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North Dakota

State of North Dakota
Flag of North Dakota State seal of North Dakota
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): Peace Garden State,
Roughrider State, Flickertail State
Motto(s): Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable
Map of the United States with North Dakota highlighted
Official language English[1]
Demonym North Dakotan
Capital Bismarck
Largest city Fargo
Largest metro Fargo metropolitan area
Area Ranked 19th
 - Total 70,700 sq mi
(183,272 km2)
 - Width 211 miles (340 km)
 - Length 340 miles (545 km)
 - % water 2.4
 - Latitude 45° 56′ N to 49° 00′ N
 - Longitude 96° 33′ W to 104° 03′ W
Population Ranked 48th
 - Total 723,393 (2013 est)[2]
 - Density 11.70/sq mi  (3.83/km2)
Ranked 47th
 - Highest point White Butte[3][4]
3,508 ft (1069 m)
 - Mean 1,900 ft  (580 m)
 - Lowest point Red River of the North at Manitoba border[3][4]
751 ft (229 m)
Before statehood Dakota Territory
Admission to Union November 2, 1889 (39th)
Governor Jack Dalrymple (R)
Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley (R)
Legislature Legislative Assembly
 - Upper house Senate
 - Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R)
Heidi Heitkamp (D)
U.S. House delegation Kevin Cramer (R) (list)
Time zones  
 - most of state Central: UTC -6/-5
 - southwest Mountain: UTC -7/-6
Abbreviations ND, List of U.S. state abbreviations US-ND
Website .gov.ndwww

North Dakota is the 39th state of the United States, having been admitted to the union on November 2, 1889.

It is located in the Upper Midwestern region of the United States, bordered by the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the north, the states of Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south, and Montana to the west.[5] The state capital is Bismarck, and the largest city is Fargo. North Dakota is the 19th most extensive but the 3rd least populous and the 4th least densely populated of the 50 United States.

North Dakota has weathered the Great Recession of the early 21st century with a boom in natural resources, particularly a boom in oil extraction from the Bakken formation, which lies beneath the northwestern part of the state.[6] The development has driven strong job and population growth, and low unemployment.[7][8]


  • Geography 1
    • Climate 1.1
  • History 2
  • Demographics 3
    • Population 3.1
      • Migration 3.1.1
    • Languages 3.2
    • Racial and ancestry groups 3.3
    • Religion 3.4
  • Culture 4
    • American Indian presence 4.1
    • Norwegian and Icelandic influences 4.2
    • Germans from Russia 4.3
    • Fine and performing arts 4.4
    • Entertainment 4.5
    • Popular culture 4.6
  • Economy 5
    • Agriculture 5.1
    • Energy 5.2
    • Tourism 5.3
    • Health care 5.4
  • Emergency Services 6
  • Transportation 7
  • Governance 8
    • Executive 8.1
    • Legislative 8.2
    • Judicial 8.3
    • Indian tribes and reservations 8.4
    • Federal 8.5
    • Politics 8.6
    • State taxes 8.7
  • Major cities 9
  • Education 10
    • Higher education 10.1
  • State symbols 11
  • Media 12
  • North Dakotans 13
  • See also 14
  • References 15
  • Further reading 16
    • Primary sources 16.1
  • External links 17


Map of North Dakota
Moose in North Dakota.

North Dakota is located in the U.S. region known as the Great Plains. The state shares the Red River of the North with Minnesota on the east; South Dakota is to the south, Montana is to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba are north. North Dakota is situated near the middle of North America with a stone marker in Rugby, North Dakota marking the "Geographic Center of the North American Continent". With an area of 70,762 square miles (183,273 km2),[9] North Dakota is the 19th largest state.[10]

The western half of the state consists of the hilly Great Plains, and the northern part of the Badlands to the west of the Missouri River. The state's high point, White Butte at 3,506 feet (1,069 m), and Theodore Roosevelt National Park[11] are located in the Badlands. The region is abundant in fossil fuels including natural gas, crude oil and lignite coal. The Missouri River forms Lake Sakakawea, the third largest man-made lake in the United States, behind the Garrison Dam.[12]

The central region of the state is divided into the Drift Prairie and the Missouri Plateau. The eastern part of the state consists of the flat Red River Valley, the bottom of glacial Lake Agassiz. Its fertile soil, drained by the meandering Red River flowing northward into Lake Winnipeg, supports a large agriculture industry.[13] Devils Lake, the largest natural lake in the state, is also found in the east.[14]

Eastern North Dakota is overall flat; however, there are significant hills and

Preceded by
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on November 2, 1889 (39th)
Succeeded by
South Dakota
  • State of North Dakota official website
  • North Dakota tourism website
  • Energy Profile for North Dakota
  • USGS real-time, geographic, and other scientific resources of North Dakota
  • U.S. Census Bureau facts of North Dakota
  • North Dakota State Facts – USDA
  • Pictures of the Dakotas: Badlands and Theodore Roosevelt National Parks
  • – a pictorial documentary of North Dakota "ghost towns"
  • North Dakota at DMOZ
  • Geographic data related to North Dakota at OpenStreetMap

External links

  • Benson, Bjorn; Hampsten, Elizabeth; and Sweney, Kathryn, eds. Day In, Day Out: Women's Lives in North Dakota. (1988). 326 pp.
  • Maximilian, Prince of Wied. Travels in the Interior of North America in the rears 1832 to 1834 (Vols. XXII-XXIV of "Early Western Travels, 1748–1846," ed. by Reuben Gold Thwaites; 1905–1906). Maximilian spent the winter of 1833–1834 at Fort Clark.
  • University of North Dakota, Bureau of Governmental Affairs, ed., A Compilation of North Dakota Political Party Platforms, 1884–1978. (1979). 388 pp.
  • WPA. North Dakota: A Guide to the Northern Prairie State (2nd ed. 1950), the classic guide online edition

