According to the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People, the homeless population in North Dakota tripled from 739 to 2,069 in 2013. The population of North Dakota increased by about 3 percent from 2012 to 2013 mainly due to the Bakken oil field.
In Watford City, North Dakota 263 K-12 students were reported to be homeless. Of the homeless adults in Fargo, 81 percent had completed high school or earned their GED, and a third of the homeless adults interviewed had attended at least some college.
Single white men, an average of 44 years old, made up a majority (68 percent) of the homeless population. Women made up only 32 percent of the homeless population, and of that 32 percent, a quarter of them had at least one child with them. About 25 percent of all homeless people in North Dakota were under age 18.
The number of homeless people in 2012 was 15 percent higher than the number found in 2009 (763) and more than double the number found in 2003 (393) according to survey performed by Wilder Research. In October 2012 there were 458 people in temporary housing programs and 416 people in informal and unsheltered locations in the Fargo, North Dakota area. Of the homeless adults in Fargo, 50 percent had lived in North Dakota for two years or less.
In Fargo, 37 percent of homeless adults interviewed reported having a job, and 14 percent reported working full time. Prices across the state for rentals have increased over the past 10 years. A main contributor to homelessness in North Dakota is lack of housing rather than unemployment. However, rental prices for apartments in Williston, North Dakota have skyrocketed in the last couple of years.
According to a survey from Apartment Guide, a website for apartment hunters, the price of renting a 700-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment in Williston can cost close to $2,500 per month. There simply aren’t enough places for people to live in Williston and the surrounding areas creating a higher demand for housing and even higher prices.
The homeless population in North Dakota has dropped 39 percent from 2013 to 2014 due in part to an increase in the availability of housing. As housing becomes more available there is expected to be an even sharper drop in homelessness in years to come.