NORTH DAKOTA GROWING Not surprisingly, North Dakota leads the nation in population growth, according to information from the Census Bureau. Data shows North Dakota's population at 699,628 residents, up nearly 15,000 people from last year. The state's population grew by 2.17 percent in the past year, almost three times faster than the national average. Certainly the growth is fueled by the ongoing oil boom in western North Dakota, where workers have come from all across the country in search of jobs. Now, the harder part will be retaining those workers if and when the oil boom ever begins to show signs of slowing down, which it hasn't yet. But the continued population growth also brings its share of issues, including a lack of housing, strains on infrastructure and overcrowding in some area schools. Yes, it's good the state is growing in population instead of losing residents, but there remains much work to be done in the state to accommodate the new residents, and the longtime North Dakotans as well.