North Dakota

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Updated January 8, 2024 | Infoplease Staff
North Dakota flag


North Dakota State Information

Capital: Bismarck

Official Name: State of North Dakota

Organized as a territory: March 2, 1861

Entered Union (rank): November 2, 1889 (39th)

Present constitution adopted: 1889

State abbreviation/Postal code: N.D./ND

State Area Codes: 701

Key Industries: Agriculture is a key industry in North Dakota, leading the nation in production of spring wheat, durum wheat, dry edible peas, dry edible beans, honey, flaxseed, and canola.

Fun Facts About North Dakota

Nickname: The Peace Garden State, Roughrider State, Flickertail State

Origin of name: The state name comes from the Dakota division of the Sioux tribes that lived in the area and means "allies" or "friends".

Motto: “Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable"

Slogan: "Be legendary"

North Dakota State Symbols

Flower: Wild Prairie Rose (1907)

Tree: American Elm (1947)

Animal: Nokota Horse (1993)

Bird: Western Meadowlark (1947)

Fish: Northern Pike (1969)

Fruit: Chokecherry (2007)

Fossil: Teredo Petrified Wood (1967)

Dance: Square Dance (1995)

Song: "North Dakota Hymn" (1947)


Governor: Doug Burgum, R (to Jan. 2024)

Lieutenant Governor: Tammy Miller, R (since Jan. 2023)

Secy. of State: Michael Howe, R (to Jan. 2027)

General Treasurer: Thomas Beadle, R (to Jan. 2025)

Atty. General: Drew Wrigley, R (to Jan. 2026)

U.S. Representatives: 1

Senators: John Hoeven, R (since Jan. 2023); Kevin Cramer, R (to Jan. 2025)

Historical biographies of Congressional members

Official Website:


Residents: North Dakotan

Resident population: 778,912 (4th least populous state, 2022)

10 largest cities (2022): Fargo, 124,662; Bismarck, 75,034; Grand Forks, 57,056; Minot, 49,371; West Fargo, 38,654; Williston, 29,033; Dickinson, 23,926; Mandan, 22,752; Jamestown, 15,387; Wahpeton, 7,809.

Race/Ethnicity: White (Non-Hispanic) (84.9%); American Indian & Alaska Native (Non-Hispanic) (5.06%); Black or African American (3.15%); Two or more races (3.85%); Asian (1.59%); Other race (1.29%)

Religion: Protestant (50%); Catholic (26%); Unaffiliated (20%); Other Faiths (3%)Jewish (Less than 1%); Muslim (Less than 1%); Buddhist (Less than 1%); Hindu (Less than 1%)

Sex: Male: 389,904 (50.1%); Female: 388,978 (49.9%)

Age: Under 18: 186,827 (24%); 18-64: 473,200 (60.7%); 65 and over: 118,885 (15.3%). Median Age: 35.2


GDP: $73.27 billion (45th in U.S., 2022)

Unemployment: 2.8% (2022)


Land area: 69,001 sq mi. (178,712 sq km)

Geographic center: In Sheridan County, 5 miles SW of McClusky

Number of counties: 53

Largest county by population and area: Cass County, 181,923 (2020); McKenzie County, 2,764 sq mi.

State forests: 1

State parks/recreation areas: 13

See additional census data

Tourism office


Nestled in the northern part of North America, lies the captivating U.S. state of North Dakota. Known for its friendly and resilient residents, North Dakotans, the state offers a charming blend of history, culture, and outdoor beauty. Its strategic location, bordered by South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, and the Canadian provinces, enhances its significance. It is also close in proximity to popular states like Nebraska and Kansas.

North Dakota Geography

North Dakota is graced with a diverse landscape that ranges from the stunning Badlands to the fertile Red River Valley. The state houses the colossal Missouri River and the largest man-made lake in North America, Lake Sakakawea. Fargo and Bismarck, the state's largest cities, are situated amidst this natural grandeur, and the state's geography is further decorated with the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and various state parks, including the Little Missouri State Park.

