If you take Bloomberg's word for it, Texas is the ultimate land of opportunity: Four of the state's five metropolitan statistical areas ranked among the finance news site's ranking of "The Top 12 American Boomtowns," based on population increases and inflation-adjusted Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.
In Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, like most areas in Texas, the "boomtown" status can be attributed to the oil and gas industry, a huge source of employment in the region. The fourth largest city in the United States is big and getting bigger — a 8.15 percent growth in population from 2007 to 2011 to nearly 6.1 million citizens. Also growing is the city's GDP, 1.55 percent annually.
The Austin-Round Rock area has the thriving tech sector to thank — think Dell, SXSW and a forthcoming Apple campus — for its recent growth. The population increased by 11.6 percent between 2007 and 2011, with a 3.26 compound annual growth in GDP.
San Antonio, where the Eagle Ford Shale has spurred exponential growth in oil and gas drilling, has seen a 10.26 percent growth in population during the same period and a 1.47 percent compound annual growth in GDP.
Oil and gas plays a factor in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, too, although the opportunities there are diverse. Population has grown by 6.21 percent, and GDP by .84 percent.
Other metros on the list include Raleigh, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Oklahoma City, Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Portland-Beaverton Ore./Vancouver Wash., Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord N.C., and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara.