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Grand Forks

  •   State: 
    North Dakota
    Grand Forks County
    Grand Forks
      County FIPS: 
    47°55′17″N 97°05′18″W
      Area total: 
    27.68 sq mi
      Area land: 
    27.99 sq mi (72.49 km²)
      Area water: 
    0.19 sq mi (0.49 km²)
    837 ft (255 m)
    1870; Incorporated February 22, 1881
  •   Latitude: 
      Dman name cbsa: 
    Grand Forks, ND-MN
    Eastern Standard Time (EST) UTC-5:00; Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) UTC-4:00
      ZIP codes: 

    Grand Forks, Grand Forks County, North Dakota, United States

  •   Population: 
      Population density: 
    2,113.83 residents per square mile of area (816.16/km²)
      Household income: 
      Unemployment rate: 
  •   Sales taxes: 
      Income taxes: 

Grand Forks is the third-largest city in the state of North Dakota (after Fargo and Bismarck) and the county seat of Grand Forks County. According to the 2020 census, the city's population was 59,166. Originally called Les Grandes Fourches by French fur traders from Canada, steamboat captain Alexander Griggs platted a community in 1875. The city grew quickly after the arrival of the Great Northern Railway in 1880 and the Northern Pacific Railway in 1887. In the 1920s, the state-owned North Dakota Mill and Elevator was constructed. In 1954, Grand Fork's was chosen as the site for an Air Force base. The Alerus Center and Ralph Engelstad Arena host athletic and other events, while the Empire Arts Center and Chester Fritz Auditorium are the city’s largest cultural venues. The Red River Flood of 1997 devastated the city. The 1997 Red River flood caused extensive damage in the city from the bulk of the flood waters that flowed upstream. It required the relocation of numerous residents, as some neighborhoods were emptied for this construction. During the height of the Red River Valley flood in the 1960s, a major fire destroyed 11 buildings in the downtown area. In 1883, the University of N.D. was established, six years before North Dakota was admitted as an independent state born from the Dakota Territory. This was French colonial territory. The U.S. acquired the territory from British Rupert's Land with the Treaty of 1818, but indigenous tribes dominated the area until the late 19th century.


The city of Grand Forks, North Dakota, was established in 1881. It is located at the forks of the Red River and Red Lake River. The city was named after the French town of Les Grandes Fourches. In the 20th century, the city grew with the arrival of the Great Northern Railway and the University of North Dakota. The Red River flood of 1997 caused extensive damage to the city. Two new sports venues have been built on the city's north and south sides. The town's population has grown to more than 100,000 people. It has a population of about 50,000, the majority of whom live in the north of the city and the south of the town. It was the site of the U.S. Army's first air base, which was built in 1883. The U.N. World War II-era Grand Canyon National Park is located on the north side of the river. The North Dakota River runs through the city, and the city is on its eastern edge. The river is a major source of water supply for the state, and has been used as a flood control system since the 1950s. It also serves as a source of drinking water for many communities in North Dakota and South Dakota, as well as for the rest of the United States. The area was once home to the Ojibwe, a Native American tribe, who lived in the area until the 19th century. They were forced to leave the area due to the encroachment of European settlers.


Grand Forks is 74 miles (119 km) north of the Fargo-Moorhead area and 145 miles (233 km) south of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Red River Valley is the result of an ancient glacier carving its way south during the last ice age. The Near Southside neighborhood has been designated as a "national historic district" and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Grand Forks has a humid continental climate (Köppen: Dfb), USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 4a. It has four very distinct seasons and great variation in temperatures over very short periods of time. The city lies exposed to numerous weather systems, including bitterly cold Arctic high pressure systems, and frequent cold and snowy winters. Its location in the flat Red River valley makes the city susceptible to spring flooding from the Red River of the North, and year-round windy conditions. There are no lakes within the city limits, but the meandering Red River and the English Coulee flow through the community and provide some break in the terrain. In 2006, city leaders and developers announced plans to convert older office buildings into high-end condos and apartments, and to construct new buildings for the same purpose to provide for residents downtown. The 32nd Avenue South corridor has been the commercial center of the city since 1978, when the Columbia Mall opened. A farmer's market takes place every Saturday from mid-June to mid-September in the Town Square at the corner of 3rd Street S. and DeMers Avenue.


