These Are The 20 Best Small Towns In North Dakota For 2018


We used science and data to determine which small towns in North Dakota are the best of the best.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Data updated for 2018.

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You’ve seen these lists before: Best places to live in North Dakota, Most Beautiful Downtowns, etc., etc. But all of them focus on major cities and towns in the Peace Garden State and no one pays attention to the little guy.

Well, that’s all about to change as we put together a list of the best small towns in North Dakota based on numbers–not opinions or hearsay.

We’ll dive right into our methodology in the next section; but first, we thought you might just want to know which places in North Dakota ranked the based–you know, based on science.

Before we get to the top 20, here’s a look at the 10 Best Small Towns To Live in North Dakota for 2018:

  1. Thompson (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Horace (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Lincoln (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Casselton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Surrey (Homes For Sale)
  6. Hettinger (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Watford City (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Burlington (Homes For Sale)
  9. Hazen (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Stanley (Photos | Homes For Sale)

If you live in one of these small towns like Thompson, chances are, you’re not surprised. After all, you know how great you have it.

But for the rest of you–keep reading and we’ll get to just why these small towns made our list.

For more reading on the Peace Garden State check out:

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How We Determined The Coolest Towns In North Dakota

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent data from the Census’s 2012-2016 American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Lowest Unemployment Rates
  • Housing costs (Higher is better. More demand.)
  • Adjusted Median Income (Higher is better)
  • Highly Educated Adults (Higher is better)
  • Insurance Rates (Higher is better)
  • Commute Times (Lower is better)

We looked at places with populations lower than 5,000 people and greater than 1,000, of which, there were a lot – 40 to be exact.

We then ranked each place in each category with scores from 1 to 40, averaged them out, and the lowest scores went to our Best Small Towns in North Dakota. Top of that list — Thompson.

Keep reading to find out more about our top 20 best small towns in North Dakota.

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1. Thompson

Thompson, ND

Population: 1,196
Median Income: $88,125 (3rd Best)
Median Home Value: $165,100 (8th Best)
More on Thompson: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

2. Horace

Horace, ND

Population: 2,559
Median Income: $107,000 (1st Best)
Median Home Value: $237,400 (1st Best)
More on Horace: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

3. Lincoln

Lincoln, ND

Population: 3,311
Median Income: $74,048 (8th Best)
Median Home Value: $186,800 (5th Best)
More on Lincoln: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

4. Casselton

Casselton, ND

Population: 2,500
Median Income: $66,223 (10th Best)
Median Home Value: $168,100 (7th Best)
More on Casselton: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

5. Surrey


Population: 1,079
Median Income: $86,667 (4th Best)
Median Home Value: $195,400 (2nd Best)
More on Surrey: Data| Homes For Sale

6. Hettinger

Hettinger, ND

Population: 1,140
Median Income: $57,188 (16th Best)
Median Home Value: $137,500 (15th Best)
More on Hettinger: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

7. Watford City

Watford City, ND

Population: 4,596
Median Income: $73,750 (9th Best)
Median Home Value: $188,800 (4th Best)
More on Watford City: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

8. Burlington


Population: 1,235
Median Income: $93,250 (2nd Best)
Median Home Value: $189,500 (3rd Best)
More on Burlington: Data| Homes For Sale

9. Hazen

Hazen, ND

Population: 2,653
Median Income: $77,275 (5th Best)
Median Home Value: $146,700 (13th Best)
More on Hazen: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

10. Stanley

Stanley, ND

Population: 2,328
Median Income: $60,500 (12th Best)
Median Home Value: $182,400 (6th Best)
More on Stanley: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

11. Carrington

Carrington, ND

Population: 1,980
Median Income: $51,550 (22nd Best)
Median Home Value: $117,300 (18th Best)
More on Carrington: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

12. Langdon


Population: 1,929
Median Income: $65,052 (11th Best)
Median Home Value: $92,400 (27th Best)
More on Langdon: Data| Homes For Sale

