The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

2 November 2004

We got your urban sprawl right here

The new Mosher-Adams Street Atlas for Oklahoma City is out, and it shows seven hundred new streets since last year's edition, the biggest increase ever. A few of these, I suspect, come from outlying towns which, due to suburban expansion, are now practically suburban themselves, but the city itself is growing at a steady pace; the 2003 population estimate is 523,303, up 3.4 percent from the 2000 Census figure of 506,132. The metropolitan area, at 1,085,282 in 2000, reached 1,126,709 in 2003, up 3.8 percent, and projections [link requires Adobe Reader] by the Center for Economic and Business Development at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford anticipate 1,221,552 by 2010.

It's too early to proclaim the death of the classic boom/bust economic cycle that has dictated Oklahoma's destiny for a hundred years, and indeed many of the state's rural areas are still largely in decline, but for one of the few times since the Land Run, Oklahoma City has turned into something of a destination for migrants, not just from poorer parts of the state, but from out of state as well. Maybe the ghost of Tom Joad will be getting some well-deserved rest.

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