The Census Bureau has issued new population data for the year ending July 1 and they show Arkansas population has topped 3 million.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson trumpeted the news on Twitter.

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Arkansas’ population has topped the 3 million mark! This is a significant milestone and great news for our state and economy. It also means more Americans are calling Arkansas home! 

Then his press aide, J.R. Davis, tried to make  political hay, burnishing his boss’s comment with this Tweet.

Sigh. Lies. Damn lies. Statistics.

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What the actual Census data show is this:

Arkansas grew from 2,988,231 residents in 2016 to 3,004,279 in 2017, an increase of 16,048 or .5 percent. That ranked 27th in numerical growth and 23rd in percentage growth. Here’s the state-by-state breakdown.

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But…. wait for it……The nation’s population as a whole grew by .72 percent, or greater than Arkansas’s growth rate. More success like this and Arkansas will be still farther behind. (Idaho led the states with 2.2 percent growth.)