Oil boom remakes North Dakota county with fastest growth in U.S.

September 6, 2021

WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) — The fastest-growing county in the U.S. is in the oil fields of North Dakota.

That’s according to new figures from the Census Bureau.

The first newcomers to arrive in McKenzie County were oil workers drawn by the drilling boom. Soon they brought families who needed housing, schools and places to shop. Before long the community was transformed from a quiet farming region to a bustling center of the energy industry.

The growth shattered the county’s rural innocence as crime rates and fatal road accidents increased. But it also brought youth, diversity and better wages.

The additional residents breathed new life into towns that had been losing population since the 1930s.