Oil boom leads to population burst in North Dakota counties

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — The population of 14 of North Dakota’s 53 counties increased in 2018, led by 7.1% growth in McKenzie County, according to new U.S. Census Bureau figures.

The estimates show that Williams County’s population increased by 5.9% between July 2017 and July 2018, attaining the largest growth rate in the nation.

McKenzie County’s population grew quicker than Williams by as much as 114.4% since 2010, but its population of 13,632 was too small to be included in the national rankings, the Minot Daily News reported.

Minot’s micropolitan area, which consists of Ward, Renville and McHenry counties, has grown by 9.2% since 2010. Micropolitan areas have populations of at least 10,000 but fewer than 50,000. The micropolitan’s estimated population in 2018 was 75,934.

Williams also led the nation among counties of 20,000 populations or more, with its oil-boom boost of 57.8% from 2010 to 2018 lifting its population to 35,350.

Ward County increased by 9.8% during that period, with the population projected at 67,744 in July 2018.

One must be careful about estimates because there are limits to correctness when numbers are based exclusively on statistical information, which are beneficial for general forecasting and preparation, said John Zakian, the resilience program manager for Minot.

The City of Minot has constructed a considerable amount of housing since the 2010 census and there are far more jobs available than job applicants, Zakian added. Both show signs of progress.

The populations of only nine counties increased through migration according to the 2018 data, said Kevin Iverson, census director for North Dakota. Iverson said he expects a more positive outlook moving forward, when more current figures replaces data from late 2017, which is the economic period the 2018 numbers illustrate.