Census changes

The Minot area continues to grow just not as quickly as it had been, according to new U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released today.

The Minot micropolitan area, consisting of Ward, Renville and McHenry counties, grew by 862 residents or 1.2 percent from July 2011 to July 2012, based on census estimates. That compares to 3.6 percent growth from July 2010 to July 2011 when the area was the eighth fastest-growing micropolitan area in the nation.

Ward County’s growth was the most modest in the northwest region, according to the estimates. The Census Bureau reported a 0.76 percent growth rate through July 2012, compared to 3.9 for the same period a year earlier. Minot and other parts of Ward County were reeling from the Souris River flood during that period.

Rod Backman, chairman of the North Dakota Census Committee, said it is important to note that growth still occurred during that period.

Seth Hagen, Ward County tax equalization director, said the flood held back development by creating uncertainty over whether and where to build.

“There’s no comfort level. Once that gets figured out, I feel like people are just waiting to jump in the pool,” he said.

More recently, outside of Minot and the flood plain, there have been numerous properties plotted, he said, but there’s a shift from the larger commercial and multi-family projects to more single-family and remodeling projects.

From the official census in April 2010 until July 2012, Ward County is estimated to have grown 5.1 percent. That compares with 5.5 percent growth in Burleigh County, 10.6 percent growth in Stark County and a 19.2 percent increase in Williams County.

Ward County’s 2012 population is estimated at 64,798, while Minot’s micropolitan area has an estimated population of 73,146.