Official language(s) English
North Dakota is a State located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border, about halfway between the Pacific Ocean and the Great Lakes. North Dakota is the 19th largest state by area in the U.S. It is also the 3rd least populous, with only about 646,850 residents as of 2009. North Dakota was carved out of the Dakota Territory and admitted to the Union on November 2, 1889, simultaneously with South Dakota.
The state capital is Bismarck and the largest city is Fargo. The primary public universities are located in Grand Forks and Fargo. The U.S. Air Force operates the Air Force Bases, Minot AFB and Grand Forks AFB in North Dakota.
North Dakota, with its small population, also has the lowest rate of unemployment in the United States with a rate of only 4.4% in December 2009.
3.2 Race and ancestry
4.1 Fine and performing arts
4.3 Popular culture
5.1 Industry and commerce
5.3 State taxes
7 Law and government
8 Cities and towns
9.1 Higher education
10 State symbols
12 Notable North Dakotans
13 See also
14 Further reading
14.1 Primary sources
16 External links
Main article: Geography of North Dakota
See also: List of North Dakota counties
Map of North DakotaNorth Dakota is considered to be in the U.S. regions known as the Upper Midwest and the Great Plains, and is sometimes referred to as being the "High Plains". The state shares the Red River of the North with Minnesota on the east; South Dakota is to the south, Montana is to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba are north. North Dakota sits essentially in the middle of North America, and in fact a stone marker in Rugby, North Dakota, identifies itself as being the "Geographic Center of the North American Continent". With 70,762 square miles (183,273 km2), North Dakota is the 19th largest state.
The western half of the state consists of the hilly Great Plains, and the northern part of the Badlands to the west of the Missouri River. The state's high point, White Butte at 3,506 feet (1,069 m), and Theodore Roosevelt National Park are located in the Badlands. The region is abundant in fossil fuels including crude oil and lignite coal. The Missouri River forms Lake Sakakawea, the third largest man-made lake in the United States, behind the Garrison Dam.
The central region of the state is divided into the Drift Prairie and the Missouri Plateau.
The eastern part of the state consists of the flat Red River Valley, the bottom of glacial Lake Agassiz. Its fertile soil, drained by the meandering Red River flowing northward into Lake Winnipeg, supports a large agriculture industry. Devils Lake, the largest natural lake in the state, is also found in the east.
Overall, North Dakota is a very flat state, however, there are some significant hills and buttes in the western half of the state. Most of the state was covered in grassland (and today, mostly with farmland); only 2% of North Dakota was historically forest.
Main article: Climate of North Dakota
North Dakota endures some of the most extreme temperature variations on the planet, characteristic of its continental climate, with cold winters and hot summers: the record low temperature is −60 °F (−51.1 °C) and the record high temperature is 121 °F (49 °C).
Meteorological events include rain, snow, hail, blizzards, polar fronts, tornadoes, thunderstorms, and high-velocity straight-line winds.
Depending on location, average annual precipitation ranges from 14 in (35.6 cm) to 22 in (55.9 cm).
Springtime flooding is a relatively common event in the Red River Valley, because of the river flowing north into Canada, creating ice jams. The spring melt and the eventual runoff typically begins earlier in the southern part of the valley than in the northern part. The most destructive flooding in eastern North Dakota occurred in 1997.
North Dakota is largely semiarid; however the low temperatures and snowpack prevents the state from having a xeric character.
Main article: History of North Dakota
Prior to European contact, Native Americans inhabited North Dakota for thousands of years. The first European to reach the area was the French-Canadian trader La Vérendrye, who led an exploration party to Mandan villages in 1738. The trading arrangement between tribes was such that North Dakota tribes rarely dealt directly with Europeans. However, the native tribes were in sufficient contact that by the time that Lewis and Clark entered North Dakota in 1804, they were aware of the French and then Spanish claims to their territory.
