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Richard W. Rathge, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Sociology



  • Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1981
  • M.A., New Mexico State University, 1976
  • B.A., New Mexico State University, 1974

Dr. Rathge is a demographer, research methodologist, and rural sociologist.  He has a joint teaching/research appointment at NDSU in the departments of Sociology/Anthropology and Agribusiness and Applied Economics.  He also serves as the State Demographer for North Dakota as he directs the North Dakota State Data Center and he is the State Coordinator for the Federal-State Cooperative Program for Population Estimates (FSCPE) and Projections (FSCPPE).  In addition, he is a policy analyst for the North Dakota Kids Count program which is a research center that monitors the health and well-being of children.  Dr. Rathge joined the faculty at NDSU in 1981.

Selected Publications:

(in past 10 years)

Rathge, R.W, Justin Garosi, and Karen Olson. 2013.   "Baby-Boomers’ Impact on Workforce and Tax Issues in the Great Plains."  Pp. 77-98 in Nina Glasgow and Eddy Berry, eds. Rural Aging in 21st Century America. New York City, NY: Springer Publishers.

Klinger, Chelsey and Richard Rathge. 2009. Nonprofit Sector Study: An Analysis of the Impact of the Nonprofit Sector in North Dakota, Challenges and Opportunities.  North Dakota State Data Center, Fargo, North Dakota., March.

Rathge, Richard W. 2008. “Future Population Shifts in the Great Plains and Their Implications” Great Plains Sociologist. 19:109-126.

Rathge, Richard W. 2007. The Economic Impact of the Senior Population on a State’s Economy: The Case of North Dakota. North Dakota State Data Center, North Dakota State University, Fargo: North Dakota.

Johnson, Kenneth and Richard Rathge.  2005.  “Agricultural Dependence, Economic Hardship, and Population Change in the Great Plains,” in David Brown and William Kendall (editors), Population Change and Rural Society: The Changing Face of Rural America, Kluwer Press.

Mullis, Ron, Richard Rathge, and Ann Mullis. 2003. “Predictors of Academic Performance During Early Adolescence: A Contextual View” Journal of Behavioral Development. 27(6):541-548.

Rathge, Richard W. and John E. Monzingo.  2002.  “North Dakota’s 2001 Apportionment: Opportunities and Challenges” North Dakota Law Review. 77(4): 696-709.

Research and Teaching Specializations:

Dr. Rathge’s research program is split into three main fields, demographic analysis, health policy research, and community studies. His most recent concentration is on population migration impacts, children’s health and well-being, community viability, and program evaluation. The themes that best illustrate his most recent research include:

Evaluation Research: Dr. Rathge is the program evaluator for:

  1. North Dakota’s statewide oral health program.
  2. North Dakota’s Early Childhood Comprehensive System (ECCS).
  3. Dakota Medical Foundation’s initiative to improve North Dakota’s nonprofit community.
  4. Minnesota’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) Dr. Rathge’s focus is on the 4 Minnesota counties of Becker, Clay, Otter Tail, and Wilkin. The initiative is to reduce tobacco use and exposure and prevent obesity.


Community Research: Dr. Rathge partnered with AARP and the Congressional Quarterly to explore livable communities and their implications for increasing numbers of elderly.  He presented findings of this work at the Washington National Press Club. In addition, his research regarding labor force issues for rural communities in North Dakota has been presented at the International Legislative Forum in Bismarck.


Demographics of the Great Plains: Dr. Rathge’s main demographic focus is on population shifts in the 12 state area from Montana to Minnesota down to New Mexico and Texas. This research has been published in scientific journals, books, and aired nationally on ABC Nightline and World News Tonight.

Previous Courses Taught:

  • Sociology 340, Social Research Methods
  • Sociology 341, Social Research Methods Lab
  • Sociology 465/665, Applied Demographics
  • Sociology 701, Quantitative Methods

Applied Research Opportunities for Students:

  1. Demographic research at the North Dakota State Data Center
  2. Child well-being indicator work at the North Dakota Kids Count
  3. Nonprofit organizational research through funding from the Dakota Medical Foundation
  4. Health policy work through funding from ND Health Department
  5. Youth development research through funding from Dakota Medical Foundation
  6. Community development research through funding from USDA
  7. Program Evaluation research through funding from ND Health Department, ND Department of Human Services, MN Department of Health.

Honors and Awards

  • 46th NDSU Faculty Lectureship Award, 2004;
  • Outstanding Research and Creative Activities, NDSU College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, 2000.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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North Dakota State University
Sociology and Anthropology Department: +1 (701) 231-8657
Fax: +1 (701) 231-5118
Campus Address: Minard Hall 428, Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing Address: Dept. 2350, PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Site manager: Kate Ulmer

Last Updated: Thursday, September 11, 2014 10:14:18 AM
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