Cost of living -

7 Things to know and do before moving to North Dakota

North Dakota is a state in the upper Midwestern United States. The state offers a high quality of life, a welcoming community, friendly neighbors, and plenty of job opportunities. North Dakota is ranked number 1 among all states for quality of life. 

It is a serene prairie paradise full of beauty and nature. In addition, North Dakota is a tax-friendly state. It is also a great place to raise a family.

So, if you are considering moving to North Dakota, there are numerous things you need to know and prepare for, like their cost of living or simply how to notify the state of North Dakota of your address change. Here are 7 things you need to know before moving to North Dakota.

Moving to North Dakota: Everything to know and do

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1. First steps before moving to North Dakota

Find a reliable moving company, truck rental or moving container

For your move to North Dakota, you will need to hire a reliable moving company or take on the move yourself. To find the best moving company in North Dakota, look for helpful reviews, a professional-looking website, and years of experience.

Planning a move to North Dakota? Take a look at our selection of:

Finding a job 

As of September 2023, North Dakota had an unemployment rate of 1.9%, which has the same rate from August 2023.

Jobs that are often in high demand are nursing assistants, custodians, and laborers.

Finding a job in North Dakota is easier if you search online for job openings. Popular websites for this include LinkedIn, Indeed, and SimplyHired.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics (Oct 2023)

Getting there 

Below are some travel options to get to North Dakota from different parts of the country include:

Flying: Flying is the most convenient way to move to North Dakota. Book a flight from your departure city to Minot International Airport (MOT), depending on your destination within North Dakota.

Train: You can also take the train with Amtrak as an alternative. 

Bus: If you want another way to travel, North Dakota cities have bus services like Greyhound, and Flixbus, that can get you there.

If you are flying and require assistance with moving your belongings, you can explore options provided by reputable moving companies.

Must dos before your arrival 

Moving to North Dakota may be exciting and will challenge you in many ways. By knowing these things beforehand, you will be better prepared for your new life in the city.

  • If you are moving to North Dakota permanently, and you receive a lot of mail (excluding packages), you may want to sign up with USPS’s mail forwarding service. Mail forwarding allows your mail to be redirected to the right address for a given period of time. The fee for regular mail forwarding is only a little over a dollar for 6 months. If you want to extend the service, you will have to pay around $20 for 6 months more. You can begin your mail forwarding process by signing up on USPS’s website or directly at your local Post Office.
  • Moving to a new place is an opportunity to start afresh. If you’re moving to North Dakota, selling or donating the items you won’t need will go a long way in making your move easier. You can sell your old household items and personal possessions, and anything that will not be useful. Pick out the items that will not be useful for you in North Dakota, then decide if you want to sell them on websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace or donate them to a non-profit organization.

2. Upon your arrival in North Dakota

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers.
  • If you roam around the city for work or just simply checking on it, it would be great to purchase a daily pass to save money.
  • Locate the essential facilities like the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for your safety and in case of emergency.

You can easily get around in North Dakota. There are several options available. 

  • NDOT – Provides local bus, transit and taxi services. 
  • Bisman Transit – It is a fixed-route bus system serving Bismarck and Mandan with 6 routes.

Exchanging your driver’s license

Once you move to North Dakota and establish residency, you must transfer your out-of-state driver’s license within 60 days. In order to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license, you’ll need to visit a ND DOT office in person and bring your proof of identity, social security number and cash to pay a fee. To avoid long wait times, you can book an appointment online to exchange your driver’s license.

Register your vehicle

If you have just moved to North Dakota, you’ll have to register your out-of-state vehicle as soon as you establish residency. Failure to do so might result in penalties and additional charges. To get your car registered in North Dakota:

Visit your local ND DOT office in person and submit a completed Application for Certificate of Title & Registration of a Vehicle (SFN 2872), and some additional documents. To avoid long wait times, you can book an appointment online to register your vehicle.

Change your address

Along with mail forwarding, you will also have to update your new address with the concerned authorities in North Dakota, like the DMV. To exercise your right to vote in North Dakota, you can simply fill this quick online voter registration form.

Once you have voted for the first time, your name will be entered into the state’s central voter file within 45 days after the election.

Changing your address with your employer, bank, doctor, insurer, and service providers so that you can avoid any complications further down the road.

Setting up a bank account 

Obtaining a bank account in North Dakota is a straightforward process. You only need to present a copy of your valid state or government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. The bank with most branches in North Dakota for easy access is Gate City Bank. North Dakota’s residents has access to a whopping 34 offices of Gate City Bank in the state.

Getting health insurance

Getting health insurance is an excellent way to get peace of mind when it comes to your health. With health insurance, you will not have to worry about spending a ton of money in case of a health-related emergency. The state of North Dakota proposes a website to help you with your health insurance search. Simply choose North Dakota as your state and create an account.

