Aerial downtown (copy)

The latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show population growth in the Tulsa metropolitan statistical area slowed in the most recent 12-month period, increasing 0.2% to 993,797. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World file

The Tulsa metro may have to wait a while longer before it cracks the 1 million population mark.

The latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show population growth in the Tulsa metropolitan statistical area continued to slow in the 12-month period ending July 1, 2018.

The population of the seven-county region known as the Tulsa MSA increased 0.2% to 993,797 during the period between July 1, 2017, and July 1, 2018, according to the latest figures from the bureau.

The 2,187 gain in Tulsa metro residents is the slowest one-year increase this decade.

For perspective, the largest one-year population gain in the metro area this decade was 11,535 in 2015.

Earlier this month, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum held a news conference to discuss the importance of participation in the 2020 census count as the metro area closes in on the 1 million mark.

Census data determines not only congressional representation and federal funding, but also often dictates business decisions, Bynum said at the time.

Asked about the latest population figures, Bynum said he wasn’t too concerned about the decline in growth.

“Our sluggish population growth is one of the reasons I ran for mayor,” Bynum said. “We’ve put in place things that we believe will lead to improved population growth — landing the two largest new employers in Tulsa history, working regionally to attract new jobs which has led to us outpacing the state and the nation in job growth, improving Tulsa’s reputation as a welcoming city for immigrants from around the world, continuing to improve our quality of life with projects like Gathering Place and Vision Tulsa — but most of those business facilities and Vision projects are still being constructed.

“We are focused on putting the right things in place for long-term growth, not getting overly worried about short-term, year-by-year percentages.”

The natural increase in population — the difference between births and deaths — drove all of the overall increase.

The Tulsa metro added 3,151 through the natural increase in population.

Meanwhile, net migration in the Tulsa metro declined for the second consecutive year.

Net migration — the combination of international migration and domestic migration — was -942 during the year ending July 1, 2018.

Domestic migration drove most of the overall change in net migration in the metro area.

About 2,238 more people left the metro for other areas of the state and country than moved here.

Positive international migration, or movement by residents from outside the U.S. to the Tulsa MSA, continued to remain steady. International migration added about 1,296 to the metro area.

Among the seven counties that make up the Tulsa MSA, four counties — Pawnee, Creek, Osage and Okmulgee — each saw an overall decline in population.

The populations of the four counties shrunk by numbers ranging from 61 in Pawnee County to 513 people in Okmulgee County.

The populations of the remaining three counties increased by 505 in Rogers County, 1,107 in Wagoner County and 1,633 in Tulsa County.

The Oklahoma City MSA increased 1 percent to 1,396,445, according to the population estimates.


As was the case last year, 27 Oklahoma counties gained population.

And just as last year, Canadian County grew the fastest, by 3.1%.

Conversely, Alfalfa County shrunk by 2.5%, or by 146 people.

Comanche County lost the most residents, declining in population by 1,324 to 120,422.

Wagoner County was the fastest-growing county in northeast Oklahoma, increasing in population by 1.4% to 80,110.

The population in Tulsa County increased 0.3% to 648,360.

Curtis Killman


Twitter: @loucardfan61

Staff Writer

Curtis is a member of the Projects Team with an emphasis on database analysis. He also covers federal court news, maintains the Tulsa World database page and develops online interactive graphics. Phone: 918-581-8471

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