Primary sources

  • Arends, Shirley Fischer. The Central Dakota Germans: Their History, Language, and Culture. (1989). 289 pp.
  • Berg, Francie M., ed. Ethnic Heritage in North Dakota. (1983). 174 pp.
  • Blackorby, Edward C. Prairie Rebel: The Public Life of William Lemke (1963), radical leader in 1930s online edition
  • Collins, Michael L. That Damned Cowboy: Theodore Roosevelt and the American West, 1883–1898 (1989).
  • Cooper, Jerry and Smith, Glen. Citizens as Soldiers: A History of the North Dakota National Guard. (1986). 447 pp.
  • Crawford, Lewis F. History of North Dakota (3 vol 1931), excellent history in vol 1; biographies in vol. 2–3
  • Danbom, David B. "Our Purpose Is to Serve": The First Century of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. (1990). 237 pp.
  • Eisenberg, C. G. History of the First Dakota-District of the Evangelical-Lutheran Synod of Iowa and Other States. (1982). 268 pp.
  • Ginsburg, Faye D. Contested Lives: The Abortion Debate in an American Community. (1989). 315 pp. the issue in Fargo
  • Hargreaves, Mary W. M. Dry Farming in the Northern Great Plains: Years of Readjustment, 1920–1990. (1993). 386 pp.
  • Howard, Thomas W., ed. The North Dakota Political Tradition. (1981). 220 pp.
  • Hudson, John C. Plains Country Towns. (1985). 189 pp. geographer studies small towns
  • Junker, Rozanne Enerson. The Bank of North Dakota: An Experiment in State Ownership. (1989). 185 pp.
  • Lamar, Howard R. Dakota Territory, 1861–1889: A Study of Frontier Politics (1956).
  • Lounsberry, Clement A. Early history of North Dakota (1919) excellent history by editor of Bismarck Tribune; 645pp online edition
  • Lysengen, Janet Daley and Rathke, Ann M., eds. The Centennial Anthology of "North Dakota History: Journal of the Northern Plains." (1996). 526 pp. articles from state history journal covering all major topics in the state's history
  • Morlan, Robert L. Political Prairie Fire: The Nonpartisan League, 1915–1922. (1955). 414 pp. NPL comes to power briefly
  • Peirce, Neal R. The Great Plains States of America: People, Politics, and Power in the Nine Great Plains States (1973) excerpt and text ssearch, chapter on North Dakota
  • Robinson, Elwyn B., D. Jerome Tweton, and David B. Danbom. History of North Dakota (2nd ed. 1995) standard history, by leading scholars; extensive bibliography
    • Robinson, Elwyn B. History of North Dakota (1966) First edition online
  • Schneider, Mary Jane. North Dakota Indians: An Introduction. (1986). 276 pp.
  • Sherman, William C. and Thorson, Playford V., eds. Plains Folk: North Dakota's Ethnic History. (1988). 419 pp.
  • Sherman, William C. Prairie Mosaic: An Ethnic Atlas of Rural North Dakota. (1983). 152 pp.
  • Smith, Glen H. Langer of North Dakota: A Study in Isolationism, 1940–1959. (1979). 238 pp. biography of influential conservative Senator
  • Snortland, J. Signe, ed. A Traveler's Companion to North Dakota State Historic Sites. (1996). 155 pp.
  • Stock, Catherine McNicol. Main Street in Crisis: The Great Depression and the Old Middle Class on the Northern Plains. (1992). 305pp. online edition
  • Tauxe, Caroline S. Farms, Mines and Main Streets: Uneven Development in a Dakota County. (1993). 276 pp. coal and grain in Mercer county
  • Tweton, D. Jerome and Jelliff, Theodore B. North Dakota: The Heritage of a People. (1976). 242 pp. textbook history
  • Wilkins, Robert P. and Wilkins, Wynona Hutchette. North Dakota: A Bicentennial History. (1977) 218 pp. popular history
  • Wishart, David J. ed. Encyclopedia of the Great Plains, University of Nebraska Press, 2004, ISBN 0-8032-4787-7. complete text online; 900 pages of scholarly articles
  • Young, Carrie. Prairie Cooks: Glorified Rice, Three-Day Buns, and Other Reminiscences. (1993). 136 pp.

