Thursday, March 27, 2014

Micropolitan counties with oil and gas booms were the fastest growing last year; one up 10.7%

Following the trend of shrinking rural areas and growing urban ones, metropolitan-area populations rose by 2.3 million people from July 1, 2012 to July 1, 2013, with 289 of 381 metro areas seeing an increase in population, according to statistics released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The report only focused on metro areas, micropolitan areas (those that contain an urban cluster of between 10,000 and 49,999 people) and counties with populations of more than 250,000. The overall U.S. micropolitan population did rise by 8,000 people from 2012 to 2013, but 306 of the 536 micropolitan counties (57 percent) lost population.

The fastest growing micropolitan areas are mostly located in areas where the oil industry is booming, such as Williston, N.D., and WIlliams County (Wikipedia map). Williston, in the heart of the Bakken Shale boom, saw its population rise in 2010-12 from 14,716 to 18,532, and it is estimated to have risen another 10.7 percent in 2012-13, making Williams the fastest growing U.S. county. Dickinson, N.D., was second in 2012-13 micropolitan city growth, at 5 percent, followed by Heber, Utah, 4.4 percent; Andrews, Tex., 4.1 percent; Minot, N.D., 3.1 percent; Vernal, Utah, 2.9 percent; Weatherford, Okla., 2.9 percent, Hobbs, N.M, 2.9 percent; Woodward, Okla., 2.8 percent; and Elko Nev., 2.8 percent.

While it didn't make the top 10 in percent of growth, Dunn, N.C., had the largest numeric increase, growing by 2,855 people from 2012 to 2013. That's good news for the Dunn Daily Record, perhaps the only daily newspaper in America with all-local content.

After Williams County, other fast-growing counties are: Duchesne, Utah, 5.5 percent; Sumter, Florida, 5.2 percent; Stark, North Dakota and Kendall, Texas, 5 percent; St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, 4.6 percent; Wasatch, Utah, 4.4 percent; Meade, South Dakota, 4.3 percent, Fort Bend, Texas, 4.2 percent; and Hays, Texas, 4.1 percent. (Read more) (Census Bureau map; click on it for larger version)

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