These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In North Dakota


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

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Where are the best places in the state of North Dakota? They are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places where people have the best jobs, where residents are happily married, and where the sun shines the most.

And certainly, since crime is really low, every one wants to be there. It’s, literally, all sunshine and rainbows.

We looked at the 12 most populated cities in the Peace Garden State for this study. The cities at the top are places where things are going swimmingly right now, at least according to data, which measures the good things that people say they want in a city 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. We had more than 10 million people read our worst cities in a state series, which was featured in hundreds of media outlets, including an NPR feature.

So we know what we’re talking about.

Here are the 10 best places to live in North Dakota:

  1. Williston
  2. Mandan
  3. West Fargo
  4. Dickinson
  5. Valley City
  6. Bismarck
  7. Minot
  8. Grand Forks
  9. Fargo
  10. Jamestown

We understand there’s a lot of good in every place. However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty, ‘friendly people’ and community involvement), these are the best options in North Dakota for making a place home.

The worst city to live in North Dakota? Devils Lake. More on that later.

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How do you decide if a place is amazeballs or not?

In order to rank North Dakota’s best cities, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, good weather, things to do and a stable economy.

So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

How we crunched the numbers for North Dakota

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, this is the criteria we used:

  • Strong schools
  • Low unemployment rates
  • High incomes
  • High home prices
  • Lots of sunny days a year
  • Low crime
  • Low cost of living

If you’d like to see the complete list of cities in North Dakota, scroll to the bottom of this post to see a link to the entire data set.

Note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. This list is based on data, and is entirely unbiased. The cost of living numbers are based on a national average of 100, so anything below 100 is more affordable.

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1. Williston

Best North Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 15,553
Crime Index: 85
Cost Of Living Index: 116

When you look at the data, the city of Williston, on the western side of the state is the best place you can live in the state of North Dakota.

2. Mandan

Best North Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 18,365
Crime Index: 73
Cost Of Living Index: 106

Mandan is a western Bismarck suburb where crime is fairly low.

3. West Fargo

Best North Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 25,793
Crime Index: 73
Cost Of Living Index: 86

This Fargo suburb is a quite place where it’s really affordable.

4. Dickinson

Best North Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 18,140
Crime Index: 90
Cost Of Living Index: 115

Dickinson is a city that’s growing quickly, but it’s fairly isolated on the western side of the state.

5. Valley City

Best North Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,585
Crime Index: 49
Cost Of Living Index: 84

Valley city is actually the 12th largest city in North Dakota. Crime is just about as low as you’ll see in the state.

6. Bismarck

Best North Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 61,941
Crime Index: 92
Cost Of Living Index: 112

Bismarck is the 2nd largest city on this list. It’s obviously more expensive to live here than in a suburb.

7. Minot

Best North Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 41,251
Crime Index: 84
Cost Of Living Index: 110

This large city is located in north central North Dakota. It’s well known for a large nearby Air Force Base.

8. Grand Forks

Best North Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 52,773
Crime Index: 90
Cost Of Living Index: 99

Crime is fairly low for a large city, and Grand Forks is more affordable than Bismarck.

9. Fargo

Best North Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 106,005
Crime Index: 96
Cost Of Living Index: 98

The largest city in North Dakota has a low crime rate, considering that 16% of the state’s population lives in the Fargo metro area.

10. Jamestown

Best North Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 15,333
Crime Index: 89
Cost Of Living Index: 88

A very old city, Jamestown has low crime and is really affordable.

There You Have It

Looking at the data, you can tell that anything within a 15-minute drive of Williston is the most desirable, according to science and data. But as most North Dakota residents would agree, almost every place here is awesome.

Other notable cities:
3rd Worst: Jamestown
2nd Worst: Wahpeton
Worst: Devils Lake

We also wrote about the 10 worst places to live in North Dakota.

Detailed List Of Best Places To Live In North Dakota

City Rank Population Crime Index Cost Of Living Index
Williston 1 15,553 85 116
Mandan 2 18,365 73 106
West Fargo 3 25,793 73 86
Dickinson 4 18,140 90 115
Valley City 5 6,585 49 84
Bismarck 6 61,941 92 112
Minot 7 41,251 84 110
Grand Forks 8 52,773 90 99
Fargo 9 106,005 96 98
Jamestown 10 15,333 89 88
Wahpeton 11 7,769 72 88
Devils Lake 12 7,129 113 84

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