Further reading

  1. ^ "North Dakota Century Code, CHAPTER 54–02–13" (PDF). Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013" ( 
  3. ^ a b "Elevations and Distances in the United States".  
  4. ^ a b Elevation adjusted to North American Vertical Datum of 1988.
  5. ^ Geography of North Dakota – Retrieved July 21, 2011.
  6. ^ a b Shactman, Brian (August 28, 2011). "Unemployed? Go to North Dakota". CNBC. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Fernando, Vincent; Jin, Betty (August 23, 2010). "10 States With Ridiculously Low Unemployment – And Why". Business Insider. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Shaffer, David (December 22, 2012). "N. Dakota population growth is tops in U.S". Star Tribune. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Facts and figures". Retrieved June 22, 2006. 
  10. ^ "Land and Water Area of States, 2000". Information Please. 2006. Retrieved August 17, 2007. 
  11. ^ "Theodore Roosevelt National Park Virtual Tour". The Real North Dakota Project. 2007. Retrieved August 17, 2007. 
  12. ^ "History of Lake Sakakawea State Park". North Dakota Parks & Recreation Department. 2003. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved August 17, 2007. 
  13. ^ "A Glacier, A Lake, A Valley and Soil for the Future". University of Minnesota. 1979. Retrieved August 17, 2007. 
  14. ^ "North Dakota Facts and Trivia". 2007. Retrieved August 17, 2007. 
  15. ^ Shipunov, A. ChecklistFlora of North Dakota:. 2012.
  16. ^ "Audio Transcript of Pierre Gaultier de La Vérendrye 1738". The Atlas of Canada. 2003. Retrieved August 19, 2007. 
  17. ^ "Enabling Act". Washington State Legislature. Archived from the original on September 19, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2007. 
  18. ^ "Coin of the Month". The United States Mint. Retrieved August 19, 2007. 
  19. ^ "North Dakota's Boundaries". North Dakota Geological Survey. 2002. Retrieved August 19, 2007. 
  20. ^ "North Dakota State Capitol Building & Grounds Virtual Tour Map". The Real North Dakota Project. Retrieved August 19, 2007. 
  21. ^ "North Dakota Timeline". Retrieved August 19, 2007. 
  22. ^ a b "North Dakota History: Overview and Summary". State Historical Society of North Dakota. 1999. Archived from the original on April 3, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2007. 
  23. ^ Perry, Mark (January 31, 2013). "Bakken oil boom in North Dakota might last for 100 years". American Enterprise Institute. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  24. ^ "North Dakota is Nation's Fastest-Growing State Since 2011". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  25. ^ "North Dakota Historical Population". North Dakota State University. Retrieved August 19, 2007. 
  26. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2009. 
  27. ^ a b c "Cumulative Estimates of the Components of Population Change for the United States, Regions and States: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008 (NST-EST2008-04)" (CSV).  
  28. ^ Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). "American FactFinder – Results".
  29. ^ "North Dakota QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". Retrieved August 19, 2007. 
  30. ^ Exner, Rich (June 3, 2012). "Americans under age 1 now mostly minorities, but not in Ohio: Statistical Snapshot".  
  31. ^ "statecenters". U.S. Census Bureau. 2000. Retrieved November 21, 2006. 
  32. ^ Resident Population Data. "Resident Population Data – 2010 Census". Retrieved December 14, 2011. 
  33. ^ "Leading Population Trends in North Dakota". North Dakota State University. 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2007. 
  34. ^ "Agenda 2003 – Saving North Dakota". The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. 2002. Retrieved August 19, 2007. 
  35. ^ "Oil boom turbocharges North Dakota population growth", The Denver Post, Retrieved on July 12, 2013.
  36. ^ "Most Spoken Language in North Dakota in 2010".  
  37. ^ "US Census 2000" (PDF). Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  38. ^ 2010 Census Data. "2010 Census Data – 2010 Census". Retrieved December 14, 2011. 
  39. ^ "Historical Census Statistics on Population Totals By Race, 1790 to 1990, and By Hispanic Origin, 1970 to 1990, For The United States, Regions, Divisions, and States". Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  40. ^ Population of North Dakota: Census 2010 and 2000 Interactive Map, Demographics, Statistics, Quick Facts
  41. ^ 2010 Census Data. "2010 Census Data". Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  42. ^ a b c "American Religious Identification Survey". Exhibit 15. The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Retrieved November 24, 2006. 
  43. ^ History.
  44. ^ "North Dakota – Religions". Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  45. ^ "The Association of Religion Data Archives | State Membership Report". Retrieved November 27, 2013. 
  46. ^ William Charles Sherman, Playford V. Thorson, Warren A. Henke, Plains Folk: North Dakota's Ethnic History (North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies, 1986) pp 189, 242, 256
  47. ^ Elwyn B. Robinson, History of North Dakota (1966) pp. 285–87, 557
  48. ^ "Germans from Russia Heritage Collection". September 1, 2002. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  49. ^ "Josh Duhamel". IMDb. 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2007. 
  50. ^ "Fish Species". North Dakota Game and Fish Department. 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2007. 
  51. ^ "Economy of North Dakota". NetState. June 4, 2007. Retrieved October 4, 2007. 
  52. ^ "Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by State". U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. October 26, 2006. Retrieved October 4, 2007. 
  53. ^ "Regional Economic Accounts". U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Retrieved October 4, 2007. 
  54. ^ "United States and States — R2001. Median Household Income". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 14, 2007. Retrieved October 4, 2007. 
  55. ^ O'Neal, Adam (12 February 2014). "N. Dakota Again Tops Job-Creation List, D.C. Second". Real Clear Politics. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  56. ^ Thomas, G. Scott (27 June 2013). "Governors and jobs: How governors rank for job creation in their states". The Business Journals. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  57. ^ Saad, Lydia (12 February 2014). "North Dakota Leads in Job Creation for Fifth Straight Year". Gallup. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  58. ^ Nowatzki, Mike (25 March 2014). "N.D. leads nation in personal income growth again". Prairie Business. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  59. ^ "ND records nation's highest personal income growth". Yahoo News. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  60. ^ Graeber, Daniel (26 March 2014). "Economy in oil-rich North Dakota booming". UPI. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  61. ^ Ausick, Paul (3 December 2014), "Will $60 a Barrell Oil Ruin North Dakota's Economy?", 24/7 Wall St.url= 
  62. ^ "Amazon to Expand Customer Service Center in Grand Forks, ND". Bloomberg. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  63. ^ Gunderson, Dan. "With Microsoft, Hitachi to open software business in Fargo". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  64. ^; Local Area Unemployment Statistics
  65. ^ Cauchon, Dennis (March 17, 2011). "North Dakota economy booms, population soars". USA Today. 
  66. ^ Canova, Timothy. "The Public Option: The Case for Parallel Public Banking Institutions". Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  67. ^ "Current Unemployment Rates for States and Historical Highs/Lows". August 19, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  68. ^ "North Dakota — DP-3. Profile of Selected Economic Characteristics:  2000". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved August 30, 2007. 
  69. ^ "Extension". April 19, 2011. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  70. ^ a b c d United States Department of Agriculture (December 2009). 2007 Census of Agriculture. 1. Part 51. pp. 276–293, pp. 345–355, p. 434, pp. 474–489.
  71. ^ "NASS – Publications – Trends in U.S. Agriculture". December 5, 2005. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  72. ^
  73. ^ State Renewable Fuels Profile. U.S. Energy Information Administration.[1]. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  74. ^ Coal General Statistics, National Mining Association.[2] Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  75. ^ "Things To Do In North Dakota". Retrieved October 4, 2007. 
  76. ^ Gunderson, Dan (August 28, 2006). "North Dakota oil patch is booming". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved October 4, 2007. 
  77. ^ Donovan, Lauren (June 20, 2006). "North Dakota may be bigger oil player than Alaska". Bismarck Tribune. 
  78. ^ "3 to 4.3 Billion Barrels of Technically Recoverable Oil Assessed in North Dakota and Montana's Bakken Formation—25 Times More Than 1995 Estimate". U.S. Geological Survey. April 10, 2008. Retrieved April 11, 2008. 
  79. ^ North Dakota Drilling & Production Statistics. [3] Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  80. ^ Crude Oil Production. U.S. Energy Information Administration.[4] Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  81. ^ [5]
  82. ^ "Earth Policy Reader". Retrieved February 25, 2009. 
  83. ^ Lukas, Paul (November 1, 1999). "State Secret North Dakota, our least visited state, is also among the most underappreciated". Retrieved July 13, 2010. 
  84. ^ "First Annual Centennial Strategy for Theodore Roosevelt National Park]" (PDF). August 2007. Retrieved July 13, 2010. 
  85. ^ "Norsk Høstfest". October 7, 2006. 
  86. ^ Verified Trauma Centers. American College of Surgeons. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  87. ^ Health Resources. Retrieved on May 22, 2014.
  88. ^ Health Resources. Retrieved on May 22, 2014.
  89. ^ Health Resources. Retrieved on May 22, 2014.
  90. ^ "Licensed and Non-Licensed Affiliates". BCBSND. Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  91. ^ "North Dakota Department of Human Services". Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  92. ^ "Health Insurance Marketplace for Individuals". 2014-03-31. Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  93. ^ Blair, Whitney (2010-12-06). "Why Walgreens In Fargo, N.D., Can't Fill Your Prescriptions". Retrieved 2014-04-18. 
  94. ^ "Secretary of State – Election Night Results – November 4th, 2014".
  95. ^ "ND Department of Emergency Services : Welcome".
  96. ^ "ND Department of Emergency Services : About NDDES".
  97. ^ "Geo-Comm | Uniting Public Safety GIS and Communications".
  98. ^ "GeoComm has accurate GIS map data development services | GeoComm".
  99. ^ "Dakota, Missouri Valleya and Western Railroad". Dakota, Missouri Valleya and Western Railroad. Retrieved October 5, 2007. 
  100. ^ "About Us". Red River Valley and Western Railroad. Retrieved October 5, 2007. 
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  102. ^ Transit / Data Maps. NDSU SURTC. Retrieved on July 12, 2013.
  103. ^ "State Government". State of North Dakota. Retrieved October 6, 2007. 
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  105. ^ "District Courts". North Dakota Supreme Court. Retrieved October 6, 2007. 
  106. ^ "All District Judges". North Dakota Supreme Court. Retrieved October 6, 2007. 
  107. ^ "North Dakota Judicial System". North Dakota Supreme Court. Retrieved October 6, 2007. 
  108. ^ "FAQ: Individual Income Tax". Office of State Tax Commissioner, Tax Department, North Dakota. Retrieved October 4, 2007. 
  109. ^ "States Ranked by Total State Taxes and Per Capita Amount: 2005". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved October 4, 2007. 
  110. ^ "Sales and Use". Office of State Tax Commissioner, Tax Department, North Dakota. Retrieved October 4, 2007. 
  111. ^ "Grand Forks: Economy — Major Industries and Commercial Activity". Retrieved October 4, 2007. 
  112. ^ "Property". Office of State Tax Commissioner, Tax Department, North Dakota. Retrieved October 4, 2007. 
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  115. ^ "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder.  
  116. ^ "City of West Fargo official web page".
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  119. ^ "Official Portal for North Dakota State Government". June 16, 1957. Retrieved December 14, 2011. 
  120. ^ "License Plates of North Dakota (United States)". Retrieved December 14, 2011. 
  121. ^ S. D. Senate Bill No. 134.
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See also

