Though the number of abortions in California has declined, the government said the nation's most populous state still has the highest abortion rate in the country.

The latest state-by-state statistics for 1995, released Thursday, also show Wyoming at the bottom of the list, though the number of abortions there rose slightly from 1994.Utah's 1995 abortion rate was eight per 1,000 women, the same as the year before.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that California recorded 289,987 abortions, a rate of 40 abortions for every 1,000 women. In Wyoming, the total was 182 abortions, a rate of 2 per 1,000 women. The states also had the highest and lowest actual numbers of abortions performed.

California's numbers were down from 1994, when it also led the nation with 308,564 abortions, a rate of 43 per 1,000. Wyoming's rate remained the same, but the number increased from 174 in 1994.

All but 12 states recorded a decline in the number of abortions performed from 1994 to 1995. The CDC had previously reported that the nationwide abortion rate was 20 per 1,000 women in 1995, its lowest point in two decades.

"Since 1990, we've seen declines in abortions in almost all states," said CDC researcher Lisa Koonin. "This continues a trend we've been watching for quite a while."

It's difficult to determine why some states have higher abortion rates than others, Koonin said. There are many factors involved, including the accessibility of abortions, the rate of unintended pregnancies, regional mores and the age and fertility of the population.

New York had the second-highest rate, 34 abortions per 1,000 women, followed by Delaware, Florida and Rhode Island, where the rate was 26 per 1,000.

After Wyoming, the lowest rate was recorded in Idaho, with 4 per 1,000, followed by Mississippi, where it was 6 per 1,000.