While most living expenses in Bismarck, N.D., hover around the national average, the amount of money residents spend on homes is remarkably lower. Most people living in Bismarck spend less than 23 percent of their annual salaries on housing rent and house payments. That’s an even more impressive stat when you take into account the median household income in Bismarck is around $57,600. It’s proof that Bismarck is among the most affordable places to live.
But don’t let the bargain prices fool you. Residents of North Dakota’s capital enjoy many of the perks you might find in more cosmopolitan or, shall we say, affluent areas. In fact, Bismarck ranks seventh out of 100 cities listed on the 2016 Best Places to Live index. You’ll find scenic parks, art galleries, the Dakota Zoo, the nearby Dacotah Speedway and a grouping of historic sites among the things to do in Bismark. The Bismarck Event Center hosts concerts, Broadway shows, craft fairs, rodeos and conferences. There’s also four-star-rated golf courses in Bismarck like Riverwood, which is used for cross-country skiing in winter months, bike and walking trails, camping areas and skate parks. Many residents follow the Lewis and Clark Trail, which leads to a variety of recreational amenities across the region. While the city has many chain restaurants, the locally owned, independent eateries are worth talking about. Places like Humpback Sally’s, The Toasted Frog and Pirogue Grille are among the most popular restaurants in Bismarck.
A diverse collection of businesses have helped Bismarck’s economy grow. Being the state capital, Bismarck’s top employers are naturally government agencies, colleges and hospitals, but the city includes companies like MDU Resources, an energy supplier, and Aetna, a health insurance company. Bismarck residents have enjoyed one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, a result of an oil-fueled economic boom the state has experienced during the last decade. Small companies in Bismarck make up the bulk of businesses and have thrived under current economic conditions.