A recent report from the U. S. Census Bureau has confirmed that Oklahoma is continuing to expand and has surpassed 4 million inhabitants for the first time. This news, along with other events recently highlighted by the Wall Street Journal, has caught the attention of Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt.
He attributes Oklahoma's growth mainly to the trends that have been developing in Oklahoma City over the past two decades. According to the data released by the Census Bureau, Oklahoma now ranks 28th in the country by population, with just over 4 million residents. California remains the most populous state in the country with 39,029,342 inhabitants, while Wyoming is the smallest state in the country by population, with 581,381 residents. Texas has one of the highest birth rates in the U. S., but only 40% of its population growth can be attributed to births in the state.
The other 60% is due to net migration from other states and countries. Recently, international migration has surpassed domestic migration thanks to an increase in migration from Asian countries, particularly from China and India. The District of Columbia's permanent population (715,891 in 2012) is overshadowed by the huge populations of California or Texas, but it is larger than the populations of Wyoming and Vermont, and will soon eclipse the population of Alaska if current growth trends continue in both states. Arizona is also a popular destination for migrants due to its warm weather year-round, a good job market, natural attractions such as the Grand Canyon and Meteor Crater, and a wide variety of entertainment options. The fact that many people are moving to Oklahoma defies the predictions of some critics who claim that Oklahoma's conservative political environment scares away more people than it attracts.
According to Mayor Holt, it will be a few more months before the Census Bureau releases data detailing population growth at the municipal level. However, he said that the latest data is revealing. Oklahoma had the third lowest unemployment rate in the country in October according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The net number of people moving to Oklahoma from other states (24.68) was almost equal to the net number of domestic migrants in Colorado and Missouri combined. Those who interact directly with people now moving to Oklahoma say that the state's political climate is part of its attractiveness for new residents, not only in terms of COVID restrictions but also in terms of broader political debates. During this same period, smaller metropolitan areas experienced an increase in growth rate while non-metropolitan counties as a whole recorded their highest annual growth rate in more than a decade.
Oklahoma is still ranked 28th most populous state but its latest population figures close the gap between East and Oregon, which is next most populous state. Shannon Fleck, executive director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches said “the future of Oklahoma is literally leaving its borders because of laws being passed”. For two years now, Oklahoma has ranked tenth in terms of domestic immigration according to Frey. In conclusion, it can be said that Oklahoma is a booming state due to its attractive political climate and other factors such as its low unemployment rate and increasing number of migrants from other states and countries.