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January 2023

2022 Recap: Data highlighted throughout the year.

North Dakota Compass provides and promotes the use of reliable, accurate, and unbiased demographic, economic, and socio-economic data to support informed decision-making and community engagement in North Dakota. The North Dakota Compass team promotes the use of quality data through presentations, workshops, newsletters, and social media. This article provides a recap of the 2022 Data Highlights.





As we close 2022, we reflect on the data points we highlighted throughout the year. Each month North Dakota Compass uses the Data Highlight feature to present one data point that is most representative for a specific time frame. This feature keeps the website active and presents the opportunity to provide some context to the data for the users’ benefit. In 2022 we highlighted data on the topics of population change at the state, county and city level, change in median age, COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, economic recovery in the aftermath of COVID-19, impact of COVID-19 on households with children, the older adult population, obesity rates, child poverty, housing costs, and graduation rates.

Here are the highlights of 2022:

January – COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among North Dakota adults with children 12 to 17 years old

  • According to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey, overall, from July to October 2021, the main reasons for North Dakota parents/guardians to be hesitant to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 are concern about possible side effects for children, lack of trust in the government, and lack of trust in COVID-19 vaccines.

February – North Dakota’s 2021 population decline

  • U.S. Census Bureau’s population estimates as of July 1st, 2021, show a decline of 4,014 people in North Dakota’s population as compared to the July 1st, 2020 population estimate. This is due to a slightly lower number of births and an increase in the number of deaths as compared to previous years as well as to a larger number of people leaving than entering the state. These changes can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to changing economic circumstances and immigration policies.

March – Households with children mostly spent the Child Tax Credit payments on food

  • According to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey from July 2021 to January 2022, the most reported uses of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments in North Dakota were for basic needs (food, utilities, rent) and savings or paying down debt. Among choices, food consistently ranked first in terms of spending. After food, reported spending over time shows that North Dakota households were more likely to spend CTC payments on school expenses and clothes around the start of school in August and early September, and on utilities and rent from September to the end of 2021.

April – Population change across the state

  • Recently released population estimates at lower levels of geography provide a detailed look into the population change. Out of the state’s 53 counties, 34 lost population from 2020 to 2021. The remaining 19 counties gained population. The highest gain was in Cass County. The Bismarck and Fargo metropolitan areas experienced a population increase from 2020 to 2021. The Grand Forks metropolitan area lost 651 people from 2020 to 2021; a loss due to outmigration.

May – Older adult population

  • The older adult population (age 65 and older) represent 16 percent of the state’s population. According to the U.S. Census ACS 5-year estimates, more than half of them (55%) are people 65-74 years old, 30 percent are 75-84 years old and 15 percent are 85 and older. Although as a percent of the total population this age group has not seen big changes, due to the influx of younger population in the state, the number of older adults is increasing and will likely continue to increase with the aging of the baby boom generation (those born between 1946 and 1964). Taking into consideration regional differences and the trends affecting the older population will help policy makers, health and human services, and community leaders more effectively plan for the needs, challenges and opportunities impacting older residents in North Dakota.

June – Compared to 2011, obesity rates increased for the youngest and oldest North Dakota adults

  • In 2020 obesity was most prevalent in middle aged adults. Adults age 45-54 had the highest obesity rate at 39.3 percent, followed by the 35-44 age group at 37.2 percent and the 55-64 age group at 36.5 percent. The group with the lowest obesity rate was the 18-24 age group at 21.4 percent. However, the obesity rate for this age group doubled since 2011. When comparing obesity rates from 2011 to 2020, obesity rates increased for most adult age groups, most notably for the 18-24 and 65 and older age groups. Obesity increases the likelihood of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain forms of cancer, hypertension, and other chronic diseases and can be prevented with a healthy diet and exercise.

July – Population change in North Dakota cities

  • Among North Dakota cities with a population of 2,500 people or more, the cities of Fargo, West Fargo and Horace collectively gained 1,600 people in the past year (from July 2020 to July 2021) and Bismarck, Mandan and Lincoln jointly increased population by 732. Conversely, continued outmigration due to a downturn in the oil industry, led to population loss in the western part of the state.

August – Half of North Dakota industry sectors starting to recover after immediate effects of pandemic

  • In 2020, all industries in North Dakota saw a decrease in the number of jobs from the previous year. Industries were impacted at varying levels with the change ranging from -2.1 percent in Education and Health related jobs to -23.2 percent in Natural Resources and Mining related jobs. From 2020 to 2021, six of the 13 industries started to see a positive percent change in jobs. Leisure and Hospitality jobs saw the largest positive percent change in jobs, followed by Professional and Business Services, and Manufacturing. The remaining seven industries continued to have a negative percent change in jobs compared to previous year, although each experienced a smaller negative impact.

September – Change in median age in North Dakota’s counties

  • The population in most U.S. 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 largely a result of the aging baby boom generation and increased life expectancy. While North Dakota still looks fairly young overall (35.7 years), in 2021 the median age at the county level ranges from 27.8 to 53.9 years, with 39 of the 53 counties having a median age older than the nation (38.8 years) and seven of those counties having a median age older than 50 years.

October – Two measures to assess child poverty in North Dakota

  • Children are considered in poverty when they live in families with incomes below 100 percent of the poverty threshold. Two of the most accepted measures for determining poverty thresholds in the United States are the Official Poverty Measure and the Supplemental Poverty Measure. While the Supplemental Poverty Measure trends are lower than the Official Poverty Measure for tracking child poverty in North Dakota, both measures show a decline in child poverty over the past decade in the state.

November – Housing costs

  • In North Dakota, housing costs continue to be substantially more of a burden for renters than homeowners. While the percentage of housing cost-burdened homeowners and renters decreased slightly over the past decade, it sharply increased for both in the past two years as the pandemic unfolded. Housing insecurity increased especially for households that experienced a loss of employment income, which made it more likely for them to struggle to pay for usual household expenses such as rent or a mortgage.

December – High school graduation rates

  • After continued educational disruption by the pandemic, the on-time high school graduation rate dropped in North Dakota, overall and by racial and ethnic groups. However, when compared to 2010, disparity gaps still show improvement for Native American and Hispanic students over the past 12 years when compared to White non-Hispanic students. While lower initially compared to other racial group disparity gaps, gaps for Black and Asian students increased in 2022 as compared to 2010.

Check the 2022 Data Highlight Recap infographic and find more details under the 2022 Data Highlight Archive.

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