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:
- Devils Lake (Photos)
- Jamestown (Photos)
- Fargo (Photos)
- Grand Forks (Photos)
- Mandan (Photos)
- Wahpeton (Photos)
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. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 8.
How we determined the worst places to live in North Dakota for 2018
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.
1. Devils Lake
Population: 7,299Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 12)
Home Values: $92,800 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 1.6% (17th worst)
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.
Population: 4,287Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Values: $83,100 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (2nd worst)
Not too far from Park River is the mid-sized town of Grafton. Grafton places 2nd 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.
Population: 15,441Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 15)
Home Values: $120,100 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 2.4% (12th worst)
Jamestown is in a bad place. Again, the household incomes here are really, really low, and the average home value is $120,100. That means it ranks as the 7th 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 8th worst in the state, it’s one of the worst places you can live in North Dakota.
Population: 3,092Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 15)
Home Values: $96,400 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 0.0% (22nd worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, Rugby is the 4th worst place you can live in the state of North Dakota. Let’s see why.
First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of North Dakota. Rugby is the 15th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 57.3 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.
Homes here average $96,400, which is the 3rd lowest in the state. You can defend ‘cheap living’ all you want, but the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Rugby.
Income levels are just about $37,450, the 1st lowest in North Dakota.
When you add it all up, Rugby really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.
Population: 2,340Rank Last Year: 27 (Up 22)
Home Values: $128,900 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.3% (3rd worst)
If you’re looking to live in North Dakota, Bottineau might not be the best choice as it places 5th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Peace Garden State for 2015.
The average family earns $45,000 a year out here, and 680.0% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 4.3% of the population is out of work.
And when you consider the crime, it’s just crazy to think of how dangerous it is to live way out here. When you’re in Bottineau, every year, you have a 1 in 37.4 chance of being robbed. Can you imagine? Perhaps it’s an economic factor, or the fact that the people out there are so isolated, but the fact remains, it’s the 11th most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
Population: 115,950Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 11)
Home Values: $178,300 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (6th worst)
What the heck is going on in little Fargo? The crime is the 6th highest in the state of North Dakota. Here, residents have a 1 in 30.2 chance of being robbed. That means if you live here, and didn’t have something stolen from you, there’s a good chance your neighbor did.
That ratio is one of the highest we’ve seen in the nation. Perhaps the high unemployment rate has something to do with it. More than 3.6% of Fargo residents were without jobs in the latest numbers we collected, which is the 6th highest in the state.
7. Grand Forks
Population: 55,831Rank Last Year: 24 (Up 17)
Home Values: $172,700 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (5th worst)
Grand Forks ranks as the 7th worst city in North Dakota. Located in Grand Forks County, Grand Forks has the 5th lowest income levels in the state of North Dakota ($47,593), and some of the lowest number of doctors in the state. Crime is above average, and the unemployment rate is 3.7%.
Population: 20,613Rank Last Year: 23 (Up 15)
Home Values: $175,400 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 2.0% (15th worst)
Here in Mandan, you have some of the highest crime and the highest unemployment rates in North Dakota. That’s not a good combination.
Located in Morton County, you have a 1 in 25.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime when inside Mandan city limits every year. Some of those crimes might be due to the relatively high unemployment rate (2.0%). That’s good for the 15th highest unemployment rate in North Dakota.
Population: 3,328Rank Last Year: 21 (Up 12)
Home Values: $157,500 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.0% (8th worst)
Beulah is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Beulah is the 18th most dangerous place you can live in North Dakota.
Residents in Beulah have a 1 in 92.4 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 Beulah, where average homes are valued at only$157,500. That’s the 10th-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.
Population: 7,844Rank Last Year: 34 (Up 24)
Home Values: $103,400 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (4th worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Wahpeton is the 10th worst place you can live in the state of North Dakota. Let’s see why.
Residents who live in Wahpeton, located in Richland County, have the 13th most crimes in the state committed against them. Factor in a much-lower income level–per resident–and homes valued around $103,400, and you’ve got yourself a crummy place to live. In terms of comparing it to the rest of North Dakota, that is.
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 2018.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in North Dakota:
- Lincoln (Pop. 3,311)
- West Fargo (Pop. 31,557)
- Stanley (Pop. 2,328)
For more North Dakota reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In North Dakota – RoadSnacks
- 10 Small Towns In North Dakota Where You’d Never Want To Live – RoadSnacks
- These Are The 10 Most Redneck Cities In North Dakota – RoadSnacks
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In North Dakota