Demographics provide an understanding of population size and composition by characteristics such as age, gender, and race.

What's Happening

  • North Dakota’s population reached 783,926 in 2023. This is an increase of 5,014 people from the 2022 revised estimate of 778,912.
  • Cass County leads North Dakota counties in population increase by adding 3,649 residents during this time period. Williams County followed Cass County in population gain with an addition of 1,147 people and Burleigh County added 616 people.
  • Percentage wise, Williams County leads the North Dakota counties in percent of population growth (3%) from 2022 to 2023 and the Williston micropolitan area, which is comprised of Williams County, is among the five fastest-growing U.S. micropolitan areas during the same time period. This is remarkable, considering that Williams County lost population the previous two years (-2,683 people in 2021 and -533 people in 2022). McKenzie County also increased its population by 2.6 percent from 2022 to 2023 after only a small increase of 0.2 percent in the previous year and a loss of 6.2 percent in 2021.

Making connections

The population growth in the state, especially among young adults, has strengthened North Dakota’s workforce and revitalized the state’s natural increase through more births.  This will have long-term implications for the state.  One important consequence will be a growing demand for housing, especially in western North Dakota where energy development activity has overwhelmed existing housing stock.  The greatly expanding number of births will increase the number of children and youth in the state, thereby creating increased demand for childcare and educational facilities. On the other end of the age spectrum, the leading edge of the baby boom cohort moved into the 65 year old bracket which has long-term implications for health providers.  These and other issues need to be monitored over time.


Louise Dardis: North Dakota needs you to complete Census 2020 to receive equitable funding when every resident is counted.

“Why is there such a big push to have every North Dakota resident counted in Census 2020? The Census determines equal representation in the political process. Although the North Dakota Congressional delegation will not change, two senators and one representative are the minimum for a state, the local political districts may change as they are based upon resident counts from the most current Census data. The results or participation in the Census 2020 will determine your local representation at the state level for the next 10 years. ”

Ina Cernusca and Karen Olson: Behind the scenes – The story of the North Dakota State Legislative District Profiles.

“The State Legislative District Profiles are intended to encourage dialogue among legislators, members of government agencies, community-based organizations, educators, individuals, and businesses about how to best support communities and residents in North Dakota. The profiles add value to both of our programs by providing data at a different level of geography than they historically provided (i.e., state, planning region, tribal area, and county).”

Ina Cernusca: Key demographic trends in North Dakota.

“North Dakota’s population overall has changed dramatically during the past 18 years. In the 60 years from 1940 to 2000, the state’s population remained relatively steady, averaging about 635,000 people. From 2000 to 2018 however, the state’s population increased by about 118,000 people (which, for comparison, was the population of Fargo in 2015), reaching 760,077 people. Energy development had a significant impact on population change within the state. Substantial in-migration of young workers and an increase in the number of births has resulted in unprecedented population growth.” 

Ina Cernusca: 2019 Compass Points: Setting direction for improving the quality of life in North Dakota.

“The annual indicator report includes data and analysis about notable trends, key demographics, and a dashboard look at measures of progress in key topic areas in North Dakota…The goal of this publication is to provide data and analysis to better identify and build understanding about the issues and opportunities facing the state of North Dakota.”

additional data sources

Much of the data in this section are compiled from the Census Bureau's intercensal estimates. Get links to other credible sources.

North Dakota Compass

Center for Social Research
North Dakota State University

Compass created by:
Wilder Research

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