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Bismarck, North Dakota

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Census Data for Bismarck ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2019 and it gave Bismarck a population of 73,671 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, which gave Bismarck a population of 61,272 people.

The city of Bismarck is located in Burleigh County. The 2010 Census gave Burleigh County; a population of 81,308 people. This means that Bismarck had 75.4% of the county's total population, making it Burleigh's most populous community.

At the same time, North Dakota had a population of 672,591 people, meaning that Bismarck had 9.11% of the total population of North Dakota - making it the state's 2nd most populous community.

Area ...

The 2010 Census shows that the sampling area for Bismarck has a total area of 31.23 square miles [80.9 km²]. Of this total, 30.84 square miles [79.9 km²] is land, with the balance (1.23%) being water (0.38 square miles [1 km²]).

Burleigh County has a land area of 1,632 square miles [4,228.6 km²]. At 30.84 square miles [79.9 km²], Bismarck has 1.89% of the county's total land area.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Bismarck, they draw a boundary around the area in which they are going to conduct their count - this defines the sampling area (usually a polygon). The shape of the sampling area can be quite complex and it's important to keep in mind that the boundaries of the sampling area may or may not match the recognized boundaries of the city.
    • Things like population, area and housing for Bismarck reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Bismarck might be different, it's best to check with the U.S. Census Bureau to resolve any difference between the two.
    • Not only does the sampling area define boundaries, it also has a GPS location (latitude & longitude) that indicates a point within the sampling area (usually the center of the polygon, known as the centroid). At the time of the 2010 Census, the sampling area was located at:
    • Lat:   46° 48' 39"   (or 46.81°)
    • Lon:   -100° 46' 12"   (or -100.77°)
    • More information on this topic and the changes between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census can be found in the section for our Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Bismarck had 28,648 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 61,272 people, this averages 2.14 people per Housing Unit.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • The 2010 Census shows Bismarck had a land area of 30.84 square miles [79.9 km²]. This translates to 917 Housing Units per square mile [354.2 housing units/km²].
    • From the Census of 2000: Bismarck had 24,217 Housing Units, a population of 55,532 people and a land area of 26.89 square miles [69.6 km²]. This gives a density of 2.29 people per Housing Unit and 883 Housing Units per square mile [341.2 housing units/km²].
    • Note: Repeating the caution above (under Population Density), be aware that when comparing Housing Units between the 2010 Census and the 2000 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Bismarck and you need to be careful when comparing between the censuses. More information about the changes can be found in the section called Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Burleigh County ...

Bismarck is located in Burleigh County<4> and is the County Seat for Burleigh County.

The county had a population of 81,308 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 61,272 people, Bismarck represented 75.4% of the county's total.

In addition, where the city of Bismarck has a population density of 1,962 people per square mile [757 people/km²], Burleigh County averages 49.8 people per square mile [19.23 people/km²].

For more information, please visit our Census Page for Burleigh County.

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Bismarck, they start by specifying the boundaries of the area to be counted. This area (or sampling area) is a polygon and its shape can be quite complex - it may or may not match the geographical boundaries of Bismarck. It's important to note that from one Census to the next, the shape and location of the polygon can change.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • Although we don't have specific information about the shape of the polygon for Bismarck or how it changed has over time, there is some information that can give us some hints. For example, since the shape of the sampling area is directly related to the shape of the polygon, any change to area probably indicates a new shape for the polygon.
    • If you need precision or details about the methodology of the Census, you should visit the U.S. Census Bureau for a definitive answer.

Location ...

While generally coinciding with the GPS location (latitude/longitude) of Bismarck, the latitude and longitude given by the Census Bureau actually indicates the GPS location of the polygon for Bismarck.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:
    • Lat:   46.811038°   (or 46°48'39" N)
    • Lon:   -100.770102°   (or -100°46'12" W)
    • For the 2000 Census, the location given was:
    • Lat:   46.813343°   (or 46°48'48" N)
    • Lon:   -100.779004°   (or -100°46'44" W)
    • The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 2,374 feet to the east<5> of the location that was used in the 2000 Census.
    • The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) have assigned a unique GNIS identifier (#1035934) to Bismarck. This identifier also marks a GPS point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Bismarck. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:
    • Lat:   46.805549°   (or 46°48'19" N)
    • Lon:   -100.767628°   (or -100°46'3" W)
    • The GPS location given for the 2010 Census lies 2,094 feet to the north<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Bismarck. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Bismarck.

Miscellaneous Information for Bismarck ...

The Federal government has assigned various identifying codes to each community, county and state. At one time or another, the US Census Bureau has used one (or more) of the following identifiers when referring to either Burleigh County or the city of Bismarck:

  • The GNIS Codes ...
    • The current system of identification is called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The following GNIS codes relate to Bismarck:
    • GNIS ID for Bismarck: 1035934
    • GNIS ID for Burleigh County: 1035614
    • GNIS ID for State of North Dakota: 1779797
  • Misc. Census Codes ...
    • Bismarck is located in Census Region #2 (the Midwest Region) and Division #4 (the West North-Central Division).

For more information about the various Federal identification codes, please visit our Misc Page for Bismarck.

Other Roadside Stops ...

The Communities of North Dakota

About Burleigh County

About North Dakota

Off-the-Road Links ...

The official website for Bismarck:

The official website for Burleigh County:

The official website for State of North Dakota:

The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau

The official website of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN)

The official website of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Footnotes ...

<1>Every year, the US Census Bureau creates a population estimate for the preceeding year. Keep in mind that this value is an estimate and not an actual count. The most recent Census estimate is for the year 2019.
<2>Every 10 years (eg- 1990, 2000, 2010), the US Census Bureau conducts a Constitutionally-mandated count (or enumeration) of people living within the United States. This count is called a Decennial Census. The last Decennial Census was the 2010 Census, with the next one planned for 2020.
<3>A Housing Unit is a broad term for those places where people live (whether occupied or temporarily vacant), such as a house, an apartment, a mobile home, or an area that is considered as a separate living quarter. Separate living quarters (consisting of one or more rooms) are considered to be those places where people live, sleep and eat separately from others and that have access to the outside (either directly or by a shared hallway).
<4>If you're interested in how the shape of North Dakota's counties, including Burleigh, have changed over time, we recommend the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.
<5>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the 2010 Census location is 249 degrees and a distance of 2,374 feet.
<6>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the GNIS point is 17 degrees and a distance of 2,094 feet.






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This page was last modified: 18 Apr 2022