(March 2014) A population boom in energy-rich counties is breathing new life into parts of the Midwest and Appalachia that have experienced long-term population decline or slow growth compared with the rest of the United States, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.1

Between 1950 and 2010, North Dakota had one of the slowest population growth rates among the 50 states, second only to West Virginia. Since 2010, North Dakota has been the fastest-growing state, with a 7.6 percent increase in population, compared with a 2.4 percent increase nationwide. The increase in North Dakota’s population from 2010 to 2013 (50,802) nearly matched population growth in the state during the entire 60-year period from 1950 to 2010 (52,995).

Although the population rebound has been most striking in North Dakota, growth is not limited to that state. Many other parts of the Midwest and Great Plains—especially parts of South Dakota, eastern Montana, western Kansas, and parts of West Texas—are also experiencing a population boom, or at least a reprieve from the population losses that have plagued the region during previous decades (see map).