The 10 Best Places To Live In North Dakota For 2024

The best places to live in North Dakota for 2024 are Lincoln, West Fargo, and Carrington. Find out where your city or town ranks.

We stroke black gold when it comes to finding the best places to live in North Dakota.

The cities we found can have their lutefisk and eat it, too.

How did we determine the best places to live in North Dakota? We used Saturday Night Science to compare the latest Census, FBI, and Zillow data on factors like income, crime, and home prices for the 24 places with 2,000 or more residents.

Several new cities moved into the top ten places in North Dakota this year. These places are booming thanks to the oil found in recent years.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Table | Map | Methodology | Summary

The 10 Best Places To Live In North Dakota For 2024

  1. Lincoln
  2. West Fargo
  3. Carrington
  4. Bismarck
  5. Rugby
  6. Horace
  7. Beulah
  8. Mandan
  9. Williston
  10. Stanley

What’s the best place to live in North Dakota for 2024? The best place to live in North Dakota is Lincoln based on the most recent data.

To see how your city compares, look at the list below. And if you are still looking for your favorite place, head down to the bottom for a complete ranking of the best places to live in North Dakota.

For more reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In North Dakota For 2024

Best Places To Live In North Dakota Map

Lincoln, ND

Source: Wikipedia User afiler | CC BY-SA 2.0
Stat Lincoln North Dakota
Population 4,209 776,874
Rank Last Year 1
Median Home Value $270,030 $251,027
Median Income $83,947 $73,959
Unemployment Rate 2.5% 2.9%
Crime Per Capita 0.0069 0.0242

More on Lincoln: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Kudos to Lincoln for holding onto the title of HomeSnacks best place to live in North Dakota for the second year running. Located just southeast of Bismarck, Lincoln has access to all the big-city amenities while retaining its small-town charm. A top spot for locals is nearby Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, a diverse landscape where you can camp or fish beside the Missouri and Heart Rivers.

Don’t let people tell you that Millennials don’t know how to run a successful city, because Lincoln is the youngest city on this list with a median age of 30. The poverty rate is at its 4th lowest level statewide, sitting at 5.5%. A whopping 96.0% of residents have health insurance, the 3rd highest rate in North Dakota. It’s unlikely you’ll need help with medical bills because of criminal activity, though, seeing as Lincoln has the 6th lowest crime rate statewide, a rate about 85% below the national average.

The increased demand to live in Lincoln has driven up property values by 10% over the last year. Home prices are already the 9th highest in the state at $270,030. Luckily, Lincoln locals also enjoy the 5th highest median household income statewide at $83,947/year.

West Fargo, ND

Source: Wikipedia User | GFDL
Stat West Fargo North Dakota
Population 38,653 776,874
Rank Last Year 2
Median Home Value $317,108 $251,027
Median Income $96,929 $73,959
Unemployment Rate 0.8% 2.9%
Crime Per Capita 0.0152 0.0242

More on West Fargo: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Will you find the 2nd best place to live in North Dakota in West Fargo? You betcha! More than just the movie and its (possibly) tired cliches, West Fargo is a city that encapsulates the can-do frontier spirit of the past while looking to the future. href=””>Bonanzaville, part pioneer village and part history museum, is dedicated to honoring the past, while the Red River Valley Fair celebrates the present with exhibitions, live entertainment, attractions, and the best food on a stick you’ve ever had.

The unemployment, poverty, and crime rates in West Fargo all rank within the top ten statewide, so you know the city has all the essentials for a good life sorted out. Schools here consistently outperform the statewide average in test scores and graduation rates. In fact, the city has the 2nd lowest high school dropout rate in North Dakota.

It’s not hard to see why West Fargo is one of North Dakota’s fastest-growing cities. The city has the 3rd highest median household income at $96,929/year and the 4th priciest homes statewide at $317,108. All things considered, though, the cost of living in West Fargo is still pretty much on par with the rest of North Dakota.

