About North Dakota
Monday, October 22, 2018
There was a time when North Dakota was shrinking.
Fewer people called North Dakota home in 2010 – about 674,000 – than the number inhabiting the remote rural realm early in the Great Depression – about 681,000, in 1930.
With a boom in oil drilling in this sparsely populated farm state along the northern U.S. border with Canada has come a mini-population explosion: 758,000 North Dakotans counted in 2016.
The Bakken Formation of oil and natural gas straddling the border is among the largest contiguous deposits in the U.S. It initially was considered unfeasible for production, the oil embedded in black black shale, siltstone and sandstone, until hydraulic fracturing – an injection of water and chemicals into the shale, known as "fracking" – freed the fields for extraction.
In 2004, before the boom, oil and gas production accounted for about 2 percent of the state's economy. By 2014, it was almost 16 percent.