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Home People Fargo-Moorhead area projected to grow by at least 100,000 people by 2050, Metro COG says – InForum

Fargo-Moorhead area projected to grow by at least 100,000 people by 2050, Metro COG says – InForum

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FARGO — A recent demographic forecast by the Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Council of Governments, or Metro COG, says the population of the Fargo-Moorhead area could grow to over 350,000 by 2050, adding more than 100,000 people in the next 25 years to surrounding rural and urban areas.

Community and Transportation Analyst Adam Altenburg said Metro COG approved its 2050 forecast in November. The last forecast was completed in 2017 and forecast through 2045.

The study included 31 townships across Cass and Clay counties in North Dakota and Minnesota, respectively. It also includes 21 cities, including Fargo, West Fargo, Horace, Moorhead and Dilworth.

Metro COG outlined two different scenarios, one using a lower rate of growth labeled “most likely,” and one using a higher growth rate labeled the “best case.”

Using the lower projections, Metro COG said Cass and Clay counties combined could grow from 249,843 people to 357,322 in 2050. The best-case scenario shows the population could climb to 395,323 in 2050, an increase of 58.4% over 2020.

Historically, Altenburg said, Metro COG’s forecast has projected lower growth in the Fargo area than what ended up happening.

So, in the 2017 study, Metro COG focused more on its best-case scenario projections, which ended up fairly in line with the 2020 U.S. Census report. The only exception was West Fargo, which grew faster than Metro COG projected, he said.

“We went with the more robust scenario,” he said. “In 2017, the only city we under-projected for was West Fargo, they grew faster than we projected. Overall, we probably weren’t growing as fast as we were first predicting, but it’s still growing pretty fast.”

The study is used by cities, counties and townships for planning purposes, such as the West Fargo Exploratory Building Committee, which used Metro COG’s population projections as a baseline for planning a new police headquarters and City Hall.

However, Metro COG’s core purpose for the study is to maintain and update the regional travel demand model.

Fargo was recorded as having a population of 125,990 in 2020. Metro COG’s projections say it could grow to 145,195 in 2035 and 164,507 by 2050, which is an addition of about 38,500 people.

West Fargo’s 2020 population was 38,626. It is projected to grow to 47,688 in 2035 and 62,789 by 2050. This means West Fargo would add about 24,000 people in the next 25 years.

Moorhead would grow from 44,505 to 54,638 in 2035 and 66,766 in 2050 in the most likely scenario. With that addition of about 22,000 people, Moorhead would remain the second-largest city in the metro, behind Fargo but still larger than West Fargo, the “City on the Grow.”

Dilworth will continue to grow at the slowest rate, going from 4,612 in 2020 to 5,644 in 2035 and 6,586 in 2050.

Other cities may nearly double or more in size, such as Horace, which is projected to go from 3,085 to 13,615 in 2050. Casselton is also projected to grow significantly, going from a population of 2,479 in 2020 to 4,023 in 2050.

As the population grows, Metro COG said, the metro area could add about 51,000 to 69,000 jobs by 2050.

Jobs across the area could increase from the 2020 baseline estimate of 183,356 to 235,326 in 2050 under the most likely scenario, or as high as 252,531 under a high-growth scenario.

Metro COG’s final report on the demographic study can be found in full at


Readers can reach West Fargo editor Wendy Reuer at

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