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Most Americans have never been to North Dakota. However, as the people who live there know, North Dakota is an awesome state.
But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, North Dakota has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Peace Garden State. Don't shoot the messenger, this is all using data.
After analyzing more than 45 of North Dakota's smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in North Dakota where you'd never want to live:
So what is the worst small town to call home in North Dakota for 2022? According to the most recent census data, Shell Valley is the worst small town to live in North Dakota.
Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since North Dakota has its stuff figured out.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers, or scroll to the bottom to see how your town ranked.
The 10 Worst Small Towns In North Dakota For 2022
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $59,400 (worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.1% (worst)
More on Shell Valley: Data
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $1,000 (1000th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.2% (4th worst)
More on Fort Totten: Data
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $111,000 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.9% (8th worst)
More on Belcourt: Data
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 10)
Median Home Value: $126,200 (20th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (11th worst)
More on Parshall: Data
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $86,300 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 1.4% (3worst)
More on New Rockford: Data
How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?
In order to rank the worst small towns to live in North Dakota, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn't a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, things to do and a stable economy.
So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.
How we determined the worst small towns to live in North Dakota for 2022
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data and the Census's 2016-2020 American Community Survey, this is the criteria we used:
- Population Density (The lower the worse)
- Highest Unemployment Rates
- Low housing costs (meaning there's no demand)
- Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
- Education (Number of high school dropouts)
- High Crime
We looked at cities with populations between 1,000 and 5,000 people, of which, there were a lot - 45 to be exact.
Additional note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. Dropout numbers are based on the adult population, not just the current graduation rates of teenagers.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
There You Have It - The Worst Small Towns In North Dakota
If you're analyzing teeny places in the Peace Garden State with the worst economic situations, where there's high crime and there's not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
If you're curious enough, here are the best small towns to live in North Dakota, according to science:
- Horace (Pop. 2,847)
- Lincoln (Pop. 4,140)
- Thompson (Pop. 1,143)
For more North Dakota reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In North Dakota
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