North Dakotans

Public broadcasting in North Dakota is provided by Prairie Public, with statewide television and radio networks affiliated with PBS and NPR. Public access television stations open to community programming are offered on cable systems in Bismarck, Dickinson, Fargo, and Jamestown.

Broadcast television in North Dakota started on April 3, 1953, when KCJB-TV (now KXMC-TV) in Minot started operations.[127] North Dakota's television media markets are Fargo-Grand Forks, (117th largest nationally), including the eastern half of the state, and Minot-Bismarck (152nd), making up the western half of the state.[128] There are currently 31 full-power television stations, arranged into 10 networks, with 17 digital subchannels.

The state's oldest radio station, WDAY-AM, was launched on May 23, 1922.[122] North Dakota's three major radio markets center around Fargo, Bismarck, and Grand Forks, though stations broadcast in every region of the state. Several new stations were built in Williston in the early 2010s. North Dakota has 34 AM and 88 FM radio stations.[123][124][125] KFGO-AM in Fargo has the largest audience.[126]

The state has 10 daily newspapers, the largest being The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Other weekly and monthly publications (most of which are fully supported by advertising) are also available. The most prominent of these is the alternative weekly High Plains Reader.


"The Flickertail State" is one of North Dakota's nicknames and is derived from Richardson's Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus richardsonii), a very common animal in the region. The ground squirrel constantly flicks its tail in a distinctive manner. In 1953, legislation to make the ground squirrel the state emblem was voted down in the state legislature.[121]

State bird: Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
State fish: Northern pike, Esox lucius
State horse: Nokota horse
State flower: Wild Prairie Rose, Rosa arkansana
State tree: American Elm, Ulmus americana
State fossil: Teredo Petrified wood
State grass: Western Wheatgrass, Pascopyrum smithii (Rydb.) A. Löve
State nicknames: Roughrider State, Flickertail State, Peace Garden State, Sioux state.
State mottos:
(Great Seal of North Dakota) Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable
(Coat of Arms of North Dakota) Strength from the Soil
(Latin Motto of North Dakota, effective August 1, 2011 "Serit ut alteri saeclo prosit" (One sows for the benefit of another age.)
State slogan: Legendary
State song: North Dakota Hymn
State dance: Square Dance
State fruit: Chokecherry
State march: Flickertail March
State beverage: Milk[119]
State art museum: North Dakota Museum of Art
State license plate: see the different types over time[120]

State symbols

Private institutions:

Tribal institutions:

North Dakota University System (public institutions):

The higher education system consists of the following institutions:

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.

Higher education


West Fargo, the fifth largest city in North Dakota,[115] is one of the fastest growing cities.[116] West Fargo is part of the Fargo-Moorhead, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2011, West Fargo was recognized as a Playful City USA by the KaBOOM! Foundation.[117] In 2013, West Fargo was named “City of the Year by the North Dakota League of Cities”.[118]

Grand Forks and Devils Lake are located in scenic areas of North Dakota. Williston is located near the confluence of the Missouri River and the Yellowstone River near Montana. Medora in the North Dakota Badlands hosts the Medora Musical every summer and is the gateway to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Fort Yates, located along the Missouri River on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation claims to host the final resting place of Hunkpapa Lakota leader Sitting Bull (Mobridge, South Dakota also claims his gravesite).

Fargo is the largest city in North Dakota and is the economic hub for the region. Bismarck, located in south-central North Dakota along the banks of the Missouri River, has been North Dakota's capital city since 1883, first as capital of the Dakota Territory, and then as state capital since 1889. Minot is a city in northern North Dakota and is home of the North Dakota State Fair and Norsk Høstfest. Located a few miles west of Bismarck on the west side of the Missouri River, the city of Mandan was named for the Mandan Indians who inhabited the area at the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. New Salem is the site of the world's largest statue of a holstein cow; the world's largest statue of a bison is in Jamestown.