North Dakota People & Population

The state's population is rooted in native American history, with the Sioux and Mandan tribes being prominent. Today, North Dakota is a cultural mosaic, where the legacy of the Native Americans is celebrated alongside the influences of the European immigrants who later settled in the region. The University of North Dakota serves as an important center of education and research, contributing to the state's intellectual growth.

North Dakota Government

The state's government structure features Gov. Burgum at its helm and is anchored by the Supreme Court, safeguarding the rights and interests of its citizens. The Federal Government plays a significant role in North Dakota's stabilization, with an active hand in health care, human services, and the management of wildlife refuges.

North Dakota Economy

The economic lifeblood of North Dakota lies in its oil production, primarily concentrated in the western region of the state, including the Bakken Formation. Agriculture, prominent in the fertile Great Plains, and tourism also contribute significantly to the state's income. A testament to its economic health is the state's income tax, which balances the financial stability of North Dakota and its citizens’ state income.

North Dakota Interesting Facts

North Dakota is known for its warm hospitality and rich cultural tapestry. Its notable landmarks include the historic sites of Minot and Grand Forks, the Devils Lake, and the Badlands. The state is also renowned for its walleye fishing, a popular pastime for both locals and visitors.

Walleye Fishing

Walleye fishing in the lakes and reservoirs is a cherished tradition in North Dakota. The state even hosts numerous fishing events and competitions, attracting anglers from all over the country.

Native American Heritage

North Dakota's Native American heritage is deeply woven into the state's identity, with numerous events, museums, and historic sites dedicated to preserving and celebrating Sioux and Mandan cultures.

Outdoor Adventures

From the rugged terrain of the Badlands to the peaceful waters of Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota offers a plethora of outdoor adventure opportunities. Hiking, camping, fishing, or simply enjoying the natural beauty of the state parks, including Little Missouri State Park, are favorite activities among North Dakotans.

Western North Dakota

Western North Dakota is a region of the state known for its vast oil reserves and significant oil production. The discovery of oil in the Bakken Formation has led to an economic boom in the area, attracting workers and investors from across the country. Cities such as Williston and Dickinson have experienced rapid growth and development as a result of the oil industry. The western region is also characterized by its beautiful landscapes, including the rugged Badlands and the picturesque Lake Sakakawea. Outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and camping are popular among residents and visitors alike.

North Dakota History

The history of North Dakota dates back to the times of the Dakota Territory, shaped by both Native American tribes and European settlers. The state's story is filled with tales of exploration, settlement, conflict, and community building, leaving a lasting legacy that shapes North Dakota's unique identity.

Pre-Colonial History

Before the arrival of European settlers, North Dakota was inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Sioux, Mandan, and others. Their rich cultures and traditions remain deeply embedded in the state's identity.

Colonial History

The European colonial history of the state is deeply intertwined with Lewis and Clark's historic expedition, which is widely regarded as a monumental event that paved the way for significant transformation and settlement in North Dakota. This expedition not only opened up new frontiers but also contributed to the exploration and mapping of the region, leading to a greater understanding of its geographical features and resources

Pre-Civil War History

North Dakota remained relatively isolated until the late 1800s when the railroad's arrival resulted in a surge of settlers. The settlers clashed with the native tribes, marking a tumultuous era in North Dakota's history.

Post-Civil War History

North Dakota experienced significant growth and expansion following the conclusion of the Civil War. This growth was primarily due to the establishment and development of a robust railroad system, which facilitated the transportation of goods and people across the state. Additionally, there was a notable increase in the number of settlers who were attracted to the region, seeking new opportunities and a fresh start. As a result of this growth and the state's increasing population, North Dakota achieved a major milestone when it was officially admitted to the Union in the year 1889, solidifying its status as a full-fledged member of the United States.

