This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

10 Cities That Embody the American Dream

Bismarck, N.D.
Unemployment rate: 2.9%
Walk score: 48
P/I ratio: 1.95
Education Quality Index score: 75.04
Nothing against Bismarck and its national-low unemployment rate, but when your state stacks the deck in businesses' favor, it makes it pretty easy to hold the line at 3% unemployment as North Dakota has.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce considers North Dakota the ninth-friendliest state for businesses in the nation thanks largely to how it's handled the sale of its natural resources. The state's voters opted to dump oil-extraction revenue into a Legacy Fund similar to Alaska's that not only bankrolls road and other infrastructure improvement in drilling areas, but eases property taxes as well.

That's on top of the 18% cut in individual state income tax and 20% cut in corporate tax during the last year. You'd think Bismarck was a fairly expensive place before those cuts went into effect, but with a median home price of $132,400 and a median family income of $68,000, it's the second-most affordable on this list.

In fact, new Bismarck residents can take the money they're saving and put it into the state-run Bank of North Dakota -- the only one of its kind in the 50 states -- that has no ties to the federal reserve and insures its money with the state's general fund instead of FDIC. The American Dream isn't enough for North Dakota, which feels its better off with the North Dakota American Dream.

Naturally, this reaps huge benefits for the state capital in Bismarck, where the state employs 4,300 of the city's 61,000 residents. The health care system and the city's five colleges provide another large chunk of the workforce, but energy company MDU Resources Group (MDU - Get Report) headquarters has been a good corporate citizen since North Dakota started producing power to spare.

All this good fortune has helped give Bismarck residents a great city with 2,300 acres of parkland, including the Dakota Zoo and an amusement park, expanding retail options based largely around malls and an NBA Developmental League franchise in the Dakota Wizards. It's still the second-least walkable city on our list and 48% of its residents need cars, but with all of that hiking and mall shopping we're pretty sure residents believe they're doing enough walking as it is.

The schools aren't exactly a weakness, either. The elementary schools rank near-perfect and the middle schools are exemplary. The high schools become slightly more problematic, but Bismarck offers a strong selection of private Catholic, Adventist and Christian schools to pick up the slack.

6 of 11

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
BOKF $60.51 0.00%
CHK $14.03 0.00%
C $51.00 0.00%
DVN $59.15 0.00%
HCA $76.07 0.00%


DOW 17,712.66 +34.43 0.19%
S&P 500 2,061.02 +4.87 0.24%
NASDAQ 4,891.2190 +27.8570 0.57%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs