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North Dakota ninth in nation for personal income -- Has risen more than 78 percent since 2000, report finds

North Dakota personal income

FARGO - Thanks to strong growth in the agriculture and mining industries - particularly oil and gas production - North Dakota's per-capita personal income has risen more than 78 percent since 2000, according to statistics released Friday by the federal government and the state Department of Commerce.

That's more than double the 37.4 percent increase in per-capita income seen nationally, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported.

Per-capita personal income in North Dakota in 2011 was $45,747, an increase of $20,155 since 2000, when per-capita personal income was $25,592, the BEA reported.

"We are very pleased and proud that North Dakota, in the last 10 years, has gone from 38th in the nation to ninth in the nation in personal incomes," Gov. Jack Dalrymple said in a news release. "That's the proof our policies for economic growth are working."

All of North Dakota's industries have seen growth in the past decade, said Justin Dever, manager of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the state Department of Commerce.

But it's the oil and gas sectors of the mining industry, and agriculture that have really pulled the wagon for the rest of the state, he said.

Personal income increased more than

$1.4 billion in the oil, gas and coal mining sector, he said, going from $242 million in 2000 to $1.7 billion in 2011, Dever said. Much of that increase was concentrated in the state's Oil Patch, he said.

Farm earnings doubled over the past decade, Dever said.

The BEA report shows that residents in all regions of North Dakota enjoyed significant gains in personal income.

Only two counties saw less than 50 percent growth between 2000 and 2010, BEA data shows. They were Hettinger County, 47.4 percent, and Cass County, 42.7 percent.

"Although the growth wasn't as strong in Cass County, a lot of that had to do with the fact that they were pretty strong to begin with," Dever said. "Cass County is at 108 percent of the national average (for personal income). So, Cass County is doing alright."

There were steady increases in per-capita personal income since 2000, Dever said, but the largest increases came from 2006 to 2007 and 2007 to 2008.

"It sped up with activity in the Oil Patch," Dever said.

Edging past Minnesota

North Dakota's per-capita personal income was $42,890 in 2010, edging Minnesota, which posted a $42,798 per-capita income in 2010.

In Minnesota, per-capita personal income was $32,599 in 2000. It rose to $44,672 in 2011. The 2011 figure was 107 percent of the national average of $41,663, the BEA reported.

North Dakota's average growth in per-capita personal income between 2001 and 2011 was 5.6 percent, the BEA reports. Minnesota's growth for the same period was 3 percent, while the national average was 2.9 percent.

Just as North Dakota's economy was revving up, the national economy was sliding into one of its deepest recessions, which also played into North Dakota's leap from 38th in the nation to ninth in per capita personal income, Dever said.

Other good signs

Dever said North Dakota's economic growth has also been seen in other areas.

• Exports have grown by 440 percent since 2000.

• The gross domestic product has gone up 90 percent 2000 and 2010, from $18.3 billion to $34.7 billion.

• Population has increased from 642,200 in 2000 to 672,591 in 2010. It was estimated to be 683,932 in 2011, "which is a good thing," Dever said.

Dalrymple couldn't be reached for comment.

State Sen. Ryan Taylor of Towner, the Democratic-NPL candidate for governor, said Republican lawmakers shouldn't take credit for the state's economic good fortune.

"No matter how many times the governor and other elected politicians say they deserve the credit for the state's good fortune, the fact remains that North Dakota's rich oil and good soil should be credited to a much higher power," Taylor said in a news release.

"An oil boom and high energy prices, along with agricultural bounty backed by a strong federal safety net have done the heavy lifting of income levels," he said.


To view the BEA report, go to

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