Fastest-growing counties in North Dakota

Written by:
July 1, 2022
Guy William // Shutterstock

Fastest-growing counties in North Dakota

Why do people move from one county or region to another? The usual suspects are jobs, family, significant others, and overall cost of living, but there are other elements at play. For those with children, moving within close proximity of a highly rated school district is a key contributing factor. For younger adults just starting out, living someplace with a vibrant social scene might be a top priority. And for those whose careers have wound down after a lifetime of work, finding retirement-friendly communities is the goal—communities deemed to be safe, offer accessibility to medical resources and leisure activities in equal measure, and be affordable for those on a limited income.

This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive list. People’s reasons for choosing to live where they do are as diverse as people themselves.

As far as why certain counties across the U.S. have experienced growth, relocation is not the sole, or even primary, reason why. While more than 1,800 counties saw population gains in 2021, approximately 73% of all U.S. counties saw what the U.S. Census Bureau characterizes as a natural decrease. This was a significant jump from 2020, when 55.5% of countries experienced such a decrease. According to the Bureau, natural decrease is the simple result of “when there are more deaths than births in a population over a given time period.” In 2021, the conflation of fewer births with an aging population that was also absorbing a higher-than-usual mortality rate due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to this “increased decrease.”

Nonetheless, as stated 1,800 counties nationwide have grown larger over the last year, and a sizable percentage of them are in North Dakota. Stacker compiled a list of the fastest-growing counties in North Dakota using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the highest population growth from 2010 to 2020, based on the U.S. Decennial Census.

You may also like: What North Dakota's immigrant population looked like in 1900

1 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Walsh County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -556
--- #2,205 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -5.0%
--- #38 among counties in North Dakota, #2,330 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 10,563
--- #14 largest county in North Dakota, #2,374 largest county nationwide
2 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Pierce County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -367
--- #1,998 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -8.4%
--- #49 among counties in North Dakota, #2,747 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 3,990
--- #27 largest county in North Dakota, #2,888 largest county nationwide
3 / 50
USFWS Mountain-Prairie // Wikimedia Common

#48. Dickey County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -290
--- #1,906 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -5.5%
--- #41 among counties in North Dakota, #2,401 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 4,999
--- #24 largest county in North Dakota, #2,823 largest county nationwide
4 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Cavalier County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -289
--- #1,900 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -7.2%
--- #46 among counties in North Dakota, #2,644 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 3,704
--- #31 largest county in North Dakota, #2,907 largest county nationwide
5 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#46. McIntosh County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -279
--- #1,882 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -9.9%
--- #51 among counties in North Dakota, #2,859 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,530
--- #36 largest county in North Dakota, #2,992 largest county nationwide

You may also like: Cities in North Dakota with the most living in poverty

6 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Sioux County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -255
--- #1,848 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -6.1%
--- #44 among counties in North Dakota, #2,491 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 3,898
--- #29 largest county in North Dakota, #2,896 largest county nationwide
7 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Emmons County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -249
--- #1,841 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -7.0%
--- #45 among counties in North Dakota, #2,619 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 3,301
--- #33 largest county in North Dakota, #2,942 largest county nationwide
8 / 50
{{{1}}} // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Wells County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -225
--- #1,812 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -5.3%
--- #40 among counties in North Dakota, #2,373 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 3,982
--- #28 largest county in North Dakota, #2,891 largest county nationwide
9 / 50
chief_huddleston // Wikimedia Commons

#42. Barnes County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -213
--- #1,794 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.9%
--- #31 among counties in North Dakota, #1,831 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 10,853
--- #13 largest county in North Dakota, #2,354 largest county nationwide
10 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Renville County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -188
--- #1,751 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -7.6%
--- #47 among counties in North Dakota, #2,682 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,282
--- #42 largest county in North Dakota, #3,020 largest county nationwide

You may also like: Counties with the lowest hospital bed capacity in North Dakota

