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Census shows growth in Fargo-Moorhead area in past decade

Chart: Minnesota populations

FARGO - New census estimates show West Fargo, Moorhead and Dilworth all grew by double digits so far this decade, while Fargo's population growth remains relatively flat in comparison.

In U.S. Census Bureau numbers released Tuesday, West Fargo grew by 58.7 percent between 2000 and 2008, while Dilworth saw a 22.5 percent jump and Moorhead's population increased 11.9 percent to top 36,000 residents for the first time in 2008.

Fargo grew by 3.2 percent from 2000 to 2008, from 90,599 to 93,531 residents.

"Fargo is actually starting to get hemmed in, they're losing space," said Richard Rathge, director of the North Dakota State Data Center.

West Fargo went from 14,940 residents to 23,708 this decade, while Moorhead's population climbed from 32,177 to 36,012, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.

In addition to West Fargo, other cities ringing Fargo saw strong expansion in the past eight years, according to Rathge.

Horace grew 92 percent between 2000 and 2008, going from 915 residents to 1,757.

Harwood grew by approximately 15.5 percent, going from 607 denizens to 701.

Although West Fargo's growth was strong over the past eight years, much of that came early in this decade.

"The (recent) growth has been moderated, relative to the previous years," said Rathge, adding that West Fargo's population grew by 681 people between 2007 and 2008, a 3 percent increase.

On the Minnesota side of the Red River, Dilworth's population went from 3,001 in 2000 to 3,677 by 2008, a 22.5 percent increase, according to estimates released Tuesday.

Between 2007 and 2008, Dilworth grew by 89 residents, a 2.5 percent increase.

Moorhead's population grew by 882 between 2007 and 2008, also a 2.5 percent increase.

The city's expansion hasn't been by accident, according to Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland.

He said the city made a concerted effort to increase the number of subdivisions it has to offer.

"In the '90s, we only had two or three subdivisions going at any one time and they were all kind of in the same price bracket," he said.

"Now, you can buy lots anywhere from low-end to high-end," said Voxland, adding that the mix has been good for overall growth.

"As people build new houses, they move out of older homes. It has opened up a lot of first time home buying opportunity," he said.