Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

How Oil Made North Dakota Rich, in One Map How Oil Made North Dakota Rich, in One Map

This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

Energy

How Oil Made North Dakota Rich, in One Map

An oil rig near Stanley, N.D.(KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

photo of Amy Harder
December 12, 2013

North Dakota was the great exception to the Great Recession.

The only area in the country that saw both a widespread significant increase in household incomes and a significant decrease in poverty rates over the past five years was North Dakota, specifically Western North Dakota, according to 2012 data the U.S. Census Bureau released and mapped out on Thursday.

Median household incomes in more than half the counties in the state, including most on the western side, where oil production is booming, are higher today than before the recession began in 2007, and they're also higher in objective monetary terms than most of the rest of the country. Household incomes are also up in South Dakota. Western North Dakota's oil patch is one of the few places that not only weathered the Great Recession, but thrived. See the full version of this map.

 

Over the past five years, since 2007, 62 percent of all counties in North Dakota saw increases in their median household incomes, and 33 percent in South Dakota saw increases.

"One could say that these two states represented nearly 50 percent of all counties which showed a statistically significant increase in median household income," the bureau finds.

By contrast, of the other 3,000-plus counties nationwide, just 56 had a similar "statistically significant increase" in household incomes. Of all the counties that had a significant change in income levels, 89 percent saw declines.

Western North Dakota is one of the few areas outside of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions that has counties with household incomes above the national average, which was $51,371 in 2012. Western North Dakota was also one of the few areas where the poverty rate decreased over the past five years, to be well below the national average of 15.9 percent.

The Census Bureau doesn't say what is causing North Dakota to stand out as it clearly does in its maps. But the oil boom that's taken over the western part of the state—and is having ripple effects throughout the region and the rest of the U.S.—is indisputably a huge economic driver.

The state produced almost a million barrels a day of petroleum in September, its Mineral Resources Department reported in November. That's up from about 100,000 barrels a day in January 2005. North Dakota has gone from being the ninth-largest producer of oil nine years ago to second behind only Texas today.

LIKE THIS STORY? Sign up for Energy Edge

Sign up for our daily newsletter and stay on top of energy coverage.

Sign up form for Energy Edge
Job Board
Search Jobs
Biomedical Service Internship Position
American Society of Civil Engineers | Flint, MI
Fire Sprinkler Inspector
American Society of Civil Engineers | Charlotte, NC
Professional Development Program Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Farmington Hills, MI
Deputy Director of Transit Operations
American Society of Civil Engineers | San Jose, CA
Transportation Planner
American Society of Civil Engineers | Salinas, CA
Assistant Professor - Water Resources/Ecological Engineering
American Society of Civil Engineers | Auburn, AL
Product Manager - Chemical Development and Supply - Tulsa, OK
American Society of Civil Engineers | Tulsa, OK
Commissioning Intern
American Society of Civil Engineers | Chicago, IL
Assessment and Remediation Team Lead
American Society of Civil Engineers | Regina, SK
Business Development Manager
American Society of Civil Engineers
Sr. Controls Systems Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Grand Island, NE
Senior Project Manager- Transportation
American Society of Civil Engineers | San Antonio, TX
Materials Engineer 2
American Society of Civil Engineers | IL
Land Surveyor
American Society of Civil Engineers
Quality Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Attica, IN
 
Comments
comments powered by Disqus