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ND Census Director: 'Surprised' at the count

North Dakota’s Census director Kevin Iverson was surprised by the count.

It shows North Dakota's population at 779,704 people -- 16 percent higher than the 2010 Census.

"We came in about 10,000 more than I was expecting," Iverson said. "Sometimes, it's nice to be wrong."

Iverson said it was a challenging year for the Census count, dealing with COVID-19. He said with the pandemic so top of mind, it was tough getting the message out about people filling out their Census forms.

"We had a really well-organized 'Complete Count' task force," Iverson said. "I think we formed just an awesome team."

Iverson said he had speculated that a number of people who moved to North Dakota during the oil boom had left.

"I think we over-estimated the number of people leaving the Bakken," Iverson said. "A lot of people who came were commuters, working in North Dakota, but keeping their residences somewhere else."

Iverson said it will be a little while yet before more specific city and county data will be released. He said in August, some of that information will start to come out. And Iverson said it will likely be in waves of information.

"We'll get redistricting data," Iverson said. "We'll also get other information on age, race, sex, ethnicity."

Iverson said he knows the Legislature will be waiting on those numbers, which will be used as they redraw district boundary lines.

"I think there's going to be a crunch when we finally get the data, to do all the work that needs to be done," Iverson said.

State lawmakers hope to meet in a redistricting special session in December.

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