North Dakota Facts: The Exhaustive List (2021)

Caleb Dueck

With a navy blue background, a block of white text reads the following: North Dakota Facts The Exhaustive List 2021. Below that text is a green North Dakota icon.

There's alot of info out there on North Dakota, and I've found one of two things.

1. That info is presented poorly.

2. That info is incorrect and/or outdated.

Knowing this, I, like any self-respecting North Dakotan, took matters into my own hands.

In one sentence: this is a 4,000-word list of North Dakota facts, updated for 2021.

Think of this as sort of your ultimate reference guide for any news articles, blogs, or Facebook posts you may write.

Now, let's cut to the chase.

North Dakota Population

How many people live in North Dakota?

North Dakota has a population of 765,309, according to the Census Bureau’s 2020 report. It is the 47th most populated state in the United States, having more people than only Alaska, District of Columbia, Vermont, and Wyoming. 56.2% of North Dakota’s population live in its 10 largest cities.

What is North Dakota’s Population Density?

North Dakota has a population density of 10.82 people per square mile (4.17 people per sq. km), making it the 47th most sparsely populated state in the United States. The only states with a smaller population density than North Dakota are Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska.

What is North Dakota’s Biggest City?

North Dakota’s largest city is Fargo, with a total population of 124,662. Fargo is the 223rd largest city in the United States. Fargo is located in the southeast corner of the state, along the Red River and its neighboring city Moorhead, Minnesota.

What is North Dakota’s capital?

Bismarck is North Dakota’s capital city. Bismarck has been North Dakota’s capital all along, since the state’s admittance to the union in 1889. Bismarck is North Dakota’s 3rd largest city (behind Fargo and Grand Forks) with a population of 72,777. It is located slightly south of the center of North Dakota.

What is the most populated county in North Dakota?

Cass County is North Dakota’s most populated county, with a population of 176,975. No one from North Dakota should be surprised by this… since Cass County is home to the state’s largest city: Fargo. Burleigh County (home to Bismarck) is North Dakota’s second most populated county, with 94,793 people.

How fast is North Dakota growing?

From 2010 to 2020, North Dakota’s population grew by 13.42%, making it the 11th fast growing state in that time period. This is largely credited to the oil boom experienced in the western North Dakota at the start of the 2010s, as well as more people moving to Fargo.

North Dakota State Symbols 

What is North Dakota’s state seal?

The State of North Dakota's Seal

Image Source: North Dakota's Secretary of State

This image is North Dakota’s state seal. The exact coloring for the seal depends on who you ask. The seal was adopted in 1987, and the seal contains North Dakota’s state motto: "LIBERTY AND UNION NOW AND FOREVER, ONE AND INSEPARABLE".

What is North Dakota’s state nickname?

“The Peach Garden State” is North Dakota’s state nickname. It was officially adopted by North Dakota in 1957. The state has also been referred to as “The Sioux State”, “The Roughrider State”, and “The Flickertail State”.

What is North Dakota’s state motto?

“Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable” is North Dakota’s state motto. The motto was officially adopted in 1889, the same year North Dakota was founded.

What is North Dakota’s state bird?

The Western Meadowlark is North Dakota’s official state bird. It’s about the size of a robin, with a yellow breast, a black bib, and a blotchy brown body. It was adopted as North Dakota’s official state bird in 1947. Its scientific name is the “Sturnella neglecta”.

What is North Dakota’s state tree?

The American elm is North Dakota’s official state tree. Known for its height and strength, it often grows taller than 120 feet and able to withstand temperatures as low as -44 °F. The American elm became the state tree in 1947. Its scientific name is “Ulmus americana”.

What is North Dakota’s state fish?

The Northern Pike is North Dakota’s official state fish. It averages between 16-22 inches, with record lengths of 59 inches. It became North Dakota’s official state fish in 1969. Its scientific name is “Esox Lucius”.

What is North Dakota’s state grass?

Western wheatgrass is North Dakota’s official state grass. Native to the Great Plains, and it used to cover all of North Dakota. It was adopted by the state in 1977, called upon by The North Dakota Chapter of the Society for Range Management. Its scientific name is “Pascopyrum”.

What is North Dakota’s state insect?

The Convergent Lady Beetle (often known as the ladybug) is North Dakota’s official state insect. In fact, Governor Jack Dalrymple signed House Bill 1219 into law on March 15, 2011, so the designation is fairly recent. It’s a commonly seen bug, with red wings and black spots. Its scientific name is “Hippodamia convergens”.

