North Dakota

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North Dakota

North Dakota is a U.S. state in the Upper Midwest, named after the indigenous Dakota Sioux. North Dakota is bordered by the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the north and by the U.S. states of Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south, and Montana to the west. It is believed to host the geographic center of North America, Rugby, and is home to the tallest man-made structure in the Western Hemisphere, the KVLY-TV mast.

Geography

North Dakota is located in the Upper Midwest region of the United States. It lies at the center of the North American continent and borders Canada to the north. The geographic center of North America is near the town of Center. Bismarck is the capital of North Dakota, and Fargo is the largest city.

View of western North Dakota Soil is North Dakota’s most precious resource. It is the base of the state’s great agricultural wealth. North Dakota also has enormous mineral resources. These mineral resources include billions of tons of lignite coal. In addition, North Dakota has large oil reserves.

Petroleum was discovered in the state in 1951 and quickly became one of North Dakota’s most valuable mineral resources. In the early 2000s, the emergence of hydraulic fracturing technologies enabled mining companies to extract huge amounts of oil from the Bakken shale rock formation in the western part of the state. North Dakota’s economy is based more heavily on farming than the economies of most other states. Many North Dakota factories process farm products or manufacture farm equipment. Many of the state’s merchants also rely on agriculture.

Climate

North Dakota has a continental climate with warm summers and cold winters. The temperature differences are significant because of its far inland position and being roughly equal distance from the North Pole and the Equator.

Demographics

Population

At the 2021 estimate North Dakota's population was 774,948 on July 1, 2021, a 0.53% decrease since the 2020 United States census. This makes North Dakota the U.S. state with the largest percentage in population growth since 2011. North Dakota is the fourth least-populous state in the country; only Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming have fewer residents. From fewer than 2,000 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 past seven decades, hitting a low of 617,761 in the 1970 census, with 642,200 in the 2000 census. Except for Native Americans, the North Dakota population has a lesser percentage of minorities than in the nation as a whole. As of 2011, 20.7% of North Dakota's population younger than age 1 were minorities. The center of population of North Dakota is in Wells County, near Sykeston.

Languages

In 2010, 94.86% (584,496) of North Dakotans over 5 years old spoke English as their primary language. 5.14% (31,684) of North Dakotans spoke a language other than English. 1.39% (8,593) spoke German, 1.37% (8,432) spoke Spanish, and 0.30% (1,847) spoke Norwegian. Other languages spoken included Serbo-Croatian (0.19%), Chinese and Japanese (both 0.15%), and Native American languages and French (both 0.13%). In 2000, 2.5% of the population spoke German in addition to English, reflecting early 20th century immigration.

Religion

The Pew Research Center determined 77% of the adult population was Christian in 2014. In contrast with many southern U.S. states, mainline Protestantism was the largest form of Protestantism practiced (28%). The largest mainline Protestant denomination in North Dakota was the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the United Methodist Church was the second largest. Evangelical Protestants, forming the second largest Protestant branch (22%), were also dominated by Lutherans; the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod was the largest Evangelical denomination. Among the Christian population of North Dakota, the Roman Catholic Church was the single largest Christian denomination.

Non-Christian religions accounted for 3% of the adult population, with Islam being the largest non-Christian religion. Other faiths such as Unitarians and New Agers collectively made up 1% of the practicing population. At the 2014 survey, 20% were unaffiliated with any religion, and 2% of North Dakotans were atheist; 13% of the population practiced nothing in particular.

Economy

Agriculture is North Dakota’s largest industry, although petroleum, food processing, and technology are also major industries. Its growth rate is about 4.1%. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis the economy of North Dakota had a gross domestic product of $55.180 billion in the second quarter of 2018. The per capita income for the state was $34,256, when measured from 2013 to 2017 by the United States Department of Commerce. The three-year median household income from 2013 to 2017 was $61,285.

