Worst Small Towns In North Dakota For 2020


Using science and data, we can tell you which teeny specks in ND are the pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the worst small places to live in North Dakota.

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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 43 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:

These are the worst small towns in North Dakota for 2020:

  1. Shell Valley
  2. Fort Totten
  3. Belcourt
  4. New Rockford
  5. Rolla (Photos)
  6. Cando
  7. Walhalla (Photos)
  8. Park River (Photos)
  9. Grafton (Photos)
  10. Parshall

So what is the worst small town to call home in north dakota for 2020? 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.

And if you already know about the small towns, check out the best places to live in North Dakota or the worst places to live in North Dakota.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

The 10 Worst Small Towns In North Dakota For 2020

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,300
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $57,600 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.4% (1st worst)
More on Shell Valley:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,311
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $52,300 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.2% (2nd worst)
More on Fort Totten:  Data

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,038
Rank Last Year: -
Median Home Value: $89,100 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.8% (4th worst)
More on Belcourt:  Data

New Rockford, ND

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,436
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $80,100 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 1.3% (27th worst)
More on New Rockford:  Data

Rolla, ND

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,321
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $98,000 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (19th worst)
More on Rolla:  Data | Photos

Cando, ND

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,110
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $80,300 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.5% (10th worst)
More on Cando:  Data

Walhalla, ND

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,035
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $85,900 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (14th worst)
More on Walhalla:  Data | Photos

Park River, ND

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,489
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $82,100 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 1.5% (23rd worst)
More on Park River:  Data | Photos

Grafton, ND

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 4,192
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $79,800 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (16th worst)
More on Grafton:  Data | Photos

Parshall, ND

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,116
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $141,700 (28th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (7th worst)
More on Parshall:  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 2020

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 2014-2018 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 - 43 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:

  1. Horace (Pop. 2,660)
  2. Thompson (Pop. 1,139)
  3. Lincoln (Pop. 3,594)

For more North Dakota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In North Dakota

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Shell Valley 1,300 14.4% $57,600
2 Fort Totten 1,311 14.2% $52,300
3 Belcourt 2,038 7.8% $89,100
4 New Rockford 1,436 1.3% $80,100
5 Rolla 1,321 2.9% $98,000
6 Cando 1,110 5.5% $80,300
7 Walhalla 1,035 4.8% $85,900
8 Park River 1,489 1.5% $82,100
9 Grafton 4,192 3.5% $79,800
10 Parshall 1,116 6.3% $141,700
11 Harvey 1,758 5.3% $89,000
12 Cooperstown 1,104 1.7% $89,500
13 Beach 1,015 1.4% $111,700
14 Mayville 1,813 5.0% $110,800
15 Ellendale 1,201 1.5% $65,600
16 Linton 1,019 1.2% $87,100
17 New Town 2,495 5.8% $125,000
18 Cavalier 1,191 5.7% $108,500
19 Garrison 1,537 0.0% $113,200
20 Crosby 1,056 0.0% $124,700
21 Rugby 2,677 0.5% $117,700
22 Hillsboro 1,610 4.9% $150,900
23 Bottineau 2,199 8.2% $143,800
24 Oakes 2,042 2.9% $111,900
25 Hettinger 1,152 1.1% $133,100
26 Langdon 1,867 2.1% $105,000
27 Tioga 1,121 1.5% $175,000
28 Bowman 1,552 0.0% $164,300
29 Stanley 2,594 6.7% $184,900
30 Velva 1,292 3.1% $167,100
31 Gwinner 1,081 0.4% $115,200
32 Larimore 1,461 0.3% $124,100
33 Lisbon 2,052 0.6% $113,700
34 Burlington 1,477 6.4% $179,300
35 Carrington 2,020 0.5% $135,500
36 Hazen 2,610 1.0% $160,500
37 Beulah 3,296 0.2% $196,800
38 Surrey 1,043 0.9% $208,900
39 Casselton 2,508 1.6% $194,100
40 Washburn 1,509 0.9% $175,900
41 Horace 2,660 0.6% $293,800
42 Thompson 1,139 0.3% $187,800
43 Lincoln 3,594 0.9% $227,800

How Is The Area In ?

 Worst 

3 thoughts on “Worst Small Towns In North Dakota, 2020

  1. I’m not trying to be mean or anything, or am saying that you’re 100% wrong, but I can personally say that Tappen should NOT be on that list. I’ve lived near Tappen my entire life, and while some things might not be perfect, it certainly is far from being a bad town. The people that live there are friendly. If anything happens to someone we know, the whole community comes together to support them. From the school to the gas station, things in Tappen are good!

  2. My Family is from Tappen and I don’t think it should be on this list. Just because it is small does not mean it is bad. We do lots of fun things like harvest fest and lots of others. So take Tappen of this list. And Medina

  3. It’s worth noting that the appearance of a town on this list only means that it is within the population parameters. There are 179 such towns. Of those 179, these are the worst 100 by the standards they used to rank these towns.

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