Fort Union Trading Post National Historic SiteMuch of present-day North Dakota was included in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Much of acquired land was organized into Minnesota and Nebraska Territories. Dakota Territory, making up present-day North and South Dakota, along with parts of present-day Wyoming and Montana, was organized on March 2, 1861. Dakota Territory was settled sparsely until the late 1800s, when the railroads entered the region and aggressively marketed the land. A bill for statehood for North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington titled the Enabling Act of 1889 was passed on February 22, 1889 during the administration of Grover Cleveland. After Cleveland left office, it was left to his successor, Benjamin Harrison, to sign proclamations formally admitting North and South Dakota to the Union on November 2, 1889. The rivalry between the two new states presented a dilemma of which was to be admitted first. Harrison directed Secretary of State James G. Blaine to shuffle the papers and obscure from him which he was signing first and the actual order went unrecorded. However, since North Dakota alphabetically appears before South Dakota, its proclamation was published first in the Statutes At Large. Since that day, it has become common to list the Dakotas alphabetically and thus North Dakota is usually listed as the 39th state. It is believed that nobody recorded which paper was signed first, thus nobody can actually know which of the Dakotas was admitted first.
The corruption in the early territorial and state governments led to a wave of populism led by the Non Partisan League (usually referred to as the "NPL"), which brought social reforms in the early 20th century. The NPL which was later incorporated as part of the Democratic Party, fashioned a number of laws and social reforms, in an attempt to insulate North Dakota from the power of out-of-state banks and corporations, a number of which are still in place today. In addition to the Bank of North Dakota and the North Dakota Mill and Elevator (both still in existence) there was a state-owned railroad line (later sold to the Soo Line Railroad). Additionally, anti-corporate laws were passed, which virtually prohibited a corporation or bank from owning title to land zoned as farmland. These laws, which still exist today, and which have upheld by both the State and Federal court systems, make it almost impossible to foreclose on farmland, as even after foreclosure, the property title cannot be held by a bank or mortgage company. Thus, virtually every farm in existence today in North Dakota, is still a "family-owned" farm. As a result, CBS News has reported that the state with the highest per capita percentage of millionaires is North Dakota.
A round of federal construction projects began in the 1950s including the Garrison Dam, and the Minot and Grand Forks Air Force bases.There was a boom in oil exploration in western North Dakota in the 1980s, as rising petroleum prices made development profitable. The original North Dakota State Capitol burned to the ground on December 28, 1930, and was replaced by a limestone faced art deco skyscraper that still stands today.
North Dakota population densityFrom fewer than 3,000 people in 1870, North Dakota's population grew to near 680,000 by 1930. Growth then slowed, and the population has fluctuated slightly over the next seven decades, hitting a low of 617,761 in the 1970 census, with a total of 642,200 in the 2000 census. The United States Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2008, estimated North Dakota's population at 641,481, which represents a decrease of 714, or 0.1%, since the last census in 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 20,460 people (that is 67,788 births minus 47,328 deaths) and a decrease due to net migration of 17,787 people out of the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 3,323 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 21,110 people. The age and gender distributions approximate the national average. Besides Native Americans, North Dakota's minority groups still form a significantly smaller proportion of the population than in the nation as a whole. The center of population of North Dakota is located in Wells County, near Sykeston.
Census Pop. %±
1870 2,405 —
1880 36,909 1,434.7%
1890 190,983 417.4%
1900 319,146 67.1%
1910 577,056 80.8%
1920 646,872 12.1%
1930 680,845 5.3%
1940 641,935 −5.7%
1950 619,636 −3.5%
1960 632,446 2.1%
1970 617,761 −2.3%
1980 652,717 5.7%
1990 638,800 −2.1%
2000 642,200 0.5%
Est. 2009 646,844  0.7%
Since 1923, North Dakota has experienced a virtually constant decline in population, particularly among younger people with university degrees. One of the major causes of emigration in North Dakota looms from a lack of skilled jobs for graduates. Some propose the expansion of economic development programs to create skilled and high-tech jobs, but the effectiveness of such programs has been open to debate.
As the issue is common to several High Plains states, federal politicians including Senator Byron Dorgan, have proposed The New Homestead Act of 2007 to encourage living in areas losing population through incentives such as tax breaks.
