Average salary in North Dakota

1 min readLast updated May 19, 2023by Charlie Barton

Learn about the average salaries and highest paying counties in North Dakota

The sheer size of North Dakota may make it difficult to define a ‘good’ salary. The Peace Garden State has its own unique financial landscape, and whether you already live in North Dakota or are thinking of making the move, it can be helpful to establish what the cost of living and earning potential look like.

According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, North Dakota is one of the least expensive states to live in, with a cost of living index that is lower than the national average. The low cost of living in North Dakota may be an incentive for many to consider relocating to the state. But which cities and counties offer the highest average salaries?

Average salary in North Dakota by city

City living is often more expensive than living in more rural areas, but it’s also where the money is. North Dakota’s own cities can vary massively in average salary; cities like West Fargo and Williston command a fraction below $95,000, while Wahpeton’s average sits just above $50,000.

Average earnings by city—or any other geographical metric—is just one way of calculating wealth, and certainly shouldn’t be the only way you look at your own earning potential in a given place. It doesn’t take into account the type of jobs that people do to earn above or below this average bracket, and omits any consideration for the number of people living in a household. However, it’s certainly one way of establishing which place offers good earning opportunities.

The US Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey has calculated the average earnings for the 10 largest cities in North Dakota, which you can find ranked below.

  1. West Fargo - $94,696

  2. Williston - $94,194

  3. Mandan - $75,825

  4. Bismarck - $70,496

  5. Dickinson - $68,076

  6. Fargo - $66,020

  7. Minot - $62,102

  8. Grand Forks - $57,521

  9. Jamestown - $53,223

  10. Wahpeton - $51,569

Average salary in North Dakota by county

Reviewing average salaries in North Dakota by city is not necessarily an adequate metric for average salaries across the state, since it’s entirely urban focused. A good idea is to weigh these figures up against the average salary in North Dakota by county, as this will take areas outside the main cities into account and offer a broader idea of salary ranges.

The same survey from the US Census Bureau gives further insight this way, with the average household income calculated for each county.

  1. McKenzie County: $97,265

  2. Billings County: $89,688

  3. Williams County: $89,900

  4. Oliver County: $83,462

  5. Morton County: $84,604

  6. Dunn County: $76,229

  7. Mercer County: $76,253

  8. Mountrail County: $78,037

  9. Stark County: $75,150

  10. Burke County: $63,897

  11. Rolette County: $39,201

  12. Sioux County: $63,824

  13. Emmons County: $58,181

  14. Burleigh County: $73,551

  15. Stutsman County: $63,471

  16. McIntosh County: $52,940

  17. Pembina County: $58,214

  18. Foster County: $58,644

  19. Ransom County: $61,567

  20. Dickey County: $56,295

  21. Cass County: $66,661

  22. LaMoure County: $64,303

  23. Grand Forks County: $61,104

  24. Stutsman County: $63,471

  25. Ward County: $68,172

  26. McLean County: $68,385

  27. Walsh County: $57,925

  28. Towner County: $58,036

  29. Steele County: $56,240

  30. Renville County: $57,755

  31. Griggs County: $61,154

  32. Nelson County: $51,724

  33. Traill County: $57,273

  34. Eddy County: $58,222

  35. Barnes County: $59,558

  36. Kidder County: $59,188

  37. Logan County: $66,006

  38. McHenry County: $59,051

  39. Pierce County: $57,452

  40. Hettinger County: $70,000

  41. Stutsman County: $63,471

  42. Pembina County: $58,214

  43. Golden Valley County: $53,750

  44. Sargent County: $62,031

  45. Cavalier County: $57,579

  46. Bowman County: $72,986

  47. Slope County: $60,208

  48. Grant County: $61,562

  49. Ramsey County: $56,840

  50. Benson County: $47,046

Highest paying jobs in North Dakota

There’s another weighty factor that will influence how much you earn if you live in North Dakota: your job type. Average salaries for various sectors and job roles can vary massively across the state, so it’s absolutely something to consider when looking at salaries by location.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has calculated a comprehensive list of annual salaries by occupation area, which you can also find below.

  1. Nurse Anesthetists - $195,920

  2. Podiatrists - $166,220

  3. General Dentists - $162,910

  4. Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates - $147,780

  5. All Other Physicians - $132,660

  6. Architectural and Engineering Managers - $131,770

  7. Chemical Engineers - $131,390

  8. Pharmacists - $128,600

  9. Optometrists - $127,610

  10. Chief Executives - $127,450

  11. Financial Managers - $125,730

  12. Physician Assistants - $125,230

  13. Marketing Managers - $124,650

  14. Training and Development Managers - $119,920

  15. Sales Managers - $119,680

  16. Computer and Information Systems Managers - $117,130

  17. Septic Tank Servicers and Sewer Pipe Cleaners - $113,860

  18. Natural Sciences Managers - $113,630

  19. All Other Managers - $110,550

  20. Industrial Production Managers - $105,430

Frequently asked questions about salaries in North Dakota

What is the average salary in North Dakota by age?
Alongside location and occupation, salaries in North Dakota are also dependent on age, since more senior workers will be paid more. Then, when they retire, their income will dip again as they will rely on pensions and other forms of set income.

The Census Bureau data finds that householders under 25 have a median household income of $43,769; householders aged 25 to 44 years old have a median income of $71,689; those aged 45 to 64 years old have a median income of $76,350; and those 65 and older have a median income of $51,836.

What is a ‘good’ salary in North Dakota?
The median income in North Dakota is $64,577. Defining ‘good’ relies on all sorts of variable factors and these should be taken into account. For example, $100,000 is a far higher salary than the state average and may be considered a good salary by many.

What is the average salary in North Dakota by hour?
If Americans work an average of 1,801 hours per year—at 37.5 hours a week—then the average hourly salary in North Dakota is $35.81.

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Charlie Barton

Charlie Barton is a writer at Unbiased. He has been writing about personal finance and investing since 2017, with extensive knowledge of platforms and products. Charlie has a first-class degree from the London School of Economics.