People problems: Jamestown region’s population down according to 2012 estimatesWhile the overall population of North Dakota has increased by about 4 percent in the past two years, the population of the rural counties in central North Dakota has declined, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau Thursday.
By: By Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
While the overall population of North Dakota has increased by about 4 percent in the past two years, the population of the rural counties in central North Dakota has declined, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau Thursday.
The North Dakota population increased from 672,591 to 699,628 — a difference of 27,037 — when the actual 2010 census is compared to the estimates made by the Census Bureau on July 1, 2012. The population increases were widespread with only 15 of the 53 counties showing decreases.
“This is a change from five or 10 years ago when few counties showed increases and the vast majority were down in population,” said Rod Backman, a member of the North Dakota Census Committee.
The eight-county area including Barnes, Dickey, Eddy, Foster, Logan, LaMoure, Kidder and Stutsman declined from 51,749 in 2010 to 51,441 in 2012. The decline amounted to 308 people or about 0.6 percent.
“The decline is small in comparison to our population,” said Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen. The Jamestown population comprises more than 75 percent of the Stutsman County population making the city the biggest component of the county population.
Andersen also said any estimates such as this are commonly subject to a margin of error.
“The estimates are largely based on vital records and tax returns,” Backman said. “There is a lag in the tax records and it doesn’t show all the growth from the last years.”
Vital records indicate that deaths outnumber births in this area. The eight-county area recorded 1,419 deaths and 1,095 births for a net decline in population of about 324 people.
In Stutsman County deaths outpaced births with 546 deaths and 480 margins for a loss of 66 people.
“When we consider the aging population that isn’t too bad,” Andersen said. “We attract older people from the other surrounding counties because of our health care and other services.”
Migration in the eight-county region has been positive overall with a net migration of 27 more people moving into the region than out.
The region saw a net of 82 people from outside the United States move to the area. Migration within the United States saw 55 more people leave the area than moved to the region.
In Stutsman County, the net immigration from foreign countries added 20 people to the population while American outmigration cost the county 114 people.
Andersen said the population trends could reverse themselves in the next two to five years as several economic development projects move forward.
Backman said population estimates for cities in North Dakota will be available in about two months.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at email@example.com