Race and ancestry
Demographics of North Dakota (csv)
By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
2000 (total population) 93.79% 0.85% 5.49% 0.78% 0.07%
2000 (Hispanic only) 1.06% 0.05% 0.12% 0.02% 0.00%
2005 (total population) 93.19% 1.04% 5.81% 0.89% 0.06%
2005 (Hispanic only) 1.47% 0.06% 0.09% 0.02% 0.00%
Growth 2000–05 (total population) -1.50% 21.17% 4.85% 14.14% -13.45%
Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) -1.95% 21.51% 5.62% 15.01% -12.03%
Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 37.78% 15.84% -28.34% -14.09% -37.04%
* AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
Most North Dakotans are of Northern European descent. The five largest ancestry groups in North Dakota are: German (46.6%) (298,779), Norwegian (30.4%) (194,886), Irish (8.3%) (52,925), French (4.8%) (30,571) and Swedish (4.5%) (29,098).
2.47% of the population aged 5 and older speak German at home, while 1.37% speak Spanish, 0.46% speak Norwegian, and 0.26% speak French according to the 2000 U.S. Census.
The state's racial composition in 2005 was:
94.3% White (non-Hispanic);
4.3% Native American/Alaskan Native;
1.6% Hispanic, a category that includes people of many races;
0.1% Asian/Pacific Islander;
0.1% Black (non-Hispanic);
0.1% mixed race.
North Dakota has the lowest percentage of non-religious people of any state, and it also has the most churches per capita of any state.
A 2001 survey indicated that 35% of North Dakota's population was Lutheran, and 30% was Roman Catholic. Other religious groups represented were Methodists (7%), Baptists (6%), the Assembly of God (3%), and Jehovah's Witness (1%). Christians with unstated or other denominational affiliations, including other Protestants, totaled 3%, bringing the total Christian population to 86%. Non-Christian religions, such as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, together represented 4% of the population. Three percent of respondents answered "no religion" on the survey, and 6% declined to answer.
The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 179,349; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 174,554; and the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod with 23,720.
According to the website of the Mormon church there were 6,120 Latter Day Saints in sixteen congregations in North Dakota as of 2009. There is also an LDS temple in Bismarck.
Fine and performing arts
North Dakota's major fine art museums and venues include the Chester Fritz Auditorium, Empire Arts Center, the Fargo Theatre, North Dakota Museum of Art, and the Plains Art Museum. The Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra, Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra and Minot Symphony Orchestra are full-time professional and semi-professional musical ensembles that perform concerts and offer educational programs to the community.
See also: Music of North Dakota
North Dakotan musicians of many genres include blues guitarist Jonny Lang, country music singer Lynn Anderson, jazz and traditional pop singer and songwriter Peggy Lee, big band leader Lawrence Welk, and pop singer Bobby Vee. The state is also home to two groups of the Indie rock genre that have become known on a national scale: GodheadSilo (originally from Fargo, but later relocated to Olympia, Washington and became signed to the Kill Rock Stars label) and June Panic (also of Fargo, signed to Secretly Canadian).
Ed Schultz is known around the country as the host of progressive talk radio show The Ed Schultz Show, and The Ed Show on MSNBC. Shadoe Stevens hosted American Top 40 from 1988 to 1995. Josh Duhamel is an Emmy Award-winning actor known for his roles in All My Children and Las Vegas. Nicole Linkletter and CariDee English were winning contestants of Cycles 5 and 7, respectively, of America's Next Top Model. Kellan Lutz has appeared in movies such as Stick It, Accepted, Prom Night, and Twilight.
Geese in Flight (2001) sculpture, part of the Enchanted Highway a stretch of 32 miles including Interstate 94 in North Dakota.See also: Cuisine of North Dakota
North Dakota cuisine includes Knoephla soup: a thick, stew-like chicken soup with dumplings, lutefisk: lye-treated fish, Kuchen: a pie-like pastry, lefse: a flat bread made from mashed potatoes that is eaten with butter and sugar, Fleischkuekle, a deep fried entree of ground beef covered in dough, and served with chips and a pickle in most restaurants; strudel: a dough-and-filling item that can either be made as a pastry, or a savory dish with onions or meat; and other traditional German and Norwegian dishes. North Dakota also shares concepts such as hot dishes along with other Midwestern states.
Along with having the most churches per capita of any state, North Dakota has the highest percentage of church-going population of any state.
