North Dakota isnâ??t what it used to be. A state that used to be known primarily for rural agriculture
is now a booming economic powerhouse. In fact, as of 2014, North Dakota has the lowest
unemployment rate in the country, a gross domestic product thatâ??s 26% above the
national average, and a state surplus of almost half a billion dollars. Practically no other state in
the union can claim such economic prosperity in an age now dubbed the â??Great Recession.â?
Where did all this prosperity come from? As it turns out, North Dakota is at the heart of an oil
boom thatâ??s bigger than any in the United Statesâ?? history. In fact, over the course of the past
few years, the United States has completely overtaken Saudi Arabia for the title of the worldâ??s
largest producer of crude oil.
This all came about as a result of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, both of which have allowed for enormous growth in the domestic oil industry. At the turn of the century, the stateÂ was barely producing any oil at all – less than 90 thousand barrels per day. But by 2014, overÂ one million barrels per day wereÂ documented flowing from within North Dakotaâ??s borders.
As oil companies have gravitated to the area, their staff have begun to make up an increasingly
high percentage of the population. In fact, male oil workers are responsible for making North
Dakota the state with the second largest male population in the country. Alaska is number one.
Unsurprisingly, all this new activity and all these new temporary (and sometimes permanent)
citizens are changing the landscape across North Dakota. The rural, quiet state of yesteryear is
no longer a reality. Now itâ??s a bustling assortment of boom towns full of newly wealthy citizens.
Things are growing. Things are changing quickly.
Take a closer look at how the Bakken oil boom has already reshaped North Dakota and where
itâ??s going next by reading down the graphic below. [Via]