Background: Minnewaukan, North Dakota,
Author Gerry Dincher

Living in North Dakota

North Dakota - Discover the Spirit

History, Geography, Homes, and State Resources of North Dakota

North Dakota USA Map
North Dakota USA Map

Coming in 48th out of 50 U.S. states in population numbers, North Dakota remains unspoiled with industrialization and is a leader in agriculture known for its sheer farmland acreage mostly devoted to growing wheat, soybeans, sunflowers, flax and cattle. The state's severe weather extremes, range from hot summers to forbidding and stark winters, is typically cited as being the main reason for the relative under population of the state

On the reverse side of the coin, a 2011 Businessweek poll ranked the Fargo region as the No. 1 most affordable spot to live in North America, citing the cost of living, affordable housing and availability of jobs as the major reasons for being attractive, along with low crime rate, air quality and the quality of education. Major employers in North Dakota include the federal and state governments, schools, health insurance companies, and hospitals which can be found mostly in the larger populated areas of Bismarck and Fargo

North Dakota was explored in 1738–1740 by French Canadians led by Sieur de la Verendrye. In 1803, the U.S. acquired most of North Dakota from France in the Louisiana Purchase. Lewis and Clark explored the region in 1804–1806, and the first settlements were made at Pembina in 1812 by Scottish and Irish families while this area was still in dispute between the U.S. and Great Britain. In 1818, the U.S. obtained the northeast part of North Dakota by treaty with Great Britain and took possession of Pembina in 1823. However, the region remained largely unsettled until the construction of the railroad in the 1870s and 1880s.


The climate of the state is continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. The temperature differences are quite significant because of its far inland position and being in the center of the Northern Hemisphere, with roughly equal distances to the North Pole and the Equator. As such, summers are almost subtropical in nature, but winters are cold enough to ensure plant hardiness is very low.


  • North Dakota Geography, Facts and History
  • North Dakota Facts & Trivia
  • North Dakota Flags
  • Famous People from North Dakota
  • North Dakota Timeline
  • North Dakota Official Song
  • Education

    North Dakota Colleges. The state has 11 public colleges and universities, five tribal community colleges, and four private schools. The largest institutions are North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota.


    Supported by its extremely fertile soil, North Dakota's agricultural economy is much larger than most other states. In terms of revenue generated North Dakota's top five agricultural products are wheat, cattle and calves, soybeans, corn for grain, and sugar beets.

    The energy industry is a major contributor to the North Dakota economy. The state has both coal and oil reserves. Shale gas is also produced. Lignite coal reserves in Western North Dakota are used to generate about 90% of the electricity consumed, and electricity is also exported to nearby states

    Tourism is the state's third largest industry, contributing more than $3 billion into the annual state. Outdoor attractions such as the 144-mile Maah Daah Hey Trail and activities like fishing and hunting attract visitors. The state is also known for the Lewis & Clark Trail

    North Dakota State Flower - Wild prairie rose
    North Dakota State Flower - Wild prairie rose

    North Dakota State Tree - American Elm
    North Dakota State Tree - American Elm

    Flora and Fauna

    North Dakota is predominantly a region of prairie and plains, although the American elm, green ash, box elder, and cottonwood grow there. Cranberries, juneberries, and wild grapes are also common. Indian, blue, grama, and buffalo grasses grow on the plains; the wild prairie rose is the state flower. The western prairie fringed orchid was the only plant species classified as threatened in 2003; no plant species were listed as endangered that year by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Once on the verge of extinction, the white-tailed and mule deers and pronghorn antelope have been restored. The elk and grizzly bear, both common until about 1880, had disappeared by 1900; bighorn sheep, reintroduced in 1956, are beginning to flourish. North Dakota claims more wild ducks than any other state except Alaska, and it has the largest sharptailed grouse population in the United States. Seven animal species were listed as threatened or endangered in North Dakota in 2003, including the bald eagle, Eskimo curlew, pallid sturgeon, least tern, and whooping crane.

  • North Dakota State Bird (Western Meadowlark)
  • North Dakota Official State Flower (Wild prairie rose)
  • North Dakota Official State Tree (American Elm)
  • Government

    North Dakota State Capitol
    North Dakota State Capitol
    The North Dakota State Capitol is the house of government of the U.S. state of North Dakota. The Capitol, a 21-story tower, is in Bismarck at 600 East Boulevard Avenue, on a 160-acre campus that also houses many other government buildings and is the tallest habitable building in North Dakota. The capitol building and the surrounding office buildings house the state's legislative and judicial branches, as well as many government agencies.

    State elected officials are the governor and lieutenant governor (elected jointly), secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, three public service commissioners, and the commissioners of labor, insurance, taxation, and agriculture. With the exception of the public service commissioners, who serve six-year terms, all terms are four years. Candidates for governor must be 30 years old, US citizens, qualified voters, and state residents for at least five years prior to election.

    Voters in North Dakota must be US citizens, at least 18 years old, and must have been residents of the state at least 30 days prior to the election. The state does not require voters to register.

