ND County Population Change, Census 2020

We are getting the Census 2020 data released at more informative levels now. We have the county population data now and that is somewhat helpful. Response rates were not great in some locations, and of course there were issues with pandemic dislocations, but we have the numbers we have for the time being. So in terms of raw numbers we saw North Dakota grow by over 100,000 since 2010, an outlier for the region.

The largest absolute changes occurred in Cass, Burleigh, and Williams counties. These three counties account for about two-thirds of overall population change in the whole state. As a point of reference for the local audience Grand Forks County accounts for just under 6% of the total change in the state population. In terms of percentage changes, there is a slightly different story.

There are two counties that are enormous gainers in percentage terms, McKenzie and Williams. This is the impact of shale oil. McKenzie increase by over 130% while Williams increased by over 80%. As a share of total state population Williams increased by almost 2% over the last 10 years. The only one that comes close is Cass which increased by just less than 1.5%.

What seems to be clear is that a concentration of population occurred around metro areas and economic activity. Not all metro or micropolitan areas enjoyed the same degree of increase. The increase in the Bakken area outstripped the gains in Grand Forks for example. I’ll just continue to look at the data as it comes out.

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