Grand Forks, North Dakota Population 2020
Grand Forks is a city located in the state of North Dakota. It is the county seat for Grand Forks County. It is the oldest major city in both North Dakota and South Dakota. The city has a very diverse economy, and it is a cultural center of the region. The city’s estimated population is 56,948.
Grand Forks History
The region that is now Grand Forks was once a trading and meeting spot for Native Americans. Early French explorers came to the area, which they called Les Grandes Fourches (or The Grand Forks) to trade fur during the 18th century. When the 19th century arrived, the trader Alexander Henry created a temporary camp and a few years later, established a permanent post. Hudson’s Bay Company and the American Fur Company operated at this post. Later in the 19th century, the first post office was established, and the city’s name was changed to Grand Forks.
Other cities in the state relied on the railroad, but Grand Forks served as a steamboat port. In 1870, a steamboat froze in the Red River, and the captain claimed a piece of property that would later become the downtown area of Grand Forks.
The community grew quite quickly. The town’s first newspaper went to print in 1875 with another paper beginning just four years later. Grand Forks was incorporated as a city in 1881. Steamboat traffic, immigration and the arrival of the Great Northern Railway and the Northern Pacific Railway led to substantial growth. Most of the original settlers were farmers, but soon professionals and merchants came from Minneapolis and other cities to live in Grand Forks. Toward the end of the 19th century, brick buildings were constructed, including the Hotel Dacotah. The University of North Dakota was also founded around this time.
By the 20th century, the city was a center for transportation, education, health care, culture, and entertainment. New neighborhoods were constructed to keep up with the growing population. The city continued to expand with the addition of the North Dakota Mill and Elevator and Grand Forks Air Force Base, which brought new jobs and new residents to the area.
Toward the end of the 20th century, the suburban areas began to grow. Urban renewal projects were launched within the city limits to develop new schools, commercial centers, and a hospital. However, disaster struck in 1997 when the Red River flooded. The flood and fire were destructive to the city and led to the creation of a flood wall that was completed in 2006.
In recent years, the city has only continued to grow in terms of new developments and the population. This includes the construction of the Ralph Engelstad Arena, the Alerus City, homes, and additional commercial development.
Grand Forks Population Size and Density
Grand Forks Population and Economy Statistics
People between the ages of 25 and 44 make up the largest age group at 25.1% of the population. Over 18% of people in Grand Forks are under 18, while just over 10% are at least 65 years old. There are slightly more males than females in Grand Forks, with men making up 51.2% of the population. Approximately 14.6% of residents live under the federal poverty line.
The city’s economy is reliant on multiple industries, including agriculture, education, health care, manufacturing and food processing. The largest employer in Grand Forks is the Altru Health System, which employs over 4,000 people. Other major employers include the Grand Forks Air Force Base, the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks Public Schools, and Valley Memorial Home.
Grand Forks Population Growth
Grand Forks has seen its population rise through the years primarily because of the opportunities offered for education and jobs, as well as a low unemployment rate. The city’s population was over 10,000 by the time of the 1910 census. This number had more than doubled by the 1950 census. The city’s population exhibited growth in the double-digit percentages until the 2000 census, when a drop was recorded. However, the next 10-year census showed that the population had not just rebounded but had exceeded 50,000. The most recent estimates indicate that the population has grown by 8.5% since the 2010 census.
Grand Forks Demographics
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Grand Forks was:
- White: 85.61%
- Black or African American: 4.39%
- Asian: 3.12%
- Native American: 2.75%
- Two or more races: 2.17%
- Other race: 1.87%
- Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.10%