As of the census of 2010, there were 52,838 people, 22,260 households, and 11,275 families in the city. There were 23,449 housing units at an average density of 1,177.7 per square mile (454.7/km²) The city's racial makeup was 93.4% White, 0.9% African American, 2.8% Native American, 1.0% Asian (0.72% Bhutanese) and 0.67% Chinese. The top six ancestry groups were Norwegian (36.4%), German (34.7%), Irish (10.6%), French (6.5%), Polish (6,2%) and English (6.1%). The median income for a household in theCity was $34,194, and the median income. for a family was $47,491. About 9.3% of families and 14.6% of the city's population were below the poverty line, including 14.7% of those under age 7 or 65. The average household size was 2.3 and the average family size was 3.0. The median age in the City was 28.4 years, with a median age of 24.6 years. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 100.2 males. The city has a population density of 2,653.8 inhabitants per squaremile (1,024.6/ km²) and a population of 49,321 people.


The economy of Grand Forks is not dominated by any one industry or sector. The state and federal governments are two of the largest employers in the city. The retail and service sector is also an important part of the economy. The city government is involved in the economic development process, helping firms grow and attracting new firms. The newest major shopping center is the Grand Fork's Marketplace power center mall, which features Best Buy, Lowe's, Target and several smaller stores. Due to its proximity to Canada, the Greater Grand Forkers area attracts many shoppers from Manitoba. The largest employers are: The University of North Dakota, Altru Health System, J. R. Simplot Company, and the state-owned North Dakota Mill and Elevator, the nation's largest flour mill. It is the city's largest indoor mall is Columbia Mall, which is anchored by J.C. Penney and Scheels. The oldest, Grand Cities Mall, is on South Washington Street and contains small, locally owned stores and two churches. A major thrust in that direction is the construction of a research park on the western fringes of the campus. Another potential economic opportunity for the city is the addition of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) mission to Grand forks Air Force Base. For confidential support call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit For support on suicide matters call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or visit a local Samaritans branch or click here.


Grand Forks is home to two major indoor athletic arenas. The Alerus Center is the largest arena and convention center complex in the upper Midwest area. The University of North Dakota hockey teams compete in the Ralph Engelstad Arena, in the University Village district of the UND campus. There are several golf courses in the city and the surrounding area. Grand Forks Greenway is a large park that runs the length of the city in the Red River valley. The Greenway, next to the university, is over 43 miles (69 km) long and includes an extensive festival grounds, ski trails, and wildflower gardens. The North Dakota Museum of Art brings many nationally touring exhibits to the city as well as the work of regional artists. The Summer Performing Arts Company (SPA) is a popular summer arts program for area K12 students. The 18-hole, Arnold Palmer-designed, links style King's Walk Golf Course and the historic, 9-hole Lincoln Golf Course are located in the downtown area. There is also an abandoned golf course in nearby East Minnesota and Manvel, North Dakota. The city is one of the largest cities in the U.S. with a population of over 1.5 million people. The population of the state of South Dakota is 1.2 million, the highest in the state. The state has the highest rate of obesity in the United States and the second-highest rate of diabetes in the country. The number of people living in poverty is at an all-time high.


