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Associated Press, Published November 19 2010

Williston population has grown nearly 22 percent over past decade

WILLISTON, N.D. – Preliminary data from a housing study indicates that Williston’s population has grown by nearly 22 percent over the past decade, and the increase might be much higher.

The city is in western North Dakota’s booming Oil Patch, and adequate, affordable housing has become a concern.

The study estimates the population at 15,400, up from 12,680 in 2000. The number of people calling the city home likely is even higher – the latest estimate does not include people living in temporary housing.

“Factoring in people staying in hotels and in campers around town, the number would be around 17,000,” Williston Workforce Development Coordinator Shawn Wenko told the Williston Herald.

A population of 17,000 would be a 34 percent jump.

The study is being conducted by a Minot firm for Williston and the state Commerce Department. A final draft on housing and infrastructure needs is expected to be done by the end of the year, in time for next year’s Legislature.

“This information is very important to where we go in the future,” Wenko said. “Solid numbers speak volumes. We need to look at this as, it’s an industry and not a boom, and it’s going to be here for a long time.”

Wenko said he expects 2011 to be a record year for new housing in Williston.

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