Lee Davidson – The Salt Lake Tribune
The Uinta Basin oil boom has made Duchesne County the nation’s second fastest-growing (for counties with at least 10,000 people), and Vernal the nation’s sixth fastest-growing “micropolitan area” of 10,000 to 50,000 people.
That mirrors a national trend in which most of the fastest-growing places are in oil and gas boom areas, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
“Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industries were the most rapidly growing part of our nation’s economy over the last several years,” said Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson. “A major reason was the energy boom on the Plains, which attracted job seekers from around the country.”
Oil areas in eastern Utah are also booming.
Duchesne County saw 5½ percent population growth in 2013 — eight times faster than the 0.7 percent national average, and 3½ times faster than Utah’s average of 1.6 percent. The Vernal micropolitan area had a 2.9 percent growth rate. (Growth rates for other Utah areas are online at sltrib.com.)
Six of the nation’s 10 fastest-growing metropolitan areas in 2013 were near oil-boom areas: Fargo and Bismark, N.D.; Odessa, Midland and Austin-Round Rock, Texas; and Casper, Wyo.
Eight of the 10 fastest-growing micropolitan areas were also in boom areas: Vernal; three in North Dakota; two in western Oklahoma; and one each in Texas and New Mexico. (…)