Population growth continues

It’s no secret that areas of North Dakota are among the fastest-growing locations in the nation. Putting reliable numbers to those growth projections isn’t quite so easy.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Williston led the nation in 2013 as the fastest-growing micropolitan area in the country, the second straight year Williston accomplished that feat. Dickinson was the second-fastest growing area, while Minot was fifth on the list.

Minot’s micropolitan area, which includes Ward, McHenry and Renville counties, had an estimated population of 76,520, a growth of 3.7 percent between July 2012 to July 2013. Ward County’s population was estimated at 67,990, or a 3.9 percent spike between 2012 and 2013. Williams County grew 10.7 percent in that same time period.

The population growth, fueled by the booming energy industry in western North Dakota, has brought with it economic prosperity and growing pains alike. Housing continues to be difficult to find, and afford, for residents of this part of the state, and cities like Minot and others are dealing with related issues such as growing numbers of school-age children.

As counties and cities adapt to the changing landscape and business climate, the population growth appears to be a longterm trend heading into the future.