Data highlight

August 15, 2017

The aging of North Dakota's population may pose workforce challenges in the future

There were 109,999 older adults (65 years of age and older) in North Dakota in 2016, representing 15 percent of the total population, a percentage almost unchanged since 2010. With the aging of the baby boom generation (the large cohort of people born between 1946 and 1964), the share of older adults in the state’s population is expected to increase to 18 percent by 2029. Conversely, the share of the working-age population (age 20-64) is projected to decline from 59 percent of the total population in 2016 to 55 percent in 2029.
These demographic changes will potentially reduce the number of workers in relation to the population needing support. Even with the influx of more working-age people into the state, the ratio is projected to decrease from 4.1 working-age adults to every one older adult in 2016 to 3.1 working-age adults per every older adult by 2029. This information is helpful for individuals, organizations, and policy makers to plan ahead for services, programs, and policies to minimize the impact of the aging population on labor force participation in the state.

July 31, 2017

North Dakota’s child population continues to grow but at a slower rate.

After decades of continuous loss from 1960 to the late 2000s, the number of children (under 18 years old) in North Dakota has grown consistently since 2008, by approximately 3 percent annually through 2015. However, similar to the overall population trend, the child population growth slowed in 2016. Reaching a population of 176,311 in 2016, children (under 18 years old) accounted for 23 percent of North Dakota’s total population.   
From 2010 to 2016 the number of children (under 18 years old) in North Dakota increased by more than 26,000, or 18 percent, while the number of children in the U.S. decreased by one percent during the same time period. Specifically, young children in both the 0-4 and 5-9 age groups experienced the largest percent growth with a 24 percent increase, while the 15-17 age group saw little growth (2%) from 2010 to 2016.


July 17, 2017

Racial gaps in high school graduation rates shrunk in North Dakota in 2016

While overall rates showed a slight improvement over the last year, the percent of students graduating on time in North Dakota have remained fairly steady during the past 8 years, between 85 and 87 percent. However, racial gaps in the high school graduation rate continue to persist in North Dakota. In 2016, 65.2 percent of American Indians students and 79.7 percent students of color graduated on-time, compared to 90.8 percent of White (non-Hispanic) students.
Although gaps persist, the racial gaps are shrinking. Between 2015 and 2016, the high school graduation rate increased 5.5 percentage points for American Indian students and 4.0 percentage points for other students of color.
It is important to monitor progress in narrowing the gaps and improving results of education. In addition to achievement indicators, high school graduation can be useful in predicting young adults’ preparation for higher education and/or the workforce.
Note: The four-year graduation rate is calculated by dividing the number of students who graduate in four years or less with a regular high school diploma by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for that graduating class. The adjusted cohort is a total count of first-time 9th graders in the fall of their freshman year, plus students who transfer into the cohort, minus students who transfer out of the cohort, emigrate, or die during the four school years of high school.



July 1, 2017

While still the fourth youngest state in the nation, North Dakota grew older in 2016

The population in most states has increasingly become older. The increase in the median age (the age where half of the population is younger and the other half older) is a result of the aging of the baby-boom generation, those born between 1946 and 1964. The median age in the U.S. steadily increased from 35.3 in 2000 to 37.2 in 2010 and to 37.9 in 2016.

However, North Dakota was one of the few states who reversed this trend. For five years, North Dakota’s population had been growing younger as the median age continually decreased from 37.0 in 2010 to 34.6 in 2015. While the median age increased to 34.8 in 2016, North Dakota was still the fourth youngest state out of the 50 states in the nation with only Texas, Alaska, and Utah having a younger median age.


June 20, 2017

Change in trends in North Dakota voter turnout by race.

Nearly 350,000 North Dakota residents (of voting-age) voted in the 2016 presidential election. In 2016, the voting-age turnout* was 61 percent in North Dakota, a rate similar to 2012, but lower than the 65 percent rate in 2008. In the 2016 election, the voting-age turnout was higher in North Dakota (61%) than the U.S. (55%).
Similar to the U.S., the trends of voter turnout in a presidential election by race reversed in 2016 as the voter turnout for the White (non-Hispanic) population slightly increased, while the turnout for the non-White population decreased. Specifically, the voter turnout for the American Indian population dropped from 71 percent in 2008 to 46 percent in 2012 and to 24 percent in 2016. The other population of color voter turnout also saw a decline of 15 percentage points in 2016 compared to the previous presidential election.

