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Census: Grand Forks County grew by 199 people over last year

Like most North Dakota counties, Grand Forks County saw little change in its population last year, according to recently released numbers from the U.S. Census.

Like most North Dakota counties, Grand Forks County saw little change in its population last year, according to recently released numbers from the U.S. Census.

The county had an estimated population of 70,795 residents as of July 1, adding 199 people since July 2016, according to Census estimates released last week. That amounts to a growth rate of about 0.3 percent in a year.

Cass County counted 177,787 people in July, a gain of 3,162 people, or 1.8 percent, from 2016, according to the estimates. That was the largest 2017 numerical gain in the state, but not in percentage growth, according to a Herald analysis.

Oliver County, in central North Dakota, had an estimated 1,940 residents in July, gaining 42 people for a growth of 2.2 percent. Cass County, which is home to Fargo, came in second for percentage growth.

Grand Forks, Cass and Oliver counties bucked a statewide loss that was felt in most counties. North Dakota lost 155 people from 2016 to last year, the first time the state saw a population drop in 15 years, according to Census numbers released in December. That meant North Dakota had 755,393 residents as of July.

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"We clearly took a pause in our growth," said Kevin Iverson, manager of the Census Office in North Dakota.

Overall, growth in the state has leveled off in recent years after its oil boom slowed in the mid-2010s. The state that attracted thousands of workers saw outmigration as oil companies laid off employees.

Only 19 counties saw some type of growth from 2016 to 2017, but most of it was at a rate of less than 1 percent. The remaining 34 counties lost residents, with the deepest numeric drop coming from Ward County.

The county that contains Minot had 68,946 residents, a loss of 1,207 residents, or a 1.7 percent decrease, from 2016.

Hettinger County, in southwest North Dakota, had the largest percentage loss. It had 2,483 residents in July, a loss of 116 people or 4.5 percent.

Most counties that lost population saw minimal loss that did not exceed f 2 percent.

Despite what Iverson called a tough year in growth, North Dakota still is doing well for the 2010s. The Census counted 674,499 residents in 2010. That means the state had gained 82,808 people or about 12 percent growth, as of July.

"Considering we are up almost 83,000, we're doing OK," Iverson.

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Grand Forks county has gained about 3,900 people since the 2010 Census, or about 6 percent growth. Grand Forks County has seen its growth taper off in recent years. Its largest gain over the last eight years came in 2013 when the Census estimated it had 69,077 residents, a jump of about 1,500 people from the previous year.

City estimates for 2017 are expected to be released in May.

In the region, Cavalier and Pembina counties lost about 1.3 percent of their population, while Nelson County increased by 1.2 percent. Ramsey, Steele, Walsh and Traill counties stayed about the same.

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