These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In North Dakota For 2018

We used science and data to determine which North Dakota cities are really ghetto.

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There are lots of people who throw the term ‘ghetto’ around. But which of the largest cities in North Dakota are the most ghetto of all?

How do you decide if a place is ghetto or not? You ask the internet. According to the Urban Dictionary, a ghetto is defined as:

“urban; of or relating to (inner) city life” and “poor; of or relating to the poor life.”

Using that criteria, it’s not hard to scrape the internet, run some scientific data on where ghettos might exist in a state, and then put out a list.

After analyzing the largest cities here, we came up with this list as the most ghetto places to live in North Dakota:

  1. Devils Lake (Photos)
  2. Rolla
  3. Grafton
  4. New Town
  5. Walhalla
  6. Parshall
  7. New Rockford
  8. Ellendale
  9. Jamestown (Photos)
  10. Grand Forks (Photos)

In case you’re wondering, the little city of Horace just south of Fargo is the least ghetto city of all we measured.

Read on below to see where your hometown ranked and why.

For more North Dakota reading, check out:


What ghetto criteria did we use?

In order to rank the most ghetto places in North Dakota, we had to determine what criteria defines a ghetto city or neighborhood.

Since a ghetto is defined as a poor area, we used income levels, crime and education levels as a guide to determine where the most broke citizens of a state live.

Additionally, the staples of inner city life include cheap and discounted retail outlets.

We started by making a list of all cities in North Dakota that are listed on the 2014 American Community Survey.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using Yelp and Area Vibes, this is the criteria we used:

  • Household income levels
  • High school graduation rates
  • Number of convenience stores
  • Number of drug stores
  • Number of discount stores
  • Crime

Note: For the sake of getting reliable numbers, we counted places within a city’s border, as well as within a short driving distance.

All of these results are listed in a per capita basis. Meaning number of stores per person in a state. Additionally, high school graduation rates are determined by looking at the total number of people who live in a city, not the current graduation rate of an area’s high schools.


1. Devils Lake

Source: wikipedia

Income: 7th Lowest
Drop out rate: 23%
Crime: Worst

When you look at the unbiased data, the city of Devils Lake is the most ghetto place in North Dakota. Let’s see why.

FIrst off this city north of Devils Lake and the Spirit Lake Reservation is the worst place in the state, crime wise. Additionally, this city of 7,200 has a 23% dropout rate, and income levels are $38,000, which isn’t horrible, but very low for North Dakota.

2. Rolla

Source: Public Domain

Income: 2nd lowest
Drop out rate: 17%
Crime: 3rd worst

This teeny city along 281 has the 3rd highest crime rate in North Dakota. Perhaps related to that is the fact that families here earn merely $30,000 a year. The government says a family of four needs about $25,000 a year to remain out of poverty, so quite a few families here are struggling to make ends meet every month.

3. Grafton

Source: wikipedia

Drop out rate: 29%
Crime: 11th worst

The real problem here in this Walsh County city are the number of dropouts. 3 in 10 residents here never completed high school, which is a long-term problem that Grafton will have to contend with for years down the road.

4. New Town

Source: wikipedia

Income: Average
Drop out rate: 21%
Crime: 2nd worst

New Town is a small city along the Missouri River east of Williston. This is statistically the 2nd worst place for crime in the state, where 2 in 10 residents never obtained a GED.

5. Walhalla

Source: Public Domain

Income: 15th lowest
Drop out rate: 24%
Crime: Average

A quarter of the population in this Canadian border city never completed high school. Incomes are some of the lowest in the state, but at least crime is about average. Still, when you’re measuring one North Dakota city versus another, this is one of the most ghetto places you can live, according to the definition.

6. Parshall

Source: Public Domain

Income: 6th lowest
Drop out rate: 17%
Crime: Average

Parshall isn’t too far from New Town, at the intersection of routes 23 and 37. Like many of the other cities listed above, this small city has a large population of poor, uneducated residents.

7. New Rockford

Source: Public Domain

Income: 12th lowest
Drop out rate: 22%
Crime: Above average

It’s pretty clear when you look at the unbiased data that most of these cities are in the northern half of the state. Here in New Rockford, the education and income levels are both in the bottom 20%.

