When you think about making a move within the U.S., North Dakota might not be one of the first states that comes to your mind. It’s the fourth least populated state in the nation, with only 761,723 people in the region according to World Atlas. This means if you live in North Dakota, you have to be ready for small-town vibes and a lack of big-city excitement.
There are still plenty of opportunities and positives to living in North Dakota, though. The cost of living is typically lower compared to the rest of the U.S. depending on what city you live in.
North Dakota auto insurance is also cheaper on average than many other states in the country.
We’ll talk about the financial pros and cons of North Dakota, as well as the positives and negatives of entertainment and outdoor activities in the region. This guide should help you decide whether or not your family should make a move to the Peace Garden State.
Pro #1 – North Dakota Is Peaceful
Sometimes it’s nice to get away from all of the brash noise in big states like California or New York and move to a place where you have some space. North Dakota is very peaceful and welcoming if you choose the right city, so you have to do your research and find out what all of the main places have to offer.
The biggest city in the state is Fargo, with a population of just over 125,000 people. This is still small enough to maintain a sense of serenity downtown, with lots of lush trees and greenery in the city that you wouldn’t normally have in a large metropolitan area.
Fargo has many of the state’s cultural landmarks that you can enjoy without millions of people surrounding you like in Chicago, Houston, Seattle, or other huge places outside of North Dakota.
This makes it easy to get to know all of your neighbors and learn all about the best places to bring your pet. Dog lovers should be excited to learn about how their pet enjoys the wide open space of the land in North Dakota.
Another great city to live in that’s peaceful is the capital of North Dakota, Bismarck. With under 75,000 people living there, you can enjoy the small population and find a great job in government work or healthcare. This freedom combined with job opportunities is a great example of living in capital cities in small states like North Dakota.
Con #1 – There Aren’t Tons of Entertainment Options
A big downside to living in North Dakota is the lack of entertainment options compared to bigger states. Massive regions have so many things to do that you never have any issues staying busy in your off time. North Dakota has no major professional sports, and they don’t often get big musicians for concerts.
The state doesn’t have a lot of shopping centers, malls, bars, or places for social gatherings compared to famous regions like Texas or Florida. The horrible weather in the winter means you almost always have to stay inside for several months, and many people in the state decide to become snowbirds.
Evidently, there aren’t a lot of people who travel to North Dakota on vacation, as CNN says the state has the least amount of out-of-towners of any state in the U.S. You won’t meet many new people if you decide to stay or move to North Dakota. This may not bother everyone, though, so consider whether you even need the excitement of a bigger state to be happy.
Pro #2 – North Dakota Has a Lower Cost of Living
Like many small states, North Dakota has several cost of living advantages. Because of all of the open land in the state, people often have to drive a long distance to get to where they want. Fortunately, gas prices in the state are lower than the national average. The average cost of fuel in the state as of November 2022 is $3.63 per gallon.
Compare this to a big state like California, where the average price per gallon is $5.48. This makes it easier to travel where you want on the weekends, visit friends and family, or celebrate the holidays by taking a small road trip to a cultural landmark.
With lots of driving comes a need for good auto insurance. North Dakota’s rates are on average cheaper than the U.S. as a whole. The average policy costs just under $65 in North Dakota, and you can get discounts for good driving behavior just like in any other state. The already-low prices combine with these discounts for a great auto insurance experience.
Make sure you always get a good night’s sleep before you drive a long stretch of road in North Dakota. Living in a small state can make it hard to focus when driving if the road is bare. Getting into an accident due to falling asleep could bring rates up.
Housing in North Dakota is about 6% lower than the national average. You can even bring down home insurance costs if you bundle it with your auto insurance. This means it’s a great place to move and live if you’re struggling to buy your first home, or if you had to move out of a home in a more expensive city. For example, the growing job rates and population in Bismarck make it a great place to buy a home.
Con #2 – North Dakota Has Poorly Maintained Roads
Just because people drive for long stretches of time in North Dakota, it doesn’t mean the roads are properly maintained. Expect some issues with potholes and old pavement in North Dakota, as 44% of the roads are listed as being in poor condition. This means the cheap auto insurance rates we talked about should be put to good use often to repair damage caused by the roads.
You can see North Dakota has several key advantages and disadvantages compared to other states in the U.S. If you want to live in North Dakota, you have to accept the lack of entertainment options, the bad weather in the winter, and the lack of maintenance on the roads. You might just find out the low cost of living and peaceful nature is good for you.
Shawn Laib writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, AutoInsurance.org. He wants to help people decide whether they should move to North Dakota.