According to Gallup data, North Dakota led the U.S. in job creation in 2013 and has done so since 2009. The state has a Job Creation Index score of 40, nearly 10 points ahead of its nearest competitors. North Dakota has added 56,600 private-sector jobs since 2011, creating an annual growth rate of 7.32 percent. According to statistics released in December 2020, by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, North Dakota had the highest rate of annual growth in personal consumption expenditures of all 50 states, from 2009-2018. During this time period, annual nominal personal income growth averaged 6% per year, compared to the U.S. average of 4.4%. North Dakota’s personal income growth is tied to various private business sectors such as agriculture, energy development, and construction. North Dakota also had the highest growth in personal expenditures on housing and utilities of all states, reflecting the sharply increased demand for housing in the 2010s.

Agriculture

North 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. With industrial-scale farming, it ranks 9th in the nation in the value of crops and 18th in total value of agricultural products sold. Large farms generate the most crops. The share of people in the state employed in agriculture is comparatively high: as of 2008, only two to three percent of the population of the United States is directly employed in agriculture.

North Dakota has about 90% of its land area in farms with 27,500,000 acres (111,000 km2) of cropland, the third-largest amount in the nation. Between 2002 and 2007, total cropland increased by about a million acres (4,000 km2); North Dakota was the only state showing an increase. Over the same period, 1,800,000 acres (7,300 km2) were shifted into soybean and corn monoculture production, the largest such shift in the United States. Agriculturalists are concerned about too much monoculture, as it makes the economy at risk from insect or crop diseases affecting a major crop. In addition, this development has adversely affected habitats of wildlife and birds, and the balance of the ecosystem.

The state is the largest producer in the U.S. of many cereal grains, including barley (36% of U.S. crop), durum wheat (58%), hard red spring wheat (48%), oats (17%), and combined wheat of all types (15%). It is the second leading producer of buckwheat (20%). As of 2007, corn became the state's largest crop produced, although it is only 2% of total U.S. production. The Corn Belt extends to North Dakota but is more on the edge of the region instead of in its center.

Corn yields are high in the southeast part of the state and smaller in other parts of the state. Most of the cereal grains are grown for livestock feed. The state is the leading producer of many oilseeds, including 92% of the U.S. canola crop, 94% of flax seed, 53% of sunflower seeds, 18% of safflower seeds, and 62% of mustard seed. Canola is suited to the cold winters and it matures fast. Processing of canola for oil production produces canola meal as a by-product. The by-product is a high-protein animal feed.

Energy

The energy industry is a major contributor to the economy. North Dakota has both coal and oil reserves. On average, the state's production of oil production grew at average annual rate of 48.4% from 2009-2018. During these years, oil production increased each year from 2009 to 2015, with 2016 marked by a slight decline and a return to growth since. Shale gas is also produced. Lignite coal reserves in Western North Dakota are used to generate about 90% of the electricity consumed, and electricity is also exported to nearby states. North Dakota has the second largest lignite coal production in the U.S. However, lignite coal is the lowest grade coal. There are larger and higher grade coal reserves (anthracite, bituminous coal and subbituminous coal) in other U.S. states.

Oil was discovered near Tioga in 1951, generating 53 million barrels (8,400,000 m3) of oil a year by 1984. Recoverable oil reserves have jumped dramatically recently. The oil reserves of the Bakken Formation 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. A report issued in April 2008 by the U.S. Geological Survey estimates the oil recoverable by current technology in the Bakken formation is two orders of magnitude less, in the range of 3 billion barrels (480×106 m3) to 4.3 billion barrels (680×106 m3), with a mean of 3.65 billion barrels (580×106 m3).

Tourism

North Dakota is considered the least visited state, owing, in part, to its not having a major tourist attraction. Nonetheless, tourism is North Dakota's third largest industry, contributing more than $3 billion into the state's economy annually. Outdoor attractions like the 144-mile (232-km) Maah Daah Hey Trail and activities like fishing and hunting attract visitors. The state is known for the Lewis & Clark Trail and being the winter camp of the Corps of Discovery. Areas popular with visitors include Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the western part of the state. The park often exceeds 475,000 visitors each year.

