McKenzie County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Dakota. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,360. Its county seat is Watford City. Between 2010 and 2015, according to Census Bureau estimates, it was the fastest growing county in the United States, growing 101.7 percent. The county lies immediately adjacent to the Williston Micropolitan Statistical Area, although, technically, by Census Bureau definition, is not a part of it.
McKenzie County was first created by the March 8, 1883 Dakota Territory legislature but eliminated in 1891 due to a lack of settlement. The county was then recreated by the 1905 state legislature, with the county government first organizing on April 20, 1905. The name comes from early North Dakota politician Alexander McKenzie. Before becoming Watford City, the county seat was Alexander from 1905 to 1907 and Schafer from 1907 to 1941.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,861 square miles (7,410 km2), of which 2,760 square miles (7,100 km2) is land and 100 square miles (260 km2) (3.5%) is water. It is the largest county in North Dakota by area.
The McKenzie County landscape features a wide diversity of physical features, ranging from sugarbeet fields bordering the Missouri River at the northwest corner of the county to rugged badlands near the Little Missouri River in the south, where Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Little Missouri National Grassland are located. Between the two rivers is a large area of prairie, ranging from gentle rolling terrain to rocky, rugged pastures. The southeast corner of the county, bordering on the Little Missouri badlands of neighboring Dunn County, is abundant in wildlife, quaking aspen groves, and bur oak groves, interspersed in places with western red cedar on the north-facing slopes of the badlands.
- Williams County (north)
- Mountrail County (northeast)
- Dunn County (southeast)
- Billings County (south)
- Golden Valley County (southwest)
- Wibaux County, Montana (southwest)
- Richland County, Montana (west)
National protected areas
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,737 people, 2,151 households, and 1,548 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile (1/km²). There were 2,719 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile (0/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 77.36% White, 0.07% Black or African American, 21.18% Native American, 0.05% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.14% from other races, and 1.19% from two or more races. 1.01% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 33.4% were of Norwegian and 20.9% German ancestry.
There were 2,151 households out of which 34.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.90% were married couples living together, 9.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.00% were non-families. 25.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.17.
In the county the population was spread out with 30.60% under the age of 18, 5.50% from 18 to 24, 23.30% from 25 to 44, 24.90% from 45 to 64, and 15.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 100.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.90 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $29,342, and the median income for a family was $34,091. Males had a median income of $26,351 versus $20,147 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,732. About 13.70% of families and 17.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.10% of those under age 18 and 12.70% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 6,360 people, 2,410 households, and 1,682 families residing in the county. The population density was 2.3 inhabitants per square mile (0.89/km2). There were 3,090 housing units at an average density of 1.1 per square mile (0.42/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 75.3% white, 22.2% American Indian, 0.3% Asian, 0.1% black or African American, 0.4% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 2.2% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 39.5% were Norwegian, 30.6% were German, 6.1% were Irish, and 0.7% were American.
Of the 2,410 households, 33.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.7% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 30.2% were non-families, and 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.06. The median age was 38.0 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $48,480 and the median income for a family was $58,906. Males had a median income of $42,803 versus $33,056 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,605. About 6.7% of families and 10.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.8% of those under age 18 and 10.0% of those age 65 or over.
- Antelope Creek
- Blue Butte
- Elm Tree
- Twin Valley
Elk, Poe, and Wilbur townships merged January 1, 2002 to form Tri Township.