Ask A Researcher

June 2015

The State Repository of Census Information- The North Dakota Census Office

Kevin Iverson is the Manager of the North Dakota Census Office.  He is responsible for monitoring and interpreting the various demographic and social-economic measures in the state’s rapidly changing environment. Joe Cicha, also of the ND Census Office, works on the daily operations of the ND Census Office including responding to data requests, website content, mapping, database work, and reporting.

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What do a reporter, a researcher, a community leader, and a grant writer have in common? They all need quality data! The U.S. Census Bureau is one of the sources for quality data about the nation’s people and economy. The U.S. Census Bureau’s goal is to provide the best mix of timeliness, relevancy, quality, and cost for data they collect and services they provide.

The North Dakota Census office is located within the North Dakota Department of Commerce and serves as the state’s liaison to the U.S. Census Bureau. It is the state’s repository of census information. The ND Census Office promotes the use of census data products and works to:

  • Maintain crucial census statistical products;
  • Provide guidance in the acquisition and use of census data products; and
  • Assists the U.S. Census Bureau in acquiring survey respondents.

The ND Census Office also serves as the State Data Center and represents North Dakota officially in U.S. Census Bureau efforts, programs, and in local issues related to the decennial census and ongoing surveys.

What kind of information can be found using the Census?
Census information focuses on four major categories of data – population, housing, economic and social.

  • Population- Population materials available include general and specific data for the state from the decennial census and the Population Estimates Program. Topics covered include age, race, sex, family and household type.
  • Housing - Housing information both general and specific is available. Materials include number of housing units, building permit data, rental costs, home ownership, vacancies and multi-family units.
  • Economic - Economic information available includes materials such as county business patterns, retail and wholesale trade, local governments, manufacturers and industry-specific information (e.g., construction, service, mineral, etc.).
  • Social - More specific characteristics of the population are also available, such as income, poverty status, school enrollment and labor force status.

What services does the ND Census Office provide?
The ND Census Office works closely with researchers and individuals to assist them in interacting more fully with census data. Types of assistance include: group presentations, data request fulfillment, data access assistance, custom data tabulation, mapping and data source referrals.

Beginning last August, the ND Census Office started a monthly newsletter called “Growing ND by the Numbers” in which it highlights different topics using Census data as well as data from other federal or state sources to show how the state is changing. The topics covered so far have included race, workers over age 65, North Dakotans in poverty, the change in housing stock composition and size, and more.

About three times a month the ND Census Office emails State Data Center Affiliates highlighting statistical information that might be of interest to them. The topics covered vary from future changes to Census Bureau’s American Fact Finder website to links of static or dynamic online mapping posted on the ND Census Office’s website at www.NDCensus.gov.
The ND Census Office does not charge for its services. They provide presentations to groups based on the request and budget. Two types of presentations are available: 1) a demographic review of on how North Dakota has changed over the recent years; and 2) a training session on how to access statistical data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s online sites.

The ND Census Office helps interpret data and respond to public requests for demographic and economic information. The most common data requests are for population projections. The ND Census Office has developed a process for projections that fit North Dakota’s unique set of circumstances, and plans to release a set of projections fall 2015.

Recently, North Dakota seems to be near the top in many rankings, both government and non-government. Telling the story of how North Dakota’s resident population is changing is essential to the ND Census Office’s role and it is a great story to tell.

For instance, some of the most interesting changes in the country have been happening in North Dakota in just the past few years. When we compare North Dakota’s long term trends from before the Bakken boom to those afterwards, the change has been dramatic. For decades the state experienced out-migration of its young adult population, leaving it an older state with about three-fifths of its population in the eastern half, closest to Minnesota. With the in-migration of workers, the state has seen a surge in the population of young adults shifting the center of the state’s population westward. North Dakota has quickly gone from being an older than average state to one of the youngest. As of 2013, North Dakota is estimated to have the highest percentage of residents between the age of 20 and 24, nearly 10 percent of the state’s total population. When we combine the age ranges 20 through 34 to get an idea of the percentage that young adults make up of a given state, North Dakota is second only to Alaska.  This in-migration of young adults has also made the state more racially and ethnically diverse than it was a few short years ago.

Who’s behind the ND Census Office?
Kevin Iverson has served as the Manager of the ND Census Office in a full-time capacity since June, 2013.  He is responsible for monitoring and interpreting the various demographic and social-economic measures in the state’s rapidly changing environment. His education includes both a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration from UND. Kevin retired from the United States Army at the rank of lieutenant colonel with 23 years of service in 2005.

Joe Cicha has been with the ND Census Office from the start transferring from the Economic Development and Finance Division of Commerce where he was a member of the research team.  He works on the daily operations of the ND Census Office including responding to data requests, website content, mapping, database work, and reporting. He too graduated from UND with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology with additional coursework in computer science and geography.

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