years, California is growing slower than the nation as a whole.

Nationally, the population rose by 1.1 percent. California's population grew by 1 percent, to 31.2 million.

Some other facts from the Census Bureau estimates:

- Nevada was the fastest-growing state, at 3.9 percent, followed by Idaho, 3.1 percent, and Colorado, 2.9 percent.

- Two states, Connecticut and Rhode Island, lost population, by 0.1 percent each. The District of Columbia also saw a population decline of 1.2 percent.

- The West was the fastest-growing region, at 1.7 percent, followed by the South, 1.4 percent; the Midwest, 0.7 percent; and the Northeast, 0.5 percent.

- Nearly one-third of the nation's growth, 894,000 people, was the result of migration from other countries.

- Births accounted for the rest of the growth. There were 4,037,000 births in the United States and 2,223,000 deaths.

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The end of the Cold War spelled the end of California's runaway growth, which was fueled by the defense industry. During the 1980s, the state grew at twice the rate of the nation.

"There are no longer rumors floating around elsewhere in the United States that you can come to California and get a good job," said Peter Morrison, a demographer with the Rand Corp., a Santa Monica, Calif., research institute. "At the same time, we're seeing an increasing number of people leaving the state for other places that are economically healthy."

Many Californians were migrating to nearby states, such as Washington, Oregon and Arizona, Morrison said.

Idaho's population was put at 1,099,000.

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