Public Policy

Since its formation, NDESPA has worked to educate the public and policymakers about the prevalence of poverty and to work toward public policy solutions for those in North Dakota who continue to struggle to make ends meet, even in this time of great prosperity. NDESPA believes that finding ways to end poverty for all people in North Dakota is within reach.
Poverty Data: The fact of the matter is that 1 in 8 North Dakota people live below the poverty line ($10,830 for a single individual and $22,050 for a family of 4). Over the past decade, poverty rates in North Dakota have remained relatively flat, despite increasing per capita and median incomes. However, the rate increases in 2009 and 2010 marked the first statistically significant increase since 2004.
Looking at poverty in another way, 81,000 people in our state live in poverty (12.5%). Of that number, over 24,000 are children and 10,000 are elderly. While most people in poverty in North Dakota live in urban areas, over 11,000 of our rural citizens struggle daily and monthly to meet their needs, many of who are Native Americans.
While this data might not be particularly surprising, another fact might be: 76% of all low-income families hold paid employment. They have jobs, earn money and pay taxes. It's just that the money they earn is not enough to meet the needs of themselves and their families.

Additional Resources:

March 28, 2018 Status of Farm Bill

March 12, 2018 Letter from Senator Heidi Heitkamp regarding SNAP

Olmstead and Homelessness

Payday Lending Resources:

Payday Lending North Dakota Impacts

NDESPA Press Release on CFPB Payday Lending Rule

The CFPB's Payday Lending Rule: A Step Forward to Stop the Debt Trap

Payday Loans: The Bad and the Ugly

About the Stop the Debt Trap Campaign

Prosperity Now: Assets & Opportunities Scorecards:

2017 Prosperity Now Scorecard

SNAP Matters for People with Disabilities from FARC

ND Budget Information:
A Guide to North Dakota's Budget
North Dakota Budget Chart
North Dakota Oil Funds Flow Chart
Childcare in North Dakota:
Expanding North Dakota's Childcare Assistance Program
Community Options 4U Mobile Flyer
Earned Income Tax Credit:
A State Earned Income Tax Credit for North Dakota's Working Families

For more information or sources regarding poverty data in this report, or for questions, please contact Scott Fry at 701-224-0588 Ext 106, NDESPA@agree.org, scottf@agree.org or contact Rose Stoller at 701.224.0588, Ext 101, or at rstoller@agree.org.



NDESPA is an alliance of advocates, organizations and concerned individuals who share in the desire to eliminate poverty in North Dakota and to help build assets for people of low and moderate-income.

Building and sustaining a system of economic security for all North Dakotans.