Here are the 10 best cities in North Dakota to raise a family

The state of North Dakota is one of the best-suited states to raise a family. While the state itself is quite small, with only around 760,000 residents, it has plenty of cities that are exceptionally good for family life. In this article, brought to you by Best Cross Country Movers, we are going to look into the 10 best cities in North Dakota to raise a family. You will get to learn what makes these places truly special and why you might want to consider relocating there.

The best cities in North Dakota to raise a family

Without any further ado, here’s our list of the best cities for families in North Dakota:

  • West Fargo
  • Bismarck
  • Grand Forks
  • Minot
  • Oakes
  • Wahpeton
  • Stanley
  • Lisbon
  • Jamestown
  • Rugby

Aside from these places, there are a few more honorable mentions such as Lincoln, Beulah, and Hazen. Every one of the cities above, however, provides a similar experience but with slightly better statistics. As for moving assistance, you don’t necessarily need to go with one of the local movers, you can choose to simply look for one of the best cross country movers North Dakota has to offer. You might want to start searching for movers early, though, especially if you are relocating in the summer. For the easiest and most straightforward experience, get in touch with Best Cross Country Movers and we will help you find the perfect moving help! With that out of the way, let’s take a look at what makes these cities so great for families.

a person standing on a top of the hill
There are a lot of amazing places in North Dakota.

West Fargo

Fargo’s suburb of West Fargo has around 36,000 residents to its name. It is universally regarded as one of the best places to live in North Dakota, with excellent statistics across the board. Major advantages of West Fargo include a favorable housing market, an abundance of great public schools, as well as great diversity and nightlife options.

You can secure a home in West Fargo at a median price of around $241,000, and rent one at around $920 a month, on average. While the home prices are slightly above the national average, the rent is actually lower. This may be of interest to families who have yet to accumulate enough finances to purchase a home of their own.

Speaking of finances, the main reason why West Fargo is so popular is the high median household income of around $85,150. Working in the city is quite lucrative and the job market is quite healthy. The cross country movers in Fargo are exceptional and there is no shortage of them. As for education, the best schools in the area are West Fargo Sheyenne High School, South Elementary School, as well as Freedom Elementary School, and Legacy Elementary School.


More than double the size of West Fargo, Bismarck has a population of around 73,000 people. While the overall statistics might not be as stellar as with the previous entrant, Bismarck offers a dense suburban feeling, low rents, and lower cost of living. Families can secure a home for themselves at the median home price of $246,000, but rent one at only about $860. Furthermore, Bismarck is known as one of the best places to retire in North Dakota, as well as one of the most diverse cities in the state.

Households in the city do not enjoy a high median income, even though at around $64,500 it is still higher than the national average. However, the cost of living is also lower than in most similarly sized ND cities, meaning that the monthly income is going to “last longer”. But that also means that cross country moving companies Bismarck has to offer are usually willing to provide great deals to their customers. The public schools in the city are highly rated, with Centennial Elementary School, Sunrise Elementary School, and Prairie Rose Elementary school “leading the pack”.

man "fanning" $100 bills
Bismarck offers a great income-to-cost ratio.

Overall the community is helpful, the city’s neighborhoods are safe, but there isn’t much in the way of entertainment for teenagers. While there are plenty of bars to go around, most of them are “locked” until 21. Definitely, something to consider if you are relocating here with a teen. Even so, this is certainly one of the best cities in North Dakota to raise a family.

Grand Forks

Somewhere between the previous two cities, Grand Forks has a population of about 56,500 and features an urban-suburban mix. The interesting fact about this city is that most people rent their homes, even though the median home value is lower than the national average. A family can purchase a home for a median price of”only” $210,300. The rent, on the other side, is even lower than in Bismarck, being at around $810.

While the cost of living is even lower than that in Bismarck, the median household income leaves much to be desired. At around $50,100, families earn quite less than the national average. Most of the best cross country movers Grand Forks has on offer are well aware of this fact and you can get a great moving deal if you check into some of them. But you may want to consider landing a good job before you relocate, as the job market is less than ideal.

What truly sets Grand Forks apart from the rest of the cities in our list is the quality of its educational system. Manvel Elementary School has some of the best statistics in North Dakota, with Nathan Twining Middle School and J. Nelson Kelly Elementary School trailing close behind. If the most important thing for your family is the education of your children, Grand Forks might be the ideal place, despite the low-income potential.

Grand Forks - one of the best cities in North Dakota to raise a family
Grand Forks offers amazing scenery, as well.


Moving on to Ward County, Minot is a city that offers a dense suburban feeling, low home prices, and a reasonably strong median income. Families that are looking to purchase their home will find the median price to be around $209,000 and the median rent of about $920. It is no wonder that most people own a property in Minot.

As for the median income, Minot boasts a healthy household income of around $66,200, while keeping the living costs lower than those in large cities. The air force base drives a lot of business to the area and is one of the major employers in the city. Most of the interstate movers Minot has are quite busy, though, so it is smart to start looking into them as soon as possible. Ideally, you will want to find your movers at least twelve weeks before the moving date.

While Minot has plenty of amenities, with numerous bars and restaurants, you might want to know that they mostly close at around 8 pm. If you are coming from a large city, this can be quite a surprise.