  • North Dakota Official Website
  • Attractions

    The rugged badlands, lush woodland settings, and water-fed natural features of North Dakota provide a seemingly endless landscape to explore. As well as stunning scenery, the state presents a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of the region through its museums and historic sites. Plan on spending time outdoors at places such as Theodore Roosevelt National Park or Lake Sakakawea, or learn about the culture and history with a visit to the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck or the Plains Art Museum in Fargo.
  • North Dakota Tourism Website
  • Amusement Parks

    Grand Forks Theme Park, Grand Forks(Scheduled)
    Super Slide Amusement Park, Bismarck

    National Parks

    Theodore Roosevelt National Park Theodore Roosevelt National Park
    Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, Two States: MT,ND
      Between 1828 and 1867, Fort Union was the most important fur trade post on the Upper Missouri River. Here, the Assiniboine and six other Northern Plains Indian Tribes exchanged buffalo robes and smaller furs for goods from around the world, including cloth, guns, blankets, and beads. A bastion of peaceful coexistence, the post annually traded over 25,000 buffalo robes and $100,000 in merchandise.
    Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, Stanton, ND
      Earthlodge people hunted bison and other game, but were in essence farmers living in villages along the Missouri and its tributaries. The site was a major Native American trade center for hundreds of years prior to becoming an important market place for fur traders after 1750.
    Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, Eleven States: ID,IL,IA,KS,MO,MT,NE,ND,OR,SD,WA
      Between May 1804 and September 1806, 31 men, one woman, and a baby traveled from the plains of the Midwest to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. They called themselves the Corps of Discovery. In their search for a water route to the Pacific Ocean, they opened a window into the west for the young United States. Read the Lewis and Clark Pups blog, the Newfie News!
    North Country National Scenic Trail, Seven States-New York to North Dakota MI,MN,ND,NY,OH,PA,WI
      Come to the North Country. Trek the hills and valleys. Lakes and streams remain from glaciers 10,000 years before. Here you’ll find clear-flowing water, the red and gold of autumn, a fairyland of snow, wide open prairies, and distant horizons. Historic sites along the way tell the story of how America settled and grew as a nation. From New York to North Dakota, you're never far from adventure.
    Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Medora, ND (South Unit). The North Unit is located 15 miles south of Watford City, ND
      When Theodore Roosevelt came to Dakota Territory to hunt bison in 1883, he was a skinny, young, spectacled dude from New York. He could not have imagined how his adventure in this remote and unfamiliar place would forever alter the course of the nation. The rugged landscape and strenuous life that TR experienced here would help shape a conservation policy that we still benefit from today.


    Bismarck was home of the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Development League, and currently hosts the Bismarck Bucks of the Champions Indoor Football. NCAA has two NCAA Division I teams, the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and North Dakota State Bison, and two Division II teams, the Mary Marauders and Minot State Beavers. The North Dakota High School Activities Association features over 25,000 participants. Outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing are hobbies for many North Dakotans. Ice fishing, skiing, and snowmobiling are also popular during the winter months. Residents of North Dakota may own or visit a cabin along a lake. Popular sport fish include walleye, perch, and northern pike

  • North Dakota Sports
  • Taxes

    North Dakota Tax Facts
    • Income tax: 1.1% - 2.9%
    • Sales tax: 5% - 8.5%
    • Property tax: 1.05% average effective rate
    • Gas tax: 23 cents per gallon of regular gasoline and diesel



    Hector International Airport
    Hector International Airport Photo by KVLY
    North Dakota Airports. There are 90 airports in North Dakota for public use. The international airports in North Dakota do not receive international flights but have customs services in their US at their terminals. North Dakota Airports have a friendly service to make their journey easier.

    The international airports in North Dakota are Hector International Airport at Fargo, Grand Forks International Airport at Grand Forks, Minot International Airport at Minot and Sloulin International Airport at Williston. In addition to these international airports in North Dakota, there is also a general aviation international airport in North Dakota. This is the International Peace Garden Airport in Dunseith. Most of these international airports in North Dakota have no scheduled flights outside the United States but are designated as international airports because they have customs services at their airports.


    Amtrak's Empire Builder runs through North Dakota, making stops at Fargo (2:13 am westbound, 3:35 am eastbound), Grand Forks (4:52 am westbound, 12:57 am eastbound), Minot (around 9 am westbound and around 9:30 pm eastbound), and four other stations. It is the descendant of the famous line of the same name run by the Great Northern Railway, which was built by the tycoon James J. Hill and ran from St. Paul to Seattle.

    The largest rail systems in the state are operated by BNSF and the Canadian Pacific Railway. Many branch lines formerly used by BNSF and Canadian Pacific Railway are now operated by the Dakota, Missouri Valley and Western Railroad and the Red River Valley and Western Railroad.


    The major Interstate highways are Interstate 29 and Interstate 94, with I-29 and I-94 meeting at Fargo, with I-29 oriented north to south along the eastern edge of the state, and I-94 bisecting the state from east to west between Minnesota and Montana. A unique feature of the North Dakota Interstate Highway system is virtually all of it is paved in concrete, rather than blacktop, because of the extreme weather conditions it must endure

    North Dakota Housing

    The median home value in North Dakota is $203,300. North Dakota home values have declined -0.1% over the past year and predictions are they will rise 3.0% within the next year. The median price of homes currently listed in North Dakota is $224,900. The median rent price in North Dakota is $1,235.

    North Dakota Association of Realtors
    North Dakota Real Estate Commission
    North Dakota Real Estate Listings

    North Dakota Cities & Census Designated Places

    All incorporated communities in North Dakota are considered cities, without respect to size, there are no towns, villages, or hamlets in the state. There are 44 census designated places.
  • North Dakota Cities and Towns
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    Living in North Dakota . Living in North Dakota