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Why Doesn’t Anyone Live in Wyoming?

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

man in Wyoming

I don’t know, I’m not an archaeologist. But, according to the wide and wonderful internet, there are few jobs, nearly half the land is government owned, there is limited cell service, and a proliferation of porn and fireworks. Good or bad, depending on your M.O. Wyoming is also hugely tiny-with a population of approximately 579,315 over 97,914 square miles. To put this number in perspective, the population of Orange County, California is 3.17 million. The population of New York City (not state) is 8.5 million. There are 26,403 people per square mile in New York City—66,000 per square mile in Manhattan alone.

Even compared to Connecticut, the smallest U.S. state, Wyoming looks damn lackluster. Connecticut is about only 4,845 square miles, with an impressive population of 3.58 million, and an average income of $62,276, which is extremely high, in case you were wondering. Even states you might think are relatively empty—South Dakota for example, are slightly more inhabited than Wyoming (869,666, including the Mount Rushmore heads).

Are all these factoids making your grey brain matter sleepy yet?

When I discovered that the population of Wyoming was so low, I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t. I musn’t. I shouldn’t. Maybe our lovely Wyoming friends really took that Dixie Chicks song to heart and needed wide opens spaces. Wide open like yoga hips. Wide like a wide-mouth bass. Wide enough that you can shoot a gun and not worry about the bullet hitting anything or anyone.

Speaking of guns, the NRA has a more than a handful of supporters in Wyoming, but that's not surprising is it? Over 90% of Wyomingans are white, and although race isn’t a funny topic to joke about, there seems to be a white-out in Wyoming, literally and figuratively, what with the states' average annual snowfall of four and half feet. Wyoming is the perfect environment for a Yeti, the abominable snowman, a walrus giganticus, or thick skinned half-Eskimo people who despise contact with the outside world.

The median value of a home in Wyoming is $219,800 and no, that is not a joke. The median gross rent in Wyoming in 2016 was a cool $840, which in Orange County, will purchase you a 10 x 10 square foot bedroom, shared bath, no laundry privileges. There are 2.51 persons per household in Wyoming, which is just about the average number of children couples have in America, or the number of hours people waste each day staring into the abyss.

Despite the high probability of incest given the low population of this state, 92.4% of Wyoming residents have a high school degree. The median household income is $53,802 and 11.3% of the population live in poverty. And finally, my most favoritest fact about Wyoming: there are only 5.8 people per square mile. Wow. There are roughly 4,000 people per square mile here in the OC. Which means, you guessed it: lottttss of dog shit.

I recently signed up to be a dog-sitter via this zippy app called Rover. It was actually quite breezy, and I recommend signing up for anyone looking for some extra cash. I was able to choose which services to offer—dog boarding, sitting, walking, house visits, et cetera. Dog boarding is the most lucrative, so I set my daily rate at $50.00, not realizing that Rover would take 20% of that as a “service fee,” but I digress.

Barely a week after I signed up, I got my first hit: caring for a dog named Molly for 10 days. Yee-haw. Yes, I said. Yes yes yes. Money money money. I prepared my home, told Chub Chub “Don’t eat her food, don’t lick her butt," bought little doggy poop bags, and gleefully embraced my new house guest.

Dogs shit a lot. I spent hours seeking out grassy areas (or gardens, since Molly's a lady) suitable for pooping. Molly was the type of dog who likes privacy when she shits, which really made me empathize. Poor pooch, expected to shit anywhere, like Maya Rudolph, circa 2011 Bridesmaids.

The first thing I noticed once I had a dog in my care, was that LOTS of people have dogs. LOTS of dogs means LOTS of shit. LOTS of people are brillo-pad-humans and don’t pick up their dog’s poo. Maybe in Wyoming, no one would care. In Wyoming, there aren’t enough dogs to shit enough for those 5.8 people per square mile to care, or notice. Here, where 2,000 of my 4,000 closest neighbors have dogs who shit, it’s a problem.

Not to mention the pure proximity of the dog shit. There’s a little grassy patch outside my apartment where all the dogs piss and poo. The other day, an entire family—mum, pop, and three little kids, were frolicking in the piss-poo grass. For the love of our lord baby Jesus, someone issue a PSA. The grass is not safe here. Orange County has many perks: beaches, sunny weather, trails, mountains, fun rich-people watching, and all the dog poo you could ever hope to step in.


Sarah Rose

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