North Dakota population hits record

UPI

BISMARCK, N.D., Dec. 24 (UPI) — A booming economy in North Dakota, fed largely by the oil boom, is drawing in new residents at a record pace, the state’s governor said.

The state’s population has increased 2.2 percent since last year, the fastest pace of any other state in the nation. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau show the population in North Dakota is 739,482, an all-time high.

“Our economic growth over the last decade continues to keep North Dakotans home, and we are attracting new residents who come for good jobs, a stable economy and a quality of life that is second to none,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said in a statement.

North Dakota catapulted to the No. 2 spot in terms of oil production in part because of output from the state’s Bakken and Three Forks reserve areas. Production in early 2014 passed the 1 million barrel per day mark and now stands at around 1.2 million bpd. More than 90 percent of that comes from Bakken and Three Forks.

Dalrymple said he expects oil production to increase by as much as 15 percent through mid-2017, generating around $8 billion in production tax revenue for the state.

The state’s budget for the next two years is based on a domestic crude oil price in the mid $70 range next year and closer to $80 beyond that.

West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude oil price benchmark, has shed almost half of its value since June, trading early Wednesday close to $56 per barrel.

The oil, economic and population boom come with a corresponding increase in crime. The state’s attorney general reported overall crime up 5.5 percent year-on-year in 2013. Violent crime, including murder and rape, accounts for about 10 percent of all crimes reported last year, an increase of 7.4 percent since 2012.

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