West Fargo, North Dakota

It’s no wonder West Fargo has been called “a city on the grow.” Over the last 20 years the city’s population has more than doubled to 38,000 people. The growth spurt began in 1997, after neighboring Fargo was hit by a massive flood. West Fargo was protected from rising waters by a $27 million diversion of the Sheyenne River, completed a few earlier, and that safeguard drew residents across Interstate 29.

More recently, employment opportunities have been a draw for new residents. A regional emphasis on agricultural technology, drone research and entrepreneurship in general have provided a boost. The cost of business in West Fargo is 15% below the national average.

Before the pandemic, the unemployment rate in West Fargo was just 2.3% (the national rate was 3.5% at the time). Even at the height of lockdown, the unemployment rate in the city never crossed 10% and by June was just 5.5% — about half the nationwide figure. The lowest median home prices on our list — $185,000 — can’t hurt. — Samantha Sharf

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