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Published April 06, 2012, 10:46 AM

ND oil patch population is fast-growing

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — New Census Bureau data show that Williston is the fastest-growing "micro area" in the country. Two other western North Dakota oil patch cities — Dickinson and Minot — also made the Top Ten.

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — New Census Bureau data show that Williston is the fastest-growing "micro area" in the country. Two other western North Dakota oil patch cities — Dickinson and Minot — also made the Top Ten.

Micro areas are defined as those containing at least one urban cluster between 10,000 and 50,000 people. Among larger metro areas, Bismarck was 41st in the nation in terms of growth.

Among fastest-growing counties in the country, Williams County in northwest North Dakota ranked third. Stark and Ward counties also were in the Top 25.

Overall, North Dakota's population has grown an estimated 1.7 percent since the 2010 census, to 683,932 people. North Dakota Census Committee Chairman Rod Backman says that isn't a surprise given how the state's economy and workforce have grown.

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