North Dakota Population 2018


In the far north of the United States and located along the border of Canada, North Dakota is a sizeable territory with some interesting population statistics. In terms of its size, North Dakota is the 19th largest state in the country, but it is extremely sparsely populated by comparison. North Dakota has an estimated population in 2018 of 755,238, up considerably from 672,000 recorded in 2010. The current growth rate is an astounding 1.99%, which ranks 2nd in the nation.

The last set of confirmed statistics for the North Dakota population can be supplied by the national census of 2010. The survey ultimately showed that there were 672,591 people residing in the state, and that reflected a modest rise of 4.7% on the numbers declared at the census of 2000. The estimated 2018 population of North Dakota was placed at 755,238, which makes it the 3rd least populous state in the country.

North Dakota has a surface area of 70,700 square miles (183,272 square kilometers), and for every square mile of land, there is an average of just 9.7 people. Overall the figures combine to make North Dakota only the 47th most densely populated state in the entire country.

Fargo remains the largest city in the state with a population of 118,523.

North Dakota Population History

North Dakota was admitted as a State on November 2, 1889 with essentially its present boundaries. It was formed from Dakota Territory, organized in 1861 (for Dakota's earlier history, see the State note for South Dakota).

In 1850 census coverage of present-day North Dakota was limited to a few settlements in what was then Minnesota Territory. In 1860, some forts and settlements in the present State were enumerated in Nebraska Territory as well as in Dakota, which was not yet organized. No determination has been made to assign the 1860 Dakota total of 4,837 to what became the two separate States. Census coverage first included the whole State in 1890.

The 1870 and 1880 populations consist of the totals of those counties of Dakota Territory located wholly or primarily in what is now North Dakota, plus (in 1870) an estimated portion of the Territory's unorganized part. The 1890 total includes the population (4,206) of the entire Standing Rock Indian Reservation, much of which was in South Dakota.

North Dakota Population Chart

North Dakota Population History

The history of North Dakota’s population tells a very interesting story. In 1870, the population totaled a mere 2,405. An explosion in numbers followed, and just ten years later, the census of 1880 showed that an increase of over 1,000% had taken those figures to 36,909.

That sort of population spike just couldn’t be sustained, even in a state as vast and empty as North Dakota, but further healthy increases followed over the course of the next forty years, and in 1920, figures were confirmed at 646,872.

From 1923 onwards, net migration out of the state had an adverse effect on the North Dakota population. In a state that was almost exclusively rural, employment opportunities were limited, and it is widely acknowledged that younger people with university educations left in droves rather than take up the risky life of subsistence farming.

As a result, population figures fluctuated greatly in North Dakota in the latter half of the 20th century, and increases at one census were often met with falls ten years later. Despite this, natural growth within the country stayed healthy, and the last two census surveys have indicated overall increases in numbers.

North Dakota Population Projections

As a result of these fluctuations, the population of North Dakota in 2016 is a little hard to predict, but based on a pattern of modest increase, it is estimated to have reached over 750,000.

However, the census of 2020 is needed to confirm whether that growth will be sustained or whether a further drop in numbers has been recorded. It's important to keep in mind that North Dakota is currently enjoying one of the highest growth rates in the United States, second only to the District of Columbia. Estimates show that North Dakota's population will finally break 800,000 by 2020, hitting the 1 million mark by 2040.

Population Data via US Census

North Dakota Growth Rate

North Dakota Population Rank

Year Pop % Change

North Dakota Facts

North Dakota Population in 2018Source: Bobak Ha'Eri

  • The first settlements were built around Pembina in 1812 by the Scottish and the Irish.
  • North Dakota is considered the most rural US state, as over 90% of its land is used for farming.
  • The state is named after the Dakota Indians who lived on the land prior to European settlement.
  • North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate -- 3.2% -- in the entire country.
  • An oil boom in the Bakken fields made North Dakota the fastest-growing state in 2012.
  • North Dakota is the least-visited state in the US.
  • North Dakota is the only state to have never experienced an earthquake.
  • The state is the second top producer of oil in the US, only falling behind Texas.
  • The state is the largest producer of honey in the nation.

