Research Reports

Final Reports

2016 Vision West ND Housing, Workforce, and Population Projections Final Report            Read the full report

Lake Sakakawea Ferry Project
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Vision West ND Outreach Final Report
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Wilson Health Summit Final Report
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2016 North Dakota Statewide Housing Needs Assessment: Population & Housing Forecast

The staff at the Center for Social Research and the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics at North Dakota State University conducted an analysis of North Dakota's current and future housing needs. The results of the needs assessment were compiled in the 2016 North Dakota Statewide Housing Needs Assessment: Population & Housing Forecast.  The study is organized by geography and covers the following: the eight state planning regions; 53 counties; the 12 most populated cities of Bismarck, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Fargo, Grand Forks, Jamestown, Mandan, Minot, Valley City, Wahpeton, West Fargo, and Williston; as well as four Native American Indian Reservations (Fort Berthold, Spirit Lake, Standing Rock, and Turtle Mountain).  

Component 1. 2012 North Dakota Statewide Housing Needs Assessment: Population and Housing Forecast

Component 2. 2012 North Dakota Statewide Housing Needs Assessment: Special Housing Topics

Component 3. 2012 North Dakota Statewide Housing Needs Assessment: Detailed Tables

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An Assessment of County and Local Road Infrastructure Needs in North Dakota

The assessment responds to the North Dakota legislatures request for a study of the transportation infrastructure needs of all county and township roads in the state. In this report, infrastructure needs are estimated using the most current production forecasts, traffic estimates, and roadway condition data available. Agricultural and oil-related traffic is modeled in detail at the sub-county level. Oil-related traffic is predicted for individual spacing units, whereas agricultural production is estimated at the township level. 

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Bakken Researchers Convening Report

The Bakken Researchers Convening was to highlight research in the region and create connections.

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Bowman Comprehensive and Transportation Plan

The boom and subsequent bust in the 1980's which resulted in out-migration and vacant properties, has provided a learning experience for the region. Bowman is taking this opportunity to not only plan for the near future and the potential impacts of the oil industry, but for several years into the future. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of planning for the future in a community anticipating an oil boom is identifying short term versus long term growth,
due to the unknown rate of development. This plan acknowledges that, and emphasizes the importance of remaining flexible in terms of timeframes and adjustments that are needed to address job growth in the area and the corresponding demand for housing and retail sales and service.

This comprehensive plan outlines the goals, objectives, and policies for Bowman. It establishes a future land use plan, defines future transportation improvements, and lists steps the city will take in the direction of achieving short and long-term goals. This plan is meant to serve as a decision making tool, to be used by city staff and officials.

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Building Better Neighborhoods: Creating Affordable Homes and Livable Communities

The goal of Building Better Neighborhoods is to foster the creation of safe, decent and affordable housing within cohesive, well-planned and economically balanced neighborhoods. But developing such neighborhoods and creating more livable communities takes extra attention and thoughtful planning. Building Better Neighborhoods provides many important tools to help guide the creation of affordable housing, better neighborhoods and balanced community growth throughout Greater Minnesota.

Click here to download the Building Better Neighborhoods book (.pdf).

Combined Dust Grant Report

This report provides a summary of what Counties in western North Dakota are doing to control dust from gravel roads impacted by oil field truck traffic during the summer of 2013.

Several Counties are using a surfactant or wetting agent with the chloride treatments to increase the speed and depth of chloride penetration into the road surface. In some cases, the surfactant is also used to decrease the amount of water that is applied before the chloride treatment.

Generally, most Counties loosen and shape the surface aggregate prior to application of any dust control agent. Roads are also watered ahead of the application.

