Article Table Of Contents
Sure, we get it. You live in North Dakota for a reason, and it's not necessarily to `get ahead' in life. You're happy with the simple things, most likely. And boring to most Americans would be `fun' to you.
So calling a place `the worst' in North Dakota might not resonate as much as it does in other states. But we're sure you're curious, so we included you guys in our rankings. After all, the other 49 states we ranked all got tons of attention. You're welcome!
Just like every other state, North Dakota has its least desirable spots. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which places are the worst you could possibly live in if you make North Dakota your home.
After analyzing 23 of the state's most populous cities (over 2,000 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state of North Dakota:
What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we're picking on small town America, that's not the case.
We understand there's a lot of good in every place.
However, according to data (which doesn't measure things like beauty and 'friendly people'), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in North Dakota? That would be Mandan.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.
For more North Dakota reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In North Dakota
- Cheapest Places To Live In North Dakota
- Most Dangerous Cities In North Dakota
The 10 Worst Places To Live In North Dakota For 2020
Mandan doesn't have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 3.5%, and people average less than $64,122 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $207,100, which is very low, and crime in the worst 10% in North Dakota.
And again, in terms of the overall 'enjoyment' factor, it's not easy to find fun on a Friday night.
Devils Lake is the largest city to make this list. It's just across Devil's Lake from a reservation in the northern half of the state.
There's a lot of crime here. In fact, it's the 2nd most dangerous place in North Dakota. You have a 1 in 22 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you're within the city limits every year. That's a lot of stolen Vikings (or Packers) jerseys, and a lot of missing slush burgers and bunny lunches.
If you live in North Dakota, you may or may not be surprised that Williston ranked, at least on paper, as the 3rd worst place to live in the state. It has the 12th highest unemployment rate in the state, and the 6th most dangerous.
Incidentally, Williston is the 17th most densely populated city in North Dakota. Draw your own conclusions.
Jamestown is in a bad place. Again, the household incomes here are really, really low, and the average home value is $136,700. That means it ranks as the 8th lowest in North Dakota.
You can make a case that based on the fact that Jamestown has no real indoor entertainment, and crime is the 13th worst in the state, it's one of the worst places you can live in North Dakota.
Fargo needs some tough love as it ranks as the 5th worst city to live in North Dakota for 2020.
Crime in Fargo is the 3rd highest in the state, where 1 in 30.6 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
Additionally, the income is almost dead last in North Dakota.
If commute time is important, Fargo residents have the 13th longest commute of any residents on our list.
There's probably not many people in North Dakota that would be surprised to see Grand Forks on this list. In fact, if Grand Forks wasn't somewhere in the top 10, most people would start to wonder if our data was accurate.
Here are the statistics. Grand Forks has the 8th worst crime rate in North Dakota. No surprises there. How dangerous is it though? There were almost 148 violent crimes in Grand Forks in 2020. Residents here had a 1 in 382 chance of being killed, raped or attacked. Just wow.
The home values in Grand Forks are the 14th cheapest in the state ($197,900), the unemployment rate is the 3rd highest (4.1%), and the annual household income is 3rd lowest in North Dakota, at $47,871. That's basically at the poverty level for a family of four.
Located on your way to somewhere else you'd want to be, Casselton has few options for some sort of entertainment.
The main issues here are economic and education. The unemployment rate is also sky high here (1.6%) and homes are the 12th cheapest in the state ($194,100).
Say what you want about 'cheap living', the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's absolutely no demand to live in Casselton.
If you live in Bottineau, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 10th highest crime rate, per capita in the state of North Dakota. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 41.2 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery.
That's a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and black license plates.
Plus there were 80 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you'd have a 1 in 330 chance of being raped or attacked.
Finally, the folks who live here earn the 6th lowest salaries in North Dakota At $53,164 a household, that's simply not enough to get by for most folks.
Not too far from Park River is the mid-sized town of Grafton. Grafton places 9th in our ranking of the worst places to live in North Dakota.
Here, school spending per student is the 3rd lowest in the state, homes are some of the cheapest in North Dakota, and crime is far above state average.
Dickinson, ND needs a big hug right now. Residents here are underpaid, underemployed and possibly lonely.
Additionally, crime is 14th worst in the state, which is very high considering Dickinson is so far removed from the rest of North Dakota.
If you know anyone in Dickinson, dm them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
How we determined the worst places to live in North Dakota for 2020
To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.
We don't think it's a stretch to assume that people like the following things:
- Good education
- Lots of jobs
- Low crime
- Low poverty
- Nice homes
- High incomes
- High population density (Lots of things to do)
- Short work commutes
- Health insurance
We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight -- if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.
Furthermore, only cities with at least 2,000 people were considered -- leaving 23 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 23 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the rankings into one "Worst Place To Live Score".
Finally, we ranked every city on the "Worst Place To Live Score" with the lowest score being the worst city in North Dakota -- Mandan. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in North Dakota. You can download the data here.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Wrapping Up The Worst In North Dakota
If you're looking at areas in North Dakota with the worst economic situations, where there's higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
And in the end, Mandan ranks as the worst city to live in North Dakota for 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in North Dakota:
- Beulah (Pop. 3,296)
- Hazen (Pop. 2,610)
- Lincoln (Pop. 3,594)
For more North Dakota reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In North Dakota
- Richest Cities In North Dakota
- Safest Places In North Dakota
- Best Cities For Singles In North Dakota
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In North Dakota?