11 / 50
Calvin Beale // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Steele County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -177
--- #1,739 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -9.0%
--- #50 among counties in North Dakota, #2,786 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 1,798
--- #49 largest county in North Dakota, #3,059 largest county nationwide
12 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Bowman County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -158
--- #1,715 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -5.0%
--- #39 among counties in North Dakota, #2,333 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,993
--- #35 largest county in North Dakota, #2,958 largest county nationwide
13 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Adams County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -143
--- #1,689 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -6.1%
--- #43 among counties in North Dakota, #2,482 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,200
--- #44 largest county in North Dakota, #3,024 largest county nationwide
14 / 50
Andrew Filer from Seattle (ex-Minneapolis) // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Traill County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -124
--- #1,658 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.5%
--- #28 among counties in North Dakota, #1,749 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 7,997
--- #18 largest county in North Dakota, #2,578 largest county nationwide
15 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Griggs County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -114
--- #1,648 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -4.7%
--- #37 among counties in North Dakota, #2,278 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,306
--- #40 largest county in North Dakota, #3,015 largest county nationwide

You may also like: Most diverse counties in North Dakota

16 / 50
Jerry Huddleston // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Logan County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -114
--- #1,648 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -5.7%
--- #42 among counties in North Dakota, #2,434 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 1,876
--- #48 largest county in North Dakota, #3,050 largest county nationwide
17 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Nelson County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -111
--- #1,643 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -3.6%
--- #33 among counties in North Dakota, #2,082 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 3,015
--- #34 largest county in North Dakota, #2,957 largest county nationwide
18 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Grant County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -93
--- #1,624 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -3.9%
--- #35 among counties in North Dakota, #2,147 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,301
--- #41 largest county in North Dakota, #3,016 largest county nationwide
19 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Towner County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -84
--- #1,607 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -3.7%
--- #34 among counties in North Dakota, #2,119 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,162
--- #46 largest county in North Dakota, #3,029 largest county nationwide
20 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Mercer County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -74
--- #1,591 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.9%
--- #25 among counties in North Dakota, #1,634 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 8,350
--- #17 largest county in North Dakota, #2,551 largest county nationwide

You may also like: North Dakota is the #10 state where delivery drivers are paid the most

21 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Sheridan County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -56
--- #1,571 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -4.2%
--- #36 among counties in North Dakota, #2,200 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 1,265
--- #51 largest county in North Dakota, #3,093 largest county nationwide
22 / 50
USFWS Mountain-Prairie // Wikimedia Common

#29. Bottineau County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -50
--- #1,559 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.8%
--- #24 among counties in North Dakota, #1,612 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 6,379
--- #20 largest county in North Dakota, #2,706 largest county nationwide
23 / 50
Publichall // Wikimedia Commons

#28. McHenry County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -50
--- #1,559 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.9%
--- #26 among counties in North Dakota, #1,644 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 5,345
--- #23 largest county in North Dakota, #2,790 largest county nationwide
24 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#27. LaMoure County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -46
--- #1,549 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.1%
--- #27 among counties in North Dakota, #1,669 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 4,093
--- #26 largest county in North Dakota, #2,880 largest county nationwide
25 / 50
northlight // Shutterstock

#26. Kidder County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -41
--- #1,544 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.7%
--- #30 among counties in North Dakota, #1,780 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,394
--- #38 largest county in North Dakota, #3,009 largest county nationwide

You may also like: Highest NFL draft picks from North Dakota

26 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Eddy County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -38
--- #1,540 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.6%
--- #29 among counties in North Dakota, #1,766 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,347
--- #39 largest county in North Dakota, #3,012 largest county nationwide
27 / 50
Bjr97543 // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Slope County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -21
--- #1,515 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -2.9%
--- #32 among counties in North Dakota, #1,983 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 706
--- #53 largest county in North Dakota, #3,125 largest county nationwide
28 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Hettinger County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +12
--- #1,473 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.5%
--- #23 among counties in North Dakota, #1,415 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,489
--- #37 largest county in North Dakota, #2,996 largest county nationwide
29 / 50
David Becker // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Oliver County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +31
--- #1,452 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.7%
--- #18 among counties in North Dakota, #1,233 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 1,877
--- #47 largest county in North Dakota, #3,049 largest county nationwide
30 / 50
JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Sargent County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +33
--- #1,451 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.9%
--- #22 among counties in North Dakota, #1,354 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 3,862
--- #30 largest county in North Dakota, #2,898 largest county nationwide