Carrington, ND

Source: Flickr User Matt-Zimmerman | CC BY 2.0
Stat Carrington North Dakota
Population 2,161 776,874
Rank Last Year 3
Median Home Value $164,183 $251,027
Median Income $62,240 $73,959
Unemployment Rate 0.0% 2.9%
Crime Per Capita 0.0028 0.0242

More on Carrington: Data | Real Estate

Carrington is a city of 2,161 and the county seat of Foster County in central North Dakota. Home to some of the best hunting, fishing, birding, hiking, and biking options in the state, Carrington is a non-stop thrill ride for outdoor enthusiasts. For those trying to stop and smell the roses while sipping on some fine wine, the Dakota Sun Gardens and Winery is a must-visit. If hitting the links is your idea of a good time, the local CrossRoads Golf Club won’t disappoint.

With a median age of 44, Carrington is the oldest city we’ll be covering here. The city has the 2nd highest rate of residents with health insurance in North Dakota. Older folks in Carrington haven’t forgotten about the next generation, either; GreatSchools gave Carrington High a 9/10 rating with a College Success Award to boot.

The unemployment rate in Carrington is the lowest in the state at 0.0%. As a bonus, Carrington residents enjoy the 1st shortest commute time in North Dakota at just 12 minutes.

Bismarck, ND

Source: Wikipedia User Bobak Ha’Eri | CC BY 3.0
Stat Bismarck North Dakota
Population 73,694 776,874
Rank Last Year 4
Median Home Value $339,338 $251,027
Median Income $76,014 $73,959
Unemployment Rate 3.1% 2.9%
Crime Per Capita 0.0372 0.0242

More on Bismarck: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

North Dakota’s capital city of Bismarck comes in as the 4th best place to call home in the whole state. The economic, cultural, and historical hub of the region, Bismarck has eclectic dining and entertainment options, as well as fun things to do outdoors. Between fishing or cruising down the Missouri River that runs along Bismarck’s west side, catching a view of the city from its highest point at the State Capitol Building, and getting in touch with your inner-child at the Superslide Amusement Park, there’s something for everyone in Bismarck.

All these awesome amenities contributed to HomeSnacks naming Bismarck one of the best cities for singles in North Dakota. People are copping on to how great Bismarck is, which helps explain why the city has grown by nearly 20% since 2010. That increased demand has led to an increased price in housing, with a nearly 10% spike just last year up to a median home price of $339,338. The job market can handle all these new arrivals though, seeing as the unemployment rate here is under 2%. And besides housing and health care costs, the cost of living in Bismarck is in line with the national average.

Rugby, ND

Source: Wikipedia User I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following license: | CC BY-SA 3.0
Stat Rugby North Dakota
Population 2,654 776,874
Rank Last Year 6
Median Home Value $166,273 $251,027
Median Income $54,852 $73,959
Unemployment Rate 0.6% 2.9%
Crime Per Capita 0.0098 0.0242

More on Rugby: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Rugby ranks as the 5th best place to call home in North Dakota. Often billed as the Geographical Center of North America, Rugby is truly smack dab in the middle of the American heartland.

A small city of 2,654, Rugby residents like to reminisce about its heritage and history at the Prairie Village Museum. Some of those wholesome qualities remain today.

For example, Rugby is among the safest places in North Dakota, with an overall crime rate about half the national average.

Additionally, Rugby has the 10th highest rate of residents with health insurance in the state. Unemployment ranks as the 2nd lowest in North Dakota, and those with jobs enjoy the 2nd shortest average commute time statewide at just 12 minutes.

Homes in Rugby are quite affordable, with a median price of $166,273 (that’s up 7% since last year). Residents of Rugby enjoy a median household income of $54,852.

Horace, ND

Source: Wikipedia User Andrew Filer from Seattle (ex-Minneapolis) | CC BY-SA 2.0
Stat Horace North Dakota
Population 3,464 776,874
Rank Last Year 5
Median Home Value $397,324 $251,027
Median Income $146,184 $73,959
Unemployment Rate 0.6% 2.9%
Crime Per Capita 0.0478 0.0242

More on Horace: Data | Real Estate

Life’s pretty good in Horace, a southern suburb of Fargo and North Dakota’s 6th best city. While Horace’s population is pretty small at 3,464 people, having North Dakota’s biggest city right up the road means you don’t have to sacrifice key amenities to have a small-town vibe. In just twenty minutes, you can find yourself learning about the history of aviation at the Fargo Air Museum or be watching a pack of wolves frolic at the Red River Zoo.

