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Census estimates show small shrinkage in Minot region

Minot regional population shows small shrinkage

File Photo A new housing development in southeast Minot, shown last June, reflects growth that has slowed in the region over the past few years, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

Minot’s micropolitan area shrank a bit more in 2019, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released today.

The micropolitan area – including Ward, Renville and McHenry counties – reached 79,229 residents in the 2015 estimates, a 14% increase from the 2010 census of 69,540. But the population has slipped a little each year since to an estimate of 75,713 residents in July 2019, which is down 166 or 0.2% from July 2018 estimates.

Kevin Iverson, director of the State Data Center, said census estimates become more difficult to establish the further from an official count. The official count from Census 2020 now in progress should be known in just over a year.

“Toward the end of the decade the estimates are just less accurate because they are dealing with old data,” Iverson said. “The majority of our change has been the result of migration and of the components of change, migration is the most difficult to measure.”

A better measure might be jobs, he said. Ward County’s employment numbers remain strong.

File Photo A house in Minot posts a sale sign in April. The three-county Minot region showed a slight population decline in the year ending July 2019.

Estimates show Ward County’s population declined from 67,713 in July 2018 to 67,641 in July 2019, or 0.1%. Renville County’s population declined from 2,358 to 2,327 or 1.3%. McHenry’s population fell from 5,808 to 5,745 or 1.1%.

However, since 2010, Ward County has grown by 5,966 residents in the estimates, or 9.7%. Renville saw a 5.8% drop and McHenry a 6.5% increase.

Overall, 17 of North Dakota’s counties saw growth from 2018 to 2019. The largest growth, 2,120 residents, was in Williams County, followed by 1,629 residents in Cass County and 1,430 residents in McKenzie County. McKenzie had the greatest percentage growth at 10.5%.

Burleigh County, which includes Bismarck, saw only 350 new residents or a 0.4% increase, while Grand Forks County lost 904 residents or 1.3%. Iverson said the difficulty in measuring migration particularly can affect the larger counties.

The 2010 census found the actual count to be 3% higher in North Dakota than estimates had calculated, which was a significant 65,000 people, he said. Migration over the past decade has been having a much greater effect on numbers in the past decade.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau A map shows census estimates changes across the country.

Cass County has seen the largest numeric growth, followed by Burleigh County, since 2010. Cass added 32,145 residents to reach an estimate of 181,923. Burleigh grew by 14,318 residents to reach 95,626. Other larger growth counties in addition to Ward are: McKenzie, 15,024, up 8,665; Stark, 31,489, up, 7,290; Morton, 31,364, up 3,895; Mountrail, 10,545, up 2,882; and Grand Forks 69,451, up 2,587.

Williams County still holds fastest-growing spot

Williams County was the nation’s fastest growing county by percentage from April 2010 to 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The oil-boom county grew by 67.8%, from 22,399 residents to an estimated 37,5989 residents over the nine years. The second fastest growing was Hays County in Texas, which grew by 46.5%. McKenzie County, didn’t make the list because only counties of 20,000 or more were included. McKenzie grew by 136%, from 6,359 to 15,024 residents.

Nationwide, the Census Bureau reported a trend toward widespread population decline among smaller counties while larger counties experienced growth. Three of four counties with a population of less than 10,000 in 2010 had even smaller populations in 2019.

Of the 542 micropolitan areas in the United States, 44.8% gained population between 2010 and 2019.

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