Official estimate of Williston population grows 9% in 2011

The Williston Herald describes the Census Bureau’s estimate of 2011 population for North Dakota and key cities in their article Census estimates indicate growth in ND oil patch.

The article says the official estimates are that Williston and Watford City grew by 9% in 2011. 

Official count for the state is 683,932.

Although this is the official data, the real count is likely far higher. The changes in the oil patch are running too fast for the estimates to keep up.

Rod Backman, chairman of the North Dakota Census Committee in the state Department of Commerce


“We have probably 24,000 people living in crew camps. Most of those people, we know, were not counted,”

You can find the data for yourself at the Census Bureau here.

I took a quick look and concluded the pace of change is outrunning the Census Bureau’s ability to track the small-level detail.

For example, here is the estimate for Williston: 2010 population – 14,824; 2011 population – 16,006

Here is the total for Williams county, where Williston is located – 2010 population – 22,560; 2011 population – 24,374

I’m a long distance away, but I can tell from here that those estimates are far too low. The real growth curve is far above 9%.

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