Every cloud has a silver lining, and North Dakota has found its own in the most recent Census Bureau estimates. There are signs that the population decline in North Dakota is bottoming out, the director of the State Data Center said. Recent annual Census estimates show that eight North Dakota counties had population gains between July 2001 and July 2002; only three counties had grown the previous yearthe first estimates since the 2000 census.
Sioux County demonstrated the biggest increase at 2.8 percent, followed by Burleigh at 1.3 percent, Cass at 0.7 percent, McKenzie at 0.5 percent, Williams at 0.4 percent, Morton and Renville at 0.3 percent, and Mercer at 0.1 percent.
Cass County, home to Fargo, remained the most populous county with 125,117 people, but the director said growth in that county continues to be slowed by the dip in new immigrants and refugees since Sept. 11, 2001.