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State, county population increased in 2008

The population in Stark County, along with 18 other counties in North Dakota increased in 2008, according to estimates released Thursday.

Rod Backman, a member of the North Dakota Census Committee said Stark County's population is estimated to have grown by 147 between July of 2007 and 2008. He said the figures are formulated by taking the births per county, minus deaths. They also figure in migratory activity.

He said Stark County had 316 births and 219 deaths in that time period. There was also a net migration of 37.

"They have other miscellaneous adjustments," Backman said.

The state population is estimated to have grown by 3,577 people to about 641,481.

The largest reported numeric growth in the state was 2,583 in Cass County followed by Burleigh County with 1,433. Grand Forks County came in third at 559 followed by Morton County at 384, and Williams County with 287.

The largest percentage growth was reportedly in Bowman and Slope counties at 2.6 percent followed by Billings, Burleigh, and Cass at 1.9 percent each. Other counties showing growth were Benson, Dunn, McKenzie, McLean, Mountrail, Ramsey, Rolette, Sioux, Stark, and Ward.

"It's pretty well spread around, although there were only five counties in the east, but there were 13 counties in the west that showed growth," Backman said. "A lot of times people try to say the economic growth is just due to oil, but I think this points out that the growth is happening clear across the state."

He added the east side of the state increased by 55 percent, while the west side showed a 45 percent growth.

"The population increases the state realized since 2003 is consistent with labor force trends," Michael Ziesch of Job Service North Dakota, who also a member of the N.D. Census Committee said in press release. "Over this period, the state's labor force has increased by nearly 4,500 persons a year."

In four of the last five years North Dakota has shown population growth according to reports from the United States Census Bureau. The state is up nearly 8,800 from a decade low of 632,689 which was reported for 2003.

Backman said he believes the state's population has continued to grow since July.

He added the census will be conducted in April of 2010.