Downtown Fargo in 2007

Major cities

The Tax Foundation ranks North Dakota as the state with the 20th most "business friendly" tax climate in the nation.[113] Tax Freedom Day arrives on April 1, 10 days earlier than the national Tax Freedom Day.[113] In 2006, North Dakota was the state with the lowest number of returns filed by taxpayers with an Adjusted Gross Income of over $1M – only 333.[114]

North Dakota has a slightly progressive income tax structure; the five brackets of state income tax rates are 2.1%, 3.92% 4.34%, 5.04%, and 5.54% as of 2004.[108] In 2005 North Dakota ranked 22nd highest by per capita state taxes.[109] The sales tax in North Dakota is 5% for most items.[110] The state allows municipalities to institute local sales taxes and special local taxes, such as the 1.75% supplemental sales tax in Grand Forks.[111] Excise taxes are levied on the purchase price or market value of aircraft registered in North Dakota. The state imposes a use tax on items purchased elsewhere but used within North Dakota. Owners of real property in North Dakota pay property tax to their county, municipality, school district, and special taxing districts.[112]

State taxes

On the other hand, Dem-NPL candidates for North Dakota's federal Senate and House seats have won every election between 1982 and 2008, and the state's federal delegation was entirely Democratic from 1987 to 2011.

The Republican Party presidential candidate usually carries the state; in 2004, Grover Cleveland (1892, one of three votes), Woodrow Wilson (1912 and 1916), Franklin D. Roosevelt (1932 and 1936), and Lyndon B. Johnson (1964) received Electoral College votes from North Dakota.

At the state level, the George Sinner.

The major political parties in North Dakota are the Democratic-NPL and the Republican Party. As of 2007, the Constitution Party and the Libertarian Party are also organized parties in the state.

North Dakota Senator John Hoeven


Federal court cases are heard in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota, which holds court in Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, and Minot. Appeals are heard by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals based in St. Louis, Missouri.

North Dakota's United States Senators are John Hoeven (R) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-NPL). The state has one at-large congressional district represented by Representative Kevin Cramer (R).


Historically, North Dakota was populated by the Mandan, Hidatsa, Lakota, and Ojibwe, and later by the Sanish and Métis. Today, five federally recognized tribes within the boundaries of North Dakota have independent, sovereign relationships with the federal government and territorial reservations:

Indian tribes and reservations

North Dakota's court system has four levels. Municipal courts serve the cities, and most cases start in the district courts, which are courts of general jurisdiction. There are 42 district court judges in seven judicial districts.[105][106] Appeals from the trial courts and challenges to certain governmental decisions are heard by the North Dakota Court of Appeals, consisting of three-judge panels. The five-justice North Dakota Supreme Court hears all appeals from the district courts and the Court of Appeals.[107]


The North Dakota Legislative Assembly is a bicameral body consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The state has 47 districts. Each district has one senator and two representatives. Both senators and representatives are elected to four-year terms. The state's legal code is named the North Dakota Century Code.


The executive branch is headed by the elected governor. The current governor is Jack Dalrymple, a Republican who took office December 7, 2010 after his predecessor, John Hoeven won his race for U.S. Senate, and resigned to prepare for that office. The current Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota is Drew Wrigley, who is also the President of the Senate. The offices of governor and lieutenant governor have four-year terms, which are next up for election in 2016. The governor has a cabinet consisting of appointed leaders of various state government agencies, called commissioners. The other elected constitutional offices are secretary of state, attorney general, state auditor, and state treasurer.


The Constitution of North Dakota and the North Dakota Century Code form the formal law of the state; the North Dakota Administrative Code incorporates additional rules and policies of state agencies.[104]

As with the federal government of the United States, political power in North Dakota state government is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.[103]


Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound and Jefferson Lines. Public transit in North Dakota includes daily fixed-route bus systems in Fargo, Bismarck-Mandan, Grand Forks, and Minot, paratransit service in 57 communities, along with multi-county rural transit systems.[102]

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.[101] 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.

North Dakota's principal airports are the Hector International Airport (FAR) in Fargo, Grand Forks International Airport (GFK), Bismarck Municipal Airport (BIS), and the Minot International Airport (MOT).

Transportation in North Dakota is overseen by the North Dakota Department of Transportation. 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 that virtually all of it is paved in concrete, rather than blacktop, because of the extreme weather conditions it must endure. 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.[99][100]

Interstate 94 in North Dakota, near Gladstone.


The North Dakota Department of Emergency Services[95] provides 24/7 communication and coordination for more than 50 agencies. In addition, “it administers federal disaster recovery programs and the Homeland Security Grant Program”.[96] In 2011, the Department selected Geo-Comm, Inc [97] “for the Statewide Seamless Base Map Project,” which will facilitate “identifying locations 9–1–1 callers” and route emergency calls based on locations.[98]

Emergency Services

North Dakota law requires pharmacies to be majority owned by pharmacists, except hospital dispensaries and pre-existing stores. Voters rejected a proposal to change the law in 2014.[93][94]

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota is the largest medical insurer in the state.[90] North Dakota expanded Medicaid in 2014,[91] and its health insurance exchange is the federal site,[92]

North Dakota has six level-II trauma centers, 44 hospitals, 52 rural health clinics, and 80 nursing homes.[86][87][88][89] Major provider networks include Sanford, PrimeCare, Trinity, and Altru.

Health care

North Dakota is considered the least visited state, owing, in part, to its not having a major tourist attraction.[83] Areas popular with visitors include Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the western part of the state. The park often exceeds 475,000 visitors each year.[84] Regular events in the state that attract tourists include Norsk Høstfest in Minot, billed as North America's largest Scandinavian festival;[85] the Medora Musical; and the North Dakota State Fair. The state also receives visitors from the neighboring Canadian province of Manitoba, particularly when the exchange rate is favorable.


The Great Plains region, which includes the state of North Dakota has been referred to as "the Saudi Arabia of wind energy."[82] Wind energy in North Dakota is also very cost effective because the state has large rural expanses and wind speeds seldom go below 10 mph.

