Retiring in North Dakota

1 min readLast updated December 7, 2023by Kate Morgan

This article will take you through the main things you need to consider if you are retiring in North Dakota.


  • North Dakota offers its own unique benefits for retirees seeking a quieter and more affordable lifestyle.

  • Bismarck, Fargo, and Grand Forks are some of the top locations for retirees living in North Dakota.

  • North Dakota has a relatively low cost of living compared to many other states, making it an attractive destination for retirees on a fixed income.

  • Speak to a financial advisor about getting ready for retirement.

Is North Dakota a good place to retire?

North Dakota, located in the northern United States, may not be the first state that comes to mind for retirement, but it offers its own unique benefits for retirees seeking a quieter and more affordable lifestyle. With its vast prairies, friendly communities, and low cost of living, North Dakota may be a hidden gem for retirees looking to enjoy their golden years in a peaceful and welcoming environment.

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According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, North Dakota had a population of approximately 770,000 people, with over 16% of the population being over the age of 65, making it one of the top states with a large retirement population.

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Best places to retire in North Dakota

If North Dakota is your chosen retirement state, here are some of the best places to retire in: 

  1. Bismarck: Bismarck is the capital city of North Dakota and a great place for retirees who want to enjoy the amenities of a small city. It has a population of around 73,000 people and is known for its friendly residents, low crime rate, and excellent healthcare system. The cost of living is also relatively affordable compared to other cities in the country. 

  2. Fargo: Fargo is the largest city in North Dakota, with a population of around 125,000 people. It offers a wide variety of cultural and recreational activities, including museums, theaters, parks, and golf courses. It's also home to North Dakota State University, which offers lifelong learning opportunities for retirees. 

  3. Grand Forks: Grand Forks is a college town located in the northeastern part of the state, with a population of around 57,000 people. It has a low cost of living, excellent healthcare facilities, and plenty of recreational opportunities, including parks, lakes, and golf courses. 

  4. Minot: Minot is a city in north-central North Dakota, with a population of around 47,000 people. It's home to Minot State University, which offers a variety of educational opportunities for retirees. The city also has a low crime rate, affordable cost of living, and a wide range of cultural and recreational activities. 

  5. Valley City: Valley City is a small town located in southeastern North Dakota, with a population of around 6,500 people. It's known for its charming downtown area, historic buildings, and beautiful natural scenery. It's a great place for retirees who want to enjoy a slower pace of life and a strong sense of community. 

What are the pros and cons of retiring in North Dakota?

The pros:

  • Affordability: North Dakota has a relatively low cost of living compared to many other states, making it an attractive destination for retirees on a fixed income. Housing, healthcare, and other expenses are generally more affordable in North Dakota than in other regions. 

  • Peaceful environment: North Dakota's rural landscape offers retirees a peaceful and quiet environment to enjoy their retirement years. The state's small towns and close-knit communities provide a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. 

  • Outdoor activities: North Dakota offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including fishing, hunting, hiking, and skiing. The state is home to several national parks and scenic areas, such as Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which offers stunning views of the Badlands. 

  • Quality healthcare: North Dakota has a high-quality healthcare system, with several highly-ranked hospitals and medical centers throughout the state. 

The cons:

  • Harsh winters: North Dakota's winters can be harsh, with sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall. This may be a concern for retirees who prefer milder weather conditions. 

  • Limited cultural scene: North Dakota's small towns and rural areas may not offer the same level of cultural activities and events as larger cities. Retirees who enjoy cultural experiences may find themselves lacking options in North Dakota. 

  • Distance from family: North Dakota's remote location may make it difficult for retirees who have family and friends in other parts of the country to visit or receive visitors easily. 

What age can you retire in North Dakota?

Like many states, North Dakota has no specific retirement age that is mandated by law. This means that individuals are free to retire whenever they choose, as long as they are able to financially support themselves. However, there are some age-related benefits and considerations for retirees in North Dakota: 

  • Social Security benefits: The earliest age at which you can begin receiving Social Security benefits is 62, but if you delay taking benefits, your monthly payments will increase. Full retirement age (FRA) is between 66 and 67, depending on your birth year. Delaying benefits until after FRA can result in even higher monthly payments. 

  • Medicare eligibility: Medicare eligibility begins at age 65, regardless of retirement status. However, if you choose to retire before age 65, you will need to find alternative healthcare coverage until you become eligible for Medicare. 

  • Age discrimination: It is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees or job applicants based on age. 

  • Retirement savings: Regardless of retirement age, it is important for individuals to start saving for retirement as early as possible. Many financial experts recommend saving at least 15% of your income for retirement. You could check out the average retirement savings in the US.

However, like any location, there are both pros and cons to retiring in the state. 

The bottom line

North Dakota may not be as culturally rich as other states, but it offers potential retirees a high quality of life, low cost of living, and a strong sense of community. It's important to seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in North Dakota, including property taxes, insurance, and living expenses, in order to make an informed decision about whether the state is the right choice for your retirement. 

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Content writer

Kate Morgan

Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.

Want to retire in North Dakota?

A financial advisor can help you plan and realize your dream retirement.