Richest Counties in North Dakota (2024)

by Kristen Carney Kristen Carney

Updated: June 20, 2024

Richest County in North Dakota

The richest county in North Dakota is Dunn County with an average household income of $123,039 as of 2022. While exceptionally affluent, Dunn County only has a population of 4,019 as of 2023. The richest county in North Dakota with at least 5,000 people is McKenzie County with an average household income of $$119,287 as of 2022 and 14,252 people as of 2023 according to the most current Census data available (citation).

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20 Richest Counties in North Dakota

Rank County Population Average Income Median Income
1 Dunn County 4,019 $123,039 $91,758
2 Burke County 2,134 $119,789 $94,583
3 McKenzie County 14,252 $119,287 $83,813
4 Williams County 39,113 $113,117 $86,139
5 Divide County 2,135 $108,282 $95,938
6 Burleigh County 100,012 $105,791 $82,141
7 Bottineau County 6,349 $104,957 $80,113
8 Morton County 33,895 $104,894 $79,555
9 Mountrail County 9,383 $103,354 $81,886
10 Cass County 196,362 $101,026 $73,249
11 Cavalier County 3,596 $99,327 $61,174
12 Traill County 7,908 $99,090 $81,157
13 Griggs County 2,248 $98,397 $66,688
14 Stark County 33,001 $98,095 $78,734
15 Ward County 68,332 $97,908 $78,143
16 Slope County 674 $96,181 $70,625
17 Mercer County 8,309 $94,760 $82,155
18 Steele County 1,782 $94,649 $85,750
19 Oliver County 1,879 $93,800 $69,722
20 Sargent County 3,776 $93,585 $75,648

Median Income versus Average Income: Which Should You Use?

We usually suggest using median income data – either instead of or in addition to – average income data as a true indicator of wealth. If you haven’t thought about median versus average since your last standardized test, you aren’t alone. Here’s what they are:

  • average is the sum of a set of numbers divided by the count of numbers in the set
  • median is the middle number in the set of numbers
illustation of median vs average

Now let’s say you had the following simplified set of income data.

Household 1: $30,000
Household 2: $50,000
Household 3: $1,000,000

The average income for this set is $360,000. The outlier data point ($1,000,000) skews the average WAY up. Conversely, the average income would be skewed WAY down if someone had an income of $500. The median income for the same data set is $50,000. Outlier data doesn’t skew the median.

Most Business Owners Should Use Median Income

So most business owners should use the median income as a true indicator of wealth, because it provides a more accurate representation of a typical income, especially in areas with significant income disparity.

When Should You Use Average Income

If your target market is high-income households, the average income may be more relevant. This is because the average income can highlight the presence of a higher concentration of wealthy individuals, which is beneficial for luxury goods and services marketing. We’re using average income on this page because using the Census’s highest reported median value of $250,001 could result in multiple ties for the richest geography.

Why do so many cities have a median value of $250,001?

The Census' American Community Survey uses $250,000+ as a jam value for median income estimates to protect privacy, ensure data consistency, and simplify reporting. A "jam value" in survey data refers to a placeholder or default value used when actual data points are unavailable, incomplete, or exceed certain thresholds. We represent this jam value as $250,001 to make it easy for you to sort.

SOURCES

United States Census Bureau. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2023. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. Web. May 2024. http://www.census.gov/.

United States Census Bureau. B01001 SEX BY AGE, 2022 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Office. Web. 7 December 2023. http://www.census.gov/.

United States Census Bureau. B19013 Median Household Income, 2022 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Office. Web. 7 December 2023. http://www.census.gov/.

United States Census Bureau. “DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS.” 2022 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Office. Web. 07 December 2023. http://www.census.gov/.

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