Census: No easy task ahead

U.S. Census Bureau director John?Thompson was decidedly understated this week as he visited sites in western North Dakota to get a first-hand look at the area’s population boom.

“Any time you have a lot of population movement, it’s going to be more challenging than when you have a static population,” Thompson said at a press conference.

But, Thompson stressed, his agency is fully capable of accurately counting the state’s population. That accuracy was in question after the 2010 census, which many officials in western North Dakota doubted was accurate, although they also recognized that counting a continuously changing population that included thousands of new workers was a difficult challenge.

The latest statistics, released last July, showed North Dakota’s population at 723,000 residents, and, again, many officials doubted the accuracy of that figure.

The Census Bureau has a difficult task in counting actual residents during such a rapidly growing business environment. We don’t doubt that there are folks living and working in western North Dakota who aren’t counted simply because they are difficult to track down. Thompson said new mapping technology should help locate new housing developments and more people, but the agency’s employees still actually knock on doors during census counts. We look forward to getting an updated, and accurate, population number soon.