10 Best Places To Live In North Dakota For 2019


These are the cream of the crop in the Peace Garden State.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fifth time ranking the best places to live in North Dakota.

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Three new cities moved into the best places to call home in North Dakota according to our best places to live in North Dakota for 2019 report.

Each year we analyze what we feel are the best places to live in North Dakota. We take into account categories that we all agree make a place top ten worthy, like housing prices and median income. We also take into account places with low crime, great jobs, short commute times, and solid schools. According to the Happiness Research Institute, most people don't like where they live and wished they lived somewhere better. However, not the folks in our best places in North Dakota.

How did we determine the best places to live in North Dakota? We consulted the latest Census data on cost of living for places with 2,000 or more residents. We discovered that most North Dakotans have never really experienced unemployment. The Peace Garden State has managed to stay below the national unemployment rate; and coincidentally, have managed to be one of the least dangerous states in the country.

It's simple economics, folks. When a city's median income is above average, there is more money to spend on the things that matter. Like, the community and the programs and activities that keep the residents safe, healthy, and active. And that, North Dakotans, makes perfect sense.

Are you surprised by this year's results? Pull up a chair and put a smile on your face as we look at North Dakota's best places to live.

What's the best place to live in North Dakota for 2019? Drum roll...the number one best place to live in North Dakota is Lincoln based on the most recent Census data.

We are not at all surprised. Lincoln has homes that are affordable, plentiful jobs with competitive salaries, and its neighborhoods are safe.

To see how your city compared, take a look at the list below. And if you don't find your favorite there, head on down to the bottom.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more North Dakota reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In North Dakota For 2019

Lincoln, ND

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 3,311
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $186,800 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (14th best)
More on Lincoln: Real Estate | Data | Photos

In Lincoln, everyone loves to call Lincoln home! The median home value is the 7th highest in North Dakota.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 14th lowest in the state. and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Peace Garden State.

Lincoln should consider renaming to Paradise Valley in our humble opinion.

West Fargo, ND

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 31,557
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $190,400 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.2% (4th best)
More on West Fargo: Real Estate | Data | Photos

West Fargo is a cute little city where crime is far below the state average, and where it's affordable. The schools are also solidly rated.

Home prices clock in at $190,400 and households earn a median salary of $71,516. One could get used to that.

Stanley, ND

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 2,328
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 13)
Median Home Value: $182,400 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (22nd best)
More on Stanley: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The Stanley has the 22nd lowest unemployment rate in North Dakota. The population growth here has been 8% over the last 15 years, meaning a lot of people want to live here. If they can afford it; the cost of living in Stanley is higher than the national average and households make $60,500 per year.

We'd move to Stanley if we could in a heart beat.

Hazen, ND

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 2,653
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $146,700 (14th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.0% (3rd best)
More on Hazen: Real Estate | Data | Photos

If you don't have a job in Hazen, you're most likely not trying very hard. The unemployment rate here is almost as low as you can get -- 1.0%. In fact, there are probably enough butler and landscaping jobs available here to put every single unemployed resident to work, what with a median income of $77,275.

That's actually not a bad idea...

Horace, ND

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,559
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $237,400 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.5% (5th best)
More on Horace: Real Estate | Data | Photos

If you want to live in North Dakota, you can't go wrong if you decide to make the Horace area your home. However, everyone and their mother wants to live here.

Can you blame them? It's a beautiful place with really low crime, where a majority of residents are wealthy (a $107,000 median income will do that).

Plus, the residents are really involved with helping to make Horace as great as possible. You can't get it much better than in Horace.

Williston, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 23,902
Rank Last Year: 23 (Up 17)
Median Home Value: $223,800 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (10th best)
More on Williston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Williston has a strong showing in our best places to live in North Dakota analysis, coming it at 6th best.

It ranks highly like many others in the top ten for a low unemployment rate and high adjusted median income. It scored extra points relative to the top ten for its size and things to do.

If you're thinking of moving to North Dakota, Williston is a great option.