North Dakota Population Density by County

Cass County

  • Population174,625
  • Density98.94 per sq km
  • Growth Since 201016.26%
  • State Rank1
  • % of State23.11%

North Dakota Population Growth Rate by County

Data taken from the 2010 Census and US Census Bureau estimates from 2015 shows some very interesting population growth patterns in the state of North Dakota. When comparing this data, it shows that all but two of the counties along the western border of the state had increases in population during the 5-year period. Further, this pattern of growth extended across the western region, heading toward the center of the state. Many counties saw significant growth during this time period, lead by McKenzie County which recorded an astounding 100.44% rate of growth. Trailing behind is Williams County, with a smaller but still impressive 56.26% growth rate. Dunn County, Stark County, and Mountrail posted over 30% of growth during this time, while there were other counties that had growth rates ranging from less than 1% to over 20%.

A few counties in the state, found along the easter border and in the south, had declines in population. The largest loss was recorded in Nelson at 4.87%, while Griggs, Dickey, Cavalier, and Logan were among the others that had populations that were lower in 2015 than those recorded at the time of the 2010 Census.

North Dakota Population Pyramid 2018

0k2k4k6k8kNorth Dakota Male Population0k2k4k6k8kNorth Dakota Female Population80757065605550454035302520151050

To compare North Dakota to other states, click here.

Population by Race

Race Population
American Indian and Alaska Native41,649
Two or More Races21,588
Black or African American19,250
Some Other Race5,114
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander233

North Dakota is one of the largest resettlement regions for refugees, taking in over 68 refugees per 100,000 residents. The population of North Dakota has a much smaller percentage of minorities than the United States as a whole, excluding Native Americans. The state's percentage of African American residents is ranked 46 out of 50 states. Its population of Asian Americans is also ranked as one of the ten lowest in the nation.

Data from the US Census Bureau shows that there is a significant population of Native Americans in the state of North Dakota. In terms of the population of Native American inhabitants, North Dakota ranked 19th out of 50 states. It terms of percentage of the state's total population, North Dakota ranked 6th based on data from the 2010 Census.

Most residents from North Dakota are of Northern European descent, and the most common ancestries include: German (47.2%), Norwegian (30.8%), Irish (7.7%), Swedish (4.7%), Russian (4.1%) and French (4.1%).

Race Data via US Census (2016 ACS 1-Year Survey)

Languages Spoken in North Dakota

Language Population Percentage

This chart shows the top 10 languages that are spoken at home in North Dakota. The data comes from the most recent release of the American Community Survey (ACS).

North Dakota Economy

High school graduate or higher 91.3%
Bachelor's degree or higher 27.3%
With a Disability 6.7%
Persons Without Health Insurance 9%
In Civilian Labor Force 69.6%
In Civilian Labor Force (Female) 65.4%
Food Services Sales $2,045,123
Health Care Revenue $5,418,355,000
Manufacturers Shipments $14,427,360,000
Merchant Wholesaler Sales $28,150,837,000
Total Retail Sales $15,519,816,000
Total Retail Sales per Capita $22,183
Mean Travel Time to Work 17.1 minutes
Median Household Income $55,579
Per Capita Income (past 12 months) $30,894
Persons in Poverty 11.5%

This chart shows the employment and labor force participation rates in North Dakota for residents over 16 years of age. The 2015 unemployment rate is 2% and the labor force participation rate is 70.3%.

North Dakota Business

Total Nonemployer Establishments 53,588
All firms 68,270
Men-owned Firms 37,016
Women-owned Firms 20,316
Minority-owned Firms 3,190
Nonminority-owned Firms 62,271
Veternan-owned Firms 6,584
Nonveteran-owned Firms 56,904

North Dakota Housing

Housing Units 317,498
Owner Occupied Housing Rate 65.1%
Median Value Owner Occupied Housing Units $142,000
Median Monthly Owner Costs (w/Mortgage) $1,236
Median Monthly Owner Costs (no mortgage) $419
Median Gross Rent $676
Building Permits 6,256
Households 292,616
Persons per Household 2.32 persons
Living in Same House 1 Year Ago 82.5%
Language Other than English Spoken at Home 5.4%
Data Sources
  1. North Dakota Census Office
  2. US Census State Population Estimates - Most recent state estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  3. US Census County Population Estimates - Most recent county estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  4. American Community Survey (2009 - 2013)
  5. Census QuickFacts
  6. Historical Populations of States and Counties (1790 - 1990)