8. Ellendale

Source: Public Domain

Income: 4th lowest
Drop out rate: 17%
Crime: Average

Ellendale is a city in Dickey County at the intersection of Routes 281 and 11.

9. Jamestown

Source: wikipedia

Drop out rate: 21%
Crime: 9th worst

Jamestown is a fairly large city along Route 94. Here, residents are far less educated than the rest of their peers, and crime is one of the worst in the state.

10. Grand Forks

Source: wikipedia

Income: Below average
Drop out rate: 11%
Crime: 7th highest

The largest city on this list, Grand Forks has a relatively educated population, but crime is far higher than in most cities, which is expected for a larger community. Incomes are below average, but not as close to the poverty line as some of the cities listed above.

Other Highlights From The Study

Not ghetto at all: The following are the least ghetto areas in the Peace Garden State: Horace, Washburn, Casselton, Larimore and Lincoln. They are scattered throughout the state.

West Fargo is 10th ‘least’ ghetto, and Fargo is the 14th ‘most’ ghetto city in the state of North Dakota.

There You Have It

If you’re measuring the locations in North Dakota where there are a high number of poor and uneducated residents, and where there are a high number of discounted shopping stores, this is an accurate list.

We also wrote about the 10 Drunkest Cities in North Dakota if you didn’t happen to see it.

The Most Ghetto Cities In North Dakota, with detailed information


Desktop users, below is a chart of all large cities in North Dakota, along with their crime numbers.

City Overall Rank Dropout Rate Crime Rate Incomes
New Town 1 23.00% 113.7 $38,182
Walhalla 2 17.00% 112.3 $30,046
Parshall 3 29.00% 84.6 $44,323
New Rockford 4 21.00% 112.4 $47,344
Ellendale 5 24.00% 70.9 $41,985
Jamestown 6 19.00% 106.6 $63,015
Grand Forks 7 22.00% 77.4 $40,795
Harvey 8 17.00% 64.9 $35,909
Rugby 9 21.00% 89.6 $45,679
Hankinson 10 11.00% 90.7 $42,411
Fargo 11 24.00% 65.4 $30,469
Bottineau 12 21.00% 60.1 $41,969
Lisbon 13 19.00% 58.4 $43,333
Park River 14 9.00% 96.5 $44,304
Oakes 15 16.00% 68.1 $44,150
Mayville 16 19.00% 82.7 $45,125
Cavalier 17 20.00% 66.1 $40,489
Hillsboro 18 19.00% 59.4 $37,361
Minot 19 14.00% 77.8 $39,375
Linton 20 15.00% 74.9 $43,563
Bismarck 21 16.00% 69.2 $43,173
Dickinson 22 11.00% 84.6 $49,018
Wahpeton 23 29.00% 49.8 $26,528
Williston 24 12.00% 92.8 $53,186
Hettinger 25 15.00% 90.5 $58,622
Velva 26 13.00% 72.4 $44,659
Cando 27 16.00% 85.9 $69,559
Mandan 27 10.00% 75.2 $36,538
Garrison 29 18.00% 61.6 $38,561
Watford City 30 15.00% 81.2 $48,578
Valley City 31 14.00% 73.6 $56,813
Bowman 32 20.00% 55.9 $48,068
Carrington 33 15.00% 72.1 $63,804
Cooperstown 34 18.00% 49.6 $43,533
Burlington 35 14.00% 63.6 $44,669
West Fargo 36 18.00% 61.7 $45,281
Langdon 37 14.00% 64.7 $39,875
Stanley 38 14.00% 50 $56,250
Kenmare 39 9.00% 73.5 $64,150
Crosby 40 19.00% 50.6 $52,115
Beulah 41 15.00% 58.5 $63,947
Hazen 42 17.00% 56.3 $49,890
Lincoln 43 8.00% 58.1 $41,875
Larimore 44 17.00% 59.9 $62,159
Casselton 45 12.00% 46.7 $67,250
Washburn 46 14.00% 25 $64,683
Horace 47 7.00% 57.2 $54,625

About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.