Census: Dickinson becomes more diverseThe people of Dickinson are slowly becoming more diverse, according to information released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday.
The people of Dickinson are slowly becoming more diverse, according to information released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday.
In 2000, 97.2 percent of Dickinson’s population was white but that dropped to 94.2 percent in 2010, according to the information.
“I guess I wouldn’t be surprised that we are becoming more diverse,” said Dickinson Mayor Dennis Johnson. “A lot of that has to do with the energy impact. I think we have many Americans coming here to work and America is a very diverse place, so I would expect that we’re seeing some of that same diversity.”
The largest population of minority races in Dickinson is Hispanic or Latino with 382 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
However, Dickinson’s population of people of Asian decent has the highest percentage of increase from 2000. In 2010, 262 people of Asian decent called Dickinson home, while 38 reported living in Dickinson in 2000.
Stark County Commission Chairman Ken Zander said Dickinson State University likely is impacting the city’s diversity.
“DSU has established a relationship with a number of universities in China and they are doing student exchange programs and things like that that would explain the increase in Asian population,” he said.
Hal Haynes, vice president for Student Development said it’s a
“Roughly 40 percent of our international students come from China,” Haynes said.
DSU’s international enrollment piqued at 433 students in the 2008-2009 school year, Haynes said. The fall enrollment showed 13 percent of DSU students were from outside the United States, he added.
“It’s the highest in the North Dakota University System,” Haynes said of the 2010 fall semester.
Many international students stick around after graduation, Haynes said.
The international students impact the area outside of campus, Haynes said.
“They contribute to the local economy,” Haynes said. “They offer input and an experience to educate southwest North Dakota about how life might be in China, Russia, Germany, the Bahamas, Nepal, Korea (and) South Korea.”
Both Johnson and Zander said they’ve noticed the area becoming more diverse over the last 10 years.
“I can also say that when I go into a restaurant or a retail establishment in town, it’s becoming more and more obvious that I don’t recognize all of the faces, whereas 10 to 15 years ago it seemed like if you walked into a restaurant, you recognized or knew half of the people in there,” Zander said. “Regardless of racial diversity, there’s more people, there’s more activity, there’s more transient workers, there’s just so much more activity it’s creating a lot of new faces.”
Johnson said more diversity will have a positive impact on the area.
“I think it’s a healthy thing,” Johnson said. “I think it’s a good thing if North Dakota actually looks like more of the rest of the nation.”
However, not everybody shares his view, Haynes said.
“It can be very disturbing to people, too,” Haynes said. “Anytime you change, it can be very challenging. Also when you are around or are exposed to someone from a different culture who speaks a different language, the communications challenges may be greater there, so that scares some people. But I would argue it’s an opportunity to learn, as opposed to looking at it as a negative.”