- Associated Press - Thursday, May 19, 2016

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota’s fourth-largest city is on the verge of “metropolitan” status.

New population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau show that Minot’s population grew by nearly 3 percent between July 2014 and July 2015.

The gain of 1,398 residents put’s the city’s estimated population at 49,450 - just shy of the 50,000 mark that would categorize the city and region as a metropolitan area.

Since the official 2010 census, Minot’s population has risen nearly 21 percent. State demographer Kevin Iverson told the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/23YdR8d) that he expects Minot to top 50,000 residents in the next couple of years.

Minot Mayor Chuck Barney agrees that the milestone is within reach.

“I can’t project on the timing, but I am absolutely convinced we will shoot right past 50,000 and continue growing, even with the slowdown in oil. I think that oil will come back. We have momentum beyond oil,” he said.

The census figures showed ongoing growth in oil boom town cities such as Williston and Watford City, but smaller towns have stabilized or lost population, like Arnegard and Alexander.

In contrast, Iverson said population has flattened out in the northeast and central parts of the state.

Fargo, the state’s largest city, saw the largest numerical growth, with a gain of 2,419 residents at a rate of 2 percent.

Bismarck grew to 71,167 residents and Grand Forks grew to 57,011 residents.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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