Modern History

The discovery of oil in the 1950s and the subsequent oil boom dramatically reshaped the state of North Dakota's economy and accelerated development, particularly in the western region. Today, North Dakota is a thriving area, maintaining a strong link with its past while looking towards a promising future.

People Also Ask…

If you are interested in more information about North Dakota, then keep reading — we have compiled answers to the most common questions below. Plus, test your newfound state knowledge by taking our quiz, How Well Do You Know State Capitals and Largest Cities?

What Is North Dakota Mostly Known For?

North Dakota is known for its vast agricultural landscape, with agriculture being a major contributor to the state's economy. It is also known for its rich Native American history and culture, as well as its booming energy industry in recent years.

Is North Dakota a Good Place To Live?

According to various surveys and rankings, North Dakota is consistently listed as one of the best places to live in the United States. The state has a low cost of living, low crime rates, and a strong sense of community. It also offers plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, and hunting. Additionally, its cities are known for their friendly and welcoming atmospheres.

Is North Dakota Affordable To Live?

North Dakota is known for its affordable cost of living, making it an attractive location for both individuals and families. In fact, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research's Cost of Living Index, North Dakota consistently ranks as one of the most affordable states in the country. Main factors contributing to North Dakota's affordability are its low housing costs, utilities, and tax burden.

Is Anyone Famous From North Dakota?

While North Dakota may not have as many celebrities as some other states, there are still several notable figures who hail from the state. Actor Josh Duhamel, singer and songwriter Peggy Lee, and hockey player T.J. Oshie are all from North Dakota. It is also home to famous authors such as Louis L’Amour and Chuck Klosterman. Additionally, former US Vice President Spiro Agnew was born in North Dakota.

Does It Snow in North Dakota?

Yes, North Dakota is known for its snowy winters. The state experiences significant snowfall each year, with an average of over 50 inches in some areas. However, the amount of snow can vary greatly depending on location and weather conditions. In general, the eastern part of the state receives more snow than the western part due to its closer proximity to moisture from the Great Lakes.

See more on North Dakota:
Encyclopedia: North Dakota
Encyclopedia: Geography
Encyclopedia: Economy
Encyclopedia: Government
Encyclopedia: History
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Selected famous natives and residents:

  • Lynn Anderson singer;
  • Maxwell Anderson playwright;
  • Dr. Robert H. Bahmer U.S. archivist;
  • Elizabeth Bodine humanitarian;
  • Dr. Anne Carlsen educator;
  • Warren Christopher statesman;
  • Ronald N. Davies jurist;
  • Angie Dickinson actress;
  • Ivan Dmitre artist;
  • Carl Ben Eielson aviator;
  • Phyllis Frelich actress;
  • Bertin C. Gamble founder of Gamble-Skogmo;
  • William H. Gass writer and philosopher;
  • Rev. Richard C. Halverson U.S. Senate chaplain;
  • Brynhild Haugland state legislator;
  • Phil D. Jackson basketball player and coach;
  • Dr. Leon O. Jacobson researcher and educator;
  • Harold K. Johnson general;
  • David C. Jones general;
  • Louis L'Amour author;
  • Peggy Lee singer;
  • William Lemke representative;
  • Roger Maris baseball player;
  • Marquis de Mores cattleman who established Medora;
  • Gerald P. Nye senator;
  • Casper Oimoen skier;
  • William A. Owens admiral;
  • Arthur Peterson radio and TV actor;
  • Cliff (Fido) Purpur hockey player and coach;
  • James Rosenquist painter;
  • Harold Schafer founder of Gold Seal Co.;
  • Eric Sevareid TV commentator;
  • Ann Sothern actress;
  • Dorothy Stickney actress;
  • Edward K. Thompson Life magazine editor;
  • Era Bell Thompson Ebony magazine editor;
  • Tommy Tucker band leader;
  • Bobby Vee entertainer;
  • Lawrence Welk band leader;
  • Larry Woiwode writer.
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