Type of healthcare

Cost

Employer-sponsored health insurance

$123.75

Non-employer-sponsored health insurance

$462.00

Gym

$43.75

Numbeo (Oct 2023) & EHealthInsurance (Oct 2023)

3. Best places to live in North Dakota

Best places to live in North Dakota

If you are a couple, you might want to consider living in Bismarck. Bismarck is a safe place with plenty of job opportunities, a diverse culture, and it is loaded with museums, multiple theaters, parks, and an art gallery. 

If you are a family, you might want to consider Stanley. Stanley is amongst the best cities to live in North Dakota, it offers high education rates, a low cost of living, a high median household income and a lot of amenities. 

If you are single, you should consider moving to Fargo. Fargo is the most populous city in North Dakota and is home to the North Dakota State University. It offers a lot of amenities and an active lifestyle.

Setting up home services 

Setting up essential home services like electricity, water, gas, and internet in North Dakota is a straightforward process. 

  • North Dakota State Public Service Commission is responsible for regulating electricity, natural gas, water and telecommunication services in North Dakota. You can visit their website and search for electricity, water and gas providers and even reach out to them if you have any inquiry.

Should you rent or buy?

The average North Dakota home value is $254,258, went up by 0.20% from 2022. North Dakota’s price per square foot to buy an apartment outside the center is $93.75.

Finding an apartment for rent in North Dakota is easy, utilize websites like Zillow, Apartmentguide, and Apartments.com. When seeking a house, these websites—Zillow, Realtor, and Century21—will assist you in your search for a home in North Dakota.

Cost of rent in North Dakota

Area/Neighborhood

1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Fargo (Outside of Center)

$817.50

$1,393.33

 

Cost of buying a property in North Dakota

Area/Neighborhood

Average home price 

Fargo

$254,258

Numbeo (Oct 2023)Zillow (Oct 2023)

Consider getting home insurance

Getting home insurance is essential, whichever state you are residing in. It is a kind of financial protection that will cover for your expenses if a natural disaster damages your home. Residents in North Dakota are at a high risk to severe storms, floods, tornadoes, winter storms and landslides. Therefore, getting home insurance will prove to be valuable.

4. Cost of living in North Dakota

Category

Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$817.50

Groceries

Numbeo’s grocery list ($70.44 multiplied by 4)

$281.76

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$219.90

Internet with 60 Mbps

$57.71

Transit pass

$24.00

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$76.00

Gym membership 

$43.75

Total

$1,520.62

Numbeo (Oct 2023)

5. The weather in North Dakota

On average, there are 205 sunny days per year in North Dakota. The highest temperature in summer is 82° and the winter low is 0 degrees. North Dakota averages 39 inches of snow per year and 19 inches of rain. Summers in North Dakota are warm to hot with nights being usually cold. The month with the most rainfall is June. Winters are cold with freezing rain, ice, sleet and snow.

6. What to do as a local in North Dakota

After you are done settling into your new home in North Dakota, you will probably want to familiarize yourself with the state and all its attractions. Some of the most popular activities and locations in North Dakota include:

Maah Daah Hey Trail Association – This trail system has some of the country’s most unique and breathtaking terrain. A perfect place for an adventure.

Lake Metigoshe State Park – It is one of the most popular year-round vacation spots in North Dakota with activities such as camping, canoeing, kayaking and swimming. 

Fort Abraham Lincoln – In Fort Abraham Lincoln, you’ll get the chance to explore the beauty and history of North Dakota.

Some common grocery stores in North Dakota are: Marketplace Foods, Albertsons, and Trader Joe’s.

The two most popular big chain stores are Walmart and Costco.

Must-visit food places in North Dakota are The Shack on Broadway and Mango’s.

Visit the popular cities in North Dakota: Fargo, Bismark, Grand Forks and Minot.

7. Fun facts about North Dakota

  • Fun Fact #1: The person who invented the camera was from North Dakota.
  • Fun Fact #2: The lowest unemployment rate in the US is in North Dakota (1.9%).
  • Fun Fact #3: The lowest unemployment rate in the US is in North Dakota (3.2%).

Conclusion

North Dakota has a historically low unemployment rate, which is good if you want job security. It’s also a great place for locals to do some outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, hiking, and winter sports. Plus, they have good colleges like the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University for education.

While moving to North Dakota has its pros and cons, checking the cost of living is essential to making sure you will live comfortably in this city and call it home. It’s a good idea to research specific neighborhoods within the state and consider your priorities to determine if North Dakota is the right fit for you and your family.

Need a trusted moving company for the area? Discover the 5 best movers in North Dakota. 

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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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