RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Thousands of people are making their way to the Black Hills – and it’s not just for vacation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this population boom is ranking Rapid City as the fastest-growing metro area in the Midwest.

Snow or shine, people are moving here to Rapid City. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2020 to 2021, Rapid City’s population grew by 1.9% which is triple the national average.

People come to the Black Hills because it’s a place they want to live and also grow their companies. The National Loan Aquisitions Co. moved here from Portland, Oregon, just last year.

“The Black Hills speak for themselves as far as their beauty and all that they have to offer. But what we didn’t know and what we didn’t expect was the people. How amazing the culture was here, common sense, accountability, responsibility all dictate here which was super refreshing. It was a no-brainer. We were moving the company and our families to Rapid City,” Michael Henry, Senior VP of NLAC, said.

CEO of Elevate Rapid City, Tom Johnson, says he doesn’t know why thousands of people are moving here, but he has some ideas.

“First we know in the pandemic, we did not shut down. Second, we know a lot of people are starting to discover the Black Hills and all of the outdoor amenities we have here. And we were already seeing about a thousand people moving here a year. With the base coming as well, it’s an exciting time for Rapid City,” Johnson said.

An exciting but also nerve-racking time for the community.

“What’s not as exciting if you’ve driven around, is increased traffic, the houses are going up in price and we are seeing a need for more investment in infrastructure,” Johnson said.

However, Johnson sees this is an opportunity for Black Hills communities to work together to welcome even more people to their new home in the hills.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Rapid City is growing faster than Phoenix, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Collins, Billings, Reno, Charlotte, and Sioux Falls.