Driven by an oil rush that has attracted thousands of workers, North Dakota has become the fastest-growing state in the country, according to state population data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The number of North Dakota residents grew 2.17% between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012, to just fewer than 700,000 people. Overall, it ranks as the 48th largest state in the country, but the drilling of the Bakken reservoir has caused a dramatic population spike in many parts of the state. The state now produces more oil than Alaska, making North Dakota the second-highest oil producing state in the country after Texas.
That has resulted in a tremendous demand for housing. Last year, Builder Online reported how Williston, N.D., saw its housing permits spike from literally a handful (the town approved permits for 5 to 10 units in 2008) to more than 2,100 in 2011.
The rest of the fastest-growing states, which list includes non-states such as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, include:
2. District of Columbia*
10. South Dakota
In terms of the number of new residents, many of fastest-growing states tend to be the perennial Sun Belt powerhouses in terms of population, jobs, and housing. They include:
10. New York (+68,600 people)
The Census Bureau said that the United States has 313.9 million residents, based on these recent numbers, with California nabbing the spot as the most populous state with 38 million people.