* Voting-age turnout is calculated by dividing the total number of voters (ballots cast) by the estimated voting-age population of age 18 and older


June 2, 2017

Employment in almost all industry sectors in North Dakota gained jobs in the past 15 years.

A shortage of jobs increases unemployment, reduces tax revenues, and curtails economic growth. In North Dakota, employment in almost all industry sectors, relating to nonfarm positions, gained jobs in the past 15 years. From 2000 to 2015, jobs in the Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industry increased substantially by nearly 600 percent. The industry increased its share of total jobs from 1.1 percent in 2000 to 5.3 percent in 2015. The next largest increase in jobs was in the Transportation and warehousing industry (157% increase) followed by Construction industry (116% increase). Although the number of jobs in the Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector grew dramatically in the past, recent data indicate that the sector declined 22.2 percent from 2014 to 2015.
When looking at the share of jobs by industry (relating to nonfarm positions), in 2015, the Government sector represented the largest share of jobs in North Dakota (16.0%). Jobs in Education/Health (i.e., Educational services and Health care and social assistance) represented 13.5 percent and jobs in the Retail sector, 11.6 percent. Jobs in Natural resources/mining (i.e., Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting and Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction) represented 6.3 percent of all jobs.

View topic: ECONOMY / JOBS

May 15, 2017

Fargo and West Fargo lead the cities in foreign born residents

City of Fargo had the highest percentage of foreign born residents at 7.5 percent and 4.8 percent of the residents of West Fargo were foreign born.

In 2015 the Census Bureau estimated that there were nearly 23,000 residents in North Dakota who were foreign born, accounting for 3.2 percent. This includes U.S. naturalized citizens and those individuals who are not U.S. citizens, but does not include those born in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Island areas or those born to American parents abroad. Out of the foreign born, over 14,000 or 61.5 percent were not U.S. citizens (2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates). Out of the foreign born population, 36.7 percent were born in Asia, 19.3 percent in Africa, 16.5 percent in Europe, 14.9 percent in Latin America, and 12.0 percent in Northern America.


May 1, 2017

Ground-level ozone was the peak air pollutant in most days in 2016 in North Dakota

The Air Quality Index (AQI), measures five of the main pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act for each day of the year. Days are rated as "Good," "Moderate," "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups," or "Unhealthy" based upon the amount of pollutants in the air.

In 2016, the AQI was “Good” in 90 percent of days or more, in eight of the ten North Dakota counties that have sites that monitor air pollutants.

Ground-level ozone was the peak air pollutant (i.e., the pollutant responsible for the highest daily index value) for most days in 2016 for all metropolitan and micropolitan areas with air quality monitors. For Dickinson micropolitan area (Stark county), ground-level ozone was the main pollutant in 349/365 days in 2016. Fine particulates was the main pollutant in Bismarck metropolitan area (Burleigh, Morton, Oliver and Sioux counties) in 166/365 days in 2016. Ground-level ozone, commonly known as smog, and particle pollution pose the greatest known health risks to humans.


April 13, 2017

Generation X leads volunteering among generations in North Dakota in 2015

Volunteering is a form of civic engagement that brings significant benefits to individuals and communities. Volunteers are important community assets, helping to enrich the lives of those they serve and often providing care and services that neither government nor the private sector can afford to provide on their own. The percent of North Dakota’s residents (age 16 and older) who volunteer has consistently been higher than the U.S. average; 32 percent in North Dakota as compared to 25 percent in the U.S. in 2015.

In the past decade, the volunteering patterns changed for different generations of volunteers. The percentage of residents who volunteered belonging to the Greatest and Silent Generations (those born before 1946) and to the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) decreased from 2005 to 2015. In contrast, the percentage of volunteers belonging to the Generation X (born between 1965 and 1981) increased from 31 percent in 2005 to 39 percent in 2015, taking the lead of all generations in 2015. Millennials (born 1982 or after) also saw an increase in volunteering between 2010 and 2015.


