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North Dakota Vs. South Dakota

North Dakota vs South Dakota – two states worth a comparison when it comes to visiting or living there. Both states have a lot to offer, but when comparing the two, one of the states is better in certain factors and has many places where you can live a beautiful life. So to get to know about these factors and to help you make your decision, this guide answers all your queries before making any final decision.

What is the difference between North Dakota and South Dakota?

The most significant difference between North and South Dakota is the presence of the Black Hills. While North Dakota has an enormous stretch of flat grasslands, a good part of western South Dakota has mountainous terrain. In addition to geography, these two US states are also different in terms of people. The people of North Dakota are well-educated and, on average, more intelligent than those in South Dakota.

Should I visit North Dakota or South Dakota?

While both Dakotas are worth visiting, South Dakota offers much more than its counterpart. This US state is home to scenic landscapes and plenty of tourist attractions.

However, you should visit North Dakota if you are more inclined toward history and culture. It offers a fascinating glimpse into history through its museums and is famous for its rugged badlands and lush woodland settings.

North Dakota Vs South Dakota: 10 Main Differences

Are you looking forward to the Midwest Vacation but are unsure about North Dakota Vs. South Dakota? Here, we have outlined the 10 major factors that differentiate these two US states. Scroll down to the bottom and make a worthy decision.

1.   Population Difference North Vs South Dakota

North Dakota and South Dakota are the 17th and 19th largest states in the country by area, respectively. They are among the country’s five least and most sparsely populated states. However, according to the population index, South Dakota is slightly more populated than North Dakota.

We have compiled the population difference between these two states in the table below.

MetricsNorth DakotaSouth Dakota
Population Estimates, July 1, 2009762,062884,659
Population Census, April 1, 2010672,591814,180
Citizens under 5 years of age7.2%7.0%
Citizens under 18 years of age23.5%24.7%
People 65 years of above15.3%16.6%
Females48.8%49.5%
White alone87.0%84.4%
Black or African Americans alone3.4%2.4%
American Indian and Alaska Native Alone5.5%9.0%
Percentage of population change – from April 1, 2010, to July 1, 201913.3%8.7%

Is North Dakota more populated than the South?

No. According to the World Population Review, South Dakota is slightly more populated than the North, with a population of 896,581.

What percent of North Dakota is black?

According to the most recent ACS, Black or African American comprises 3.15% of the total population.

What is the main religion in North Dakota?

The North Dakota population is spread across 77% Christian-based faith affiliations in religious terms.

2.   Living Cost Comparison

While both Dakotas are ideal for budget-savvy travelers, South Dakota is slightly cheaper than the South in terms of the living cost. According to BestPlaces, the cost of living index in South Dakota is 88.3 and in North Dakota is 88.9. We have compared North Dakota State vs South Dakota in terms of living costs and compiled the information in the table below.

MetricNorth DakotaSouth Dakota
Overall Cost of Living88.988.3
Housing88.583.8
Median Home Value$240,200$239,500
Transportation74.471.2
Miscellaneous103.398.3

Is North Dakota more expensive to live in than South Dakota?

Yes. Living in North Dakota is slightly more expensive than living in the South. The Bureau of Economic Analysis data suggests that South Dakota has the 6th lowest overall cost of living.

Is the cost of living cheaper in North Dakota than in South Dakota?

No, not at all. The cost of goods and services in South Dakota is 12.1% less than the country’s average. Also, the overall cost of living index in South Dakota is 88.3, slightly lower than in North Dakota (89.9).

3.   Citizenship in North Dakota Vs South Dakota

You must apply for US citizenship to permanently settle in North Dakota or South Dakota. However, residency requirements might vary from one state to another. The investors, their spouses, and any unmarried children under 21 are eligible to receive permanent green cards in North Dakota. 

However, getting a residency in South Dakota is relatively easy and fast. You only need to be in South Dakota for 24 hours to establish residency for at least five years.

How do I become a North Dakota Citizen?

A person is deemed a resident of North Dakota if he has lived there for 90 days, providing that he is a non-resident student, a tourist, or a member of the armed forces. In addition, you can earn a residency in North Dakota by renting or buying a house, being employed within the state, being registered to vote in North Dakota, or having a business located in this region.

How long does it take to get citizenship in North Dakota?

The naturalization application process in the USA might take 14.5 months on average.

4.   North Dakota Tax Rates & Rankings

North Dakota has a 5% state sales tax rate with a maximum local sales tax rate of 3.50% and an average combined local and state sales tax rate of 6.96%. According to Tax Foundation, North Dakota’s tax system ranks 19th on their 2022 State Business Tax Climate Index.

This US state is moderately tax-friendly for retirees as social security income is partially taxed.

Check out the North Dakota State Vs South Dakota State prediction in tax rates and rankings here.

MetricsNorth DakotaSouth Dakota
Top Individual Tax Rate2.90%$0
State and Local Tax Burden8.8%8.4%
Top Corporate Income Tax Rate4.31%NA
State Business Tax Climate Index Ranking192
Sales Tax5%4.50%
Average Local Sales Tax Rate1.96%1.90%
Property Tax paid as a percentage of owner-occupied housing value0.95%1.18%

Is North Dakota a tax-friendly state more than South Dakota?

No. South Dakota is way more tax-friendly for retirees compared to North Dakota. It has no state income tax, which means pensions, social security, and other retirement incomes are all devoid of taxes.

Is South Dakota a high tax rate than North Dakota?

No, not at all. The tax rates in South Dakota are way lesser than the North Dakota, except for property tax. SD doesn’t have an individual income tax, making it one of the most tax-friendly states in the country.

