Business is booming in North Dakota, but with great energy industry movement comes… babies? The state has been rapidly expanding because of the implementation of hydraulic fracturing in recent years that caused the oil and gas industry to explode. Now that the boom is starting to even out and more and more newcomers are moving their families to the area to become permanent residents, an influx of babies are being born.
CNN.com recently did an interactive journalism piece on the topic, stating that 10,591 babies were born in North Dakota last year (a 33% increase from ten years ago). As a result, childcare availability has become a major issue in the area. There are an estimated 2,974 children in need of care currently in Williams County and only 1,145 care spots with licensed providers.
Childbirth has been keeping local hospitals busy. St. Joseph’s Hospital in Dickinson, ND has seen a 300% increase in deliveries since the oil boom began. Williston Mercy Medical Center delivered 750 babies last year (prior to the boom 300 was the high norm.)
Areas like Dickinson and Williston have gained a reputation for being crime-ridden and dangerous for women and children. However, these statistics show that as time goes on these areas are becoming more and more family-oriented. The employment explosion in the Bakken area has changed the state in a lot of ways. Now that more babies are being born in North Dakota, there may be more permanent residents than previously estimated. There is an increased presence of family-oriented activities in the area such as dance studios and the new Williston rec center.