Improving Quality of Life

Quality of life can be improved through a strong economy that revitalizes communities, encourages business investment, and provides employment opportunities for a competitive workforce at all skill levels.

North Dakota has been enjoying a robust economy, characterized by a flourishing energy development sector, in addition to strong agriculture, real estate, and government sectors. Communities rely on the strength of their economies to generate financial resources to provide employment at all skill levels and services for their residents. Maintaining a high-quality standard of living in all aspects of life – from housing, to health, to education – is influenced by a strong economy. Likewise, the vitality of our economy hinges on the continued success of all aspects of life as well.

What's happening

  • Compared to 2016, North Dakota significantly improved on the annual change in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (from 4.9% decrease in 2016 to 1.0% increase in 2017)
  • In 2017, North Dakota ranked third among all states based on the economic output per capita GDP ($64,911).
  • The median household income in North Dakota in 2016 was $61,843, $1,507 higher than the U.S. median household income, ranking North Dakota 18th among the 50 states.

Making connections

Investment in early childhood and later in education helps to ensure a skilled workforce enabling participation in our diverse economy. Providing access to high quality education will also expand economic opportunity for residents. Research suggests that individuals with higher levels of education are better able to compete for high quality jobs and more likely to obtain jobs with better working conditions, benefits, and opportunities for advancement.  Education is an investment in the future of the state, because workers with higher incomes contribute more through taxes over the course of their lifetimes. Higher incomes are also associated with better educational outcomes for children, improved health outcomes for all residents, in addition to many other advantages.
Educational attainment is also strongly related to U.S. unemployment rates. The more education a group has, the lower the unemployment rate. Those without a job, especially residents without assets or a second worker in the household, may experience hardships such as high debt, health consequences, hunger, foreclosure, and even homelessness.
Multiple studies have shown that people living in poverty also tend to have more hardships, such as poorer health, dying younger, and poorer economic, social, and physical conditions. Furthermore, poverty is associated with an increased risk of homelessness, crime, and illiteracy. Poverty rates are associated with the general condition of the economy. As the economy grows, so do opportunities for employment and income growth.


Deb Nelson: Vision West: Leading, Educating, and Collaborating to Mobilize the 19 Western North Dakota Counties Towards Resilience and Prosperity

"Vision West ND is all about helping communities and counties in the western energy impacted areas and bring about economic diversification and stabilization, not only now during the downturn in oil and agricultural industries, but well into the future."


Kristy Huber: Do you know the Return on Investment on your charitable giving?

"The definition of investment is to buy something with the expectation that it will increase in value. When an individual makes a gift to United Way, they are not givers or donors, but investors. It is our job to invest their dollars into strategies that can produce results. The donors’ expectation is that there will be an increase in value for the community."

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Learn more about the North Dakota Community Action Partnership

North Dakota Compass

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North Dakota State University

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