Oil boom remakes N. Dakota county with fastest growth in US

North Dakota oil wells energy

The growth made McKenzie the nation’s fastest-growing county during the past decade, according to the Census Bureau. It swept through like a twisting dust devil, shattering the rural innocence of a region known for inhospitable winters and long summer days perfect for growing crops. But it also brought youth, diversity and better wages — breathing new life into somnolent towns that had been losing population since the 1930s.

Dana Amon, who grew up in a double-wide trailer on a farm on the edge of the county seat, Watford City, remembers riding her horse across fields now dotted with tracts of modest housing lit up at night by flares from nearby oil wells.

“Our little town just blew up at the seams,” she said.



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