What is North Dakota’s state mammal?

The Nokota Horse is North Dakota’s official state mammal. The Nokota horse can be found in southwest North Dakota (as both a feral and semi-feral breed). The Nokota Horse was designated as the official state horse in 1993. Its scientific name is Equus ferus caballus.

What is North Dakota’s state flower?

The Wild Prairie Rose is North Dakota’s official state flower. It typically has five pink petals, with yellow stamens at the center of those petals. It became the state flower of North Dakota in 1907. Its scientific name is “Rosa arkansana”.

North Dakota Geography

Where is North Dakota located?

North Dakota is located in the Midwest region of the United States. It borders the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the north, as well as Montana to the west, South Dakota to the South, and Minnesota to the East.

How big is North Dakota?

North Dakota’s total area is 70,698.32 square miles (183,108 sq km), making it the 19th largest state in the United States. It contains 69,000.80 square miles of land (17th largest state by land), and 1,697.52 square miles of water (24th largest state by water). North Dakota is 97.6% land and 2.4% water.

What is the largest county by square miles in North Dakota?

McKenzie County is the largest county in North Dakota, with a total land area of 2,760 square miles. Located on the western border of the state, its largest city and county seat is Watford City. For reference, McKenzie County could fit two Rhode Islands within its borders, with room to spare!

What’s the highest point in North Dakota?

White Butte is the highest point in North Dakota. It is 3,506 feet above seal level (1,069 m), and is located in the Badlands, in the southwestern part of the state. The White Butte Highpoint Trail is a popular hiking destination in North Dakota.

What’s the lowest point in North Dakota?

The Red River is the lowest point in North Dakota. The river hits its lowest point at 750 feet above sea level where North Dakota borders Manitoba. The Red River starts in the south, where the Bois de Sioux and Otter Tail rivers meet (at the border of Wahpeton, ND and Breckenridge, MN), and flows north into Manitoba.

What’s the longest river in North Dakota?

The longest river in North Dakota is the Sheyenne River, flowing 591 miles through the state. It begins north of Mculsky, and eventually flows into the Red River roughly 7 miles north of Fargo. Meanwhile, the Missouri River is the longest river that happens to flow through North Dakota, going a total distance of 2,341 miles.

What is the lowest temperature ever recorded in North Dakota?

The lowest temperature ever recorded in North Dakota was -60 °F (-51 °C), in the town of Parshall on February 15, 1936. They needed a special mercury-thallium alloy thermometer to record the temperature, because the mercury in a typical thermometer becomes solid at -37 °F!

What is the hottest temperature ever recorded in North Dakota?

The highest temperature ever recorded in North Dakota was 121 °F (49.4 °C), in the town of Steele on July 6, 1936. An extreme drought took place across the Great Plains that year, contributing heavily to this record temperature.

Who is North Dakota’s neighbor to the north?

To the north, North Dakota is bordered by the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. North Dakota’s border with Canada is 309.1 miles long (121.8 miles with Saskatchewan, and 187.3 miles with Manitoba). North Dakota’s border with Canada is the 8th longest among all the United States.

North Dakota’s Political Figures

Who is the governor of North Dakota?

Doug Burgum is the 33rd governor of North Dakota. He was elected governor as a member of the Republican party in 2016, and reelected in 2020. Before politics, Doug was the president of Great Plains Software, which he sold to Microsoft in 2001 for $1.1 billion.

Who are North Dakota’s senators?

John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer are North Dakota’s senators (they are both Republican). John Hoeven was elected in 2010 (his term began January 3, 2011) Kevin Cramer was elected in 2018 (his term began January 3, 2019). John has held office for the 112th through the 116th (and current) United States Congress, while the 116th Congress is Kevin’s first.

Who is North Dakota’s attorney general?

Wayne Stenehjem is North Dakota’s attorney general (the 29th since 1889). He was elected in 2001, and is a Republican. As attorney general, Wayne is North Dakota’s chief legal officer, and oversees the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the state’s gambling regulations, and other various state activities.

Who is North Dakota’s congressman (U.S. house representative)

Kelly Armstrong is North Dakota’s current congressman in the United States House of Representatives. He is a Republican, and has represented the state since 2019. North Dakota has only 1 representative to represent the state in Washington D.C., unlike more populated states (California, for example, has 53).

