In a reversal of past trends, the population in Tulsa grew by nearly three times as many people in the past year as did the Broken Arrow population, according to new U.S. Census Bureau figures.
The city of Tulsa population grew by 3,772 people during the one-year period ending July 1, 2013, compared to a 1,397 increase in Broken Arrow, Census figures show.
The city of Tulsa population on July 1, 2013, was 398,121 compared to 103,500 in Broken Arrow.
New home construction in east Tulsa, near Broken Arrow, has helped lead the mini-boom in city of Tulsa population.
Tulsa residents Barbara and Randy Painter understand the increase, having moved to their east Tulsa home in the Stonegate addition in 2010.
The Painters said they considered several factors before deciding where to build a home.
“We were in Muskogee, and we were looking for somewhere closer to our daughter and her family who lived in Sand Springs at the time,” Barbara Painter said.
What city they lived in was not high on their list, they both said, but rather nearby amenities near East 41st Street and Lynn Lane.
Describing the area, Randy Painter said, “it feels like we are in the country, but yet we are two miles from the Broken Arrow hospital, Bass Pro Shop, Target, Reasors, at least a half dozen restaurants and really everything we need or look for is really very close.”
“They ought to call this area north of the Broken Arrow Expressway, North Broken Arrow,” Randy Painter joked.
And while the couple are retired, the fact they are in the Broken Arrow school district is a bonus, Randy Painter said.
“Since we are in one of the best school systems in the state, we feel like our property values will hold,” he said.
“We love this part of town,” Barbara Painter said.
Diane Hood, with Perry Hood Properties Inc., echoed the Painter’s sentiments about the area.
Having built several homes in the neighborhood priced in the low $200,000 range, Hood said the area is attractive due to its proximity to highways and other commercial developments.
Since 2000, Broken Arrow population gains have traditionally outpaced those in Tulsa in both rate and actual numbers. Prior to last year, Broken Arrow has traditionally added more residents than did Tulsa.
During the past five years, however, the city of Tulsa population has outgained Broken Arrow’s by nearly 2,000 residents, thanks to population spikes last year and another one in 2008-09.
Despite the numerical advantage, Broken Arrow grew at a faster rate than did Tulsa. The population in Broken Arrow grew by 1.4 percent from 2012-13 compared to 1 percent in Tulsa.
Elsewhere, Collinsville grew at the fastest rate in the past year among area cities, 3.8 percent, from 5,905 people to 6,131 residents.
Other area cities with one-year growth rates greater than 2 percent include: Jenks, 3.4 percent; Owasso, 3.3 percent; Bixby, 2.9 percent; and Verdigris, 2.5 percent.
Oklahoma City, which grew at a 1.8 percent rate, had the largest numeric population increase among cities, 10,934 people to 610,613 residents.
Many factors could be contributing to the population growth in Tulsa, although for many, corporate boundaries may not rank high among them, said Dan Arthrell, Director of Public Policy for the Community Service Council.
“People don’t look at the boundaries of the city necessarily, but they may look at the boundaries of the school district,” Arthrell said.
And while the population estimates don’t indicate areas of growth within a city, recent developments in the downtown area may be a factor in the overall population increase, Arthrell said.
“We’ve had more housing built in the downtown area, and it certainly has become a draw,” Arthrell said.
“And I would think people making a choice about where do I want to be ... would be looking to be in an active area, and the whole north side of downtown has become very active.
“I think if you are working in the downtown area, it certainly makes life a whole lot easier when you’ve got less than a mile to go to work,” Arthrell said. “And with the housing developing and there being another reason besides being close to work like being in an entertainment area, it would have some affect on that.”
Richard Carter, Broken Arrow vice mayor, said his city continues to grow at a steady rate.
“I’m glad Tulsa’s getting some population growth,” Carter said. “We’re still building houses and apartments. I’m really happy with the way it’s going.
“If you build too fast, you can’t provide services and utilities and streets quick enough.”
Carter said Broken Arrow, under an agreement with the city of Tulsa, provides sewer service to several neighborhoods in east Tulsa.
“It’s a cooperative thing,” Carter said.
Curtis Killman 918-581-8471