Oklahoma is part of country defying national growth trends

The Oklahoman Editorial Modified: March 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm •  Published: March 3, 2013

Instead of a shortage of people, these areas are experiencing a shortage of housing.

Western Oklahoma will begin shipping another natural resource — wind energy — to the Southeastern industrial belt. Southeastern states are thriving not because of natural resources but because of value-added industries. Kotkin quotes a 30-year-old statement from the head of the pro-growth Southern Regional Council: “Southerners don't have any rich relatives. God was a Northerner.”

God made the bison that once roamed the Great Plains. He also made the land where they grazed. Humans exploited it, mismanaged it. The bison nearly disappeared. In the late 1980s, it was feared that people would disappear from the region as well.

The area is the largest but least populated of the four growth corridors. “This is the region,” Kotkin says, “that might have been least expected to do well. After its half-century of slow — even negative — population growth, many in the mainstream media had all but written off the region.”

Yet five of the six best cities for “starting over in 2012,” according to a report cited by Kotkin, are in the Dakotas, Iowa and Nebraska. What sets the four growth corridors apart from the rest of the nation? Opportunity, friendly business climates and optimism.

As Europe and parts of the United States stagnate economically, people in the four growth corridors are dancing — like the buffalo gals of song — by the light of the moon.

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