Population Declines In Multiple Cities

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For the second year in a row – Minot’s population dropped according to the US Census Bureau.

But, Minot isn’t the only large city that’s seen a drop in people and there could be a good reason for it.

“I think we envisioned that decrease,” said Chuck Barney, Minot Mayor.

Minot Mayor, Chuck Barney says that the decrease in population was to be expected – especially since the oil industry isn’t booming like a few years ago.

“The people that did come with the oil boom enjoyed it and they valued the family-friendly climate we have here,” said Barney.

Cities like Williston and Dickinson also saw decreases. In 2016 – Dickinson had a population of just under 23,000, Williston was just over 26,000, and Minot was at about 49,000 people. Compare that with 2017 – every city dropped in numbers – the largest drop being in Williston at 2.6%. Bismarck was the only large Western North Dakota city that had a slight increase.

“I’m more encouraged that it hasn’t gone down a lot more,” said Barney.

With less people in our cities – things like sales tax can also be affected.

“The economic activity that goes on in all of Western North Dakota has an impact on that. Our population is just a factor of that value,” said Barney.

I spoke with business owners to see if they have felt the affects of a population decrease.

“I haven’t noticed any dramatic difference you know over the past year,” said Margie Bolton, Margie’s Art Studio Owner.

“I don’t know that it’s really affected our business a lot,” said Valerie Stadheim, Grow With Me Owner.

The largest change these owners saw was when the oil boom diminished.

“It’s always harder to adjust down than it is to adjust up,” said Bolton.

Many believe the oil will come back and that would mean more people coming back to town.

“I would envision as the activity in the oil and the Bakken ramps up our population will go up accordingly,” said Barney.

But until the oil industry ramps back up like people believe it will – population increases or decreases for the future are unknown.

Grand Forks and Fargo’s population increased from 2016 to 2017.

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