Population Forecast for Williston | VideoChris Williams | 12/12/2012
The economists used two models to figure out what the population will be in the next five years. The build-out model estimates population by the number of housing both temporary and permanent. The employment model estimates population based on the rate of oil field development.
"I think it`s the first good estimate at trying to use a scientific method to try and calculate how many people there are," said NDSU Assistant Research Professor Dr. Nancy Hodur.
Using these models, Hodur calculated the service population of Williston, which combines people living in permanent and temporary housing. Currently, the service population in Williston is 33,000, but that number will only increase.
"It shows a pretty aggressive growth pattern for us. 3,100 new residents a year over the next four years," said Assistant Director for Economic Development Shawn Wenko.
Which means in 2017, it`s estimated Williston will be home to about 44,000 people. Wenko says knowing how much the population is projected to increase will help expedite construction of infrastructure.
"Anytime we can show a strong economic scenario, and show some long term stability that tends to make developers feel a little more comfortable of getting into the area, or making investments in the area," Wenko added.
When the boom started, and housing started popping up some people worried that the city was making the same mistakes they did in the 80s.
"One of the things we determined from this study is we`re probably building about the right amount of houses," said Williston Mayor Ward Koeser.
The study also estimated the population for Williams County, which will be anywhere between 66 and 70,000 people in 2017.
"We wanted theses facts when we go to the legislature to look for support from the governor and the legislature for finances, and know we`ll have that," Koeser added.
These number are estimates, and there is always room to make adjustments.
"If we knew more about how many people would like to move here, if affordable housing were available we could adjust our model accordingly," added Hodur.
City leaders are already discussing having the study updated every year.