Oil was discovered near Tioga in 1951, generating 53 million barrels (8,400,000 m3) of oil a year by 1984.[75] Recoverable oil reserves have jumped dramatically recently. The oil reserves of the Bakken Formation may hold up to 400 billion barrels (6.4×1010 m3) of oil, 25 times larger than the reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.[76][77] However, a report issued in April 2008 by the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the oil recoverable by current technology in the Bakken formation is two orders of magnitude less, in the range of 3 billion barrels (480×10^6 m3) to 4.3 billion barrels (680×10^6 m3), with a mean of 3.65 billion barrels (580×10^6 m3).[78] North-Western North Dakota is currently in an oil boom: the Williston, Tioga, Stanley and Minot-Burlington communities are experiencing rapid growth. As of 2012, the state is the 2nd largest oil producer in the U.S. with an average of 575,490 barrels per day.[79][80][81]

The energy industry is a major contributor to the economy. North Dakota 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.[73] North Dakota has the second largest lignite coal production in the U.S.[74] However, lignite coal is the lowest grade coal. There are larger and higher grade coal reserves (anthracite, bituminous coal and subbituminous coal) in other U.S. states.

Oil well in western North Dakota


2011 rank in the U.S Commodity Percent of Nation’s production
1 Beans, dry edible, all 25%
1 Beans, navy 35%
1 Beans, pinto 46%
1 Canola 83%
1 Flaxseed 87%
1 Honey 22%
1 Sunflower, oil 40%
1 Wheat, Durum 36%
1 Wheat, spring 37%
2 Sunflower, all 38%
2 Sunflower, non-oil 24%
2 Wheat, all 10%
3 Barley 11%
3 Lentils 17%
3 Oats 8%
3 Peas, dry edible 21%
3 Sugarbeets 16%
4 Safflower 1%
6 Hay, alfalfa 6%
6 Potatoes 4%
8 Hay, all 4%
10 Soybeans 4%
12 Corn for grain 2%
17 Hay, other 2%
26 Wheat, winter 1%
21 Sheep and lambs 1%
17 Cattle and calves 2%
15 Wool production 2%

North Dakota’s Top Agricultural Commodities (according to the USDA as of 2011)[72]

North Dakota's economy is aided by nearly $1 billion in federal agricultural subsidies annually .

North Dakota is the second leading producer of sugarbeets, grown in the Red River Valley. The state is also the largest producer of honey, dry edible peas and beans, lentils, and the third largest producer of potatoes.[70]

The state is the leading producer of many oilseeds, including 92% of the U.S. canola crop, 94% of flax seed, 53% of sunflower seeds, 18% of safflower seeds, and 62% of mustard seed. Canola is suited to the cold winters and it matures fast. Processing of canola for oil production produces canola meal as a by-product. The by-product is a high-protein animal feed. Soybeans are also an increasingly important crop with 400,000 acres (1,600 km2) additional planted between 2002 and 2007.[70] Soybeans are a major crop in the eastern part of the state, and cultivation is common in the southeast part of the state. Soybeans were not grown in North Dakota in the 1940s, but it has become more common in the last 50 years and especially since 1998.[71] In North Dakota soybeans have to mature fast, because of the comparatively short growing season. Soybeans are grown for livestock feed.

The state is the largest producer in the U.S. of many cereal grains, including barley (36% of U.S. crop), durum wheat (58%), hard red spring wheat (48%), oats (17%), and combined wheat of all types (15%). It is the second leading producer of buckwheat (20%). As of 2007, corn became the state's largest crop produced, although it is only 2% of total U.S. production.[70] The Corn Belt extends to North Dakota, but is situated more on the edge of the region instead of in its center. Corn yields are high in the southeast part of the state and smaller in other parts of the state. Most of the cereal grains are grown for livestock feed.

North Dakota Mill and Elevator postcard, 1915

North Dakota's earliest industries were fur trading and agriculture. Although less than 10% of the population is employed in the agricultural sector,[68] it remains a major part of the state's economy, ranking 9th in the nation in the value of crops and 18th in total value of agricultural products sold. Large farms generate the most crops. The share of people in the state employed in agriculture is comparatively high: as of 2008, only approximately 2–3 percent of the population of the United States is directly employed in agriculture.[69] North Dakota has about 90% of its land area in farms with 27,500,000 acres (111,000 km2) of cropland, the third-largest amount in the nation. Between 2002 and 2007, total cropland increased by about one million acres (4,000 km²), the only state showing an increase. Over the same period, 1,800,000 acres (7,300 km2) were shifted into soybean and corn production, the largest such shift in the United States.[70] There is concern about too much in monoculture, making the economy liable to risk from insect or crop diseases, in addition to adverse effects on habitat of wildlife and birds, and balance of the ecosystem.


Historically, North Dakota has had a low unemployment rate. Its highest unemployment rate was 6.8%, recorded in 1983. That is below the current unemployment rate of the majority of states.[67]

As of May 2014, the state's unemployment rate is the lowest in the nation at 2.6%[64] and it has not touched 5 percent since 1987. At end of 2010, the state per capita income was ranked 17th in the nation, the biggest increase of any state in a decade from rank 38th.[65] The reduction in the unemployment rate and growth in per capita income is attributable to the oil boom in the state. Due to a combination of oil related development and investing in technology & service industries, North Dakota has had a budget surplus every year after the 2008 market crash.[66]

North Dakota is also the only state with a state owned bank, the Bank of North Dakota in Bismarck, and a state-owned flour mill, the North Dakota Mill and Elevator in Grand Forks. Fargo is home to the second-largest campus of Microsoft with 1,700 employees, and employs several hundred in Grand Forks.[62][63]

"The state created a legacy fund in 2010 — similar to a sovereign wealth fund in foreign nations — to salt away some of the state’s revenues from oil and gas production. By law, 30% of the state’s oil and gas taxes (after some mandated distributions) are deposited in the legacy fund. This has resulted in oil and gas tax collections of $446.3 million for fiscal year 2012, $824.7 million for fiscal year 2013 and $926.6 million for fiscal year 2014."
"The state levies a 5% production tax on the gross value at the wellhead of all oil produced in the state, with some exceptions. The state also levies an oil extraction (excise) tax on produced oil. In 2012 the state collected $1.68 billion in oil revenues, up 71.4% over its 2011 collections. Oil taxes provide 42.3% of the state’s total net revenues, nearly four times the individual income tax and more than eight times the revenue received from corporate income taxes. The state’s 5% oil production tax is split between state and county governments. The state treasurer takes 20% that it then allocates to cities and to an impact grant program. The remaining 80% is split between the state and county governments according to a mandated formula."

