Where are the best places in the state of North Dakota?
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Peace Garden State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in North Dakota.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 22 places in North Dakota, we came up with this list of the best places:
- West Fargo (Photos)
- Williston (Photos)
- Dickinson (Photos)
- Bismarck (Photos)
- Minot (Photos)
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best 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 346 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’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Place 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
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
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.
Population: 3,311Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 3)
Home Values: $186,800 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (13th best)
Lincoln is unequivocally the best place to live in North Dakota. Not only do they have the highest student expenditure in the state, meaning they place a very high value on their students’ education, but they also have the 6th highest median income.
Additionally, they have the 2nd lowest crime rate, making it one of the safest city in North Dakota. If that wasn’t enough, their unemployment rate is only 2.7%%.
Overall, Lincoln is the place to live in North Dakota.
2. West Fargo
Population: 31,557Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $190,400 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.2% (4th best)
The Town of West Fargo consistently ranks as one of the best places to live. There aren’t any surprises here. Which probably adds credibility to our data, right?
Let’s see why West Fargo ranks so high. First of all, the homes in West Fargo are the 6th most expensive in the state of North Dakota, with the average home worth a whopping $190,400. We’re not elitists, nor are we saying that big homes means a better place to live. But price reflects demand, and simply put, a lot of people want to live in West Fargo if they can afford it.
Other numbers that stand out: West Fargo residents have the 7th highest income in the state, and the 7th lowest crime numbers in North Dakota.
Population: 2,328 Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 13)
Home Values: $182,400 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (22nd best)
The Town of Stanley might be a bit of a surprise to some in terms of how well it ranks according to science.
The crime rate in Stanley isn’t amazing, but it’s far below the state average. The homes are valued at $182,400 here, and the schools get some of the most funding in North Dakota.
If Stanley can get some more of their residents to work, things will look even rosier here. The unemployment rate (5.7% is the 22nd highest in the state.
Population: 2,653Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 3)
Home Values: $146,700 (14th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.0% (3rd best)
Hazen is known for having a great education system and has the 16th shortest commute time.
Additionally, the unemployment rate in Hazen is the 3rd lowest in North Dakota and the median income is the 3rd highest in the state.
Population: 2,559Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 4)
Home Values: $237,400 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.5% (5th best)
Horace has been called one of the best small towns in America. If you live here, you’re most likely already aware of how great it is to live there.
Just about everyone who wants a job in Horace has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 1.5% and lowering. And the Horace police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 18th lowest in the state here.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?
Population: 23,902Rank Last Year: 23 (Up 17)
Home Values: $223,800 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (9th best)
There’s two types of people who live in Williston. Either the old hold outs who have lived there forever and are watching their home values skyrocket, or those d who can afford to buy a $223,800 home there.
Either way, you’re set. Your kids go to great schools, there’s a ton of things to do, and you earn a great salary. Williston is exactly what you hoped for when you played that board game, LIFE as a kid.
Population: 2,091Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Values: $106,700 (18th best)
Unemployment Rate: 0.7% (2nd best)
Lisbon is a short drive from everything, but who would want to leave the 7th best place in North Dakota?
Homes are priced around $106,700 and residents have the 7th shortest commute in North Dakota.
Population: 21,985 Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 7)
Home Values: $224,800 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (16th best)
Dickinson ranks 8th on our list of best places to live in North Dakota thanks to its low unemployment and high adjusted median income.
Additionally, its crime rate ranks in the lowest 10% of all places in North Dakota that we examined.
People have been flocking to Dickinson over the past years. Goes to show that everyone wants in on this great community.
Population: 68,981Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Home Values: $205,500 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.9% (7th best)
Bismarck has a strong showing in our best places to live in North Dakota analysis, coming it at 9th 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, Bismarck is a great option.
Population: 47,338Rank Last Year: 20 (Up 10)
Home Values: $201,900 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.2% (9th best)
Crime is something that doesn’t happen very often in Minot. Statistically the 13th safest place in the state, there were only 138 violent crimes in the entire city last year.
It’s really beautiful in Minot, and new homes continue to replace older homes. Resident earn $62,324 a year, and homes are valued at more than $201,900.
What else could you possibly want if you’re someone who likes the the good things in life?
Wrapping Up The Best Of The Best 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 2018.
Best Towns To Live In North Dakota
- Thompson (Pop. 1,196)
- Surrey (Pop. 1,079)
- Langdon (Pop. 1,929)
- Hettinger (Pop. 1,140)
- Burlington (Pop. 1,235)
- Washburn (Pop. 1,464)
- Carrington (Pop. 1,980)
- Bowman (Pop. 1,717)
- Hillsboro (Pop. 1,643)
- Crosby (Pop. 1,000)
Best Small Towns To Live In North Dakota
- Briarwood (Pop. 54)
- Reile’s Acres (Pop. 514)
- Brooktree Park (Pop. 89)
- Prairie Rose (Pop. 84)
- North River (Pop. 60)
- Newburg (Pop. 147)
- Oxbow (Pop. 395)
- Frontier (Pop. 192)
- Pembina (Pop. 502)
- Buchanan (Pop. 63)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in North Dakota:
- Devils Lake (Pop. 7,299)
- Grafton (Pop. 4,287)
- Jamestown (Pop. 15,441)
For more North Dakota reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Drunkest Cities In North Dakota
- These Are The 10 Most Redneck Cities In North Dakota
- These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In North Dakota
Detailed List Of The Best Cities In North Dakota