Note: If you’re looking for info on the house of representatives that help form the legislative branch of the North Dakota state government, click here.

Who is North Dakota’s secretary of state?

Alvin Jaeger is North Dakota’s current secretary of state. He is a Republican, and became North Dakota’s secretary of state in 1993, winning his reelection in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2010, and 2014 (in 2018, he was defeated before his opponent dropped out).

North Dakota’s Commerce

How many farms are in North Dakota?

There are 26,364 farms in North Dakota, as of 2020. This is down from 2012, when there were 30,691. The decrease in farms can be credited to the improvement in farm equipment and efficiency… naturally progressing into larger, fewer farms.

What is the average farm size in North Dakota?

The average farm size in North Dakota is 1,492 acres as of 2020. Farms have grown an average of 15% since 2012, where the average farm size was 1,268 acres. The increase in average farm size correlates with the decreased number of North Dakota farms.

For farm source info, see reference #1 at the bottom of the post.

What percentage of North Dakota is farmland?

89% of North Dakota is farmland. North Dakota contains 44,160,640 square miles of land, including 39,341,591 square miles of farmland. The 11% of North Dakota that is not farmland can be credited to North Dakota’s various metropolitan areas, like Fargo-West Fargo, Grand Forks, Bismarck, and Minot, among others.

What is the biggest crop in North Dakota?

The largest crop in North Dakota is soybeans in terms of production, with 7,085,740 acres used for soybean harvest in 2017. This is a 33% increase from 2012, when only 4,729,137 acres were used for soybean harvest. There are 8,396 soybean-producing farms in North Dakota, equal to 31.9% of all North Dakota farms.

What is North Dakota sales tax?

5% is North Dakota sales tax, but total taxes vary by county and city. For example, in Bismarck, it’s 5% to the state, 1.5% to the city of Bismarck, and 0.5% to Burleigh County, totaling 7%. Some tax rates go all the way up to 8.5%.

What is North Dakota minimum wage in 2021?

$7.25 is North Dakota’s minimum wage in 2021, which is the same as the federal minimum wage. It is one of the 18 states to keep minimum wage at the federal minimum, and it has kept the same minimum wage since 2008, when it was raised $0.70 (from $6.55).

What is North Dakota’s income tax rate?

Here is a table showing North Dakota’s income tax rate:

An navy blue infographic displaying North Dakota's various income tax brackets, depending on filing status.

What is the largest newspaper in North Dakota?

The largest newspaper in North Dakota is The Forum, the daily paper for the Fargo-Moorhead area. It has an estimated 54,100 papers in circulation, and was first published on November 17, 1891, by Major A. W. Edwards. Its popular online newspaper is called InForum.

What is the highest paying job in North Dakota?

General Internal Medical Physician is the highest paying job in North Dakota.

Here’s the quick list, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  1. General Internal Medical Physician - $266,540
  2. Obstetricians and Gynecologists - $266,010
  3. Psychiatrists - $264,770
  4. Pediatricians, General - $258,680
  5. Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists (except pediatric) - $229,550
  6. Dentists, General - $225,770
  7. Nurse Anesthetists - $195,010
  8. Optometrists - $174,290
  9. Chief Executives - $163,790
  10.  Marketing Managers - $135,870
A navy blue bar chart displaying the highest paying jobs in North Dakota... with their annual salaries displayed in green bars

What is the biggest industry in North Dakota?

Oil and gas is the largest industry in North Dakota. The industry contributes $3.2 billion to North Dakota’s GDP, which is 6.6%. From 2014 to 2019, the industry has grown by 154..5%, even amidst plunging gas prices in 2015 and 2016.

What is the biggest export in North Dakota?

Petroleum and coal is the biggest manufactured export in North Dakota. In 2018, North Dakota exported a total of $2.4 billion worth of petroleum and coal. Petroleum and coal accounted for 55.8% of North Dakota’s total manufactured exports, which totals $4.3 billion.

What is the busiest airport in North Dakota?

Hector International Airport is the busiest airport in North Dakota. It is located 3 miles north west of Fargo, in the southwest region of North Dakota. Hector International had 478,604 passengers in 2020. This was a sharp decline from the 939,720 passengers it experienced in 2019, which was credited to COVID-19. 

What is the biggest company in North Dakota?