We just hope you’re comfortable rubbing shoulders with the state’s elite because Horace ranks as the richest place in North Dakota. The median household income is the highest in the state by about 40%, with your typical home bringing in around $146,184/year. Homes in Horace are also the 1st costliest in North Dakota at $397,324, but rent here is only $831/month, which is actually less expensive than the statewide median. Poverty, unemployment, and health insurance rates all rank in the top five in North Dakota.

Beulah, ND

Source: Wikipedia User Andrew Filer from Seattle (ex-Minneapolis) | CC BY-SA 2.0
Stat Beulah North Dakota
Population 3,063 776,874
Rank Last Year 7
Median Home Value $197,523 $251,027
Median Income $90,655 $73,959
Unemployment Rate 0.6% 2.9%
Crime Per Capita 0.0098 0.0242

More on Beulah: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Beulah is a city of 3,063 located an hour and some change northwest of Bismarck. If you’re looking for small-town appeal with big city looks, you’ve found it in Beulah. From museums, community events, and outdoor recreation like you can find at nearby Lake Sakakawea, there’s always plenty to do in Beulah.

Beulah has the 7th lowest crime rate in North Dakota, so safety will never be a concern here. Neither will the local economy, seeing as the poverty rate in Beulah is the 6th lowest statewide at 7.1% and unemployment sits at an incredibly low 0.6%. For all these super qualities, housing in Beulah is fairly affordable, with a typical home selling for $197,523 and your average rental costing about $1,051/month. That’s especially low when you consider that Beulah’s residents also enjoy the 4th highest median household income in the state at $90,655/year. Even better, both income and property values went up by around 10% in the last year.

Mandan, ND

Source: Wikipedia User afiler | CC BY-SA 2.0
Stat Mandan North Dakota
Population 24,049 776,874
Rank Last Year 13
Median Home Value $308,053 $251,027
Median Income $78,077 $73,959
Unemployment Rate 2.0% 2.9%
Crime Per Capita 0.0381 0.0242

More on Mandan: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Mandan, the 8th most populous city in North Dakota and the county seat of Morton County, has a balance of historic charm and contemporary life. It was founded in 1879, named after the indigenous Mandan nation, and is part of the Bismarck-Mandan Metropolitan Area.

With economic indicators such as a median home value of $308,053, a median income of 78,077, and a median rent at $979, Mandan’s financial environment is favorable for residents. The city boasts an unemployment rate ranked 8th lowest in the state.

Williston, ND

Source: Wikipedia User Andrew Filer from Seattle (ex-Minneapolis) | CC BY-SA 2.0
Stat Williston North Dakota
Population 27,783 776,874
Rank Last Year 9
Median Home Value $317,700 $251,027
Median Income $80,352 $73,959
Unemployment Rate 2.9% 2.9%
Crime Per Capita 0.0243 0.0242

More on Williston: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Williston holds the 9th spot for the best places to live in North Dakota, with its economy thriving on the oil boom from the Bakken formation. The city’s population of 27,783 enjoys a high 80,352 median income and competitive $317,700 home value, which is 3rd best in North Dakota.

Williston is home to the Williston State College and events like the Miss North Dakota Scholarship Pageant.

Stanley, ND

Source: Wikipedia User Mitchazenia | CC BY-SA 4.0
Stat Stanley North Dakota
Population 2,189 776,874
Rank Last Year 8
Median Home Value $222,891 $251,027
Median Income $101,351 $73,959
Unemployment Rate 3.3% 2.9%
Crime Per Capita 0.0032 0.0242

More on Stanley: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Located about an hour west of Minot in northwestern North Dakota, Stanley ranks as the 10th best place to live in North Dakota. Situated on massive oil reserves known as the Bakken Formation, Stanley’s population has recently been swelling in a black gold rush. If that doesn’t interest you, maybe some dill pickle ice cream from Dakota Drug or a show put on at the Regis Theater across the street will.