Grand Forks has a mayor-council government. The mayor oversees the administration of city government and works directly with department heads. The city is divided into seven wards, with each ward electing a council member to a four-year term. The council meets twice a month and its two main committees, the Finance/Development Committee and Service/Safety Committee, each meet twice a week. All these meetings are broadcast on a local cable channel. The next mayor of Grand Forks is former NHL hockey player and real estate developer Brandon Bochenski. He defeated Michael Brown in the June 9, 2020, mayoral election. Brown served as mayor from 2000 to 2020. He was elected every four years until he was replaced by Bochenki in 2010. The current mayor is a former NHL player and developer. He is a graduate of the University of North Dakota's College of Information and Public Affairs and the North Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where he worked as a real estatedeveloper and business owner. He has been married to his wife, Kelly, for more than 20 years. The couple has three children. They live in the city's downtown area and have a son, a daughter, and a son-in-law who lives in Grand Rapids, North Dakota. They have a daughter who was born in 2008 and has a son who is in the U.S. Air Force and serves in the Air Force Reserve. The mother-of-three is a mother of one and a grandmother.


Grand Forks is home to the University of North Dakota and Northland Community and Technical College. Grand Forks Public Schools is governed by a nine-member board of elected representatives, separate from the city and county governments. There are several primary schools that are not part of the public school system, including the state-operated North Dakota School for the Blind. The only private high school in the metropolitan area is Sacred Heart High School, a Catholic school, in EastGrandForks. There is a non-denominational Christian elementary and middle school in East Grand forks. Six of the city's Mid-Century Modern-style schools were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2020 for their architecture. The University of Minnesota Crookston is in nearbyCrookston, Minnesota. The city is located in the Red River Valley Research Corridor, which includes North Dakota State University, Northland College, and North Dakota College of Arts and Sciences. The state's oldest university, UND, is at Grand Fork. The FAA ranked No.1 in the nation for the second consecutive year for its Air Traffic Control Training program at UND's John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. UND and NDSU make up the North Dakota-Minnesota-Minnesota Research Corridor. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is based in the town of Noblesville, North Dakota, which is in the state's Upper Upper Peninsula. The town is also home to a number of military installations, including Fort Sill.


Three federal highways pass through Grand Forks: U.S. Route 2, Interstate 29, and Highway 81. The BNSF Railway runs track in several directions in and around the city. Amtrak passenger service on the Empire Builder line heads westbound daily at 4:52 am and eastbounddaily at 12:57 am. The airport is one of the busiest in the country, due in large measure to the presence of UND's John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. With over 4,100 employees and nearly 300 physicians and advanced practice providers, Altru Health System is the main provider of health care in the city and surrounding region. The Sanny and Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention and Genetics, housed in Choice Health & Fitness, encourages people to consider preventive measures before it becomes medically necessary to seek care. The Valley Care area area is home to several long-term care facilities, serving many of the city's elderly: St. Anne's, Edgewood Park Memory Care, and View Memory Care. The city's largest private employer is Altru, which offers all private patient rooms and multiple clinics. It is the result of a 1997 merger of United Hospital (formerly Deaconess and St. Michael's Hospitals) and the Grand forks Clinic. It also includes Altru Specialty Center (45 beds), Altru Professional Center and Yorhom Medical Essentials. Altru provides an array of services, including surgical and non-surgical procedures, services and products under Altru's support.

Air Quality, Water Quality, Superfund Sites & UV Index

The Air Quality index is in Grand Forks, Grand Forks County, North Dakota = 87. These Air Quality index is based on annual reports from the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The number of ozone alert days is used as an indicator of air quality, as are the amounts of seven pollutants including particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and volatile organic chemicals. The Water Quality Index is 60. A measure of the quality of an area’s water supply as rated by the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The EPA has a complex method of measuring the watershed quality, using 15 indicators such as pollutants, turbidity, sediments, and toxic discharges. The Superfund Sites Index is 40. Higher is better (100=best). Based upon the number and impact of EPA Superfund pollution sites in the county, including spending on the cleanup efforts. The UV Index in Grand Forks = 3.1 and is a measure of an area's exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. This is most often a combination of sunny weather, altitude, and latitude. The UV Index has been defined by the WHO ( and is uniform worldwide.


