I was thinking about North Dakota and the population shifts and changes of the the last few years. The economics of the state are so clearly connected to the population changes, which are clearly connected to the economic changes in the state too. There really is an intense and important feedback relationship between population and economics in this state in particular.
The demographic transitions within North Dakota due to the Bakken oil boom are simply fascinating. These are part of my presentations at the North Dakota Demographics Conference. Some of this may be updated in the next few days because the Census Bureau released new data today that I am still working through even as I write this. Multitasking with writing blog posts and computer code is one of my skills. Ask JT about it on his radio show sometime.
Labor force participation is a frequent topic of conversation on the radio these days so it seemed appropriate to actually share the graphs that I often show JT when the topic comes up.
It is a constant refrain on my part. Population is the key. This is true if I am in class teaching undergraduate or graduate students, on the radio talking with JT or the public, or in casual conversation with family or friends. Population is a key to growth, and I think most people get it. The problem is arriving at a policy that encourages sustainable population growth. North Dakota has more jobs than unemployed, and has had the problem for a long time, indicating an issue with attracting in-migration in needed numbers. Neither have we seen a demographic change in births or mortality sufficient to overcome these problems.
The recent article on women’s hockey in Grand Forks and at the University of North Dakota is an interesting read (link). What is more interesting is the additional discussion I heard on Bloomberg radio this morning. The discussants on “Surveillance” thought it sad and unfortunate, going so far as to suggest that North Dakota was awash in oil money, private companies were flush with profits, and they could not find a way to make it work. There was also a suggestion the state is unable to overcome a culture biased against women playing such a physical sport.