Native American traditions are practiced by the Native American population of North Dakota, especially on Indian reservations. The North Dakota Pow-wow is held in Bismarck in late summer each year.
Outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing are hobbies for many North Dakotans. Ice fishing and snowmobiling are also popular during the winter months. Residents of North Dakota may own or visit a cabin along a lake. Popular sport fish include walleye, perch, and northern pike.
The western terminus of the North Country National Scenic Trail is located on Lake Sakakawea where it abuts the Lewis and Clark Trail.
North Dakota state quarterSee also: List of North Dakota companies
Agriculture is the largest industry in North Dakota, although petroleum and food processing are also major industries. The economy of North Dakota had a gross domestic product of $24 billion in 2005. The per capita income in 2006 was $33,034, ranked 29th in the nation. The three-year median household income from 2002–2004 was $39,594, ranking 37th in the U.S. North Dakota is also the only state with a state owned bank, the Bank of North Dakota in Bismarck, and a state owned flour mill, the North Dakota Mill and Elevator in Grand Forks.
Industry and commerce
Sunflowers in Traill CountyNorth Dakota's earliest industries were fur trading and agriculture. Although less than 10% of the population is employed in the agricultural sector, it remains a major part of the state's economy, ranking 24th in the nation in the value of products sold.The state is the largest producer in the U.S. of barley, sunflower seeds, spring and durum wheat for processing, and farm-raised turkeys.
North Dakota Mill and Elevator postcard, 1915 Energy
Coal mines generate 93% of the North Dakota electricity. Oil was discovered near Tioga in 1951, generating 53 million barrels (8,400,000 m3) of oil a year by 1984. Western North Dakota is currently in an oil boom: the Tioga, Stanley and Minot-Burlington communities are experiencing rapid growth. The oil reserves may hold up to 400 billion barrels (6.4×1010 m3) of oil, 25 times larger than the reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. However, a report issued in April 2008 by the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the oil recoverable by current technology in the Bakken formation is two orders of magnitude less, in the range of 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels, with a mean of 3.65 billion.
The Great Plains area, which North Dakota is a part of, is called the "Saudi Arabia" of wind energy, North Dakota has the capability of producing 1.2 billion kilowatt hours of energy. That is enough to power 25% of the entire country's energy needs. Wind energy in North Dakota is also very cost effective because the state has large rural expanses and wind speeds seldom go below 10 mph (16 km/h).
Oil drilling equipment in western North Dakota State taxes
North Dakota has a slightly progressive income tax structure; the five brackets of state income tax rates are 2.1%, 3.92% 4.34%, 5.04%, and 5.54% as of 2004. North Dakota is ranked as the 21st highest in the nation for their capitals' total state taxes.The sales tax in North Dakota is 5% for most items. The state allows municipalities to institute local sales taxes and special local taxes, such as the 1.75% supplemental sales tax in Grand Forks. Excise taxes are levied on the purchase price or market value of aircraft registered in North Dakota. The state imposes a use tax on items purchased elsewhere but used within North Dakota. Owners of real property in North Dakota pay property tax to their county, municipality, school district, and special taxing districts.
The Tax Foundation ranks North Dakota as the state with the 30th most "business friendly" tax climate in the nation. Tax Freedom Day arrives on April 1, 10 days earlier than the national Tax Freedom Day. In 2006, North Dakota was the state with the lowest number of returns filed by taxpayers with an Adjusted Gross Income of over $1M – only 333.
See also: List of North Dakota numbered highways and List of North Dakota railroads
Transportation in North Dakota is overseen by the North Dakota Department of Transportation. The major Interstate highways are Interstate 29 and Interstate 94, with I-29 and I-94 meeting at Fargo, with I-29 oriented north to south along the eastern edge of the state, and I-94 bisecting the state from east to west between Minnesota and Montana. A unique feature of the North Dakota Interstate Highway system, is that virtually all of it is paved in concrete, rather than blacktop, because of the extreme weather conditions it must endure. The largest rail systems in the state are operated by BNSF and the Canadian Pacific Railway. Many branch lines formerly used by BNSF and Canadian Pacific Railway are now operated by the Dakota, Missouri Valley and Western Railroad and the Red River Valley and Western Railroad.