MDU Resources is the largest company in North Dakota. They provide products and services related to gas and electricity, and have largely benefitted from North Dakota’s oil boom in the late 2000s. They reported $5.34 billion in revenue, and they made the Fortune 1000 list (#524) in 2020.

How many billionaires does North Dakota have?

Gary Tharaldson is North Dakota’s only billionaire, making him the richest person in North Dakota. He acquired his wealth by building a hotel empire, and eventually selling 130 hotels to Goldman Sachs for $1.2 billion in 2006. Gary has invested in other ventures since, from ethanol plants to more hotels, and his current net worth is $1 billion.

How many millionaires does North Dakota have?

North Dakota has 19,622 millionaires. This is the fourth-least of all the states, only ahead of South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming (understandable, because of North Dakota’s small population). That said, North Dakota ranks 20th in percentage of millionaire households, with 6% of all North Dakota households being millionaires.

North Dakota Demographics

What is North Dakota’s unemployment rate (2021)?

4.5% is North Dakota’s unemployment rate as of November 2020, which is the 11th lowest among all U.S. states. Fargo’s unemployment rate was 3%, while Grand Forks and Bismarck both had unemployment rates of 3.4%. The county with the lowest unemployment rate was Logan County (26 miles southwest of Jamestown), with 2%. 

What is the racial makeup of North Dakota?

Here is the racial makeup of North Dakota:

  • White: 86.58%
  • Native American: 5.29%
  • Black or African American: 2.91%
  • Two or more races: 2.59%
  • Asian: 1.45%
  • Other race: 1.07%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.11%

What are the main religions in North Dakota?

Here are the main religions and/or beliefs in North Dakota:

  • Unaffiliated/no religion: 33%
  • Lutheran: 27%
  • Catholic: 26%
  • Methodist: 4%
  • Agnostic: 5%
  • Muslim: 1%
  • Other: 4%
This is a navy blue infographic displaying a light green pie chart that shows the most popular religions and beliefs in North Dakota.

What languages are spoken in North Dakota?

Here are the primary languages spoken in North Dakota, as of 2010:

  1. English: 94.86% (584,496 people)
  2. German: 1.39% (8,593)
  3. Spanish: 1.37% (8,432)
  4. Norwegian: 0.30% (1,847)
  5. Serbia-Croatian: 0.19% (1170)
  6. Other: 1.89% (11091)

North Dakota Livability

Is it expensive to live in North Dakota?

It is not expensive to live in North Dakota. It’s the 11th cheapest state to live in, according to the U.S. News Affordability Rankings. On that same list, North Dakota ranked 27th for cost of living, and 6th for housing affordability.

Is North Dakota safe?

North Dakota is the 18th safest state to live in, according to Wallethub. In the same study, North Dakota ranks 5th for ‘Personal and Residential Safety’, 2nd for ‘Financial Safety’, 5th for ‘Road Safety’. The two lowest rankings it received were 37th for ‘Emergency Preparedness’ and 50th for ‘Workplace Safety’.

What is North Dakota ranked in education?

North Dakota is ranked 20th for education, according to the U.S. News Education Rankings. On that same list, North Dakota ranked 5th for Higher Education, and 35th for Pre-K-12.

Is North Dakota a rich state?

North Dakota is pretty rich compared to other states, ranking 6th for GDP per capita in 2018. North Dakota had a GDP per capita of $62,837, which is actually down from $71,056 for 2016, when its GDP ranked 1st among all states. While the oil boom has slowed down from its heyday, North Dakota remains one of the wealthiest states.

What is North Dakota’s median home price?

$236,405 is North Dakota’s median home price, placing it as the 26th cheapest among the U.S. states. According to a 2020 report from Fool.com, North Dakota had a median top-tier home value of $347,710, as well as a median condo value of $154,687.

How much does it cost to build a house in North Dakota?

$155,541 is North Dakota’s average cost to build a house, ranking it 6th among all U.S. states, according to Yahoo. This however does not take construction labor into account, which averages $19.10 per hour and ranks the state 12th when all costs are accounted for.

How much does a gallon of milk cost in North Dakota?

A gallon of milk reportedly cost $3.66 in North Dakota, as of January 2021. For reference, the most expensive city to buy milk was Minneapolis at $4.07, and the least expensive city was Louisville at $1.85, according to the Retail Milk Prices Report.

What is North Dakota’s median household income?

