Best Small Towns In North Dakota For 2020


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

This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. This is our sixth time ranking the best small places to live in North Dakota.

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 15, here’s a look at the 10 Best Small Towns To Live in North Dakota for 2020.

The 10 Best Small Towns To Live In North Dakota For 2020

  1. Lincoln (Photos | Homes)
  2. Thompson (Photos | Homes)
  3. Horace (Photos | Homes)
  4. Carrington (Photos | Homes)
  5. Casselton (Photos | Homes)
  6. Bowman (Photos | Homes)
  7. Washburn (Homes)
  8. Beulah (Photos | Homes)
  9. Surrey (Homes)
  10. Gwinner (Photos | Homes)

What’s the best small town in North Dakota? Lincoln is the best small town in North Dakota based on the most recent Census data. If you live in one of these small towns like Lincoln, 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:

The 15 Best Small Towns In North Dakota For 2020

Lincoln, ND

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 3,594
Median Income: $78,445 (7th Best)
Median Home Value: $227,800 (2nd Best)
More on Lincoln: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Thompson, ND

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 1,139
Median Income: $98,333 (2nd Best)
Median Home Value: $187,800 (6th Best)
More on Thompson: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Horace, ND

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,660
Median Income: $131,354 (1st Best)
Median Home Value: $293,800 (1st Best)
More on Horace: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Carrington, ND

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,020
Median Income: $59,659 (18th Best)
Median Home Value: $135,500 (17th Best)
More on Carrington: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Casselton, ND

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,508
Median Income: $76,250 (8th Best)
Median Home Value: $194,100 (5th Best)
More on Casselton: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Bowman, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 1,552
Median Income: $60,875 (16th Best)
Median Home Value: $164,300 (12th Best)
More on Bowman: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,509
Median Income: $79,712 (6th Best)
Median Home Value: $175,900 (9th Best)
More on Washburn: Data | Homes For Sale

Beulah, ND

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 3,296
Median Income: $92,917 (3rd Best)
Median Home Value: $196,800 (4th Best)
More on Beulah: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 1,043
Median Income: $86,250 (5th Best)
Median Home Value: $208,900 (3rd Best)
More on Surrey: Data | Homes For Sale

Gwinner, ND

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,081
Median Income: $73,813 (10th Best)
Median Home Value: $115,200 (23rd Best)
More on Gwinner: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Hazen, ND

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 2,610
Median Income: $86,838 (4th Best)
Median Home Value: $160,500 (13th Best)
More on Hazen: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Lisbon, ND

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,052
Median Income: $57,574 (19th Best)
Median Home Value: $113,700 (24th Best)
More on Lisbon: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Oakes, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 2,042
Median Income: $62,283 (15th Best)
Median Home Value: $111,900 (26th Best)
More on Oakes: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Bottineau, ND

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,199
Median Income: $53,164 (27th Best)
Median Home Value: $143,800 (15th Best)
More on Bottineau: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Ellendale, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 1,201
Median Income: $45,461 (37th Best)
Median Home Value: $65,600 (41st Best)
More on Ellendale: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

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 2014-2018 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 – 43 to be exact.

We then ranked each place in each category with scores from 1 to 43, averaged them out, and the lowest scores went to our Best Small Towns in North Dakota. Top of that list — Lincoln. You can download the data here.

Keep reading to find out more about our top 15 best small towns in North Dakota.

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 15 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. Shell Valley
  3. Belcourt

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 Lincoln, ND 3,594 $78,445.0 $227,800.0
2 Thompson, ND 1,139 $98,333.0 $187,800.0
3 Horace, ND 2,660 $131,354.0 $293,800.0
4 Carrington, ND 2,020 $59,659.0 $135,500.0
5 Casselton, ND 2,508 $76,250.0 $194,100.0
6 Bowman, ND 1,552 $60,875.0 $164,300.0
7 Washburn, ND 1,509 $79,712.0 $175,900.0
8 Beulah, ND 3,296 $92,917.0 $196,800.0
9 Surrey, ND 1,043 $86,250.0 $208,900.0
10 Gwinner, ND 1,081 $73,813.0 $115,200.0
11 Hazen, ND 2,610 $86,838.0 $160,500.0
12 Lisbon, ND 2,052 $57,574.0 $113,700.0
13 Oakes, ND 2,042 $62,283.0 $111,900.0
14 Bottineau, ND 2,199 $53,164.0 $143,800.0
15 Ellendale, ND 1,201 $45,461.0 $65,600.0
16 Burlington, ND 1,477 $75,511.0 $179,300.0
17 Langdon, ND 1,867 $67,536.0 $105,000.0
18 Crosby, ND 1,056 $53,750.0 $124,700.0
19 Hettinger, ND 1,152 $49,803.0 $133,100.0
20 Linton, ND 1,019 $41,944.0 $87,100.0
21 Stanley, ND 2,594 $68,182.0 $184,900.0
22 Cavalier, ND 1,191 $49,890.0 $108,500.0
23 Tioga, ND 1,121 $66,389.0 $175,000.0
24 Rugby, ND 2,677 $39,083.0 $117,700.0
25 Larimore, ND 1,461 $54,583.0 $124,100.0
26 Hillsboro, ND 1,610 $53,333.0 $150,900.0
27 Velva, ND 1,292 $52,014.0 $167,100.0
28 Harvey, ND 1,758 $49,514.0 $89,000.0
29 Beach, ND 1,015 $51,154.0 $111,700.0
30 Mayville, ND 1,813 $45,682.0 $110,800.0
31 Cooperstown, ND 1,104 $53,710.0 $89,500.0
32 Garrison, ND 1,537 $56,042.0 $113,200.0
33 New Town, ND 2,495 $68,365.0 $125,000.0
34 New Rockford, ND 1,436 $45,385.0 $80,100.0
35 Grafton, ND 4,192 $48,878.0 $79,800.0
36 Parshall, ND 1,116 $57,500.0 $141,700.0
37 Rolla, ND 1,321 $57,546.0 $98,000.0
38 Cando, ND 1,110 $49,375.0 $80,300.0
39 Park River, ND 1,489 $49,271.0 $82,100.0
40 Walhalla, ND 1,035 $60,592.0 $85,900.0
41 Belcourt, ND 2,038 $29,688.0 $89,100.0
42 Shell Valley, ND 1,300 $34,861.0 $57,600.0
43 Fort Totten, ND 1,311 $22,750.0 $52,300.0

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.