5.   Education in North Vs South Dakota

North Dakota experienced an on-time graduation rate of 89.0%, which is the highest among its neighboring states. According to US News, this state is ranked #16 in Higher Education and #34 in Pre-K-12, making it the best reason to move to North Dakota.

On the contrary, South Dakota is ranked #19 for its overall education system, #8 for Higher Education, and $29 for Pre-K-12.

What is the main difference between North Dakota and South Dakota education?

The main difference in the North Dakota Vs South Dakota education system is its graduate rate and overall rankings. Moreover, in South Dakota, students prefer the ACT college admission test more than the SAT, thus earning an average ACT score of 21.9

How does North Dakota rank in education?

According to US News, North Dakota is ranked #18 for overall education, #16 for Higher Education, and #34 for Pre-K-12.

Does South Dakota have a good education?

The graduation rate in South Dakota is 82.7, which is the lowest among its neighboring states. Moreover, the University of South Dakota is ranked #239 in National Universities, and schools are ranked based on their performance.

6.   Buying a House in North or South Dakota

South Dakota is unarguably the best place to settle in, owing to its low cost of living, better housing values, and high employment opportunities. Home Appreciation in South Dakota has increased by up to 10.4% in the last 12 months, while the increase in North Dakota is up to 10%. According to Best Places, the housing index in South Dakota is 83.8 and in North Dakota is 88.5.

Is it cheaper to live in North Dakota or South Dakota?

Living in South Dakota is slightly cheaper than in the North. The average cost of living in North Dakota is 89.9 and in South Dakota is 88.3.

How is the housing market in North Dakota vs South Dakota?

The housing market in South Dakota is quite cheaper than in North Dakota. The median home cost in North Dakota is $273,818, while in South Dakota is $239,500.

7.   Public Healthcare Comparison

You must compare South Dakota Vs North Dakota in terms of healthcare before making a choice. South Dakota is ranked #23, while North Dakota scores 27th in the country for their healthcare services.

Do you have to have health insurance in North Dakota?

No. North Dakota doesn’t have any state-specific health insurance requirements, except for ACA.

What is the income limit for Medicaid in North Dakota?

The maximum income level for Medicaid in North Dakota depends on the household size. The annual household income limits for Medicaid are:

Household SizeMaximum Income Level (Per Year)
1$18,075
2$24,353
3$30,630
4$36,908
5$43,186
6$49,463
7$55,741
8$62,018

8.   Economy Ranking

Speaking of North Dakota Vs South Dakota in terms of economy ranking, North Dakota is currently ranked 9th, and South Dakota stands at 12th in the country. However, a recent study suggests that South Dakota is one of only two states to be in a stronger economic position after the Pandemic. 

Is North Dakota richer than South Dakota?

No. North Dakota is the 42nd richest state, while South Dakota is the 28th most wealthy state in the country.

Does South Dakota have the strongest economy?

Yes. Studies believe that South Dakota has the strongest economy in America and is ranked 12th in the country for its economic outlook.

Does North Dakota have a good economy?

Yes. North Dakota’s economy is fairly good, and the state is even ranked third among all states in terms of economic output per working-age adult GDP in 2019.

9.   Which state is better to work in?

South Dakota is a clear winner when we compare these two US states in terms of employment opportunities. First of all, the cost of living in South Dakota is much lower than in North; hence, it attracts more people. This state boasts a strong economy and growing career opportunities.

Additionally, South Dakota has no Corporate Income Tax Rate, which is why this state welcomes more entrepreneurs and companies.

What jobs are in demand in North Dakota?

Before looking for the best place to live and work in North Dakota, check out some of the high-demanding jobs in this state. The in-demand occupations in North Dakota are Civil Engineers, Construction Managers, Social Workers, Financial Services Sales Agents, and Healthcare experts.

What are the highest-paying jobs in North Dakota?

The highest-paying jobs in North Dakota and their salary are mentioned here.

  • Architect: $71,887 per year
  • Judge: $71,887 per year
  • Financial Manager: $68,659 per year
  • Sales Manager: $64,101 per year
  • Pharmacist: $61,734 per year
  • Electrical Engineer: $57,639 per year
  • Marketing Manager: $52,966 per year

North Dakota Vs South Dakota – FAQs

Why are North and South Dakota different?

The Dakota Territory heavily favored the Republican Party, thus dividing them into two states. The separation mainly favors the settlers in each state who would be closer to their respective capital. President Benjamin Harrison signed the papers on November 2, 1889, to admit North and Sot Dakota as two separate states.

What are 5 interesting facts about North Dakota?

The 5 exciting facts about the state are mentioned here.
North Dakota is the 19th largest and third-least populous state in the country.
This US state has half a dozen nicknames.
North Dakota has a solar calendar.
The cloth dryer was invested in North Dakota.
North Dakota is home to many famous folks.

What are 3 interesting facts about South Dakota?

Sioux Falls is South Dakota’s largest city.
This US state has more shorelines than Florida.
South Dakota is home to Crazy House Memorial Carving, the giant sculpture in the world.

Does South Dakota get Tornadoes?

Yes, there are reported instances of some weak and strong tornadoes in South Dakota.

When does pheasant season open in South Dakota?

The pheasant season opens on the third Saturday of October. So if you are coming for that, book your tickets accordingly.

North Dakota Vs South Dakota – The Bottom Line

That’s all about North Dakota Vs South Dakota. We hope now you are fully aware of the major differences between these two US states. Our research will help you choose the best of these two states based on your requirements.

As far as these factors are concerned, South Dakota is the best place to settle. This state has the strongest economy, growing career opportunities, plenty of tourist attractions, and good healthcare services.

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