April 1, 2017

Growth rate has slowed for the majority of North Dakota’s counties.

North Dakota reached an all-time high of 757,952 residents in 2016, but after years of unprecedented growth in response to an expanding economy, North Dakota’s population remained relatively unchanged from 2015 to 2016. Similar to the state overall, counties have seen a slowing or more of a decline in population. Formerly booming with growth, the majority of core oil producing counties have reversed their population change and the rate declined when comparing 2015 and 2016. The number of counties that had a decline in population from 2015 to 2016 doubled from the previous year (27 counties compared to 13 counties, respectively). Eight counties grew from 2015 to 2016; five of these counties were metropolitan counties.


March 15, 2017

Although North Dakota showed slight improvement, the state still ranks 7th lowest in the nation with regard to children enrolled in preschool.

Early learning experiences are essential for a child's healthy intellectual, social, and emotional development. These experiences help create a foundation for children to be successful students and eventually productive adults. In 2015, nationally, 47.6 percent of children ages 3 and 4 were enrolled in preschool (i.e., organized child care programs offering educational experiences for children during the years preceding kindergarten – including Head Start). In North Dakota, 36 percent of children ages 3 and 4 were enrolled in preschool programs in 2015, placing North Dakota seventh lowest among the 50 states. However, the percent of North Dakota children enrolled in preschool slightly increased from the previous year when it was 32.5 percent, which gave the state the second lowest national place ranking.


March 1, 2017

While North Dakota is getting younger, some counties continue to age.

In 2015, North Dakota continued to get younger as the median age decreased from 34.9 years in 2014 to 34.6 in 2015. In 2015, North Dakota was the fourth youngest state in the nation and the only state with a decrease in median age when compared to the previous year.

Despite this state-wide trend, the median age in 38 counties was at least 40 years and in 9 counties the median age was at least 50 years. Increased opportunities for employment in the oil producing counties and metro areas attracted younger workers to the state and contributed to the decrease in the median age in those areas. In contrast, mostly rural counties continued the historic aging trend.

However, all counties are going to be influenced by the increase in the older adult population (age 65 and older) as the baby boomers (those born from 1946 through 1964) continue to age. As a result of this, the older adult population is projected to increase by 49.1 percent over the next 14 years, from 107,281 in 2015 to 159,969 in 2029 – a projected growth two to five times greater than that of the other age groups.


February 15, 2017

The higher the income, the lower the percentage of adults diagnosed with diabetes.

The diabetes rate for adults in North Dakota remained fairly constant since 2014 and increased slightly from 8.2 percent in 2011 to 8.7 percent in 2015. Nationally, North Dakota ranked 13th lowest among states for adults diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes rates increased slightly from 2014 to 2015 in North Dakota for women, low income adults, and adults with less than a high school diploma.

The higher the income, the lower the percentage of adults diagnosed with diabetes. The percentage of adults with incomes of $50,000 or more who have diabetes decreased slightly from 6.6 percent in 2014 to 5.6 percent in 2015, while the percentage of adults with incomes below $15,000 who have diabetes increased from 12.2 percent in 2014 to 18.3 percent in 2015.


February 1, 2017

Older adults in North Dakota have modest income levels as compared to the other age groups.

In the last five years, the median household income in North Dakota has been increasing and has been trending above the national median income. However, some population groups are more vulnerable than others. The median income of older households (householders age 65 and older), at $36,971 in North Dakota in 2015, was well below the overall median household income ($60,557) and less than half of the households headed by a person age 45 to 64 ($75,780). Attention should be given to this age group as the older adult population (65 years and older) is increasing and will continue to increase, according to the latest population projections. With 97,477 older adults in 2010 and 107,281 in 2015, the older adult population is projected to increase to 159,969 by 2029. This growth would represent a 64 percent increase from 2010 and will constitute an important shift in the age distribution of North Dakota’s population.


North Dakota Compass

North Dakota Compass

Compass created by:
Wilder Research

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