North Dakota's principal airports are the Hector International Airport (FAR) in Fargo, Grand Forks International Airport (GFK), Bismarck Municipal Airport (BIS), and the Minot International Airport (MOT).
Amtrak's Empire Builder runs through North Dakota, making stops at Fargo (2:13 am westbound, 3:35 am eastbound), Grand Forks (4:52 am westbound, 12:57 am eastbound), Minot (around 9 am westbound and around 9:30 pm eastbound), and four other stations. It is the descendant of the famous line of the same name run by the Great Northern Railway, which was built by the tycoon James J. Hill and ran from St. Paul to Seattle. Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound and Jefferson Lines. Public transit in North Dakota is currently limited to bus systems in the larger cities.
Law and government
As with the federal government of the United States, power in North Dakota is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
See also: List of Governors of North Dakota, List of Lieutenant Governors of North Dakota, List of Secretaries of State of North Dakota, and List of Attorneys General of North Dakota
John Burke, 10th Governor of North DakotaThe executive branch is headed by the governor. The current governor is John Hoeven, a Republican whose first term began December 15, 2000, and who was re-elected in 2004 and 2008. The current Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota is Jack Dalrymple, who is also the President of the Senate. The offices of governor and lieutenant governor have four-year terms. The governor has a cabinet consisting of the leaders of various state government agencies, called commissioners. The other elected constitutional offices are secretary of state, attorney general, and state auditor.
The North Dakota Legislative Assembly is a bicameral body consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The state has 47 districts. Each district has one senator and two representatives. Both senators and representatives are elected to four year terms. The state's legal code is named the North Dakota Century Code.
North Dakota's court system has four levels. Municipal courts serve the cities, and most cases start in the district courts, which are courts of general jurisdiction. There are 42 district court judges in seven judicial districts. Appeals from the trial courts and challenges to certain governmental decisions are heard by the North Dakota Court of Appeals, consisting of three-judge panels. The five-justice North Dakota Supreme Court hears all appeals from the district courts and the Court of Appeals.
There are three Sioux, one Three Affiliated Tribes, and one Ojibwa reservations in North Dakota. These communities are self-governing.
See also: List of United States Senators from North Dakota, North Dakota United States Senate election, 2006, and United States House elections, 2006#North Dakota
North Dakota's two United States senators are Democrats Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan. The state has one at-large congressional district represented by Democratic representative Earl Pomeroy.
Federal court cases are heard in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota, which holds court in Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, and Minot. Appeals are heard by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals based in St. Louis, Missouri.
Main article: Politics of North Dakota
See also: Political party strength in North Dakota and List of political parties in North Dakota
The major political parties in North Dakota are the Democratic-NPL and the Republican Party. As of 2007, the Constitution Party and the Libertarian Party are also organized parties in the state.
At the state level, the governorship has been held by the Republican Party since 1992, along with a majority of the state legislature and statewide officers. Dem-NPL showings were strong in the 2000 governor's race, and in the 2006 legislative elections, but the League has not had a major breakthrough since the administration of former state governor George Sinner.
The Republican Party presidential candidate usually carries the state; in 2004, George W. Bush won with 62.9% of the vote. Of all the Democratic presidential candidates since 1892, only Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson received Electoral College votes from North Dakota.
On the other hand, Dem-NPL candidates for North Dakota's federal Senate and Congressional seats have won every election since 1982, and the state's federal delegation has been entirely Democratic since 1986.
