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Published July 26, 2013, 09:00 AM

Study: Williston population growth to continue

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — A new study estimates that Williston's population has doubled since the 2010 census and that the number of people living in the city at the heart of North Dakota's booming oil patch will continue to grow at a fast rate.

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — A new study estimates that Williston's population has doubled since the 2010 census and that the number of people living in the city at the heart of North Dakota's booming oil patch will continue to grow at a fast rate.

The city-sponsored study done by North Dakota State University estimates that between 25,000 and 33,000 people live in Williston, either permanently or temporarily. That's a big jump from the 2010 U.S. Census figure of 14,700 residents, the Williston Herald reported.

New Census Bureau population estimates that came out earlier this year put Williston's population at just under 26,700. The bureau said Williston is the nation's fastest-growing micropolitan area, which is a region with a population between 10,000 and 49,999.

The study's authors, NDSU researchers Nancy Hodur and Dean Bangsund, estimate that Williston's population could reach 44,000 people by 2017.

The influx of people from around the country looking for oil patch jobs has presented many challenges for the region, including a housing crunch. But a bigger population also presents opportunities for many people, and Hodur said estimates generate a lot of interest.

"We've been fielding phone calls from investors, developers and all manner of folks that wanted to know all about these population projections," Hodur said. "It's garnered just a tremendous amount of interest."

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