13. Oakes


Population: 2,043
Median Income: $53,938 (19th Best)
Median Home Value: $110,300 (20th Best)
More on Oakes: Data| Homes For Sale

14. Washburn


Population: 1,464
Median Income: $74,279 (7th Best)
Median Home Value: $164,100 (9th Best)
More on Washburn: Data| Homes For Sale

15. Bowman


Population: 1,717
Median Income: $60,000 (13th Best)
Median Home Value: $161,000 (10th Best)
More on Bowman: Data| Homes For Sale

16. Hillsboro

Hillsboro, ND

Population: 1,643
Median Income: $43,929 (30th Best)
Median Home Value: $125,300 (17th Best)
More on Hillsboro: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

17. Lisbon

Lisbon, ND

Population: 2,091
Median Income: $55,136 (18th Best)
Median Home Value: $106,700 (23rd Best)
More on Lisbon: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

18. Bottineau

Bottineau, ND

Population: 2,340
Median Income: $45,000 (28th Best)
Median Home Value: $128,900 (16th Best)
More on Bottineau: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

19. Beulah

Beulah, ND

Population: 3,328
Median Income: $76,042 (6th Best)
Median Home Value: $157,500 (12th Best)
More on Beulah: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

20. Crosby


Population: 1,000
Median Income: $55,536 (17th Best)
Median Home Value: $107,400 (21st Best)
More on Crosby: Data| Homes For Sale

Science Can Tackle Any Issue, Even Small Ones

We said it once and we’ll say it again — this list: it’s just science. We did the research, we crunched the numbers, and it turns out, these 20 small towns in North Dakota are the best, in which to live.

And who can argue with that?

If you’re curious, here are the worst small towns in North Dakota:

  1. Fort Totten
  2. Walhalla
  3. Shell Valley

For more North Dakota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Small Towns In North Dakota

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Value
1 Thompson 1,196 $88,125 $165,100
2 Horace 2,559 $107,000 $237,400
3 Lincoln 3,311 $74,048 $186,800
4 Casselton 2,500 $66,223 $168,100
5 Surrey 1,079 $86,667 $195,400
6 Hettinger 1,140 $57,188 $137,500
7 Watford City 4,596 $73,750 $188,800
8 Burlington 1,235 $93,250 $189,500
9 Hazen 2,653 $77,275 $146,700
10 Stanley 2,328 $60,500 $182,400
11 Carrington 1,980 $51,550 $117,300
12 Langdon 1,929 $65,052 $92,400
13 Oakes 2,043 $53,938 $110,300
14 Washburn 1,464 $74,279 $164,100
15 Bowman 1,717 $60,000 $161,000
16 Hillsboro 1,643 $43,929 $125,300
17 Lisbon 2,091 $55,136 $106,700
18 Bottineau 2,340 $45,000 $128,900
19 Beulah 3,328 $76,042 $157,500
20 Crosby 1,000 $55,536 $107,400
21 Harvey 1,923 $37,200 $72,700
22 Mayville 1,820 $43,472 $96,900
23 Ellendale 1,432 $42,744 $69,600
24 Cavalier 1,204 $37,375 $92,800
25 Cooperstown 1,164 $47,500 $83,700
26 Velva 1,157 $41,314 $159,300
27 Garrison 1,465 $53,580 $111,300
28 Rugby 3,092 $37,450 $96,400
29 Tioga 1,126 $58,478 $145,000
30 Cando 1,117 $48,750 $71,600
31 New Town 2,403 $53,086 $107,300
32 Grafton 4,287 $44,926 $83,100
33 Park River 1,420 $45,179 $84,500
34 Larimore 1,425 $47,250 $87,400
35 New Rockford 1,466 $49,815 $66,300
36 Rolla 1,388 $42,639 $80,000
37 Parshall 1,125 $59,432 $79,600
38 Shell Valley 1,236 $36,688 $51,900
39 Walhalla 1,033 $36,250 $71,900
40 Fort Totten 1,285 $22,500 $13,800

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