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Dakotas see population losses reversed

Much of the Dakotas have reversed decades of population loss, according to new studies by the USDA.

While a study of 2004 to 2007 population trends in the Dakotas saw most counties with population loss, the 2010 to 2013 study shows most with population gain, with some counties in northwest North Dakota and western South Dakota showing over 2 percent growth.

"Spurred by an energy boom, large sections of the northern Great Plains turned around decades of population decline," according to one of the studies.

However, the news wasn't all good for the Great Plains.

"Farming-dependent counties, smaller in population and concentrated in the Great Plains and Corn Belt, declined as a whole despite energy-related job growth the occurred in many such counties.

The 2010-13 population map shows broad swaths of Nebraska and Iowa non-metro counties experiencing population loss.

Another USDA article notes the nearly all non-metro counties in North Dakota grew between 2010 and 2013 and a majority of similar South Dakota counties also saw growth during the same period. However, some James River and northeastern South Dakota counties saw population loss, according to the report.