Cities and towns
See also: List of cities in North Dakota
Downtown Fargo in 2007
State Capitol, BismarckBismarck, located in south-central North Dakota along the banks of the Missouri River, has been North Dakota's capital city since 1883, first as capital of the Dakota Territory, and then as state capital since 1889. Bismarck however, was not originally the first choice to be the capital of the new state. While Bismarck had served adequately as the territorial capital, it was felt by many that the state's capital city should be moved eastward since then, as now, the majority of North Dakotans lived in the eastern half of the state. To that end, Jamestown was chosen as the new capital, and the state's official records were moved to Jamestown, and stored in the then-new Stutsman County Court House, in preparation for the first session of the North Dakota Legislature. Before the legislators had a chance to gather however, a small group of civic-minded Bismarck residents, disgruntled over the loss of prestige which the impending change meant to their community, rode on horseback the 100 miles to Jamestown in a January blizzard, broke into the court house, stole the state records, and made it back to Bismarck with them, staying just ahead of a pursuing posse. Once the records were back in Bismarck, they were essentially "held hostage", until the legislature agreed to meet in Bismarck. Faced with the "fait accompli", the legislators had no choice but to convene in Bismarck; and, as the Bismarck citizens had hoped for, once there, simply decided it was too much work to change the status quo. In an effort to extract some dignity from the situation however, the legislature refused to formally vote to establish Bismarck as the state capital city. Thus, while Bismarck remains the North Dakota state capital to this day, there is no actual statute, law or constitutional clause placing it there, although because of its convenient central location in the state the city is a perfect site for government to meet.
Bismarck's popularity and beauty attracts thousands of people from the east side of the state to the west, north and south. The state capitol building (the tallest building in the state), and biggest museum in the state, a civic center and the largest opera/ballet house in the state, the largest court room in the state, the largest zoo in the state ("Dakota Zoo") and many night clubs, churches, schools, stadiums, and university opportunities (University of Mary, Bismarck State College, United Tribes Technical College Rasmussen College and other medical, scientific, and religious related colleges) are located in Bismarck. Bismarck today is the leading provider in North Dakota of government, health care, nature protection, residential safety, recreational activities, and education. Bismarck hosts the two tallest buildings in the state (possibly a third), with many parks and recreational areas, three malls and many plazas, a huge downtown area where USA presidents visited, busy traffic and very busy train traffic and an increasing amount of air-travel, and its all located on top of rolling hills along the Missouri River. Bismarck is a "safe-haven" in North Dakota for trees, trees grow well in Bismarck because water is plentiful. Bismarck is always connected to all of North Dakota, Bismarck provides almost all radio signals and transfers data (weather predictions, news, newspaper, sporting events) to all of North Dakota, but not one fourth of North Dakota that is covered by Fargo. Western Montana and northern South Dakota are also covered by the city of Bismarck. Bismarck ranks second in tourism intake after Minot but tourism in Bismarck is powerful year round even during the winter. Bismarck also ranks second in largest metro area after Fargo, which continues to spread at an increasing rate. but Bismarck has no intention of spoiling the warm and happy environment it has successfully matured. Bismarck, North Dakota is the Official Safest (Large Population) City in America to Live.
Bismarck's economy has skyrocketed twice when gold was discovered in the Black Hills and when Garrison Dam on Lake Sakakawea was being constructed. Minot is a city in northern North Dakota is home of the North Dakota State Fair. Mandan is located a few miles west of Bismarck on the west side of the Missouri River and takes its name from the Mandan Indians that greeted Lewis and Clark. New Salem is the location of the world's largest holstein cow statue; the world's largest statue is of a buffalo is Jamestown. Grand Forks and Devils Lake are located in scenic areas of North Dakota. Williston is located near the confluence of the Missouri River and the Yellowstone River near Montana. Medora in the North Dakota Badlands hosts the Medora Musical every summer and is the gateway to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Fort Yates, located along the Missouri River on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation claims to host the final resting place of Hunkpapa Lakota leader Sitting Bull (Mobridge, South Dakota also claims his gravesite).
North Dakota's most populous city is Fargo, North Dakota. North Dakota's top 12 cities are listed here in order of descending size, they are: Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks, Minot, West Fargo, Mandan, Dickinson, Jamestown, Williston, Wahpeton, Devils Lake, and then Valley City.
The state has 11 public colleges and universities, five tribal community colleges, and four private schools. The largest institutions are North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota.
