The shale boom is affecting thousands of small communities across the United States. We’ve heard comments like the ones below from locals in Williston and Watford City. These are just two of the towns where Canary operates. How has your community been affected?
“I don’t know anyone who can’t find a job.”
According to a February 2011 Gallup poll, North Dakota has the best job market in the country.[Source] As of 2012, the state had the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.2%. In the Bakken region, that number drops to just 1.8%.[Source]
“My grandkids have too many students in their classes.”
Williams County, North Dakota, is expecting a meteoric population expansion of 8% by the start of the next decade.[Source] The change is already hitting school districts: Watford City’s school district’s total K-12 enrollment was 521 students in 2008. It grew to 867 in 2013 and is projected to exceed capacity (of 1,125) by 2015, hitting 1,622 by 2018 and continuing to grow[Source, pg. 9].
The increase in class size is due to the population growth of North Dakota, which is leading all states in net migration: The July 2012 Census Bureau population estimate (699,628) reflects a 4% increase in just two years – compared to the overall US population rise of 1.7%. What’s more, the state’s oil-producing regions can anticipate their populations to increase yet another 50% over the next 20 years.[Source]
“There are so many new housing developments here. It’s crazy!”
The city of Williston is the fastest-growing area in the nation. Construction and remodeling permit valuations in the city exceeded $470 million in 2012.[Source] At least six new housing units are being built in Williston every day, for a total of 2,000-3,000 every year.[Source]
“We have sushi!”
These days, parts of North Dakota are hardly recognizable compared to only a decade ago. In Williston you can eat at Basil Restaurant, the new Asian fusion joint that’s recently opened and can barely accommodate its crush of patrons who come to sip the sake and sample the sushi. Afterwards, you might visit the Williston Brewing Company where beer connoisseurs — or even the wannabes — can try out one of the 40 specialty beers on tap or any of the 80-plus bottle brews .[Source]
Williston and Watford City aren’t the only communities impacted by the shale boom. Has your community seen changes?