Best Places To Retire In North Dakota For 2020


We analyzed over 29 places in North Dakota to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to retire in North Dakota.

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Do you want to know the best place to retire in North Dakota? Then you're in the right place, because we've compiled a list of the best places to spend your retirement in the Peace Garden State.

You might think that North Dakota doesn't have a lot to going on to make it attractive for retirees, but you should think again. North Dakota has more golf courses per capita than any other state, and with all your newfound free time, you'll be able to enjoy playing 18 holes without breaking the bank. And the oil boom has done more than bring jobs and money into the economy in North Dakota; it's also made it fastest growing state in America. If golfing and a booming economy aren't enough for you, consider all the natural badland beauty on display at Theodore Roosevelt National Park or the surreal metal sculptures along the Enchanted Highway. There's really something for everyone in North Dakota.

Where exactly are the hottest spots for retirees in North Dakota? Well, they're pretty well spread out around the state, so there's no geographical cheat-sheet for retiring here. If you want to be smack dab in the middle of the bigger cities of Fargo and Grand Forks, then Hillsboro is where you'll want to go. If you want to be as close to Bismarck as you can get, Beulah is the retirement haven for you. Retiring in Stanley is your best option if you want to retire as close to Theodore Roosevelt National Park as you can.

Wherever you end up retiring in North Dakota, you're sure to get hooked on tater tot hot dishes, kuchen, and juneberry jam. So pack up your putter, give that old briefcase to Goodwill, and head on over to one of the best places to retire in North Dakota.

Why did Cavalier take the top spot? And where are Fargo and Bismarck?

If you end up retiring in any of these North Dakotan cities, we're sure you'll have a good experience. Many of the places featured on this list overlap with our list of safest and best family cities on our other list, so if those things are also priorities for you, be sure to check out those articles.

Now to the nitty-gritty: how did we come to the conclusion that these are the best places for retirement in North Dakota? Well, we only looked at cities with a population of at least 1,000, which left us with 28 cities to rank. Then we figured out which places had the least crime, the most to do, a higher median age, and the best weather, all at the lowest price.

So which city ticked all these boxes to get named the best city to retire in North Dakota? According to the data Cavalier is the best place for retirement in 2020.

Surprised to see a city you thought would make the cut not on this list? Check out the table below to see how each North Dakotan city of 1,000 people or more did in our rankings.

For more North Dakota state reading:

The 10 Best Places To Retire In North Dakota For 2020

Cavalier, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 1,191
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Median Rent: $581
Distance to Closest Airport: 61 miles
More on Cavalier: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Harvey, ND

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,758
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Rent: $603
Distance to Closest Airport: 70 miles
More on Harvey: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Rugby, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 2,677
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 5)
Median Rent: $647
Distance to Closest Airport: 59 miles
More on Rugby: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Stanley, ND

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 2,594
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Rent: $767
Distance to Closest Airport: 50 miles
More on Stanley: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Ellendale, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 1,201
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 5)
Median Rent: $488
Distance to Closest Airport: 148 miles
More on Ellendale: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Beulah, ND

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 3,296
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Median Rent: $703
Distance to Closest Airport: 72 miles
More on Beulah: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lisbon, ND

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,052
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 8)
Median Rent: $558
Distance to Closest Airport: 107 miles
More on Lisbon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bowman, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 1,552
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 5)
Median Rent: $563
Distance to Closest Airport: 138 miles
More on Bowman: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Thompson, ND

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 1,139
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Rent: $625
Distance to Closest Airport: 12 miles
More on Thompson: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Hazen, ND

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 2,610
Rank Last Year: -
Median Rent: $855
Distance to Closest Airport: 68 miles
More on Hazen: Real Estate | Data | Photos

How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Peace Garden State for 2020

To create our list of the best places in North Dakota to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Peace Garden State -- 392 cities and towns.

We then narrowed it down to places with at least 1,000 people that weren't townships. This left us with 28 places from across the state.

For these 28, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI's Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living as measured by rent
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport
  • Other retirees (High median age)

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 28, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Cavalier, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers. You can download the data here.

Maybe You're Not Ready To Retire In North Dakota Yet...

So there you have it, the best place to retire in North Dakota goes to Cavalier.

If you're not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  1. Mandan
  2. Lincoln
  3. Fargo

For more North Dakota reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Retire In North Dakota?

Rank City Population Median Rent
1 Cavalier 1,191 $581
2 Harvey 1,758 $603
3 Rugby 2,677 $647
4 Stanley 2,594 $767
5 Ellendale 1,201 $488
6 Beulah 3,296 $703
7 Lisbon 2,052 $558
8 Bowman 1,552 $563
9 Thompson 1,139 $625
10 Hazen 2,610 $855

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.