The 7 Best Places to Live in North Dakota

From family-friendly Fargo to affordable Walhalla, these are the 7 best places to live in North Dakota.
Written by Kathryn Mae Kurlychek
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Affordable housing and healthcare and low costs of living make cities like Fargo, Harvey, and Longfellow among the best places to live in
North Dakota
There’s a lot that makes life in North Dakota sweet—aside from the fact that it's the nation’s biggest honey producer, North Dakota also boasts some of the most affordable healthcare in the country and average costs of living well below the national median. 
If you’ve ever dreamed of a home near the Badlands or a ranch amidst the golden fields of wheat, now is the time to move to North Dakota. But with some 53-odd counties in the state, choosing a place—even just to start—can feel like a lot of work.
Here to make the decision easier is
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What makes a good place to live? 

There are tons of aspects that make a place “good” (or not-so-good) to live in, from location to the cost of living, community resources, and values. What makes a good place to live for you is perhaps the better question—and the answer depends on your wants and needs. 
That said, there are some general characteristics shared across all cities that are worth looking at before planning your move, including: 
  • Median household income
  • Median home price
  • Cost of living
  • Quality of schools 
  • Crime rates
  • Healthcare
  • Average commute times
  • FEMA risk index ratings 
To help break down this long list into bite-sized pieces, we’ve gathered the facts and stats on seven North Dakota cities: Rose Creek, Fargo/West Fargo, Harvey, Gwinner, Walhalla, Longfellow, and Beulah. We’ve further broken down these places into three categories: the best places for families to live, the best places to buy a house, and the most affordable places
Ready to discover your place in North Dakota? Read on for a roadmap of the top seven places to live in The Peace Garden State. 

The best places for families to live in North Dakota

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to starting a family—not the least of which is location. For families, factors like education, crime rates, and employment opportunities can make a big impact on locale. 
We’ve singled out Fargo, along with the nearby neighborhoods of West Fargo and Rose Creek, as some of the best places for families to live in the state.  

Fargo/West Fargo

Location: Cass County, ND
Population: 113,464
Median household income: $85,120
Median home price: $250,000
Looking for a suburban community that balances small-town comfort with big-city amenities? Look no further than Fargo, North Dakota—or neighboring West Fargo, just 11 minutes west of the city proper. 
In Fargo and West Fargo, new and growing families will find top-rated school districts and a city center brimming with job opportunities. From coffee shops to bars and over 150 park facilities, the city has it all. 
Despite the fact that most residents rent their homes, Fargo was ranked among the top 50 places to buy a home. Of course, for those less ready to make a long-term commitment, the median rent is only $823. 

Rose Creek

Location: Fargo, ND
Population: 2,068
Median household income: $133,750
Median home price: $308,600
The nearby neighborhood of Rose Creek, just outside of Fargo, comes in a close second as one of the best places in the states for families. The neighborhood's proximity to Fargo means it shares the area’s top public schools, albeit at a price—the cost of living in Rose Creek is slightly higher than the state average.
Primarily a single-family neighborhood, Rose Creek boasts a host of local amenities, from the sprawling Lions Conservancy Park to a full 18-hole golf course. 
In addition to pulling Niche’s #1 rank for best places to raise a family in North Dakota, the neighborhood also promises small-town charm and plenty of outdoor recreation. The beautiful and winding Red River makes up Rose Creek’s easternmost border.  
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The most affordable places to live in North Dakota

The overall cost of living in North Dakota is slightly lower than the national average—but that price tag can vary from place to place, depending on local housing markets and resources. 
On the plus side, North Dakota is one of the best states to find affordable healthcare—an important determinant in cost of living—which gives many of its cities an automatic edge, including the cities of Harvey, Gwinner, and Walhalla

Harvey

Location: Wells County, ND
Population: 1,761 
Median household income: $51,458
Median home price: $89,500
The quaint central North Dakotan town of Harvey isn’t only home to the headwaters of the Sheyenne River—with a cost of living 26% lower than the national average, it’s also one of the most affordable places to live in the state. 
From affordable healthcare to cheap transportation, Harvey has it all. The city’s below-average commute times (just 14 minutes compared to the national 26.4) make it the perfect suburban town for families and young professionals alike! 
Finding a cheaper COL in Harvey doesn’t mean sacrificing education or safety—Harvey has above-average school districts and low crime, with a violent crime rate of only 2.74 per 1,000 residents. 

