Best counties to live in North Dakota

Written by:
June 17, 2021
Joseph Sohm // Shutterstock

Best counties to live in North Dakota

What makes a particular county the best? Oftentimes, it's a good mix of opportunities for fun outdoor activities and cultural attractions. Throw in some historical sites, good schools, job opportunities, and affordable housing, and the county will most likely have happy residents.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to live in North Dakota using rankings from Niche. Niche ranks counties by a variety of factors including: public schools, educational attainment, cost of living, and housing.

Many counties on the list are experiencing growth due to their job opportunities, education, or home values. Others are adored for their historic or well-designed value, or devotion to cultural opportunities. Keep reading to see if your county made the list.

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Xerxes2004 // Wikimedia Commons

#18. McKenzie County

- Population: 13,334
- Median home value: $238,600 (54% own)
- Median rent: $1,098 (46% rent)
- Median household income: $77,845
- Top public schools: East Fairview Elementary School (A+), Alexander Elementary School (C+), Watford City High School (C)
- Top private schools: Johnson Corners Christian Academy (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Yellowstone Township (B+), Watford City (B), Tri Township (B)
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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#17. McLean County

- Population: 9,584
- Median home value: $174,400 (81% own)
- Median rent: $701 (19% rent)
- Median household income: $68,529
- Top public schools: Wilton Elementary School (B+), Underwood Elementary School (B), Washburn Elementary School (B)
- Top private schools:
- Top places to live: Washburn (A), Wilton (B+), Garrison (B)
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USFWS Mountain-Prairie // Wikimedia Common

#16. Bottineau County

- Population: 6,502
- Median home value: $150,100 (79% own)
- Median rent: $648 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $60,381
- Top public schools: Bottineau Junior/Senior High School (B), Bottineau Elementary School (B), Westhope High School (B)
- Top private schools:
- Top places to live: Bottineau (B), Westhope (B), Lansford (B)
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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Richland County

- Population: 16,254
- Median home value: $127,900 (71% own)
- Median rent: $664 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $61,371
- Top public schools: Wyndmere Elementary School (A), Hankinson Elementary School (A), Hankinson High School (B+)
- Top private schools: St. John's School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Wahpeton (B), Walcott (A), Duerr Township (B+)
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Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Benson County

- Population: 6,873
- Median home value: $78,100 (67% own)
- Median rent: $447 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $47,667
- Top public schools: Maddock Elementary School (B+), Leeds Elementary School (B), Maddock High School (B)
- Top private schools:
- Top places to live: Maddock (B+), Minnewaukan (B+), Oberon (B)
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Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Stutsman County

- Population: 20,965
- Median home value: $155,500 (66% own)
- Median rent: $683 (34% rent)
- Median household income: $57,674
- Top public schools: Louis L'Amour Elementary School (A), Roosevelt Elementary School (A), William S. Gussner Elementary School (B+)
- Top private schools: St. John's Academy (unavailable), Anne Carlsen Center (unavailable), Hillcrest Seventh-day Adventist Elementary School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Jamestown (B+), Woodbury Township (B+), Midway Township (B+)
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Cavan-Images // Shutterstock

#12. Stark County

- Population: 31,081
- Median home value: $239,000 (61% own)
- Median rent: $917 (39% rent)
- Median household income: $72,045
- Top public schools: Roosevelt Elementary School (B+), Jefferson Elementary School (B+), Prairie Rose Elementary School (B)
- Top private schools: Trinity High School (B+), Hope Christian Academy (B), Trinity Elementary School West (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Dickinson (B), Taylor (A), Richardton (B)
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DakotaDocMartin // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Pembina County

- Population: 6,947
- Median home value: $93,300 (77% own)
- Median rent: $593 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $64,549
- Top public schools: North Border Pembina Elementary School (B), Cavalier Elementary School (B), Cavalier High School (B)
- Top private schools:
- Top places to live: Cavalier (B), Walhalla (B), Pembina (B)
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Yosoyana // Shutterstock

