As states like Michigan, California, and Illinois grapple with booming deficits and unwieldy public sector entitlements, it's easy to forget that not every state in the union is scraping pennies together. Take North Dakota, America's third least-populated state. According to U.S. Census data, the Peace Garden State has been growing steadily for years; its largest cities' populations have surged dramatically. Here, a look at the numbers behind America's most successful state:
Population of Fargo, North Dakota's most populous city. The figure, from the latest census results, is a record high, and places Fargo above cities such as Berkeley, Calif., and Green Bay, Wis.
Population of North Dakota
North Dakota's population growth from 2000 to 2010. That's lower than average, says USA Today, but "robust for a region that has suffered for decades from a depopulation of the Great Plains."
North Dakota's ranking in state-by-state income per capita. It was 38th in 2000.
The median price of a house or condominium in North Dakota in 2009.
The median price of a house of condominium in North Dakota 2000. Yes, says Ann Brenoff at WalletPop, North Dakota is still in the middle of a housing boom.
Share of houses foreclosed upon in the third quarter of 2010
North Dakota's unemployment rate, the lowest in the country. It hasn't risen above 5 percent since 1987.
Value of agricultural commodities exported in 2009 — an 88 percent increase over the 2005 figure
Number of active oil rigs in the state as of February 2011, a record high
Barrels of recoverable oil in North Dakota and Montana, according to the U.S. Geological Survey
Number of barrels of oil a day North Dakota could potentially produce by the end of the year
Amount set to be paid into the state treasury in oil, gas, and production taxes during the 2011-2013 budget cycle
The state of North Dakota's current budget surplus. By contrast, neighboring Minnesota has a $5 billion budget deficit.