$64,894 is North Dakota’s median household income, ranking it 18th among all U.S. states. The five counties with the highest per capita income in North Dakota are Burke, Mercer, Oliver, Williams, and Burleigh, respectively.

North Dakota Winter Facts

A navy blue infographic displaying North Dakota's average winter length, as well as its lowest recorded temperature ever and its average annual snowfall.

How long does winter last in North Dakota?

Winter typically lasts between 100-150 days in North Dakota, according to Weather Atlas. It’s common for the average low temperature to be 0°F during January, and North Dakota is always likely to get some -30°F days sprinkled throughout the winter months.

What is the average snowfall in North Dakota in 2020? 

The average snowfall is 40.1 inches annually, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Data from 1981-2010 shows Fargo receives 50.1 inches annually, Grand Forks receives 42.8 inches, and Bismarck receives 51.2 inches.

When was the worst blizzard in North Dakota history?

Arguably the worst blizzard in North Dakota history came in 1966. Beginning on March 2, it lasted 3 days, bringing over 30 inches of snow in most parts of North Dakota. During the blizzard, wind gusts hit 50mph consistently, even reaching 100mph in some parts of the state.

North Dakota FAQs

What is North Dakota known for?

North Dakota is primarily known for its cold winters and sparse population (just being honest)... at least to people who have never actually been to the state. North Dakota is also known as being one of the largest crop producers in the country, as well as some of the best sunrises and sunsets you will ever see.

Why are there two Dakotas?

Here’s why. At one point, North and South Dakota were one: the Dakota territory, formed in 1861. The two Dakota halves increasingly grew with resentment towards each other, for various reasons. When they were both large enough (population-wise) to become independent states, neither wanted to part with the name “Dakota”, and the rest is history.

Who were the first settlers in North Dakota?

The first settlers were Native Americans, inhabiting North Dakota for thousands of years. The list of tribes include the Sioux, Mandan, Wahpeton, Hunkpapa, Pembina Chippewa, Sisseton, Hidatsa, Arikara, Yanktonia, Metis, and Cree. They are all deeply connected to the Earth with a love and respect for nature.

Who were the first white settlers in North Dakota?

Scottish and Irish pioneers were the first white settlers in North Dakota, settling at Pembina in 1812. Before this, there were various fur traders and trappers, but nobody who had officially settled down. Various trading companies and the American push to move west (including the Homestead Act of 1862) led to a gradual increase in population.

When did North Dakota become a state?

North Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. It was the 39th state admitted to the Union. Benjamin Harrison signed the admittance papers for both North and South Dakota at the same time, and shuffled the papers so no one could actually tell which state was admitted first.

What historical events happened in North Dakota?

Here’s a list of historical events that happened in North Dakota.

  • In 1803, Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Purchase, which includes much of present-day North Dakota.
  • In 1804, following the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark travelled up the Missouri River into North Dakota and established Fort Mandan.
  • In 1812, some Scottish and Irish families created the settlement of Pembina, the first white settlement in North Dakota.
  • In 1861, the Dakota territory was formed, which included present-day North Dakota and South Dakota, as well as parts of present-day Montana and Wyoming.
  • In 1862, President Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, incentivizing citizens to move to North Dakota and receive 160 acres of land, for nothing more than a small registration fee.
  • In 1871, the city of Fargo was founded.
  • On November 2, 1889, North Dakota officially became a state.
  • In 2000, North Dakota began to experience rapid population growth.
  • In 2010, North Dakota experienced an oil boom, bringing in many new workers and substantially improving the economy.

Is it illegal to fall asleep with your shoes on in North Dakota?

No, it is not illegal to fall asleep with your shoes on in North Dakota. The Internet is filled with rumors about this law, but the North Dakota Legislative Council clearly states, "We have not found any record of such a law in either current or previous state statutes."

That’s a wrap.

Thank you for reading.

I hope this brought value to you, and once again, you are more than welcome to share any facts or images in this list!

If you have any questions or want me to add something, feel free to email me at caleb@701hoodies.com.

Thanks!

Caleb Dueck

P.S. Oh, and if you want some great North Dakota-themed hoodies, we’ve got a few :) 

References

1. https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/North_Dakota/Publications/Annual_Statistical_Bulletin/2020/ND-Annual-Bulletin20.pdf

Shout-out to Jill Schramm from the Minot Daily News for helping me out with the last one :)



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