Coordinates: 47°35′N 99°40′W / 47.58°N 99.67°W / 47.58; -99.67

Wells County
Wells County Courthouse (Fessenden, North Dakota)
Map of North Dakota highlighting Wells County
Location within the U.S. state of North Dakota
Map of the United States highlighting North Dakota
North Dakota's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 47°35′N 99°40′W / 47.58°N 99.67°W / 47.58; -99.67
Country United States
State North Dakota
FoundedJanuary 4, 1873 (created)
August 28, 1884 (organized)
Named forEdward Payson Wells
SeatFessenden
Largest cityHarvey
Area
 • Total1,290 sq mi (3,300 km2)
 • Land1,271 sq mi (3,290 km2)
 • Water19 sq mi (50 km2)  1.5%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total3,982
 • Estimate 
(2021)
3,905
 • Density3.1/sq mi (1.2/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional districtAt-large
Websitewww.wellscountynd.com

Wells County is a county in the U.S. state of North Dakota. As of the 2020 census, the population was 3,982.[1] Its county seat is Fessenden.[2]

History

The Dakota Territory legislature created the county on January 4, 1873. Its government was not organized at that time, nor was it attached for administrative or judicial purposes to another county. It was named Gingras County; this name continued until February 26, 1881, when the name was changed to Wells County, named for Edward Payson Wells, a Jamestown banker, early promoter of the James River Valley, and member of the legislature in 1881.

The county government was organized on August 28, 1884, with Sykeston as the county seat. In 1894 the county seat was transferred to Fessendon.[3] The county boundary was altered in 1883 when a parcel was transferred to Foster County, and again in 1885 when it received land from Foster County. Its boundary has remained unchanged since 1885.[4]

The center of population of North Dakota is located in the extreme southeastern corner of Wells County, about 9 miles (14 km) southeast of Sykeston.[5]

Outline map of Wells County, North Dakota, 1911
Outline map of Wells County, North Dakota, 1911

Geography

The James River flows east-northeasterly through Wells County. The county terrain consists of rolling hills with occasional protuberances, dotted with lakes and ponds in its SW portion.[6] The terrain slopes to the east and north; its highest point is a protuberance near the southwestern corner, at 2,182' (665m) ASL.[7] Ihe county has a total area of 1,290 square miles (3,300 km2), of which 1,271 square miles (3,290 km2) is land and 19 square miles (49 km2) (1.5%) is water.[8]

Major highways

Adjacent counties

Protected areas

Source:[6]

Lakes

Source:[6]

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
18901,212
19008,310585.6%
191011,81442.2%
192012,9579.7%
193013,2852.5%
194011,198−15.7%
195010,417−7.0%
19609,237−11.3%
19707,847−15.0%
19806,979−11.1%
19905,864−16.0%
20005,102−13.0%
20104,207−17.5%
20203,982−5.3%
2021 (est.)3,905−7.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
1790-1960[10] 1900-1990[11]
1990-2000[12] 2010-2020[1]

2000 census

As of the 2000 census, there were 5,102 people, 2,215 households, and 1,453 families in the county. The population density was 4.01/sqmi (1.55/km2). There were 2,643 housing units at an average density of 2.08/sqmi (0.80/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 99.12% White, 0.14% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.02% from other races, and 0.25% from two or more races. 0.29% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 59.5% were of German and 24.1% Norwegian ancestry.

There were 2,215 households, out of which 25.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.60% were married couples living together, 4.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.40% were non-families. 32.60% of all households were made up of individuals, and 18.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.85.

