[ View the story "Texas oil towns experience prosperity and growing pains" on Storify] Texas oil towns experience prosperity and growing pains Growing populations leading to challenges.
AJAMStream· Wed, Apr 09 2014 14:02:32
showed that some of the fastest growth is happening in Midland and Odessa,Texas, as well as parts of North Dakota, all of which are experiencing oil booms.
The oil fields of West Texas. Oil wells for as far as the eye can see even from 36,000 ft. Near Midland, TX. http://t.co/D9oEdUfIH3Chris Spradlin
Both Midland and Odessa sit on the Permian Basin, one of North America's largest oil reserves. For decades the oil remained untouched, but new discoveries in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) spurred oil extraction in areas once thought undrillable.
“When people figured out how to [produce oil] through fracking, that was the game changer,” Midland Mayor Wes Perry
The Permian Basin has not
this level of oil production since the early 1980s.
As a result of the economic boom, Midland experienced a 4.6% population growth between 2011 and 2012, while personal income per capita increased 25% from 2009 to 2011.
In a Reddit Q&A, an oilfield worker described the economic incentives driving people to the area.
There was a guy that I worked with who was making about $20,000 a month at another company until they got bought out and rescheduled the pay.reddit.com
This growth, however, has not come without a strain. For example, the
of housing for all new workers in 2013
the costs to levels perspective homeowners cannot handle, and has burdened both longtime and new renters. Not only have home values soared, but according to real estate research firm Reis, Inc., the average monthly rent price has spiked from less than $600 before the oil boom, to the most recent calculation of around $1,100.
One Midland resident tweeted that rents now compare to those of larger urban areas.
@DLoesch @lachlan I'm from Midland and I worked oil for 10 years. It is indeed something to see. Rent there is as high as D.C.Joseph Abraham
Midland Independent School District's executive director for human resources, Ed Zachary,
in 2013 that teachers were finding it hard to cope. Teachers at the beginning of their career were unable to afford both costly rent and student loan payments, while experienced teachers struggled to afford their current housing. This issue lingers as more teachers are needed to meet increased student enrollment.
Last year, one teacher sarcastically commented on his financial struggles.
Had someone ask why I teach in Midland based on current eco growth. I work w the future leaders of the world & love Ramen just like collegeLeonardo
Zachary also noted that government employees grappling with affording an increasingly expensive day-to-day are leaving for more lucrative careers in the oil fields.
The same dynamics ring true in the city of Odessa, just 20 miles away.
Job growth in Odessa
by 5.2% between 2011 and 2012, and personal income per capita spiked 12.4% between 2010 and 2011. But growth is not being felt evenly across industries.
And though the area's real unemployment is effectively
obstacles still persist.
“We just can’t retain and recruit employees to compete with private industry salary,” Andrea Goodson, Odessa's public information officer,
The National Review.
Despite growth, many online continue to be unimpressed by social opportunities available in the area. When one redditor asked what he should do while in the area, someone responded:
Join an oil operation and make money. Otherwise, do what everyone else does in Midland for fun - leave town.aconsul
What do you think of the Midland and Odessa booms? Share your thoughts in the comments below.