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Child Care White Paper

Child care is a particularly acute challenge in Western North Dakota where energy development has created a rapidly growing economy that is putting pressure on both the private and public sectors to provide the quality and quantity of services to support a high quality of life. The child care challenge impacts all youth but is particularly acute with respect to infants until kindergarten and before and after school child care for elementary and middle school age youth. The Strom Center at Dickinson State University leads the effort for this policy paper. The Strom Center recognized that resources have been developed to support this industry but given the magnitude of the current challenge they will fall short of providing the supports needed to ensure large scale development of child care services in the state. To ensure that our leaders had objective, relative and timely information The Strom Center partnered with Vision West ND to delve into this issue through development of this policy white paper. The Strom Center contracted with the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship as part of their ongoing collaboration on the Western North Dakota Energy Project to undertake a limited exploration of the child care issue in the region.

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County Economic Drivers

Every community is shaped by certain economic drivers that generate income for that community. This profile highlights the top 10 economic drivers for your community, how each of these has done over the last decade and the relative importance of each when benchmarked to U.S. averages.

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Dickinson 2035: Roadmap to the Future

The City of Dickinson developed a comprehensive and transportation plan to address community needs and concerns. "Dickinson 2035" establishes a plan to promote a sustainable future for the City of Dickinson.

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Estimated Annual Oil Tax Revenue Distributions to Political Subdivisions

Click on the link below to view a table that provides information on distributions of the counties' share of oil and gas gross production tax revenue. The calculations use the formula in current law and the proposed formula in Engrossed House Bill No. 1358 with proposed amendments (LC #13.0134.09006) that provides for a greater share of the oil and gas gross production tax allocated to counties. Counties generating less than $5 million in oil and gas tax revenue will continue to receive allocated funds under the current formula. The amounts shown include allocations to hub cities, hub school districts, and school districts from the first one-fifth of oil and gas gross production tax collected. The amounts shown below do not include an estimated allocation of $5 million to Mandan for hub city and hub school district designations.

Table of Tax Revenue Distributions

Greatest Needs Analysis

This Greatest Need Analysis project builds upon the previous work by investigating which areas currently not served within the 14.7 drive-time have the greatest need for an ambulance service. Several factors influencing the need for an additional ambulance station were identified: existing coverage area, population, DOT crash locations, ambulance runs, and proximity to existing cities. These factors of influence were imported into geographic information system (GIS) and analyzed to compare their relationship and find areas with the highest suitability (greatest need).

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Growing Child Care in Oil Country

This report identifies the challenges facing childcare in Dunn, McKenzie, Mercer, Mountrail, Stark, Ward, and Williams Counties. It is identifies strategies for delivering quality childcare.

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Headwaters Economics Reports and Webinars

The following document provides a list of links highlighting Headwaters Economics Research Report updates. The reports are census data driven.

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HUD PD&R Housing Market Profiles

The Minot-Williston Housing Market Area (HMA), in northwestern
North Dakota atop the Bakken Oil Shale Formation, consists of
Mountrail, Ward, and Williams Counties. The three-county HMA
produced more than 9.4 million barrels of oil during April 2013,
up 13 percent from the 8.3 million barrels produced a year earlier.

Minot-Williston Housing Market Profile

Industrial and Commercial Tax Valuation Impacts on Western North Dakota

The 19 member counties of Vision West ND have a significant stake in equitable and accurate assessments for pipelines and pipeline infrastructure as centrally assessed by the ND State Tax Department and certified by the State Board of Equalization (SBOE). Click on the link below to review county specific details.

Vision West ND Review

Measuring Dust from Unpaved Roads and Its Impact on Crops & Livestock

The study shows the dust effects of unpaved roads with higher traffic volumes.

Study presented by Daba S. Gedafa, Ph.D., P.E. at the UND Civil Engineering.

