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 22 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 Devils Lake.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.
For more North Dakota reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In North Dakota
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In North Dakota
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In North Dakota
The 10 Worst Places To Live In North Dakota For 2019
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.
You can sure expect that Fargo is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 2nd in our analysis. It is. In fact, Fargo has the 4th-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 497 violent crimes here in 2019, and residents have a 1 in 30.5 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Fargo, either you or someone on your block had their home or car broken into last year.
You can also imagine that the economy here is in the pits — the unemployment rate sits at 3.2% which is the 6th worst in North Dakota.
Not too far from Park River is the mid-sized town of Grafton. Grafton places 3rd 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.
Would you believe that Bottineau is the 11th most dangerous place in North Dakota? That’s the case, as every year, you have a 1 in 38.8 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you’re within Bottineau city limits.
In addition, every year, you have a 1 in 343 chance of being a victim of a violent crime in Bottineau. That means raped, attacked or killed. Again, for North Dakota, that’s just unacceptable.
Beyond the crime numbers, Bottineau’s unemployment rate is the 2nd highest in North Dakota (5.5%), and homes are the 8th cheapest in the state ($132,800). Say what you want about ‘cheap living’, the fact is homes are priced on demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Bottineau.
Jamestown is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Jamestown is the 10th most dangerous place you can live in North Dakota.
Residents in Jamestown have a 1 in 38.4 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s a lot of stolen laptops, cell phones and sunglasses.
When you’re considering home prices, you can’t do much lower than in Jamestown, where average homes are valued at only$126,000. That’s the 7th-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.
If you live in Mandan, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 6th highest crime rate, per capita in the state of North Dakota. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 29.8 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 41 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you’d have a 1 in 523 chance of being raped or attacked.
Finally, the folks who live here earn the 12th lowest salaries in North Dakota At $61,817 a household, that’s simply not enough to get by for most folks.
Dickinson ranks as the 7th-worst place in North Dakota due to a variety of factors, placing in the bottom third for unemployment, median income, and crime.
On top of that, residents have the 7th-worst commute of any place in the state.
Grand Forks ranks as the 8th worst place to live in North Dakota for 2019.
The issues Grand Forks has is with its local economy. The unemployment rate is the 3rd highest in North Dakota (4.1%), and as you might expect, the household salaries and home prices are both towards the bottom of North Dakota.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in North Dakota, Bismarck ranks 9th worst. Let’s see why.
Here in Bismarck, crime is the 2nd highest in the state, and 1 out of 28.9 residents was robbed here according to the latest FBI numbers.
That’s not the first place you think of making home, is it?
Additionally, you have a 1 in 275 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, which includes rapes, attacks or murders. That’s really high.
When you look at adult education in North Dakota, the folks in Bismarck have the 13th highest drop out rate. And other factors that make Bismarck undesirable are the low median incomes and home prices.
The unemployment rate is the 14th highest in North Dakota, at 1.7%. That’s actually on par with the national average, which means North Dakota has some hard workers.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in North Dakota, Casselton came in 10th. Let’s see why.
When you’re comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, North Dakota residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in North Dakota, you can see some really big differences. In Casselton, the number of people out of work is 1.9%
In North Dakota, that’s the 13th highest in the state.
The residents in Casselton have the 15th lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Casselton average $69,858 a year. Which isn’t too shabby in comparison to the other ‘lowest’ income cities in most other states.
Additionally, the homes are valued at $171,400 on average. That’s the 10th lowest in the state.
How we determined the worst places to live in North Dakota for 2019
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 22 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 22 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 — Devils Lake. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in North Dakota.
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, Devils Lake ranks as the worst city to live in North Dakota for 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in North Dakota:
- Hazen (Pop. 2,643)
- Lincoln (Pop. 3,467)
- West Fargo (Pop. 33,089)
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