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Fastest growing boomtowns

Rising oil and gas prices have brought big oil, plenty of workers and lots of housing headaches to the nation's fastest-growing boomtowns.

Elk City, Okla.

boom towns elk city oklahoma
  • Population: 23,081
  • 1-year growth*: 3.5%

Visitors to the "Natural Gas Capital of the World" know exactly where the town's wealth lies: They are greeted by a 180-foot tall, non-operating oil rig as soon as they enter downtown.

Located about halfway between Oklahoma City and Amarillo, Texas, Elk City lies smack in the middle of the Anadarko Basin, a major natural gas reserve.

The city also serves as a retail and health care center for people -- many of whom are energy industry workers -- living within an 80-mile radius, according to Jim Mason, director of economic and community development.

Like most boomtowns, Elk City is dealing with a housing shortage, according to Mason. A never-completed housing development that cratered in the "Oil Patch" bust of the 1980s has been relaunched, with 85 new homes slated to be completed within 18 months. Another 104 apartments and 40 new houses are also being built.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.
*Rankings are based on the change in annual population estimates for metropolitan and micropolitan areas between July 1, 2011 to July 1, 2012.
  @CNNMoney - Last updated March 19 2013 05:58 AM ET

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