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Williams County, North Dakota is the best county in America, in three maps.

It’s no secret that North Dakota is in the middle of an economic boom generated by oil and natural gas extraction at the Bakken formation. But it’s still striking how much the state — and the northern parts of South Dakota, too — stands out from the rest of the country. As the above Census Bureau map shows, North Dakota is one of the few areas in the country to have experienced a statistically significant increase in median household income from 2007 to 2012.

Of course, it didn’t have much to compete against, as the rest of the country was in recession. But even when you look at absolute figures, North Dakota sticks out. In fact, one county in particular — Williams, on the border with Montana and the western neighbor of Mountrail County, which includes the Parshall Oil Field — is doing pretty great. Here’s how it looks on median household income:

median_income

You read my crayoning right: its median household income is $79,265. It’s not as high as some rich suburban counties in northern Virginia, but it’s extremely high for the area around the Bakken formation. And Williams has quite low poverty too:

poverty

Click “Know More” to read Edwin Dobb on how the Bakken formation is changing North Dakota. And we should add that while the economic stats in Williams are great, the region appears to have some messed up gender issues. Hat-tip to Matt O’Brien for the maps, as well as for the latter article.

Dylan Matthews | December 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm
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