A continued economic upswing in the state has fueled population increases in the Oklahoma City metro and has turned two western Oklahoma towns into some of the fastest-growing in the country.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday, Woodward and Weatherford are among the top 10 fastest-growing small towns in the United States.
Both towns saw population increases of more than 3 percent from July 2012 to July 2013, continuing a trend that began four years ago. Since 2010, the populations of Woodward and Weatherford have increased each year, according to census data.
The towns joined several other Great Plains cities on the list, a fact census researchers attribute to the boom of oil and natural gas drilling in the area.
“Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industries were the most rapidly growing part of our nation’s economy over the last several years,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said in a news release. “A major reason was the energy boom on the Plains, which attracted job seekers from around the country.”
Central Oklahoma saw population increases, as well, with the Oklahoma City metro gaining more than 22,000 people from 2012 to 2013.
The metro area, which census data counts as Oklahoma, Lincoln, Canadian, Logan, Cleveland, Grady and McClain counties, saw an overall population increase of 1.6 percent.