Population Grows 20% in Williston

Williston Service Population Grew 20%
Williston Service Population Grew 20%

Williston, N.D., a city at the heart of the Bakken oil region, is experiencing population growth that is ten times the normal rate, according to a recent study commissioned by the city.

In order to determine how many people use its infrastructure and to project future needs, the city turned to Nancy Hodur, a researcher from North Dakota State University.

Hodur began the study in 2012 with the goal to project numbers through 2014. To accomplish this, she began with census data and then added the numbers from people living in hotels, crew camps, RV parks and other conditional use permitted housing. Hodur’s 2012 projections have held up well, with recent estimates indicating they are all within a 5 percent margin of error.

“We did pretty well," Hodur said. "That bodes very well and reinforces that if we do the hard work to dig out the primary data from the planning department, the city and the county, we can get a good handle on how many bodies — how many noses — are in the Williston area."

Between 2012 and 2014, Williston service population grew 20 percent from 25,915 to 31,143 and Williams County increased 19 percent from 44,308 to 52,778. This huge increase and far above average numbers of around 2 percent.

So far the city has been able to keep up with the increased service demands, but just barely. Public Works Director David Tuan said the wastewater plant is running at 2.5 million gallons a day in order to keep up with a demand of 2.4 million.

Infrastructure maintenance and improvements are a growing concern throughout the state as growing populations and oil equipment demands have taxed the current roadways and services.

Last month, Governor Dalrymple signed legislation that grants massive emergency funding to counties and cities statewide in order to bolster the lagging infrastructure. Williston will receive approximately $64 million of those dollars for improvements.

Read more at willistondevelopment.com

Williston, ND Rent Soars Past Highest Rent Areas of U.S. to Top Spot

Apartments In Williston, ND
Apartments In Williston, ND

A study done by Apartment Guide in February 2014 puts Williston, North Dakota in the top spot for highest average entry-level rent.

According to the publication, a 700-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bath apartment in Williston, North Dakota can cost more than $2000 per month. For readers on this site, the explanation for this growth is crystal clear: the Bakken Shale!

Williston, ND is located in the heart of the shale play, and is generally considered to be the epicenter of the Bakken. 

Read more:Bakken Lodging

A quick online search also indicates monthly rent is steep in Watford City, ND. That's not surprising considering Watford City is about an hour southeast of Williston.

Williston, ND Growing Pains

Since the oil boom began in North Dakota, the small town of Williston has seen many changes. From increased crime rates to housing shortages, the city has experienced significant growing pains over the past several years.

Read moreBakken Crime Causes Feud Between Senators

When apartments have been unavailable, oilfield workers have resorted to living in motorhomes. RV park sites, some fully sheltered to keep out cold North Dakota winters, can go as high as $1500 per month during peak season.

Impact on North Dakota Residents

North Dakota saw a 200% jump in homelessness in 2012. There are now 2,069 homeless people in the state of 699,628, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

In July 2013, North Dakota received four awards from HUD for $7.5 million. North Dakota Senators John Hoeven, Heidi Heitkamp and Congressman Kevin Cramer commented jointly about the funding:

The development of safe, affordable housing is absolutely necessary to relieve the strain and high-costs our residents face due to North Dakota’s severe flooding and housing shortages. These funds will help build stronger communities, provide shelter and housing for least fortunate among us and support North Dakota’s continued economic growth.

In the 2010 census, 14,700 people called Williston, ND home. Since the boom began, the population has doubled to ~30,000 people.

Read more at ApartmentGuide.com and Heitkamp.Senate.gov