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Hettinger County, North Dakota facts for kids

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Hettinger County
Hettinger County Courthouse
Hettinger County Courthouse
Map of North Dakota highlighting Hettinger 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.
Country  United States
State  North Dakota
Founded March 9, 1883 (created)
April 19, 1907 (organized)
Named for Mathias Hettinger
Seat Mott
Largest city Mott
 • Total 1,134 sq mi (2,940 km2)
 • Land 1,132 sq mi (2,930 km2)
 • Water 1.6 sq mi (4 km2)  0.1%
 • Total 2,489
 • Estimate 
 • Density 2.1949/sq mi (0.8474/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional district At-large

Hettinger County ( HET-ing-gər) is a county in the U.S. state of North Dakota. As of the 2020 census, the population was 2,489. Its county seat is Mott.

The city of Hettinger, North Dakota, is in nearby Adams County.


Hettinger County was named by Tom Hettinger, the great-grandson of Erastus A. Williams, who was Speaker of the Dakota Territory House of Representatives the year Hettinger was established, in honor of his father-in-law Mathias Hettinger. The county was founded by the Dakota Territory Legislature in 1883, and was formally organized with its own county government on April 17, 1907, by a proclamation signed by Governor John Burke.

Annexation by Stark County

In 1891, the North Dakota Legislature approved legislation to annex Hettinger County into neighboring Stark County, but the law was vetoed by Governor Eli C. D. Shortridge.

Annexation was attempted a second time in 1895, when the legislature passed legislation expanding the boundaries of Stark, Billings and Mercer Counties, subject to approval by the counties' voters. The vote was approved annexation went into effect November 3, 1896, and Hettinger County was eliminated. However, Wilson L. Richards, a cattle rancher in one of the annexed counties, sued to overturn the annexation because he and other landowners were now subject to taxation by Stark County. The case went to the North Dakota Supreme Court, which ruled the law unconstitutional on May 18, 1899. The annexation remained in effect, however, due to a replacement law approved by the legislature March 9, 1899 in anticipation of the court's decision. The second annexation law was overturned by the North Dakota Supreme Court in 1901 because the annexation was not referred to the voters of the affected counties as required by the North Dakota Constitution.

The Legislature passed a third annexation law in 1903, this time submitting it to the voters Stark County and the unorganized counties of Dunn and Hettinger for approval. The annexation was approved by 502 votes in Stark County and 65 votes in Hettinger County, but it failed by 1 vote in Dunn County. Stark County claimed the annexation vote valid, since the legislation required a majority of the aggregate votes cast. However, the North Dakota Constitution required a majority vote in each affected county subject to annexation, so the state of North Dakota sued Stark County on the grounds that the enabling legislation was unconstitutional and that the "no" vote in Dunn County meant the annexation failed. The North Dakota Supreme Court ruled the 1903 law unconstitutional in 1905, which ended further attempts at annexation.

As an unorganized county, Hettinger remained "attached" to Stark County for judicial purposes until it was formally organized in 1907.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,134 square miles (2,940 km2), of which 1,132 square miles (2,930 km2) is land and 1.6 square miles (4.1 km2) (0.1%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • North Dakota 8.svg North Dakota Highway 8
  • North Dakota 21.svg North Dakota Highway 21
  • North Dakota 22.svg North Dakota Highway 22


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 6,557
1920 7,685 17.2%
1930 8,796 14.5%
1940 7,457 −15.2%
1950 7,100 −4.8%
1960 6,317 −11.0%
1970 5,075 −19.7%
1980 4,275 −15.8%
1990 3,445 −19.4%
2000 2,715 −21.2%
2010 2,477 −8.8%
2020 2,489 0.5%
2021 (est.) 2,430 −1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 2,477 people, 1,056 households, and 682 families in the county. The population density was 2.2 inhabitants per square mile (0.85/km2). There were 1,414 housing units at an average density of 1.2 per square mile (0.46/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 96.2% white, 2.1% American Indian, 0.2% black or African American, 0.1% Pacific islander, 0.0% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 0.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 71.1% were German, 15.8% were Norwegian, 6.1% were Russian, 5.9% were Czech, 5.4% were Irish, 5.3% were Hungarian, and 3.2% were American.

Of the 1,056 households, 22.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.6% were married couples living together, 4.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 35.4% were non-families, and 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.75. The median age was 49.4 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $38,393 and the median income for a family was $49,605. Males had a median income of $33,155 versus $26,549 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,928. About 8.2% of families and 11.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.3% of those under age 18 and 13.1% of those age 65 or over.



Unincorporated community


  • Acme
  • Ashby
  • Baer
  • Beery
  • Black Butte
  • Brittian
  • Campbell
  • Cannon Ball
  • Castle Rock
  • Chilton
  • Clark
  • Farina
  • Havelock
  • Highland
  • Kennedy
  • Kern
  • Kunze
  • Madison
  • Merrill
  • Mott
  • New England
  • Odessa
  • Rifle
  • St. Croix
  • Solon
  • Steiner
  • Strehlow
  • Tepee Butte
  • Wagendorf
  • Walker

Defunct townships

  • Alden
  • Indian Creek

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Hettinger para niños

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