One of the best cities in North Dakota to raise a family – Oakes

It’s time to take a look at some of the smaller cities on our list. Oakes has a tiny population as compared to the previous places, with only about 2,130 residents to its name. However, don’t let the low population fool you, this is actually one of the best cities in North Dakota to raise a family. With amazing statistics, very low home and rent prices, as well as very high median household income, Oakes make a strong showing.

To start with the home prices, you will be happy to know that the median home value in Oakes is only about $124,500! The median rent is also the lowest so far, being at around $670. This means that you are looking into a much smaller housing investment if you decide to live in this city. You will be able to afford more services from your residential movers, for example, making your relocation much more convenient. And you can expect to be able to earn a lot more money soon!

The city of Oakes - one of the best cities in North Dakota to raise a family
Oakes is one of the best all-around ND cities for families.

Oakes’ households earn a median income of about $71,250! This is one of the highest income potentials so far, beaten only by West Fargo. Furthermore, being a small town means that the community is really friendly and everyone helps each other. The community supports those in need, sticking together through thick and thin. Kind of reminiscent of one large family, in fact.

The only small issue in the town is that there is a shortage of highly-rated schools. There’s the Oakes Elementary School and Oakes High School and that’s pretty much it. While they do provide decent educational opportunities, they simply can’t rival the schools in larger cities.


A slightly larger city this time, with a population of almost 8,000 residents, Wahpeton offers a similar situation as Oakes. The median home value is still quite low, being at around $123,500, with the median rent standing at about $670. Wahpeton offers a dense suburban feeling but not much in the way of amenities.

However, due to this very fact, the cost of living is one of the lowest in the state. And, due to the low cost of living, the median household income also takes a considerable hit. Families in Wahpeton, on average, earn about $45,150 annually. While this may sound too low, the fact that you will not be paying much for groceries, utilities, and services, can make up for most of it.

a family bathing their dog
Wahpeton is one great place to enjoy family life.

The reason why we include Wahpeton in our list of best cities in North Dakota to raise a family, even despite the somewhat lacking public school department is the fact that it is simply a great place to raise a family. It offers a safe environment and a caring community. While you may have a difficult time finding storage services, your neighbors will be there to assist you whenever you’re in trouble. And that “family feeling” is something that you simply can’t replicate in larger cities.


As you might have noticed, we believe that smaller towns are the best for families in North Dakota. Stanley is yet another similar city, with around 2,650 residents, but with a sparse suburban feeling to it. This is truly a place that a family can “call their own”. Most of the people own their homes in Stanley, even though the median home prices are somewhat higher than in the previous two small cities. A home in Stanley, on average, will set you back around $179,000. Home prices are usually connected to the overall appeal to the area, meaning that there is a lot more about Stanley than meets the eye.

Simply taking a look at the median household income provides us with one answer. At $74,200, the income potential is “through the roof” considering the size of the city. Oakes, move aside, we have a new top earner in the town and his name is Stanley! You can feel free to hire packing services from your movers and know that you will soon be earning more than enough to cover them. But not everything is perfect in Stanley.

Being a small place, there are simply not that many amenities to it. There’s a distinct lack of food places, for one, and the entertainment options are quite lacking. This is a place where families get to make their own fun, after all, with the loving and caring community. But if your family is reliant on outside entertainment, Stanley might not be the best place for you.

Lisbon makes a good case for one of the best cities in North Dakota to raise a family

The smallest city on our list, so far, Lisbon has a population of around 2,000 people. Needless to say, you can expect a sparse suburban feeling, extremely low rent, and low home prices. Renting a home in Lisbon is going to set you back only around $580, which is almost half of what the national average is. And if you want to purchase a home, the median home value is about $118,000.

With these numbers, it is safe to assume that the income potential has to be quite low, right? Well, that is where Lisbon shines, its households earn a median income of around $64,000, which is actually above the national average! In this town, it is easy to work your way up to purchasing a property, as you will be paying a lot less in rent. But before you create a packing checklist, there are a couple more things to note. The public school options are quite limited, with only one school in town, which has elementary, middle, and high curriculums. Furthermore, as in every other small town, you will have to create your own entertainment. There is a healthy number of bars, yes, but for everything else, you will need to drive quite a distance.

a happy family, representing why Lisbon is one of the best cities in North Dakota to raise a family
You can rent an amazing home in Lisbon, at a low rate.


Often referred to as “one of the best places to retire in North Dakota”, the city of Jamestown also has a large family appeal. With a population of around 15,300 residents, it provides you with a balance of small-town feeling and a large city. The median home value is higher than in smaller towns, being at around $145,000, and the income potential is not great, either. Jamestown’s households, on average, earn around $52,000 per year.

But the main reason why Jamestown is one of the best cities in North Dakota to raise a family is due to the combination of available amenities and amazing public schools. There’s quite a selection of great educational institutions, such as William S. Gussner Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School, Louis L’Amour Elementary School, and Roosevelt Elementary School. A far cry from being able to send your kids to only one school.


The last city on our list, Rugby, is a true “diamond in the rough”. Normally known as the best place to retire in North Dakota, raising a family here is a unique experience. A home here will set you back, on average, around $132,000, and the expense on rent is about $680. While the median household income might be on the lower side, at about $46,500, the cost of living in Rugby more than makes up for it.

The main reason why we included Rugby in our top 10 best cities in North Dakota to raise a family is the fact that the retirees that live there can teach you a lot. Most of them have a college or associate’s degree and they have a wealth of experience to draw upon. Their wisdom can be priceless.

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