The county population contained 22.50% under the age of 18, 4.60% from 18 to 24, 22.70% from 25 to 44, 24.20% from 45 to 64, and 26.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 96.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,894, and the median income for a family was $39,284. Males had a median income of $27,277 versus $16,810 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,932. About 10.30% of families and 13.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.10% of those under age 18 and 17.90% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 4,207 people, 1,943 households, and 1,223 families in the county.[13] The population density was 3.31/sqmi (1.28/km2). There were 2,481 housing units at an average density of 1.95/sqmi (0.75/km2).[14] The racial makeup of the county was 98.9% white, 0.3% American Indian, 0.1% black or African American, 0.1% Asian, 0.0% from other races, and 0.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 0.5% of the population.[13] In terms of ancestry, 65.9% were German, 25.9% were Norwegian, 6.7% were Irish, and 1.8% were American.[15]

Of the 1,943 households, 19.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.1% were married couples living together, 5.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 37.1% were non-families, and 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.67. The median age was 51.5 years.[13]

The median income for a household in the county was $40,136 and the median income for a family was $52,400. Males had a median income of $38,442 versus $25,597 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,531. About 6.1% of families and 10.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.5% of those under age 18 and 17.1% of those age 65 or over.[16]

Communities

Cities

Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

Townships

Politics

Wells County voters have been Republican-leaning for several decades. In no national election since 1964 has the county selected the Democratic Party candidate.

United States presidential election results for Wells County, North Dakota[18]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 1,893 79.74% 442 18.62% 39 1.64%
2016 1,796 75.37% 419 17.58% 168 7.05%
2012 1,654 69.53% 673 28.29% 52 2.19%
2008 1,468 61.76% 841 35.38% 68 2.86%
2004 1,654 64.58% 858 33.50% 49 1.91%
2000 1,610 66.80% 661 27.43% 139 5.77%
1996 1,192 46.89% 962 37.84% 388 15.26%
1992 1,171 40.16% 888 30.45% 857 29.39%
1988 1,901 58.65% 1,317 40.64% 23 0.71%
1984 2,426 69.20% 1,036 29.55% 44 1.25%
1980 2,660 73.91% 746 20.73% 193 5.36%
1976 1,941 51.53% 1,742 46.24% 84 2.23%
1972 2,519 64.42% 1,297 33.17% 94 2.40%
1968 2,266 59.92% 1,265 33.45% 251 6.64%
1964 1,875 44.76% 2,314 55.24% 0 0.00%
1960 2,641 58.24% 1,885 41.57% 9 0.20%
1956 2,912 66.87% 1,434 32.93% 9 0.21%
1952 3,709 77.89% 1,016 21.34% 37 0.78%
1948 2,385 59.83% 1,492 37.43% 109 2.73%
1944 2,529 61.59% 1,557 37.92% 20 0.49%
1940 3,335 63.74% 1,878 35.89% 19 0.36%
1936 1,263 23.84% 3,114 58.78% 921 17.38%
1932 1,062 21.50% 3,823 77.40% 54 1.09%
1928 2,364 52.39% 2,123 47.05% 25 0.55%
1924 1,644 44.40% 138 3.73% 1,921 51.88%
1920 3,202 85.71% 456 12.21% 78 2.09%
1916 1,226 58.58% 810 38.70% 57 2.72%
1912 356 23.58% 494 32.72% 660 43.71%
1908 1,243 68.07% 535 29.30% 48 2.63%
1904 1,330 80.90% 209 12.71% 105 6.39%
1900 966 69.90% 388 28.08% 28 2.03%


See also

References

  1. ^ a b "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Wells County, North Dakota". www.census.gov. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 27, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "County History". Official Portal for North Dakota State Government. Archived from the original on February 2, 2015. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
  4. ^ "Dakota Territory, South Dakota, and North Dakota: Individual County Chronologies". Dakota Territory Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2006. Archived from the original on April 2, 2018. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  5. ^ "2010 Census Centers of Population by State". United States Census Bureau, Geography Division. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Wells County ND". Google Maps. Accessed February 21, 2019.
  7. ^ ""Find an Altitude/Wells County ND" Google Maps (accessed February 21, 2019)". Archived from the original on May 21, 2019. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  8. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on January 29, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  9. ^ "United States Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  10. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  11. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (April 20, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  12. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  13. ^ a b c "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  14. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  15. ^ "Selected Social Characteristics in the US – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  16. ^ "Selected Economic Characteristics – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved February 21, 2019.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ Leip, David. "Atlas of US Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 13, 2018.