Kathleen Tweeten, NDSU Agribusiness and Applied Economics Department, Published September 20 2013
Spotlight on Economics: Taking charge of your community's futureNorth Dakota is growing. According to the North Dakota Compass website
(http://www.ndcompass.org/) by the Center for Social Research at North Dakota State University, the growth North Dakota is experiencing is coming in many areas.
A growing number of households paying 30 percent or more for housing rose to 24.3 percent in 2011. The number of people in the state also is growing. North Dakota's population is projected to be at 841,820 people by 2025.
Median household income has risen and, for the first time, North Dakota equals the U.S. median household income at $50,502. Poverty has decreased somewhat but is still above 12 percent.
What does this all mean for community leaders? This information is critical to planning efforts. It provides a start as you look at what is happening to North Dakota in general and how your community will be impacted. However, it can't tell you everything.
For example, a growing population doesn't just mean build more houses. You need to know the kind of housing that will be needed. You only will find this information by listening to the residents and by doing a thorough, on-the-ground assessment of your community.
A recent publication by KLJ, an interdisciplinary engineering and planning firm, and the NDSU Extension Center for Community Vitality can help community leaders in this assessment and planning. "Dynamic Community Planning" is available online at http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/ccv/documents/dynamic-impact. This document is
a guide to inventorying community assets, developing a vision and creating a plan, goals and strategies that will drive implementation.
This document also outlines the importance of monitoring the impact to modify community plans, goals and implementation, making the process dynamic.
Upon completion of the inventory, leaders will know their assets and where the gaps are so effective planning can take place. The document can be especially valuable to rural communities that do not have a planning staff.
Kathleen Tweeten is director of the NDSU Extension Service Center for Community Vitality and a community economic development specialist with the NDSU Agribusiness and Applied Economics Department.