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.
The state of debate in the country regarding taxes being what it is I thought I would make a few posts on the topic over the next few days. There are many issues with the legislation being discussed (intentionally not using the word debated right now). The issues and implications for North Dakota will need to wait for another post, but it will be forthcoming.
As most readers know, I think population is one of the most important variables when discussing the economic growth, development, and history of North Dakota. Well, of probably any region really. There are many different aspects to a discussion of population though. It can be a count of people, birth measures, mortality, migration, and so on. Today I focus on age. Why?
I am getting into the weeds a bit for this post. I hear more questions regarding an urban-rural split in the state, and it is not always easy to parse this out. For one thing, the definitions of rural and urban are not universally decided and are relative to some degree. I am originally from Chicago, so no city in North Dakota appears urban to me. As a result I will need to define some terms in order to advance the analysis.