The most recent city population of 59,166 individuals with a median age of 48.6 age the population grows by 7.59% in Grand Forks, Grand Forks County, North Dakota population since 2000 and are distributed over a density of 2,113.83 residents per square mile of area (816.16/km²). There are average 2.5 people per household in the 193 households with an average household income of $71,026 a year. The unemployment rate in Alabama is 3.00% of the available work force and has dropped -5.78% over the most recent 12-month period and the projected change in job supply over the next decade based on migration patterns, economic growth, and other factors will increase by 25.34%. The number of physicians in Grand Forks per 100,000 population = 279.1.


The annual rainfall in Grand Forks = 20.1 inches and the annual snowfall = 38.7 inches. The annual number of days with measurable precipitation (over .01 inch) = 93. The average number of days per year that are predominantly sunny = 197. 82 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily high temperature for the month of July and -4.1 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily low temperature for the month of January. The Comfort Index (higher=better) is 51, where higher values mean a more pleasant climate. The Comfort Index measure recognizes that humidity by itself isn't the problem. (Have you noticed nobody ever complains about the weather being 'cold and humid?) It's in the summertime that we notice the humidity the most, when it's hot and muggy. Our Comfort Index uses a combination of afternoon summer temperature and humidity to closely predict the effect that the humidity will have on people.

Median Home Cost

The percentage of housing units in Grand Forks, Grand Forks County, North Dakota which are owned by the occupant = 81.45%. A housing unit is a house, apartment, mobile home, or room occupied as separate living quarters. The average age of homes = 15 years with median home cost = $197,800 and home appreciation of -1.80%. This is the value of the years most recent home sales data. Its important to note that this is not the average (or arithmetic mean). The median home price is the middle value when you arrange all the sales prices of homes from lowest to highest. This is a better indicator than the average, because the median is not changed as much by a few unusually high or low values. The property tax rate of $19.67 shown here is the rate per $1,000 of home value. If for simplification for example the tax rate is $14.00 and the home value is $250,000, the property tax would be $14.00 x ($250,000/1000), or $3500. This is the 'effective' tax rate.


The local school district spends $4,460 per student. There are 12 students for each teacher in the school, 224 students for each Librarian and 334 students for each Counselor. 4.09% of the area’s population over the age of 25 with an Associate Degree or other 2-year college degree, 19.59% with a master’s degree, Ph.D. or other advanced college degree and 16.37% with high school diplomas or high school equivalency degrees (GEDs).

  • Grand Forks's population in Grand Forks County, North Dakota of 7,682 residents in 1900 has increased 7,7-fold to 59,166 residents after 120 years, according to the official 2020 census.

    Approximately 48.55% female residents and 51.45% male residents live in Grand Forks, Grand Forks County, North Dakota.

    As of 2020 in Grand Forks, Grand Forks County, North Dakota are married and the remaining 25.30% are single population.

  • 18.1 minutes is the average time that residents in Grand Forks require for a one-way commute to work. A long commute can have different effects on health. A Gallup poll in the US found that in terms of mental health, long haul commuters are up to 12 percent more likely to experience worry, and ten percent less likely to feel well rested. The Gallup poll also found that of people who commute 61­–90 minutes each day, a whopping one third complained of neck and back pain, compared to less than a quarter of people who only spend ten minutes getting to work.

    86.64% of the working population which commute to work alone in their car, 11.21% of the working population which commutes to work in a carpool and 1.72% of the population that has their home as their principal place of work.

  • Of the total residential buildings in Grand Forks, Grand Forks County, North Dakota, 81.45% are owner-occupied homes, another 5.88% are rented apartments, and the remaining 12.67% are vacant.

  • The 59.37% of the population in Grand Forks, Grand Forks County, North Dakota who identify themselves as belonging to a religion are distributed among the following most diverse religions.

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