Latest Boom Area Has Residents Moving South

Oklahoma’s largest cities and counties have seen a surge in population growth in the last decade, according to the most recent U.S. Census data released last week.

The state’s largest city, Oklahoma City, is seeing the largest spike in growth and is attracting new residents from across the country. Oklahoma City boasted a 15 percent increase, adding 73,867 residents over the last decade. Suburban counties just outside the city grew too, pushing the metro area to 1,252,987.

“We’re looking at very significant growth,” says Steven Barker, a senior researcher for the Oklahoma Commerce Department.

Oklahoma’s overall population grew 8.7 percent to 3,751,351 in the last decade. The state’s fastest growing large county, Canadian, which is located on Oklahoma City’s west side, increased its population 32 percent in the last decade.

New residents are flocking to the state due to its strong economy, Barker says. Oklahoma boasts a 6.6 percent unemployment rate, which is below the national average. Workers are being lured to the state’s oil and gas business, aerospace, universities, and other industries. Analysts also attribute the state’s surging population to the fact that the state mostly avoided the housing boom and subsequent crash.

Source: “Oklahoma City, Suburbs See ‘Significant Growth,” USA Today (Feb. 16, 2011)