BISMARCK — North Dakota was the only state to get younger this decade, according to recent census data touted by state officials Thursday, June 20.

North Dakota's median age stood at 35.2 years in 2018, down from 37 years in 2010, according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau. That's below the median ages in neighboring South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana, which clocked in at 37.1, 38.1 and 39.9 years, respectively, the state Department of Commerce said.

North Dakota retained its position as the fourth-youngest state in the country, the department said. The United States grew older overall, with the median age bumping up to 38.2 years in 2018.

North Dakota officials took the news as a sign the state's economy was attracting and retaining a younger generation. It's also a stark reversal from the grim predictions of the early 2000s, before the oil boom that attracted workers from across the country, that the state would lose 20-somethings by the thousands.

”This is very encouraging news, reaffirming that our state has a healthy economy, high quality of life and ample job opportunities that young workers find appealing,” Gov. Doug Burgum said in a statement.