Stanley has a quiet, serene vibe without sacrificing on top-quality amenities and natural beauty. That’s partly why we named it one of the best places to retire in North Dakota this year. That serenity has a lot to do with a crime rate 90% below the national average that ranks as the 4th lowest in North Dakota. Stanley also has the 3rd lowest poverty rate in the state at 5.4%. If you want to make Stanley your permanent residence, a home will set you back around $222,891, which is quite reasonable for a city that also enjoys the 2nd highest median household income in North Dakota at $101,351/year

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in North Dakota

Best Places To Live In North Dakota Size Requirement

Before we even started to collect data on the best places to live in North Dakota, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Bismarck, with a population of 73,694, against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.

So, to create our ranking, we broke the best places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities — Populations over 2,000
  • Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 2,000
  • Small Towns — Populations below 1,000

This filter left 24 cities, 27 towns, and 261 small towns.

We then decided no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in North Dakota have more of everything, and therefore, you need over 2,000 people to truly be ‘the best.’

Methodology: How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In North Dakota

Now that we had our set of the best possible cities, it was time to rank them using Saturday Night Science.

We ranked each place in North Dakota across a number of criteria from one to 24, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, crowning the city posting the lowest overall score, the “Best Place To Live In North Dakota.”

The criteria we looked to determine the best places were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data, FBI Crime Data, and Zillow. We updated this article for 2024. This report is our tenth time ranking North Dakota’s best places to live.

If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in North Dakota. Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Lincoln at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Summary: The Best Places In North Dakota

If you’re looking at areas in North Dakota with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

The best places to live in North Dakota are Lincoln, West Fargo, Carrington, Bismarck, Rugby, Horace, Beulah, Mandan, Williston, and Stanley.

Lincoln made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in North Dakota for 2024.

If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in North Dakota according to the data:

  1. Jamestown (Pop. 15,850)
  2. Mayville (Pop. 2,102)
  3. Devils Lake (Pop. 7,192)

For more North Dakota reading, check out:

Best Places To Live In North Dakota Table

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value Median Income Rent Crime Per Capita
1 Lincoln 4,209 2.5% $270,030 $83,947 $0 0.0069
2 West Fargo 38,653 0.8% $317,108 $96,929 $1,049 0.0152
3 Carrington 2,161 0.0% $164,183 $62,240 $703 0.0028
4 Bismarck 73,694 3.1% $339,338 $76,014 $969 0.0372
5 Rugby 2,654 0.6% $166,273 $54,852 $765 0.0098
6 Horace 3,464 0.6% $397,324 $146,184 $831 0.0478
7 Beulah 3,063 0.6% $197,523 $90,655 $1,051 0.0098
8 Mandan 24,049 2.0% $308,053 $78,077 $979 0.0381
9 Williston 27,783 2.9% $317,700 $80,352 $1,095 0.0243
10 Stanley 2,189 3.3% $222,891 $101,351 $1,142 0.0032
11 Hazen 2,569 4.1% $180,243 $79,231 $1,040 0.0012
12 Grand Forks 58,935 3.7% $253,634 $59,079 $927 0.0326
13 Minot 48,038 3.7% $239,901 $75,545 $937 0.0132
14 Dickinson 25,116 3.0% $275,335 $75,767 $974 0.0194
15 Bottineau 2,104 6.7% $218,355 $67,723 $720 0.0301
16 Fargo 127,319 3.6% $290,476 $64,432 $900 0.0478
17 Casselton 2,496 1.4% $280,193 $61,861 $752 0.0478
18 Wahpeton 7,983 2.8% $201,883 $51,417 $732 0.0247
19 Lisbon 2,159 4.5% $151,840 $61,250 $738 0.0060
20 Oakes 2,125 4.0% $135,535 $64,931 $686 0.0024
21 Grafton 4,161 3.3% $126,820 $59,696 $646 0.0151
22 Jamestown 15,850 5.7% $184,873 $53,389 $739 0.0230
23 Mayville 2,102 3.6% $171,646 $67,813 $748 0.0301
24 Devils Lake 7,192 1.1% $215,052 $41,203 $664 0.0456

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.