Improving Quality of Life

Quality of life can be improved when people have a clean and healthy environment that contributes to our state's well-being now and into the future.

Maintaining a healthy environment involves careful utilization of natural resources, reduction of impact of human activities on the environment (e.g., eliminate soil, air, and water pollutants and contaminants; eliminate soil erosion; and reduce greenhouse gas emissions), and preserving and enhancing the beauty of nature. A healthy environment can also be defined by the human-made resources that support human activity (e.g., the built environment), which refers to the infrastructure and resources such as grocery stores, parks, green space, restaurants, buildings, transportation systems, and other features.

What's happening

  • In 2019, residents of the Dickinson micropolitan area enjoyed the best air quality of the five metro/micros for which EPA data are available in North Dakota (97.0% of days with “Good” Air Quality Index).
  • The rural nature of communities in North Dakota influences access to healthy food more than demographic and economic characteristics. While 21.7 percent of people in metropolitan areas had low access to a grocery store, 39.0 percent of people living in non-metropolitan areas had low access, according to the latest data (2010).

Making connections

Our economy and workforce can be directly impacted by the state of our environment. Poor air quality also negatively impacts the health of residents in the region, which lowers our quality of life. A nutritious diet is critical to optimal health and disease prevention, and essential for healthy growth and development of children and youth. Healthy food retail businesses improve the community’s economy by supplying local jobs, increasing or stabilizing home values in nearby neighborhoods, generating local tax revenues, and attracting complementary businesses and services.


Jen Walla: Prairie Roots Community Fund: A Focus on Neighbors from a Community-Owned Grocery Store.

“Nutrition has a tremendous impact on individuals and their communities. It affects kids’ and adults’ ability to focus and learn, to have energy for play or effective work, to care for their families and to engage with the community. Lack of it can impact or even cause diseases. Many healthy foods come with a higher price tag and require a bigger time investment to cook than fast food or highly processed foods, so some of the hardest working people have a hard time making good nutrition a consistent part of their lives. These challenges hit close to home for some of Prairie Roots Food Co-op’s closest neighbors.” 


Dean Bangsund: Effects of Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion on Spring Planting for Producers

"As of 2012, our state ranked second in oil production behind only Texas. To those familiar with North Dakota’s economy, the petroleum sector has always been an important part of the state’s economic base. Recent work by state agencies, planners, and researchers has produced a better understanding of the potential rate and extent of oil field development. Current estimates reveal that elevated levels of oil field development will continue for over a decade, resulting in a petroleum industry that is considerably larger than historical levels."

North Dakota Compass

Center for Social Research
North Dakota State University

Compass created by:
Wilder Research

© 2022. All rights reserved.