The Morning Brew: OKC continues growth spurt
OKC metro tops 1.4 million
Oklahoma City has been growing for a while now with over a million people in the metro area. Oklahoman Staff Writer Justin Wingerter took a look a deep dive into recent census data:
The Oklahoma City metro area continued a streak of population growth last year, gaining 11,274 people between the middle of 2016 and the middle of 2017, according to Census Bureau figures released Thursday.
"We also know that there's a lot of highly educated twenty-somethings inside that 11,000," Mayor Mick Cornett said. "We can tell by the job creators, the entrepreneurs and the new businesses that are being created. So, that's really exciting."
It was the seventh year in a row that the state's largest metropolitan area had a significant population increase. Nearly 1.4 million people now live in the area.
"It's good growth," Cornett said. "It's higher than our traditional average, if you look back at Oklahoma City through the decades. It's a good number."
Oklahoma City grew much more than the state's other three metropolitan areas of Tulsa, Enid and Lawton. The Tulsa area gained 3,241 people last year, Lawton's population remained relatively stagnant and the Enid area lost 803 people.
In Oklahoma's small towns, the statistics tell a much different story than that told in its big cities. Of the state's 77 counties, 49 saw a decrease in population last year. Of the nine counties nationwide to lose the largest percentage of people, two were in Oklahoma. Washita County in the west shed 340 people last year, a 3 percent drop. Neighboring Beckham County lost 639 people, a 2.8 percent decrease from the prior year.
Of the state's 15 small city clusters — known as micropolitan areas — nine suffered population losses last year, including Ada, Guymon, Miami and Ponca City. Six others, such as Durant, Muskogee, Shawnee and Stillwater, gained people.
By losing population from most of its counties, Oklahoma broke with a national trend.