7-23-06 - OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - While Oklahoma's population growth lags behind the nation as a whole, the state's population could hit four million in less than a decade.
The US Census Bureau says Oklahoma was home to slightly more than 3.45 million people in 2000. Demographers believe the population could rise to four million by 2015 if the economy remains strong and by 2025 if the state experiences only moderate economic growth.
Oklahoma's 13 percent population growth is less than half of the 29 percent growth experienced by the nation, whose population will top 300 million this year.
The state Commerce Department says Oklahoma's slower population growth is the result of migration. Migration was down during the
Dust Bowl years, up during the last oil boom and down again when oil prices fell.