Gwinner

Location: Sargent County, ND
Population: 1,081
Median household income: $73,359
Median home price: $115,800
Nestled in the Southeastern corner of the state, the town of Gwinner comes second on our list of most affordable places in North Dakota. It’s not only the biggest city in Sargent County but also the most affordable, with an average cost of living nearly 20% lower (19.9%, to be exact) than the national average. 
Gwinner residents also benefit from shorter commutes—13 minutes one-way—half the national average. 
What really sets Gwinner apart, though? Its energetic community and small-town charisma. In Gwinner, you don’t have to give up fun for affordability—the town boasts a 9-hole golf course, several parks, and tons of trails and paths for residents to enjoy. 

Walhalla

Location: Pembina County, ND
Population: 1,058
Median household income: $51,447
Median home price: $93,200
With a cost of living 28% lower than the national average, the small city of Walhalla, ND rounds out our list of most affordable places to live in North Dakota. In Walhalla, residents spend less than a twelfth of their income on housing—and more than half of residents own their own homes.
In addition to some of the cheapest housing in the state, Walhalla also averages shorter commutes—only 20 minutes one-way
Only five miles from the Manitoba border and 45 from the Minnesotan border, Walhalla residents are rich in recreational opportunities. For many residents, skiing and snowboarding are favored pastimes, with outdoor recreation transpiring on even the most blustery of winter days. 

Best places to buy a house in North Dakota

There are plenty of beautiful homes to make your own in The Peace Garden State, but when it comes to planting long-term roots, you’ll want to think about more than just square footage. 
The housing market can tell you a lot about an area’s economy and cost of living, and looking into the local climate can help ensure your newly-planted roots aren’t unexpectedly torn up. 
Taking into account these factors, we’ve singled out Longfellow, Beulah, and Rose Creek (again!) as the three best places to buy a house that can become your forever home. 
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Longfellow

Location: Fargo, ND
Population: 2,725
Median household income: $142,907
Median home price: $283,448
The small, suburban neighborhood of Longfellow rests just 9 minutes from Fargo proper and shares its top-rated school districts and local amenities—but that’s not the only reason it’s a great place to live. The cost of living in Longfellow is over 2% lower than the national average, with economic growth on the rise. 
When it comes to buying a house, the market trends toward sellers, with home appreciation values rising over the past decade. But if you find your dream home in Longfellow, you can sleep soundly knowing the area’s
FEMA risk index
ranks low, with the greatest risk to residents being cold waves. 

Beulah

Location: Mercer County, ND
Population: 3,235
Median household income: $99,125
Median home price: $196,200 
A progressive city at the center of North Dakota’s coal country, Beulah boasts more than just acres of idyllic, rolling ranchland under wide Western skies. With an expanding downtown and proximity to the area’s largest power plant and largest mine, it’s a scenic junction of agriculture and enterprise. 
Residents of Beulah benefit from a cost of living 9% lower than the national average, and almost
80% of residents own their own homes
. Beulah is a buyer’s market—and for young professionals looking to make a shorter commitment, average rent prices are between only $600-$750 a month. 
When it comes to natural risk factors, winter weather and the occasional coldwave are the biggest threats to Beulah residents, according to the
FEMA national risk index

Rose Creek (again!)

Location: Fargo, ND
Population: 2,068
Median household income: $133,750
Median home price: $308,600
The Fargo neighborhood of Rose Creek makes our list twice—this time, for its long-term appeal and overall safety. Ransom County is at relatively low risk for natural disasters—the biggest threats to residents remain winter weather events and cold waves. 
Residents also testify to the neighborhood’s safe and small-town atmosphere. Like Longfellow, Rose Creek shares Fargo’s highly-rated public schools. It also borders the sprawling Lions Conservatory Park and promises plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation for its residents!
Buying a home in Rose Creek is a worthwhile investment. With a seller’s market, housing prices are competitive and rapidly on the rise. 

How to find affordable homeowners and car insurance in North Dakota

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