Lisbon, ND

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,091
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $106,700 (18th best)
Unemployment Rate: 0.7% (2nd best)
More on Lisbon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Perhaps what makes Lisbon so amazing is the high emphasis they put on quality education: they have one of the highest rate of education at attainment for adults.

However, quality education isn't all that makes Lisbon great. They also have the 13th highest median income and the 7th shortest commute time.

Dickinson, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 21,985
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 7)
Median Home Value: $224,800 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (16th best)
More on Dickinson: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The Town of Dickinson might be a bit of a surprise to some in terms of how well it ranks according to science.

The crime rate in Dickinson isn't amazing, but it's far below the state average. The homes are valued at $224,800 here, and the schools get some of the most funding in North Dakota.

If Dickinson can get some more of their residents to work, things will look even rosier here. The unemployment rate (3.5% is the 16th highest in the state.

Bismarck, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 68,981
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $205,500 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.9% (7th best)
More on Bismarck: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Crime is something that doesn't happen very often in Bismarck. Statistically the 20th safest place in the state, there were only 212 violent crimes in the entire city last year.

It's really beautiful in Bismarck, and new homes continue to replace older homes. Resident earn $60,320 a year, and homes are valued at more than $205,500.

What else could you possibly want if you're someone who likes the good things in life?

Review Of Bismarck by HomeSnacks User

Currently live in Bismarck. I could only live here or Fargo/West Fargo in this state. I love ND though, and it truly is the best state in the country

Minot, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 47,338
Rank Last Year: 20 (Up 10)
Median Home Value: $201,900 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (10th best)
More on Minot: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Taking its place as the 10th best place in North Dakota is Minot. Residents here earn a really high salary each year, and crime is fairly low, in comparison to the rest of North Dakota.

It's considered a cultural community, as it boasts an arts scene, and many ethnic restaurants, too. Which means you can't be bored here.

An unemployment rate of only 2.2% helps thing too.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in North Dakota

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Bismarck with a population of 68,981 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn't fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities -- Populations over 2,000
  • Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 2,000
  • Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000

This left us with 22 cities, 27 towns, and 261 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 2,000 people to truly be 'the best'.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In North Dakota

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in North Dakota across a number of criteria from one to 22, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best Place To Live In North Dakota".

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in North Dakota? That would be Lincoln.

If your city or town isn't among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in North Dakota.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Lincoln at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In North Dakota

If you're looking at areas in North Dakota with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Lincoln made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in North Dakota for 2019.

Best Towns To Live In North Dakota

  1. Thompson (Pop. 1,196)
  2. Surrey (Pop. 1,079)
  3. Langdon (Pop. 1,929)
  4. Hettinger (Pop. 1,140)
  5. Burlington (Pop. 1,235)
  6. Washburn (Pop. 1,464)
  7. Carrington (Pop. 1,980)
  8. Bowman (Pop. 1,717)
  9. Hillsboro (Pop. 1,643)
  10. Crosby (Pop. 1,000)

Best Small Towns To Live In North Dakota

  1. Reile's Acres (Pop. 514)
  2. Briarwood (Pop. 54)
  3. Prairie Rose (Pop. 84)
  4. North River (Pop. 60)
  5. Newburg (Pop. 147)
  6. Frontier (Pop. 192)
  7. Oxbow (Pop. 395)
  8. Pembina (Pop. 502)
  9. Harwood (Pop. 767)
  10. Buchanan (Pop. 63)

If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in North Dakota according to the data:

  1. Jamestown (Pop. 15,441)
  2. Grafton (Pop. 4,287)
  3. Devils Lake (Pop. 7,299)

For more North Dakota reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In North Dakota?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Lincoln 3,311 2.7% $186,800
2 West Fargo 31,557 1.2% $190,400
3 Stanley 2,328 5.7% $182,400
4 Hazen 2,653 1.0% $146,700
5 Horace 2,559 1.5% $237,400
6 Williston 23,902 2.2% $223,800
7 Lisbon 2,091 0.7% $106,700
8 Dickinson 21,985 3.5% $224,800
9 Bismarck 68,981 1.9% $205,500
10 Minot 47,338 2.2% $201,900

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.

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