21 December 2004
Go North, the rush is on
US News and World Report has an end-of-year cover story with the unlikely title 50 Ways To Improve Your Life In 2005. To give them credit, unlike Paul Simon, US News does actually list all 50 Ways; however, I doubt anyone is going to take them up on all 50, especially #8: Move to Bismarck.
My fondness for North Dakota is on the record, and indeed I can imagine some people for whom the Peace Garden state might be just this side of paradise, but the key word here is "some." From a hotel room in Fargo this summer, I wrote:
Not everyone can live here not everyone should live here, perhaps but the place has its rewards, if you know how to look for them.
US News found quite a few:
Yes, the winters are cold, the New York Philharmonic never visits, and it's more than 1,000 miles to the nearest coast. But North Dakota boasts shorter commutes, less violent crime, and better high school graduation rates than any other state in the union. Add in the capital's stable economy and low unemployment, affordable housing, sunny skies, and year-round recreation, and you've got a near-perfect recipe for low-stress living.
It helps, I suppose, if you're about my age or older and have lost the urge to go bar-hopping on a regular basis. And if that cold-winter business disturbs you, well, there's always South Dakota.