The Oklahoma City metropolitan area was one of the fastest-growing metro areas between 2010 and 2011, according to just-released census data.
Between April 1, 2010, and July 1, the Oklahoma City area's population jumped 2 percent, placing it at 34th nationally in terms of percent population growth, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.
Estimates place the Oklahoma City metropolitan area's July 1 population at 1,278,053, making it the 43rd-largest metro area in the United States.
That ranking was driven in large part by 3.4 percent population growth in Canadian County, which was the fastest-growing county in Oklahoma and the 37th-fastest-growing county nationally.
The Oklahoma City area was one of nine metropolitan areas that was not in the top 100 in terms of population growth between 2000 and 2010, but cracked the top 50 from 2010-11. That list also includes areas around Bismarck, N.D., Hattiesburg, Miss., and Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss.
Eric Long, a research economist with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, said that ranking is building on a trend that has existed for the past decade. Over the past 10 years, he said, each county in the Oklahoma City area has outpaced the state average in terms of population growth.
“We expect that trend to continue,” Long said.
Long said he thinks the trend is the result of a number of factors. Oklahoma City has received a great deal of publicity throughout the recession about job growth and quality of life.
That kind of attention can be attractive for job-seekers, he said.
Population growth has been felt strongly in Canadian County, where officials have strained to keep up with growing demand for services.
Mary Leaver, a spokeswoman for the Mustang School District, said the district saw an enrollment spike of 300 students between 2010 and 2011 — roughly equivalent to a small elementary school, she said.