Regular events in the state that attract tourists include Norsk Høstfest in Minot, billed as North America's largest Scandinavian festival; the Medora Musical; and the North Dakota State Fair. The state also receives a significant number of visitors from the neighboring Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, particularly when the exchange rate is favorable.

Culture

American Indian Nations

In the 21st century, North Dakota has an increasing population of Native Americans, who in 2010 made up 5.44% of the population. By the early 19th century the territory was dominated by Siouan-speaking peoples, whose territory stretched west from the Great Lakes area. The word "Dakota" is a Sioux (Lakota/Dakota) word meaning "allies" or "friends". The primary historic tribal nations in or around North Dakota, are the Lakota and the Dakota ("The Great Sioux Nation" or "Oceti Sakowin", meaning the seven council fires), the Blackfoot, the Cheyenne, the Chippewa (known as Ojibwe in Canada), and the Mandan. There are six Indian reservations in North Dakota--Spirit Lake Tribe, Standing Rock Indian Reservation, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, and The Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation.

Norwegian and Icelandic Influences

Around 1870 many European immigrants from Norway settled in North Dakota's northeastern corner, especially near the Red River. Icelanders also arrived from Canada. Pembina was a town of many Norwegians when it was founded; they worked on family farms. They started Lutheran churches and schools, greatly outnumbering other denominations in the area. This group has unique foods such as lefse and lutefisk.

The continent's largest Scandinavian event, Norsk Høstfest, is celebrated each September in Minot's North Dakota State Fair Center, a local attraction featuring art, architecture, and cultural artifacts from all five Nordic countries. The Icelandic State Park in Pembina County and an annual Icelandic festival reflect immigrants from that country, who are also descended from Scandinavians.

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, Minot Symphony Orchestra and Great Plains Harmony Chorus are full-time professional and semi-professional musical ensembles who perform concerts and offer educational programs to the community.

Entertainment

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 Indie rock June Panic (of Fargo, signed to Secretly Canadian).

Ed Schultz was 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.

Sports

Bismarck was home of the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Development League, and currently hosts the Bismarck Bucks of the Indoor Football League. North Dakota has two NCAA Division I teams, the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and North Dakota State Bison, and two Division II teams, the Mary Marauders and Minot State Beavers. Fargo is home to the USHL ice hockey team the Fargo Force. Fargo is also the home of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks of the American Association. The North Dakota High School Activities Association features more than 25,000 participants.

Outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing are hobbies for many North Dakotans. Ice fishing, skiing, 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 on Lake Sakakawea, where it abuts the Lewis and Clark Trail.

Media

The state has 10 daily newspapers, the largest being 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. The state’s oldest radio station, WDAY-AM, was launched on May 23, 1922. North Dakota’s three major radio markets center around Fargo, Bismarck, and Grand Forks, though stations broadcast in every region of the state. Several new stations were built in Williston in the early 2010s. North Dakota has 34 AM and 88 FM radio stations. KFGO in Fargo has the largest audience.

Broadcast television in North Dakota started on April 3, 1953, when KCJB-TV (now KXMC-TV) in Minot started operations. North Dakota’s television media markets are Fargo-Grand Forks (117th largest nationally), including the eastern half of the state, and Minot-Bismarck (152nd), making up the western half of the state. There are currently 31 full-power television stations, arranged into 10 networks, with 17 digital subchannels.

Education

Higher Education

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.

Primary and Secondary Education

There were 142 schools in North Dakota cities and 4,722 one room schools in the state in 1917. The urban schools had 36,008 students, and 83,167 students attended the one room schools. 1,889 of the one room schools closed between 1929 and 1954. In 1954 North Dakotan cities had 513 schools while 2,447 one room schools were in the state. At that time the urban schools had 94,019 students while the one room schools had 25,212 students. The Nation's Report Card ranks North Dakota fifteenth in the country in K-12 education based on standardized test scores.

Transportation

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 virtually all of it is paved in concrete, not blacktop, because of the extreme weather conditions it must endure. BNSF and the Canadian Pacific Railway operate the state’s largest rail systems. 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), Minot International Airport (MOT) and Williston Basin International Airport (XWA) in Williston.

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