Oil Boom: Six North Dakota Counties In America’s Top Ten For Per-Capita Income


Thanks to the Bakken oil boom, no fewer than six of America’s top ten counties ranked by per-capita income are in North Dakota. That wouldn’t have been true just a few years ago.

Drill, baby, drill.

The nation’s oil and gas boom is driving up income so fast in a few hundred small towns and rural areas that it’s shifting prosperity to the nation’s heartland, a USA TODAY analysis of government data shows.

The 261 million people who live in cities and suburbs still haven’t recovered earning power lost in the economic downturn. Average income per person fell 3.5% in metropolitan areas between 2007 and 2011 after adjusting for inflation. …

By contrast, small-town America is better off than before: Inflation-adjusted income is up 3.8% per person since 2007 for the 51 million in small cities, towns and rural areas.

Small-town prosperity is most noticeable in North Dakota, now the nation’s No. 2 oil-producing state. Six of the top 10 counties (in US per capita income) are above the state’s Bakken oil field.

Not surprisingly, North Dakota’s top county for per-capita income was Williams County (Williston) at $81,000/year. The state’s lowest per-capita income was Golden Valley County at $26,292.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Harold

    I’m jealous of those six counties and their rich people. We need to share a fair share which in Obama’s view would be all they have earned from oil on their lands and the good fortune to earn from that land. I want it all says Obama, you landowners deserve nothing. Under Obama no one should be called rich, need to share with that crack addict so they feel good about themselves.

    • Hellboy

      Yeah…….. everybody needs to have a “fair shot………” Right???

      Everybody needs to pay their “fair share…..” You don’t own those mineral rights!!!!!!

      I say to the Obama-ites…. FRACK EM!!!!

  • WOOF

    Anybody have a car elevator yet ?

    • justahick

      Why do you care what they do with their money?

    • kevindf

      Why does WOOF hate people who earn their living in the elevator industry?

  • OldConserv2011

    My grandfather farmed a few hundred acres of rocky, hilly land in extreme western Mountrail county for over 60 years. He never owned a lot of land but whenever he did buy land, he always made sure to buy the minerals as well. Whenever he sold land, he chose to keep the minerals. Many times during the lean years of the 30’s and 40’s, he was ridiculed for hanging on to those worthless mineral acres. He never really did see a reward from those minerals, but today my mother and her siblings receive a comfortable monthly royalty check to augment their meager retirement and social security incomes. If it weren’t for that revenue coming from oil, they would not be able to afford living in Tioga or Stanley.

    There are many, many families like mine who now benefit from the wealth derived from investing in land and the minerals beneath. No body came to the rescue when they struggled financially to hold it all together and keep the family fed. But boy now that the wealth is being realized, all kinds of people want to claim credit or worse yet, want to step in and take a big chunk of the income.

    DRILL BABY DRILL, and let some of us third generation people reap the rewards of our grandparent’s wisdom.