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Population estimates up statewide and local level

The United States Census Bureau just recently released the agency's 2009 National and State population estimates, showing growth in North Dakota of 5,423 people to a new estimated population of 646,844.

The North Dakota Census Committee, which is made up of representatives from the State Data Center at NDSU, the North Dakota Office of Management and Budget, the Commerce Department, Job Service North Dakota, and the Office of the Tax Commissioner, analyzed the population estimate for the state.

  "The increase in our population isn't a surprise considering how our state's economy has fared better than the nation as a whole," said Rod Backman of the N.D. Census Committee. "The census estimate reflects that growth."  

  Five of the last six years North Dakota has shown population growth, up over 14,000 from a decade low of 632,809 reported for 2003. For the year, there were 9,052 births, the highest of the decade. Inmigration was nearly 1,900, the second highest of the decade. For the first time this decade, North Dakota's population estimate has exceeded the 2000 actual census count of 642,200, and is now up by an estimated 4,644.

  "The population gain occurred during a period the number of younger workers (those under age 35) has also grown," said Michael Ziesch of Job Service North Dakota, also a member of the N.D. Census Committee. "Data from the Local Employment Household Dynamics program shows an average increase of over 3,000 workers per year in that age group between the years 2003 and 2008."

  "The newly released estimates demonstrate a notable change that is very positive for North Dakota," said Richard Rathge, Director of the North Dakota State Data Center. "It shows an increase in net domestic immigration between 2008 and 2009, something that hasn't happened in our state for some time.  Moreover, the consistent increase in our population since 2005 suggests a sustained upward trend due largely to our robust economy," said Rathge.  

  Different areas in the state are playing a role in this upward trend, with our community one of them.

In West Fargo, estimated population figures continue to surge higher, with many speculating that once official counts are in the community could be sitting at the fifth largest ranking in the state, with the expected tally between 25,000 and 26,000 people.

Assisting with the upsurge, is the continued attractive residential and business opportunities as well as the progressive, growing atmosphere that has seen the city almost double in size the past several years, due to annexations and relocations.

Updates on the actual figures for West Fargo will be forthcoming as soon as statistics are assembled for 2009 growth. Hopefully, those numbers will reflect positive growth factors that will help continue with ongoing recognition as 'the city on the grow.'