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.
North Dakota Population Growth
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.
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.
North Dakota Population Projections
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.