"Just over 21% of North Dakota’s total 2013 gross domestic product (GDP) of $49.77 billion comes from natural resources and mining."[61]

Agriculture is the largest industry in North Dakota, although petroleum, food processing, and technology are also major industries.[51] It is the fastest-growing state in U.S. by GDP. Its growth rate is about 8.3% The economy of North Dakota had a gross domestic product of $36.8 billion in 2013.[52] The per capita income in 2013 was $50,899, ranked 16th in the nation.[53] The three-year median household income from 2002–2004 was $39,594, ranking 37th in the U.S.[54] According to Gallup data, North Dakota led the U.S. in job creation in 2013 and has done so since 2009. The state has a Job Creation Index score of 40, nearly 10 points ahead of its nearest competitors.[55] North Dakota has added 56,600 private-sector jobs since 2011, creating an annual growth rate of 7.32 percent.[56][57] According to statistics released on 25 March 2014 by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, North Dakota's personal income grew 7.6 percent in 2013 to $41.3 billion.[58] The state has recorded the highest personal income growth among all states for the sixth time since 2007. North Dakota's personal income growth is tied to various private business sectors such as agriculture, energy development, and construction.[59][60]


The western terminus of the North Country National Scenic Trail is located on Lake Sakakawea, where it abuts the Lewis and Clark Trail.

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.[50]

Along with having the most churches per capita of any state, North Dakota has the highest percentage of church-going population of any state.[42]

Popular culture

Ed Schultz is known around the country as the host of progressive talk radio show, The Ed Schultz Show, and The Ed Show on MSNBC. Shadoe Stevens hosted American Top 40 from 1988 to 1995. Josh Duhamel is an Emmy Award-winning actor known for his roles in All My Children and Las Vegas.[49] Nicole Linkletter and CariDee English were winning contestants of Cycles 5 and 7, respectively, of America's Next Top Model. Kellan Lutz has appeared in movies such as Stick It, Accepted, Prom Night, and Twilight.

North Dakotan musicians of many genres include blues guitarist Jonny Lang, country music singer Lynn Anderson, jazz and traditional pop singer and songwriter Peggy Lee, big band leader Lawrence Welk, and pop singer Bobby Vee. The state is also home to two groups of the Indie rock genre that have become known on a national scale: GodheadSilo (originally from Fargo, but later relocated to Olympia, Washington and signed to the Kill Rock Stars label) and June Panic (also of Fargo, signed to Secretly Canadian).


North Dakota's major fine art museums and venues include the Chester Fritz Auditorium, Empire Arts Center, the Fargo Theatre, North Dakota Museum of Art, and the Plains Art Museum. The Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, Minot Symphony Orchestra and Great Plains Harmony Chorus are full-time professional and semi-professional musical ensembles that perform concerts and offer educational programs to the community.

Fine and performing arts

Ethnic Germans who had settled in Russia for several generations grew dissatisfied in the nineteenth century because of economic problems. About 100,000 immigrated to the U.S. by 1900, settling primarily in North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska. The south-central part of North Dakota became known as "the German-Russian triangle". By 1910, about 60,000 ethnic Germans from Russia lived in Central North Dakota. They were Lutherans and Roman Catholics who had kept many German customs of the time when their ancestors emigrated to Russia. They were committed to agriculture. Traditional iron cemetery grave markers are a famous art form practiced by ethnic Germans.[47][48]

Germans from Russia

Old World folk customs have persisted for decades in North Dakota, with revival of techniques in weaving, silver crafting, and wood carving. Traditional turf-roof houses are displayed in parks; this style originated in Iceland. A stave church is a landmark in Minot. Ethnic Norwegians constitute nearly one-third or 32.3% of Minot's total population and 30.8% of North Dakota's total population.

Around 1870 many European immigrants from Norway settled in North Dakota's northeastern corner, especially near the Red River. Icelanders also arrived from Canada.[46] Pembina was a town of many Norwegians when it was founded; they worked on family farms. They started Lutheran churches and schools, greatly outnumbering other denominations in the area. This group has unique foods such as lefse and lutefisk. The continent's largest Scandinavian event, Norsk Høstfest, is celebrated each September in Minot. The Icelandic State Park in Pembina County and an annual Icelandic festival reflect immigrants from that country, who are also descended from Scandinavians.

Norwegian settlers in front of their sod house in North Dakota in 1898

Norwegian and Icelandic influences

A pow wow is an occasion for parades and Native American dancers in regalia, with many dancing styles presented. It is traditional for male dancers to wear regalia decorated with beads, quills and eagle feathers; male grass dancers wear colorful fringe regalia; and male fancy dancers wear brightly colored feathers. Female dancers dance much more subtly than the male dancers. Fancy female dancers wear cloth, beaded moccasins and jewelry, while the jingle dress dancer wears a dress made of metal cones. There are inter-tribal dances throughout the pow wow, where everyone (even spectators) can take part in the dancing.

North Dakota has a great number of Native Americans, and the word "Dakota" is a corruption of a Sioux (Lakota) word meaning "allies" or "friends". The primary tribal groups originating in or around North Dakota, consist of the Lakota and the Dakotah (often lumped together as "Sioux"), the Blackfoot, the Cheyenne, the Chippewa, and the Mandan (now extinct as a tribe). Social gatherings known as "powwows" (or pow-wows) are an important aspect of Native American culture, and occur regularly throughout the State. Throughout Native American history, powwows were held, usually in the spring, to rejoice at the beginning of new life and the end of the winter cold. These events brought Native American tribes together for singing and dancing and allowed them to meet up with old friends and acquaintances, as well as to make new ones. Many powwows also held religious significance for some tribes. Today, powwows are still a part of the Native American culture, and are attended by Native and non-Natives alike. In North Dakota, the United Tribes International Powwow, held each September in the capital of Bismarck, is one of the largest powwows in the United States.

Paul Kane witnessed and participated in the annual bison hunt of the Métis in June 1846 on the prairies in Dakota.

