Update 3:46 p.m. July 10, 2009: I see that the AreaVoice template’s piss poor use of space has foiled me again. I would just copy and paste the table or read this post by way of the RSS feed.
Some friends of mine were talking last night about them good ol’ days and they thought that, at one time, Inkster, N.D., which is celebrating its 125th this weekend, had a bigger or equal population to Grand Forks. They thought this was the case of some other towns in the region.
This intrigued me because, well, I’ve never looked at historical Census figures before so their scenario seemed about as plausible as any to me. After I got home around midnight I couldn’t resist trolling the Census Web site. I came up with the following sets of numbers.
First, I listed the state’s population from 1870 onwards. I don’t know how the Census figured that since North Dakota wasn’t even a state in 1870. The data came from a later Census, that had data from earlier Census for comparison.
Then I listed Grand Forks County along with the other three big counties in the state from today’s perspective, these being Cass, which has Fargo; Burleigh, which has Bismarck; and Ward, which has Minot. Notice how teensy Burleigh was in the beginning. Pembina County was bigger!
Then I listed all the counties in northeast North Dakota. Sorry. I was really wiped out from an early day at work (7:30 a.m.) and listing northwest Minnesota would’ve just killed me.
Then I listed Grand Forks and the three other major cities in North Dakota.
Then I listed two other somewhat larger towns in northeast North Dakota, these being Devils Lake and Grafton.
Then I listed all the towns in Grand Forks County, including Inkster.
Unfortunately, the Census doesn’t provide data for all counties or towns for the entire period since 1870. There were lots of townships but few towns and I didn’t have the energy to figure out what other towns in what townships. So this lis is as complete as I can make it.
By the way, my friends were wrong. Inkster has never had a population that’s been remotely close to Grand Forks’.
I list my sources below the table in case you get the Census itch yourself.
|Grand Forks County||6,248||18,357||24,459||27,888||28,795||31,956||34,518||39,448||48,677||61,102||66,100||70,683||66,109|
The sources are as follows:
- The 1890 Census. Look in "Population of the United States by Minor Civil Divisions."
- The 1920 Census. Look in "Number of inhabitants, by counties and minor civil divisions."
- The 1950 Census. Look in "Number of Inhabitants."
- The 1980 Census. Look in "North Dakota – Ch. A, B, C, D."
- The 1990 Census. Look in "North Dakota (CP-1-36)."
- The 2000 Census. Look in "PHC-1 Summary Population and Housing Characteristics."
Note that the years in between are available in some of the Census for comparison. That’s why I have 1870 data even though I only looked in 1890. The 1870 data was hard to understand anyway because it was all Dakota Territory at the time.
When I get some time, I might make some charts. It’s interesting the population booms of the early years with the stagnation of the recent decades. Maybe this North Dakota chronology will help with data interpretation. I’d heard of the Homestead Act, but had never heard of the Great Dakota Boom or that it didn’t take place until decades after Congress passed the act.