The higher education system consists of the following institutions:
North Dakota University System (Public schools):
Bismarck State College in Bismarck
Dickinson State University in Dickinson
Lake Region State College in Devils Lake
Mayville State University in Mayville
Minot State University in Minot
Dakota College at Bottineau in Bottineau
North Dakota State University in Fargo
North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton
University of North Dakota in Grand Forks
Valley City State University in Valley City
Williston State College in Williston
Cankdeska Cikana Community College in Fort Totten
Fort Berthold Community College in New Town
Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates
Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt
United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck
Rasmussen College in Fargo and Bismarck
Jamestown College in Jamestown
University of Mary in Bismarck
Trinity Bible College in Ellendale
 State symbols
the Wild Prairie RoseState bird: Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
State fish: Northern pike, Esox lucius
State horse: Nokota horse
State flower: Wild Prairie Rose, Rosa arkansana
State tree: American Elm, Ulmus americana
State fossil: Teredo Petrified wood
State grass: Western Wheatgrass, Pascopyrum smithii (Rydb.) A. Löve
State nicknames: Roughrider State, Flickertail State, Peace Garden State
(Great Seal of North Dakota) Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable
(Coat of Arms of North Dakota) Strength from the Soil
State slogan: Legendary
State song: North Dakota Hymn
State dance: Square Dance
State fruit: Chokecherry
State march: Flickertail March
State beverage: Milk
State art museum: North Dakota Museum of Art
State license plate: see the different types over time
"The Flickertail State" is one of North Dakota's nicknames and is derived from Richardson's Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus richardsonii), a very common animal in the region. The ground squirrel constantly flicks its tail in a distinctive manner. In 1953, legislation to make the ground squirrel the state emblem was voted down in the state legislature.
North Dakota's media markets are Fargo-Grand Forks, (121st largest nationally), making up the eastern half of the state, and Minot-Bismarck (158th), making up the western half of the state. Prairie Public Television (PPTV) is a statewide public television network affiliated with PBS.
Broadcast television in North Dakota started on April 3, 1953, when KCJB-TV (now KXMC-TV) in Minot began broadcasting. There are currently 28 analog broadcast stations and 18 digital channels broadcast over North Dakota.
The state's largest newspaper is The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Other weekly and monthly publications (most of which are fully supported by advertising) are also available. The most prominent of these is the alternative weekly High Plains Reader, which covers Fargo and Grand Forks.
Prairie Public is a statewide radio network affiliated with National Public Radio. The state's oldest radio station, WDAY-AM, was launched on May 23, 1922 The Forum Communications owned station is still on the air, and currently broadcasts a news/talk format.
Notable North Dakotans
For a more comprehensive list, see List of people from North Dakota
Dick Armey former U.S. Representative.
James F. Buchli former NASA astronaut.
Quentin N. Burdick former U.S. Senator, third longest-serving Senator among current members of this body
Warren Christopher former U.S. Secretary of State, diplomat and lawyer.
Shannon Curfman American blues-rock guitarist and singer.
Angie Dickinson Golden Globe-winning television and film actress.
Josh Duhamel Emmy Award-winning actor and former male fashion model
Carl Ben Eielson was an aviator, bush pilot and explorer.
CariDee English winner of Cycle 7 on America's Next Top Model. Host of Pretty Wicked.
Louise Erdrich a Native American author of novels, poetry, and children's books.
Virgil Hill former WBA World Cruiserweight champion and Olympic boxer.
Chuck Klosterman a writer, journalist, critic, humorist, and essayist whose work often focuses on pop culture.
Louis L'Amour an author of primarily Western fiction.
Jonny Lang a Grammy-winning blues guitarist and singer.
Peggy Lee a jazz and traditional pop singer and songwriter.
Kellan Lutz actor who portrays Emmett Cullen in Twilight (2008 film) and New Moon (2009 film). Former male fashion model.
Roger Maris a right fielder in Major League Baseball and former single season home run record holder
Phil Jackson coach for the LA Lakers
Helen Marshall poet and medievalist
Thomas McGrath, who was a poet and political activist.
Mancur Olson, American economist
Alan Ritchson American Idol-3rd season participant singer, model, actor
Sakakawea a Shoshone woman of Lewis and Clark fame
Eric Sevareid a CBS news journalist.
Ed Schultz the host of The Ed Schultz Show.
Ann Sothern an Oscar nominated film and television actress
Shadoe Stevens was the host of American Top 40.
Lawrence Welk a musician, accordion player, bandleader, and television impresario.
Bobby Vee an American pop music singer.
Richard Hieb former NASA astronaut.
Darin Erstad MLB all-star and World Series Champion.
Travis Hafner MLB player.