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Morton County, North Dakota facts for kids

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Morton County
Morton County Courthouse in Mandan
Morton County Courthouse in Mandan
Map of North Dakota highlighting Morton 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 27, 1896
Seat Mandan
Largest city Mandan
 • Total 1,945 sq mi (5,040 km2)
 • Land 1,926 sq mi (4,990 km2)
 • Water 19 sq mi (50 km2)  1.0%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 14/sq mi (5/km2)
Congressional district At-large

Morton County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Dakota. As of the 2010 census, the population was 27,471, making it the seventh-most populous county in North Dakota. Its county seat is Mandan. The county was originally created in 1873 and later organized in 1878.

Morton County is included in the Bismarck, ND, Metropolitan Statistical Area.


The county was created by the 1872-1873 territorial legislature and named for Oliver Hazard Perry Throck Morton (1823-1877), governor of Indiana during the American Civil War and later a United States Senator. It was organized on March 23, 1878, but the action of the 1878 legislature in attaching the eastern portion to Burleigh County effectively nullified this action. The county was reorganized on February 18, 1881, after the detached portion had been returned to Morton County by the 1881 legislature. Mandan has always been the county seat, though during a period from 1878 to 1879, Mandan, and thus also the county seat, was known as Lincoln.

On November 23, 1916, 1,666 square miles of southern and southwestern Morton County was detached to form Grant County.

After the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) decided on the route in September 2014 to cross Morton County, the county became a focus of DAPL protests in April 2016. In August 2016 the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) filed and injunction against United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to attempt to halt construction. In his 58-page decision by United States District Judge James E. Boasberg shows that the tribe failed to participate in the process of the USACE and Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) to address the tribes complaints. Furthermore, the tribe never even mentions their fear of water contamination in the injunction. The injunction was denied and also failed on appeal. Amnesty International wrote a letter to Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier on September 28, 2016, requesting that he investigate the use of force by private contractors, remove blockades and discontinue the use of riot gear by Morton County sheriff's deputies when policing protests in order to facilitate the right to peaceful protests in accordance with international law and standards. This letter was written in response to private security guards using guard dogs on advancing protesters on September 3, along with using pepper spray. On November 20, North Dakota police officers fired rubber bullets, tear gas, CS canisters and water from fire hoses at rioting protesters in below freezing temperatures.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,945 square miles (5,040 km2), of which 1,926 square miles (4,990 km2) is land and 19 square miles (49 km2) (1.0%) is water.

Major highways

  • I-94.svg Interstate 94
  • North Dakota 6.svg North Dakota Highway 6
  • North Dakota 21.svg North Dakota Highway 21
  • North Dakota 25.svg North Dakota Highway 25
  • North Dakota 31.png North Dakota Highway 31
  • North Dakota 49.png North Dakota Highway 49
  • North Dakota 1806.png North Dakota Highway 1806

Adjacent counties

National protected area

  • Lake Patricia National Wildlife Refuge


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 200
1890 4,728 2,264.0%
1900 8,069 70.7%
1910 25,289 213.4%
1920 18,714 −26.0%
1930 19,647 5.0%
1940 20,184 2.7%
1950 19,295 −4.4%
1960 20,992 8.8%
1970 20,310 −3.2%
1980 25,177 24.0%
1990 23,700 −5.9%
2000 25,303 6.8%
2010 27,471 8.6%
2015 (est.) 30,310 10.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2015

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 27,471 people, 11,289 households, and 7,523 families residing in the county. The population density was 14.3 inhabitants per square mile (5.5/km2). There were 12,079 housing units at an average density of 6.3 per square mile (2.4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 93.6% white, 3.6% American Indian, 0.4% black or African American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific islander, 0.4% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry,

Of the 11,289 households, 30.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.1% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.4% were non-families, and 27.7% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.90. The median age was 39.3 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $50,591 and the median income for a family was $62,713. Males had a median income of $42,044 versus $31,505 for females. The per capita income for the county was $25,303. About 5.4% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.8% of those under age 18 and 9.6% of those age 65 or over.




  • Captain's Landing

Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

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