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NDSU Research

Sustainability in Natural Resource-Dependent Regions that Experienced Boom-Bust-Recovery Cycles: Lessons Learned From a Review of the Literature
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Concerns of the North Dakota Bakken Oil Counties: Extension Service and Other Organizations' Program Responses to These Concerns
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Infrastructure Needs: North Dakota's County, Township and Tribal Roads and Bridges: 2015-2034 Draft Final Report to the North Dakota Legislative Assembly
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Find maps not included in the report: Click here

North Dakota 2.0 The Next Chapter

North Dakotans have a long history of controlling their own destiny. It is in this spirit that the initiative called North Dakota 2.0 originated. Our state's unprecedented economic prosperity creates a unique opportunity to write the next chapter. This report captures the thoughts and ideas of people all across the state during this important time in North Dakota. It is my hope that these findings will serve as a guide and resource for building a better tomorrow.

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North Dakota 2020 & Beyond

North Dakota 2020 & Beyond is a visionary process to gather input from the people of North Dakota to imagine our future. It identifies opportunities that help prepare the state for ongoing economic and community development.

Public input meetings were held to help generate the ideas for this 20-year development plan initiative. Governor Jack Dalrymple and the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce launched this project.

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2020 Legislative Update

North Dakota Ambulance Service Provider

The map displays location of North Dakota ambulance serivce providers.

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North Dakota Housing Impacts from Oil Growth


North Dakota Natural Gas: A Detailed Look at Natural Gas Gathering

This report is designed to be a factual look at natural gas gathering, processing, and flaring in North Dakota.

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North Dakota Oil & Gas Employment Report - Job Service North Dakota

This report is the result of the 2013 North Dakota Legislature directing Job
Service North Dakota to identify all employees who should be included for
statistical purposes in oil and gas related employment.

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North Dakota Regional Water Systems

Click on the link below to view a map of the North Dakota regional water systems.

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Oil County Traffic Safety Survey, 2012

There are two key gaps in the literature that must be addressed. First, although some studies have gauged motorists' ratings of overall safety and road conditions, none have focused exclusively on western North Dakota oil counties. Whereas some studies have split the state of North Dakota into various sections, those sections were often based on regional or geographic determinations; they are generally not split based on oil/non-oil development. Second, no study has examined perceptions of the ProgressZone: Moving Forward Safely program as it relates to improving road safety and understanding safety issues in terms of large truck/passenger vehicle interaction. The study focuses specifically on these two gaps in the literature.

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Oil Boom Survey Results

The following is a summary of a perception survey conducted in Stanley, Watford City, and Williston North Dakota. The study sought to understand the perceptions of the recent oil boom among long-term residents. The following summary only provides some of the results. For information on the entire study contact the UND professors listed in the opening section of this summary.

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Oil Industry Conversion Reference Page

Alternative Investment Coach provides resources to understand oil converstion.

Veiw chart

Policing the Patch

The goal of this study is to examine how the rapid population growth resulting from the oil boom has affected policing and crime and ultimate quality of life of citizens living in the "boom towns" in western North Dakota. Findings of the study include: Details of how the rapid population growth from the oil boom has changed the way that officers/deputies conduct their work because of a significant increase in calls for service from the public. The volume of calls for service has more than doubled in most of the agencies, and has more than tripled in several of the agencies since 2008. Second, the cost of living and availability of affordable housing has changed significantly since the oil boom began in 2008. This change has created several challenges for police agencies and sheriff's departments in western North Dakota including struggles with retention issues because of the high cost of living and lack of affordable housing, as well as employees leaving to take higher paying jobs in the oil industry or that have moved out of the region to a more affordable area. Third, officers/deputies reported a change in crime and fear of crime in their communities since the oil boom began in 2008. Citizens now lock their homes and cars, and some have even installed security systems in their homes. Some of the officers/deputies reported that women in their communities are less likely to go out by themselves during the day or evening.

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A Public Safety Assessment of the Southwest Region of North Dakota

The assessment was completed by the Roosevelt-Custer Regional Council for Development. The assessment looks at the eight southwest North Dakota counties. in the study law enforcement agencies, 25 fire departments and 11 emergency medical service providers looking at housing needs for these areas.

