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Census Estimates Slight Decline in Pierce County

By Staff | Apr 1, 2016

In the 2010 U.S. census, Pierce County’s population was an estimated 4,357 people.

Recent estimates, however, have shown a slight decline.

Census estimates place Pierce County’s population at 4,312 as of July 1, 2015. The number is a 1 percent decrease from 2010.

N.D. Census Office Manager Kevin Iverson said that since 2010, Pierce County has seen a net gain of 47 people and a net loss of 57. Components of the change in the county’s population include more deaths than births and a small amount of outmigration (people moving out of one area). Iverson also said that Pierce County had a large number of residents in older demographics, with the largest group in the age 50-54 demographic.

Two counties on the southern border of Pierce County have shown similar rates of decline according to census estimates. As of July 1, 2015, Sheridan County’s population-an estimated 1,310 people-has decreased by 0.8 percent from 2010 numbers (1,321). Iverson said that, similar to Pierce County, Sheridan also had a small amount of outmigration as well as a high elderly population. In Wells County, the population is estimated to have decreased by 0.9 percent, or from 4,207 in 2010 to 4,168 as of July 1, 2015.

But several neighboring counties have shown growth.

To the west, McHenry County showed a 10.6 percent increase, or from 5,395 in 2010 to 5,968 in 2015. Iverson said the change in McHenry County’s population may be driven by growth in the oil patch, as well as leftover impact from the 2011 flood.

To the east, Benson County grew by 1.4 percent. To the north, Bottineau County is estimated to have grown by 4.5 percent and Rolette County by 5.1 percent.

Iverson said, however, the July 2015 estimates are just that, estimates.

“One year’s data doesn’t support a trend,” Iverson said. “We won’t know the real data until the next decennial census.”

Population estimates are used for federal fund allocations, as controls for major surveys, for community development, to aid business planning and as denominators for statistical rates. Estimates are produced by taking the population base from the last census, adding births, subtracting deaths and adding migrations.

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