You may also like: Most rural counties in North Dakota

31 / 50
Matt // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Foster County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +54
--- #1,427 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.6%
--- #19 among counties in North Dakota, #1,240 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 3,397
--- #32 largest county in North Dakota, #2,929 largest county nationwide
32 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Golden Valley County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +56
--- #1,423 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.3%
--- #16 among counties in North Dakota, #1,014 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 1,736
--- #50 largest county in North Dakota, #3,063 largest county nationwide
33 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Divide County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +124
--- #1,376 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.0%
--- #14 among counties in North Dakota, #720 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,195
--- #45 largest county in North Dakota, #3,025 largest county nationwide
34 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Ramsey County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +154
--- #1,355 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.3%
--- #20 among counties in North Dakota, #1,274 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 11,605
--- #12 largest county in North Dakota, #2,306 largest county nationwide
35 / 50
Randall Runtsch // Shutterstock

#16. Billings County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +162
--- #1,349 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +20.7%
--- #8 among counties in North Dakota, #103 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 945
--- #52 largest county in North Dakota, #3,106 largest county nationwide

You may also like: Counties most concerned about climate change in North Dakota

36 / 50
w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Richland County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +208
--- #1,325 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.3%
--- #21 among counties in North Dakota, #1,291 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 16,529
--- #9 largest county in North Dakota, #2,003 largest county nationwide
37 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Burke County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +233
--- #1,307 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +11.8%
--- #11 among counties in North Dakota, #332 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,201
--- #43 largest county in North Dakota, #3,023 largest county nationwide
38 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Ransom County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +246
--- #1,300 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.5%
--- #15 among counties in North Dakota, #878 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 5,703
--- #22 largest county in North Dakota, #2,760 largest county nationwide
39 / 50
Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Stutsman County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +493
--- #1,150 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.3%
--- #17 among counties in North Dakota, #1,137 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 21,593
--- #8 largest county in North Dakota, #1,732 largest county nationwide
40 / 50
Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Dunn County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +559
--- #1,129 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +15.8%
--- #9 among counties in North Dakota, #201 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 4,095
--- #25 largest county in North Dakota, #2,878 largest county nationwide

You may also like: See how North Dakota will be affected if Roe v. Wade is overturned

41 / 50
JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#10. McLean County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +809
--- #1,056 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +9.0%
--- #13 among counties in North Dakota, #483 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 9,771
--- #16 largest county in North Dakota, #2,431 largest county nationwide
42 / 50
Andrew Filer from Seattle (ex-Minneapolis) // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Mountrail County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,136
--- #800 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +27.8%
--- #4 among counties in North Dakota, #47 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 9,809
--- #15 largest county in North Dakota, #2,428 largest county nationwide
43 / 50
Bob Pool // Shutterstock

#8. Morton County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +5,820
--- #541 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +21.2%
--- #6 among counties in North Dakota, #95 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 33,291
--- #7 largest county in North Dakota, #1,349 largest county nationwide
44 / 50
Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

#7. Grand Forks County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +6,309
--- #525 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +9.4%
--- #12 among counties in North Dakota, #454 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 73,170
--- #3 largest county in North Dakota, #753 largest county nationwide
45 / 50
Yosoyana // Shutterstock

#6. Ward County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +8,244
--- #480 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +13.4%
--- #10 among counties in North Dakota, #269 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 69,919
--- #4 largest county in North Dakota, #773 largest county nationwide

You may also like: Highest rated beer in North Dakota

46 / 50
Xerxes2004 // Wikimedia Commons

#5. McKenzie County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +8,344
--- #475 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +131.2%
--- #1 among counties in North Dakota, #1 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 14,704
--- #10 largest county in North Dakota, #2,106 largest county nationwide
47 / 50
Cavan-Images // Shutterstock

#4. Stark County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +9,447
--- #442 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +39.0%
--- #3 among counties in North Dakota, #18 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 33,646
--- #6 largest county in North Dakota, #1,338 largest county nationwide
48 / 50
Joseph Sohm // Shutterstock

#3. Burleigh County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +17,150
--- #319 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +21.1%
--- #7 among counties in North Dakota, #98 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 98,458
--- #2 largest county in North Dakota, #617 largest county nationwide
49 / 50
JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Williams County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +18,552
--- #308 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +82.8%
--- #2 among counties in North Dakota, #2 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 40,950
--- #5 largest county in North Dakota, #1,162 largest county nationwide
50 / 50
Guy William // Shutterstock

#1. Cass County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +34,747
--- #183 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +23.2%
--- #5 among counties in North Dakota, #84 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 184,525
--- #1 largest county in North Dakota, #363 largest county nationwide

You may also like: Counties with the most veterans in North Dakota

Trending Now