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Many of the workers in the oil patch live in other states, making a headcount difficult, Dalrymple said.

“It seems to people who are in the area that there are more new people than are being talked about or being acknowledged,” Dalrymple told reporters. “But you do have this challenge of, ‘Who is truly a resident?’”

Kevin Iverson, manager of the census office at the state Commerce Department, said North Dakota did not contest the 2010 census count.

“If anything, it was probably a little conservative,” he said of North Dakota’s estimated population by the Census Bureau. “Just because people are here doesn’t make them residents.”