Renting versus owning is a complicated conversation.  So, I'm skipping that part entirely and just talking about how the survey site WalletHub ranks Bismarck as the best place in America for renters.

There are 24 metrics involved in the study that examined 180 U.S. rental markets. So Bismarck may be at the top in some and lower in others.  But when you squish all those numbers together, Bismarck lands in the top spot by a fairly wide margin.

It seems the top ten in the Best Places to Rent survey share some obvious similarities.  Four of the top ten are in either North or South Dakota including Fargo (8), Sioux Falls (5), Rapid City (4), and Bismarck (1).  Being somewhat remote is also a plus for Maine with two cities in the top ten.

The metrics used provide a broader picture than simply breaking it down by cost alone. The two key dimensions are "Rental Market & Affordability" and "Quality of Life".    The first does lean on the financials while the second dives into areas like the job market, school systems, and recreation.  Generally North Dakota takes a hit in the survey fields of recreation/entertainment.  For now, I'd say the pandemic has leveled that playing field. There's really not much to do nationwide.

This Time article from 2014 shows Williston, ND was once the most expensive place for renters in the United States.  It was the oil boom and space was at a premium.

According to a new study by Apartment Guide, a 700-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment in Williston costs $2,394 a month. On average, a comparable place would cost $1,504 in the New York area, $1,411 in the Los Angeles area or $1,537 in the Boston area.

I'm sure that's changed considerably.  To read the full WalletHub survey click here.