North Dakota Has The Fastest Growing Population In America


Thanks to the Bakken oil boom North Dakota, normally known for having a shrinking or stagnant population, just posted the fastest population growth rate in the nation.

North Dakota now has its largest population ever. Currently the state is estimated to have nearly 700,000 residents, an increase of 14,488 in the last year to 699,629. The previous high was set last year, at 683,932, which itself was higher than the previous record set in 1930.

And, to be honest, I’m not even sure how accurate these numbers are. Estimating the population of many of the oil patch communities, for instance, has to be all but impossible. I’m not sure anyone really knows how many people are really living in the oil patch right now. So, I’m guessing North Dakota is probably well above the 700,000 mark at this point, and certainly above what the US Census is estimating.

Below is the press release from Governor Jack Dalrymple’s office announcing the most recent projections from the US Census office.

BISMARCK, N.D. – Governor Jack Dalrymple today said he welcomes the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates that show North Dakota’s population is the fastest growing in the nation. North Dakota’s population has grown by 14,888 residents in the last year.

“After years of population decline, it’s good to see that our economic growth continues to keep North Dakotans home and that we are attracting new residents throughout the state who come for good jobs, a strong economy and our excellent quality of life,” Dalrymple said.

The U.S. Census Bureau today released its 2012 national and state population estimates that show North Dakota’s population has reached an all-time high of 699,629 residents. Last year, North Dakota’s official 2011 population of 683,932 residents exceeded the state’s previous record set in 1930.

North Dakota’s population has grown during eight of the last nine years. The state’s population has increased by 66,820 residents from a decade-low of 632, 809 reported in 2003, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. Due to the state’s dynamic residential population change, members of the North Dakota Census Committee said today’s estimates may be lower than the state’s actual population growth.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • badlands4

    I am not sure it is possible to ever get a truly accurate account because it is so fluid. You have people living in campers who move from place to place. You have people who come in the spring and then leave for the coldest months of winter and then come back in the spring, etc. You also have people who stay at businesses who have created areas for employees to stay until they can find more permanent accommodations.

    I think Williston does as close to an accurate count as possible because they count not only all of those they can find(hotels, rv parks, etc), but they also keep track of water, sewage, electric use, etc. I am not sure there is any more accurate way to count.

    Whatever metric is used, it is woefully under-counting how many people are actually living here.

  • kevindf

    It’s quality, not quantity that matters.

  • borborygmi


  • WOOF

    The population of North Dakota is about equal
    to the 19th largest city in the US.
    It’s the 3rd smallest state.

    • Rob

      Your point?

  • spud

    So after next mandatory census report will North Dakota have any chance of getting another elected representative and thus change us from 3 electoral votes to a whopping four electoral votes and thus giving us a eastern ND representative and a western representative.

    • Oldtimer