#10. Ward County

- Population: 68,812
- Median home value: $213,100 (60% own)
- Median rent: $981 (40% rent)
- Median household income: $68,871
- Top public schools: Sawyer Elementary School (A+), North Plains Elementary School (A), North Shore Plaza Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Bishop Ryan High School (B+), Our Redeemer's Christian School (B), Little Flower Elementary School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Minot (B), Sawyer Township (A), Sawyer (A)
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Andrew Filer from Seattle (ex-Minneapolis) // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Mountrail County

- Population: 10,321
- Median home value: $165,700 (68% own)
- Median rent: $797 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $72,147
- Top public schools: Stanley High School (B), Parshall High School (B), Stanley Elementary School (B)
- Top private schools:
- Top places to live: Plaza (A), New Town (B+), Osborn Township (B+)
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Bob Pool // Shutterstock

#8. Morton County

- Population: 30,868
- Median home value: $208,600 (71% own)
- Median rent: $861 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $70,556
- Top public schools: Hebron Elementary School (B+), Roosevelt Elementary School (B+), Red Trail Elementary School (B+)
- Top private schools: St. Joseph Elementary School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Mandan (B), Hebron (A), Flasher (B+)
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Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Mercer County

- Population: 8,462
- Median home value: $177,800 (83% own)
- Median rent: $769 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $82,181
- Top public schools: Hazen High School (B), Hazen Elementary School (B), Beulah Middle School (C+)
- Top private schools:
- Top places to live: Beulah (B+), Hazen (B+), Golden Valley (B)
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Andrew Filer from Seattle (ex-Minneapolis) // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Traill County

- Population: 8,008
- Median home value: $150,600 (71% own)
- Median rent: $624 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $64,453
- Top public schools: Central Valley Elementary School (A), Hillsboro High School (B), Central Valley High School (B)
- Top private schools:
- Top places to live: Garfield Township (A), Hillsboro (A), Portland (A)
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chief_huddleston // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Barnes County

- Population: 10,706
- Median home value: $141,400 (69% own)
- Median rent: $679 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $58,365
- Top public schools: Valley City Junior High School (A), Washington Elementary School (B), Valley City High School (B)
- Top private schools: St. Catherine Elementary School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Valley City (A), Marsh Township (B+), Eckelson Township (B+)
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Andrew Filer // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Ramsey County

- Population: 11,583
- Median home value: $164,700 (60% own)
- Median rent: $565 (40% rent)
- Median household income: $58,910
- Top public schools: Sweetwater Elementary School (A), Edmore High School (B+), Prairie View Elementary School (B)
- Top private schools: St. Joseph School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Devils Lake (A), South Minnewaukan Township (A), North Creel Township (A)
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Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

#3. Grand Forks County

- Population: 70,224
- Median home value: $206,500 (49% own)
- Median rent: $824 (51% rent)
- Median household income: $54,051
- Top public schools: Manvel Elementary School (A), J. Nelson Kelly Elementary School (A), Nathan Twining Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: St. Michael's School (unavailable), Holy Family School (unavailable), Forest River School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Grand Forks (A), Ferry Township (A), Thompson (A)
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Joseph Sohm // Shutterstock

#2. Burleigh County

- Population: 94,793
- Median home value: $263,600 (69% own)
- Median rent: $871 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $71,524
- Top public schools: Century High School (A), Sunrise Elementary School (A), Horizon Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: Dakota Adventist Academy (A), St. Mary's Central High School (B+), Shiloh Christian School (B)
- Top places to live: Bismarck (A), Lincoln (B), Hay Creek Township (B+)
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Guy William // Shutterstock

#1. Cass County

- Population: 176,975
- Median home value: $223,800 (52% own)
- Median rent: $833 (48% rent)
- Median household income: $64,482
- Top public schools: Fargo Davies High School (A), Page Elementary School (A), Discovery Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: Shanley High School & Sullivan Middle School (A), Oak Grove Lutheran School (A), Nativity Elementary School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Rose Creek (A+), Longfellow (A+), Stonebridge (A+)

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