nd.gov - The Official Portal for North Dakota State Government
Governor Discusses State's Population Growth with U.S. Census Bureau Director
Post Date: May 06 2014

Gov. Jack Dalrymple today met with U.S. Census Bureau Director John Thompson to discuss the state’s population growth and changes, and options for continuing to work together to increase the quality of data production. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, North Dakota is the nation’s fastest-growing state. Thompson is visiting North Dakota to see firsthand the rapid growth that is occurring in all regions of the state.
“After years of out-migration and population decline, North Dakota is now the fastest-growing state in the nation, recording population growth in all regions of the state,” Dalrymple said. “We are pleased that Director Thompson has come to North Dakota to learn more about our rapid growth and to see firsthand the exciting things that are occurring as a result of that growth.”
During their meeting, Dalrymple and Thompson discussed the state’s impressive reversal in population trends, moving from being one of a few states reporting population decline to leading the nation in growth across all regions of the state. Dalrymple highlighted North Dakota’s aggressive economic development efforts, and emphasis on job creation and the diversification of its economy as reasons for the rapid growth. The Governor and Director also discussed the impacts of a growing population and the historic investment the state is making to address those impacts, as well as how the state and the Census Bureau can continue to work together to increase the quality of data production.

“Census Bureau statistics have been telling an ongoing story of North Dakota’s rapid population growth and the industries driving it,” Thompson said. “I’m meeting with Governor Dalrymple and other state, tribal and local leaders to ensure they have access to the statistics to help plan for the changes that come with that growth. It is exciting to see this growth first-hand and gather the information necessary to make decisions about how to best measure the state’s population.”
This past December, U.S. Census Bureau estimates showed that North Dakota’s population reached an all-time high of 723,393 residents, an increase of 22,048 from the previous year’s estimate. Earlier this year, the Bureau’s annual metropolitan/micropolitan area and county population estimates showed population growth across all regions of North Dakota. The state had a number of communities and counties ranked as some of the fastest growing in the nation. A metro area contains a population of 50,000 or more, while a micro area contains at least 10,000, but less than 50,000.
Of the nation’s 10 fastest growing metropolitan areas, Fargo and Bismarck ranked fourth and fifth respectively. The Fargo metro area (Cass and Clay Counties) gained 6,705 residents, while the Bismarck metro area gained 3,666 residents. Three of the top five micro areas ranked as the nation’s fastest growing are in North Dakota, with Williston taking the top spot. Dickinson ranked second on the list and Minot rounded off the top five as the fifth fastest growing micro area.
In addition to metro/micro areas, two North Dakota counties ranked among the nation’s fastest growing counties with a population of 10,000 or more. Williams County was ranked as the fastest growing county in the nation and Stark County was ranked as the fourth.
Dalrymple and Thompson also discussed how North Dakota’s in-migration has been increasing over the past few years and has been the most significant factor in the state’s population growth since the 2010 Census. The estimated net in-migration to North Dakota was 6,900 in 2011, 12,717 in 2012 and 18,051 in 2013. 
The Governor cited how North Dakota’s population has been getting younger. Census data shows that the median age of North Dakota residents continued to climb between 2000 and 2008, reaching about 37.3 years of age. Since 2008, the median age of North Dakota residents has declined to last year’s 36.1 years of age.
North Dakota continues to lead the nation in job growth, with an unemployment rate of 2.6 percent for March, the nation’s lowest. Currently, more than 25,000 jobs are available across the state, with a majority of those openings in Cass County.
Business Development Experience