Grand Forks Population: Living on the Edge?

I have not been able to post a great deal lately as it is a busy time on campus. Lots of reports to write and students looking to finalize things for graduation. However I expect to be back in the swing relatively soon. Here is a look at some of my recent work that I have not yet posted.

A significant amount of public policy discussion in North Dakota focuses on population, directly or indirectly. The same is true of the discussion in Grand Forks. Whether the topic is housing, schools, or infrastructure much of the discussion comes back to the nature of population and population change. As a result I thought developing some data and some reference comparisons was a good use of my time.

I compared share of population in each age category for Grand Forks county to the share of population in the same age category for the state. This is commonly called the location quotient. Values less than 1 indicate the local area has a lesser share in that category than the reference area. In a similar fashion, values greater than 1 indicate a higher proportion in the local area than in the reference area.

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Notice that Grand Forks share of population in older categories is actually lower than the state average. That is not to say there is no population here in that age group, nor does it mean that age group should not be a target of policy, but it is interesting. Especially when we look at the younger end of the age spectrum.

Grand Forks county is well above the state level for those aged 15-29. The older end of this range is not a surprise when you consider the University of North Dakota is in Grand Forks. However, the 15-19 year olds are 1.3 times more concentrated in Grand Forks county than the state as a whole.

On balance what we see here is that Grand Forks county is less concentrated in some of the older age ranges than the state as whole. The concentration in the younger age ranges is reasonable close, until we hit age category 15-19. This really seems to speak to Grand Forks as a college town, but I will look to some other data to make that a more rigorous argument later.

If anybody has a request for a particular county to be discussed please feel free to make a request in the comments or via email.

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