Bismarck is a city located in Burleigh County, North Dakota. With a 2020 population of 74,162, it is the 2nd largest city in North Dakota (after Fargo) and the 489th largest city in the United States. Bismarck is currently growing at a rate of 0.71% annually and its population has increased by 21.04% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 61,272 in 2010. Spanning over 35 miles, Bismarck has a population density of 2,162 people per square mile.
The average household income in Bismarck is $81,591 with a poverty rate of 9.50%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $850 per month, and the median house value is $234,500. The median age in Bismarck is 37.1 years, 35.3 years for males, and 40.1 years for females. For every 100 females there are 98.3 males.
This city has a relatively short history, only being founded toward the end of the 19th century but it has grown quite quickly and has even in recent years been named one of the fastest-growing small cities in the nation.
The city’s top employer is Sanford Health, which employs 25,000 people across multiple states. The State of North Dakota, St. Alexius Medical Center, Bismarck Public School, and the federal government are other top employers, each providing thousands of jobs to residents of Bismarck and surrounding areas.
Bismarck Population Growth
The city of Bismarck’s boundaries and population have only continued to expand since it was founded, and this trend shows no sign of slowing down. By the 1930s, the city’s population had grown to more than 11,000 people. By 1960, that number had more than doubled. The city’s population reached over 50,000 at the time of the 2000 census and grew to over 61,000 at the next census. Current estimates show that the population has increased by over 18% since the last census in 2010, indicating that this city has much growth still in its future.
The region that is now Bismarck was first inhabited by indigenous tribes dating back thousands of years. It was in 1872 when the Europeans founded the settlement that would one day become Bismarck. The town was called Edwinton after Northern Pacific Railway engineer Edwin Ferry Johnson. However, the Northern Pacific Railway changed the name to Bismarck after the German chancellor Otto con Bismarck. This was in efforts to bring in German immigrants to work and invest in the railroad.
The city began to grow significantly in the mid-1870s when gold was discovered in the Black Hills. The city attracted many miners, which was great for growth. However, it did contribute to tensions with the Lakota tribe. The tribe felt as though the new settlers were invading sacred territory.
In 1883, Bismarck was named as the capital of the Dakota Territory. At the end of the decade, after North Dakota was made a state, Bismarck was named as the state capital. Throughout the 19th century and into the 20th century, the city continued to see its population rise. The city constructed its state capitol building, which later burned in 1930. During the Great Depression, the city built another capitol in the city center, which is the tallest building in both the city and the state.
In 1953, Garrison Dam was built to prevent floods, and the floodplain area of the city now was suitable for development. Residential and commercial buildings were erected as the city, and its population continued to grow.
In modern times, the city’s northern area has seen substantial growth with the addition of retail shopping centers. The city’s major shopping center, Kirkwood Mall, was constructed in the city center and has since expanded to include other major retail stores in the area. There are also two hospitals and multiple restaurants that have been developed in the growing downtown area.