Energy Boom Spurs Growth West Of The Mississippi
WASHINGTON (AP) — America's energy boom is fueling population growth west of the Mississippi River.
New 2013 census information released Thursday shows that 6 of the 10 fastest-growing metropolitan areas and 8 of the 10 fastest-growing counties in the country are located in or near the oil- and gas-rich fields of the Great Plains and Mountain West.
More and more oil and gas drilling is being done in those regions, drawing people from around the nation looking for work, the Census Bureau said.
Neighboring cities Odessa and Midland, Texas, show up as the second and third fastest-growing metro areas in the country. Sara Higgins, the Midland public information officer, has a one-word explanation: oil. "They're coming here to work," Higgins said.
Energy production is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, the Census Bureau said. The boom in the U.S. follows the use of new technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, to tap oil and gas reserves.
According to its data, revenue for mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction grew 34.2 percent to $555.2 billion from 2007 to 2012. It also was among the fastest growers in employment as the number of employees rose 23.3 percent to 903,641.
"Right now our economy is booming due to the increased oil and gas activity here in town," Higgins said. "We have great business opportunities here in Midland."
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