North Dakota (ND)


The land that makes up North Dakota today became U.S. territory as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The region was originally part of the Minnesota and Nebraska territories until it was organized, along with South Dakota, into the Dakota Territory in 1861.

The state was very sparsely populated until the arrival of the railroads in the late 1800s, finally becoming a state in 1889. During the lead up to statehood, there was intense rivalry between North and South Dakota over which state would be the first to union would be allowed.

When it came time for their formal admission, President Benjamin Harrison randomly selected which bill should be signed first, not recording the order in which the bills were signed, although North Dakota is traditionally listed first. The state is known for scenic badlands, which are part of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.


North Dakota is located in the Midwestern United States and is bordered by Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south, Montana to the west, and Canada to the north. It has an area of 70,700 square miles, making it the 19th largest state in the US. The geography of North Dakota is defined by its diverse landscape of prairies, rolling hills, badlands, and rivers.

The western part of North Dakota is dominated by the Great Plains region. This area is characterized by flat grasslands with occasional low hills and bluffs. The Missouri River runs through this region and provides a source of water for crops and livestock. To the east of this region lies a large portion of land known as The Drift Prairie. This area consists mainly of gentle rolling hills covered with grasses and wildflowers.

In addition to these two regions, North Dakota also has several distinct areas that are unique in their own way. The Badlands are located in south-central North Dakota near Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Here you will find striking canyons carved into colorful buttes with rugged terrain that looks like it could be from another planet.

The Red River Valley lies on North Dakota’s eastern border with Minnesota and consists mostly of flat plains with rich soil perfect for farming wheat and other grains. This region sees some flooding during spring thawing due to its low elevation but also provides many recreational opportunities such as canoeing or kayaking on one of its many lakes or streams.

Finally, there are numerous rivers crisscrossing through North Dakota’s landscape including the Red River which forms part of its border with Minnesota; Missouri River which runs through much of central ND; Yellowstone River which forms part of its border with Montana; Knife River which flows through southwestern ND; Souris River which flows through Minot and Bottineau County; Sheyenne River which flows through southeastern ND; James River which flows through northeastern ND; Heart River which forms part of its border with South Dakota; Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge near Minot; Lake Sakakawea formed by Garrison Dam on the Missouri river near Williston; Lake Oahe formed by Oahe Dam on Missouri river near Mobridge SD.; Devils Lake located northeast ND near Rolette county line; Turtle Mountain State Forest located near Belcourt/Rolla area in northern ND.; Lake Tschida formed by Tschida Dam on Heart river near Mandan/Bismarck area.; Fort Berthold Reservation located near New Town area (west-central ND). All these rivers provide ample opportunity for fishing or other recreational activities such as boating or camping along their banks.

Overall, North Dakota’s geography is defined by its diverse landscape made up primarily of prairies, rolling hills, badlands areas and rivers that flow throughout much of the state providing an abundance resources for locals as well as recreational activities for visitors alike.

Cities in North Dakota

Below are the top 15 cities by population in North Dakota. For all cities and towns in the state, please see North Dakota cities list.

North Dakota is home to some of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the United States. From Fargo, the state’s largest city, to Grand Forks, North Dakota’s second largest city, these cities offer something for everyone. Fargo is a bustling city with plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities. The Red River Zoo is a popular destination for families and nature lovers alike. The Plains Art Museum offers a variety of art exhibits as well as educational programs for children. Grand Forks is also an excellent destination with its vibrant downtown area which features numerous shops and restaurants. The Alerus Center hosts many concerts and sporting events throughout the year while the University of North Dakota provides plenty of cultural activities such as plays and lectures. Bismarck is another great North Dakota city that has much to offer both visitors and locals alike. With its historic buildings, museums, parks, and outdoor activities, Bismarck has something for everyone to enjoy. Additionally, Bismarck’s downtown area provides an array of dining options ranging from traditional American cuisine to ethnic restaurants that offer dishes from around the world. Minot is another popular North Dakota city with plenty to do and see. The Roosevelt Park Zoo offers visitors a chance to view some of the state’s wildlife while Minot State University provides various cultural activities throughout the year such as music performances and art shows. Finally, Williston offers visitors an array of outdoor recreation opportunities including camping at Lake Sakakawea State Park or visiting nearby Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site. All these cities provide a unique experience for those visiting North Dakota no matter what their interests may be!

Rank City Population
1 Fargo 124,979
2 Bismarck 73,321
3 Grand Forks 58,867
4 Minot 48,005
5 West Fargo 37,913
6 Williston 27,368
7 Dickinson 24,851
8 Mandan 23,784
9 Jamestown 15,823
10 Wahpeton 7,928
11 Devils Lake 7,201
12 Valley City 6,586
13 Watford City 5,725
14 Minot AFB 5,375
15 Grafton 4,186

Counties in North Dakota

The State of North Dakota consists of 53 counties. They are:

  1. Adams County, North Dakota
  2. Barnes County, North Dakota
  3. Benson County, North Dakota
  4. Billings County, North Dakota
  5. Bottineau County, North Dakota
  6. Bowman County, North Dakota
  7. Burke County, North Dakota
  8. Burleigh County, North Dakota
  9. Cass County, North Dakota
  10. Cavalier County, North Dakota
  11. Dickey County, North Dakota
  12. Divide County, North Dakota
  13. Dunn County, North Dakota
  14. Eddy County, North Dakota
  15. Emmons County, North Dakota
  16. Foster County, North Dakota
  17. Golden Valley County, North Dakota
  18. Grand Forks County, North Dakota
  19. Grant County, North Dakota
  20. Griggs County, North Dakota
  21. Hettinger County, North Dakota
  22. Kidder County, North Dakota
  23. LaMoure County, North Dakota
  24. Logan County, North Dakota
  25. McHenry County, North Dakota
  26. McIntosh County, North Dakota
  27. McKenzie County, North Dakota
  28. McLean County, North Dakota
  29. Mercer County, North Dakota
  30. Morton County, North Dakota
  31. Mountrail County, North Dakota
  32. Nelson County, North Dakota
  33. Oliver County, North Dakota
  34. Pembina County, North Dakota
  35. Pierce County, North Dakota
  36. Ramsey County, North Dakota
  37. Ransom County, North Dakota
  38. Renville County, North Dakota
  39. Richland County, North Dakota
  40. Rolette County, North Dakota
  41. Sargent County, North Dakota
  42. Sheridan County, North Dakota
  43. Sioux County, North Dakota
  44. Slope County, North Dakota
  45. Stark County, North Dakota
  46. Steele County, North Dakota
  47. Stutsman County, North Dakota
  48. Towner County, North Dakota
  49. Traill County, North Dakota
  50. Walsh County, North Dakota
  51. Ward County, North Dakota
  52. Wells County, North Dakota
  53. Williams County, North Dakota