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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 needs some tough love as it ranks as the worst city to live in North Dakota for 2020. There's not a lot to do here, and when you factor in some of the lowest student support in the state and some of the worst weather, it's not a place you might want to move to.
And the crime in Mandan is the 5th highest in the state, where 1 in 31.8 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
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.
When you're looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Williston is the 3rd worst place in the state of North Dakota.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Williston is right on the verge of that when you look at what the average citizen there earns a year. And the home values are eye-opening low. On average, the home value in Williston are the 22nd lowest in the entire state.
And when you factor in high crime and a high tax rate, it really can't get much worse in North Dakota.
Jamestown, where there's absolutely nothing to do unless you enjoy bowling, ranks as the 4th worst city in North Dakota.
Besides the lack of pure amenities, Jamestown has some real economic problems to contend with. The unemployment rate hovers near 3.2%, and families earn around $53,310 a year. It's also the 13th highest in North Dakota for crime, where 1 in 45.1 people gets robbed every year.
Does living in a place where people who come to visit are robbed sound like fun?
The unemployment rate in Fargo is a sky high 3.5%, which is the 8th highest in the state. Ouch.
The median income in Fargo is $53,309. That means 13.0% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn't horrible here, but you have a 1 in 30.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you're within city limits every year.
Grand Forks places 6th in our ranking of the worst places to live in North Dakota. Here, 7.0% of the adult population lack's even a high school degree. That makes Grand Forks have the 11th highest adult drop out rate in North Dakota.
Income levels are also near the poverty line, and home prices are around $197,900 each -- the 14th lowest in North Dakota.
As you can imagine, there's not a lot of demand to live here.
You might have passed through Casselton once and probably throught it seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.
Here's what science says about why Casselton needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 1.6%, residents earn about $76,250 a year, and home prices are just over $194,100. Across the board, those are in the bottom half in the state. Not absolutely horrible, but not desirable, either.
And there simply isn't anything to do in Casselton.
Out of all the places to live in North Dakota, Bottineau ranks as the 8th worst -- not something to brag about.
Bottineau's unemployment rate stands at 8.2%. While the income levels out here are some of the lowest in the state. Residents earn a combined $53,164 a year in salaries. That's not enough to really get ahead in life.
Additionally, the homes are the 9th cheapest in the entire state at $143,800. Again, some people like the cheap cost of living, but housing is priced on demand, and the fact is, there's not a lot of demand to live way out in Bottineau. Plus, what do you do for fun here anyway?
Crime is the 10th worst in the state. You have a 1 in 41.2 chance of being robbed here and a 1 in 330 chance of being attacked or raped. Yikes.
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 doesn't have it much better, in terms of overall economic outlook. The unemployment rate is at 3.6%, and people average less than $73,025 a year in combined household incomes. Homes stand at $235,300, 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.
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:
- 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?