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Redefining the "Crowding Out" Effect

In the field of economic development, the Crowding Out Effect has been used to refer to the disruptions in labor markets, and the associated impacts, in response to energy booms.  In this thought piece, we apply the Crowding Out Effect concept to the potential loss of long-term economic development capacity that can occur when there is a long and sustained economic boom that dominates a community or regional landscape. Prolonged booms that overwhelm the development leadership and investment capacity of an area in the short run can undermine long-term diversified economic and community development that is needed to ensure regional resilience and prosperity once the boom has abated.

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Statewide Housing Needs Assessment

By commissioning a Statewide Housing Needs Assessment, NDHFA's
intention was to provide housing industry professionals with a better
understanding of state and local markets.

2016 Housing Needs Assessment

Housing Forecast
Regional Summaries
Detailed Tables

For more information contact NDHFA's Director of Public Affairs,
701/328-8080 or 800/292-8621.

Summary of the 64th Legislative Assembly

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Sustainable Prosperity - Building a Bridge to A Brighter Tomorrow

This report provides insights, perspectives and analysis from individual in-depth interviews with 12 MHA Nation Tribal Members on the topic of imagining an ideal tribal government that is fair and just for all members. The analysis is also supported by relevant secondary research. The intention of this report is to be used as input into the design of an Appreciative Inquiry summit and further work on creating an MHA Nation government that promotes sustainable prosperity for all its members.

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The Impact of Oil and Energy Development in Out-of-Hospital Emergency Medical Services

Out‐of‐hospital EMS is a vital part of the local infrastructure of Dunn, Williams, Mountrail and McKenzie counties. Around the clock, these services stand ready to respond to the emergent medical crisis of anyone _ resident, visitor or worker _ who calls for help. However, changes in socioeconomic conditions, demographics, healthcare and a rapid increase in energy exploration, drilling and extraction in the region are all having an impact on EMS.

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"The Shale Oil Boom: A U.S. Phenomenon" - Study Forecasts Tripling of U.S. Shale Oil Output

There are several issues in the current debate on the so-called U.S. tight and shale oil ... revolution that contribute to reinforce extreme and seemingly irreconcilable attitudes. One of the central questions revolves around the real potential of this revolution and can be formulated simply as follows: Is oil production from shale formations just a temporary bubble or is it an event capable of significantly altering the U.S.-and possibly global-energy outlook?

This study addresses such questions on the basis of a general analysis of more than 4,000 shale wells and a much more focused analysis of 2,000 of these wells along with the activities of about one hundred oil companies involved in shale oil exploitation. The main results of such analysis are multifaceted.

Read summary and access study resources

Download Discussion Paper

Vision West ND Technical Assistance Funding Guide

The Funding Guide was a tool developed for the plan directors of the 19 oil and gas producing counties by the Vision West ND Technical Assistance Team. The guide is filled with funding resources and helpful tips when writing a grant.

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West Virginia University College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-15

WVU Law's study "North Dakota Expertise: A Chance to Lead in Economically and Environmentally Sustainable Hydraulic Fracturing" addresses key factors associated with the risks inherent in hydraulic fracturing. According to the study, North Dakota has emerged as the nation's, and one of the world's hottest energy economies. Ensuring the state can continue its rise toward the top in oil production will require continued and committed efforts to balance economic and environmental sustainability.

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Why Rural Matters: Describing the Value of Rural North Dakota

This project is an initiative of the Rural Economic Area Partnership Investment Board (REAP) and is an effort to recognize and quantify the contributions of rural counties within the state.

For a number of years the urban areas of the United States have captured the limelight with stories of large companies' success and growth while rural America has been characterized with articles that abound on poverty, diminishing population, health care disparities and social isolation, but few articles voice the benefits that have come from rural investment. North Dakota, especially, profits from the contributions of rural communities. Farming, mining and tourism are the largest industries in the state driving employment, as well as state revenues.

The Great Plains Center for Community Research & Service at Minot State University compiled existing data for the report.

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