Extension and Ag Research News


North Dakota Housing Units Continue to Rise Despite Little Change in Population

Housing units in North Dakota have grown by nearly three-fourths since 1950.

North Dakota’s population has seen relatively little change during the past 55 years. However, housing units in North Dakota have grown by nearly three-fourths since 1950.

This month’s “Population Bulletin,” a monthly publication from the North Dakota State Data Center at North Dakota State University, presents the July 1, 2005, housing unit estimates released from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Division.

These estimates reveal a continuing rise in North Dakota’s established housing trend. In 1950, housing units totaled 175,769, compared with 289,677 in 2000. This represents a 64.8 percent increase during this 50-year period. Current estimates suggest another 5.1 percent growth from 2000 through 2005, reaching 304,458 housing units. On the other hand, the state’s population grew 3.6 percent from 1950 to 2000 and dropped 0.8 percent from 2000 through 2005.

Changes in household composition help explain the apparent contradiction between a stable population and a substantial increase in housing. In 1950, the average household size was 3.7 people, compared with 2.4 people today.

“Although a drop from 3.7 to 2.4 people per household does not sound impressive, it is substantial when you realize there were 270,437 households (occupied housing units) in the state in 2005,” says Richard Rathge, State Data Center director. “This means that if we had the same people per household in 2005 as we did in 1950 (3.7 percent), we would have 1,000,616 people in the state rather than the 636,677 reported by the Census Bureau.”

In 1950, 9.1 percent of households only had one person, compared with 29.3 percent today. In part, this reflects a growing proportion of elderly in the state. In 2000, nearly 40 percent of the people living alone were 65 or older.

Larger metropolitan areas are the largest contributors to growth in housing in North Dakota. From 2000 through 2005, 71.1 percent of all growth statewide was attributed to Cass and Burleigh counties.

Nationally, housing grew 7.4 percent from 2000 through 2005, with states in the southwest and southeast having the largest percentage gains.

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Richard Rathge, (701) 231-8621, richard.rathge@ndsu.edu
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136, richard.mattern@ndsu.edu


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