American Indian presence


The largest church bodies by number of adherents in 2010 were the Roman Catholic Church with 167,349; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 163,209; and the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod with 22,003.[45]

A 2001 survey indicated that 35% of North Dakota's population was Lutheran, and 30% was Catholic. Other religious groups represented were Methodists (7%), Baptists (6%), the Assemblies of God (3%), Presbyterians (1,27%),[43] and Jehovah's Witnesses (1%). Christians with unstated or other denominational affiliations, including other Protestants and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), totaled 3%, bringing the total Christian population to 86%. Other religions, such as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, together represented 4% of the population. There were an estimated 920 Muslims and 730 Jews in the state in 2000.[44] Three percent of respondents answered "no religion" on the survey, and 6% declined to answer.[42]

North Dakota has the most churches per capita of any state.[42]

Lutheran Church of Manfred, North Dakota


Most North Dakotans are of Northern European descent. As of 2009, the seven largest ancestry groups in North Dakota are:

North Dakota Racial Breakdown of Population
Racial composition 1990[39] 2000[40] 2010[41]
White 94.6% 92.4% 90.0%
Native 4.1% 4.9% 5.4%
Black 0.6% 0.6% 1.2%
Asian 0.5% 0.6% 1.0%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
Other race 0.3% 0.4% 0.5%
Two or more races 1.2% 1.8%

According to the 2010 Census, the racial and ethnic composition of North Dakota was as follows:[38]

Racial and ancestry groups

In 2000, 2.5% of the population spoke German in addition to English.[37]

In 2010, 94.86% (584,496) of North Dakotans over 5 years old spoke English as their primary language. 5.14% (31,684) of North Dakotans spoke a language other than English. 1.39% (8,593) spoke German, 1.37% (8,432) spoke Spanish, and 0.30% (1,847) spoke Norwegian. Other languages spoken included Serbo-Croatian (0.19%), Chinese and Japanese (both 0.15%), and other Native American languages and French (both 0.13%).[36]


From the 1930s until the end of the 20th century, North Dakota's population experienced a gradual decline, interrupted by a couple of brief increases. Young adults with university degrees were particularly likely to leave the state. With the advancing process of mechanization of agricultural practices, subsistence farming proved to be too risky for families, and many people moved to urban areas for jobs.[33] One of the major causes of migration from North Dakota is the lack of skilled jobs for college graduates. Some propose the expansion of economic development programs to create skilled and high-tech jobs, but the effectiveness of such programs has been open to debate.[34] During the first decade of the 21st century, the population increased in large part because of jobs in the oil industry related to development of shale-oil fields.[35]

Throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century, North Dakota, along with most of the midwest, experienced a mass influx of newcomers both from the eastern United States and new arrivals from Europe. North Dakota was a known popular destination for immigrant farmers and general laborers and their families, mostly from Norway, Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom. Much of this settlement gravitated throughout the western side of the Red River Valley, as was similarly seen in South Dakota and in a parallel manner in Minnesota. This area is well known for its fertile lands, and by the outbreak of the First World War was among the richest farming regions in North America.


Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 3,323 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 21,110 people.[27] Of the residents of North Dakota, 69.8% were born in North Dakota, 27.2% were born in a different state, 0.6% were born in Puerto Rico, U.S. Island areas, or born abroad to American parent(s), and 2.4% were born in another country.[28] The age and gender distributions approximate the national average. Except for Native Americans, the North Dakota population has a lesser percentage of minorities than in the nation as a whole.[29] As of 2011, 20.7% of North Dakota's population younger than age 1 were minorities.[30] The center of population of North Dakota is located in Wells County, near Sykeston.[31]

From fewer than 2,000 people in 1870, North Dakota's population grew to near 680,000 by 1930. Growth then slowed, and the population has fluctuated slightly over the past seven decades, hitting a low of 617,761 in the 1970 census, with a total of 642,200 in the 2000 census.[25] The United States Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2008, estimated North Dakota's population at 641,481,[26] which represents a decrease of 714, or 0.1%, since the last census in 2000.[27] This includes a natural increase since the last census of 20,460 people (that is 67,788 births minus 47,328 deaths) and a decrease due to net migration of 17,787 people out of the state.[27]

The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of North Dakota was 723,393 on July 1, 2013, a 7.6% increase since the 2010 United States Census.[2] This makes North Dakota the U.S. state with the largest percentage in population growth since 2011.[24]

North Dakota population density



In recent years the state has had a strong economy, with unemployment lower than the national average and strong job and population growth.[7][8] Much of the growth has been based on development of the Bakken oil fields in the western part of the state.[6] Estimates as to the remaining amount of oil vary, with some estimating over 100 years worth of oil remaining in the area.[23]

There was a boom in oil exploration in western North Dakota in the late 1970s and early 1980s, as rising petroleum prices made development profitable.[22] This boom came to an end after petroleum prices declined.[22]

The original North Dakota State Capitol in Bismarck burned to the ground on December 28, 1930. It was replaced by a limestone-faced art deco skyscraper that still stands today.[20] A round of federal investment and construction projects began in the 1950s, including the Garrison Dam and the Minot and Grand Forks Air Force bases.[21]

Unrest among wheat farmers, especially among Norwegian immigrants, led to a radical political movement after World War I centered in the Non Partisan League ("NPL"). The NPL, which eventually merged into the Democratic Party, tried to insulate North Dakota from the power of out-of-state banks and corporations. In addition to founding the state-owned Bank of North Dakota and North Dakota Mill and Elevator (both still in existence), the NPL established a state-owned railroad line (later sold to the Soo Line Railroad). Anti-corporate laws were passed that virtually prohibited a corporation or bank from owning title to land zoned as farmland. These laws, still in force today, after having been upheld by both state and federal courts, make it almost impossible to foreclose on farmland, as even after foreclosure, the property title cannot be held by a bank or mortgage company.

The rivalry between the two new states presented a dilemma of which was to be admitted first. Harrison directed Secretary of State James G. Blaine to shuffle the papers and obscure from him which he was signing first and the actual order went unrecorded, thus no one knows which of the Dakotas was admitted first.[18][19] However, since North Dakota alphabetically appears before South Dakota, its proclamation was published first in the Statutes At Large. Since that day, it has become common to list the Dakotas alphabetically and thus North Dakota is usually listed as the 39th state.

Dakota Territory was settled sparsely by European Americans until the late 19th century, when the railroads were constructed into the region. With the advantage of grants of land, they vigorously marketed their properties, extolling the region as ideal for agriculture. An omnibus bill for statehood for North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington, titled the Enabling Act of 1889, was passed on February 22, 1889 during the administration of Grover Cleveland. His successor, Benjamin Harrison, signed the proclamations formally admitting North Dakota and South Dakota to the Union on November 2, 1889.[17]

Prior to European contact, Native Americans inhabited North Dakota for thousands of years. In the historic period, American Indian tribes included the Mandan people, the Dakota people and the Yanktonai, the latter two tribes of the Lakota peoples. The first European to reach the area was the French-Canadian trader La Vérendrye, who led an exploration party to Mandan villages in 1738.[16]




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