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A tale of two counties

North Dakota county found to be ‘least economically stressful’ in the U.S., while San Joaquin is among most

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Posted: Friday, October 8, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 5:32 am, Sat Oct 9, 2010.

More than 1,500 miles away from Lodi on the outskirts of Minot, N.D., families gather in makeshift tent cities because of the city's housing crisis. But unlike San Joaquin County's housing crisis, people in Minot are waiting for homes to be built because the demand for residences greatly outpaces the supply for the town of roughly 40,000.

Minot, located in Ward County, has basically avoided the Great Recession better than anywhere else in the country. Buttressed by acres of wheat fields, thousands of military jobs, tourism and an ocean of oil, Ward County is the least economically stressful place in the nation, according to The Associated Press' Economic Stress Index, a tool used to measure the effect of the recession and recovery from it by analyzing the combined effect of bankruptcies, foreclosures and unemployment. Due to its reputation as the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis, high unemployment numbers and bankruptcy filings, San Joaquin County is rated as the tenth most economically stressful county in the nation to live in, according to The Associated Press.

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  • Doug Chaney posted at 6:25 pm on Fri, Oct 8, 2010.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    I was born in North Dakota. Dickinson. My uncle John, who is deceased now, has a very wealthy family due to him being one of the few wheat farmers who refused to sell his farm to the oil industry back in the late 40's and early 50's. He eventually started a large chicken raising operation and leases his oil rights to the industry, and has since the early 50's. There are over 12 still producing wells that operate 24 hours a day since then and his royalty money has been the family Godsend to this day, still is, and will be until the land is sold, stolen, or the world ends. God bless my uncle John, and if not for the love of farming and his chickens, he would have sold like the other uncles and aunts, and my grandmother, did for a very good price for their land and buildings. The prices were in the 20-30K range and that was a tidy sum of money in those times. Most of my North Dakota kin settled in Portland, Or., Spokane, WA. area, Salem, OR, and the tri-city area of WA., Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, and continued to farm. They were typical midwest farm families, with the men honest, hard working, hard drinking and very dedicated to their farms and helping one another whether times were good or bad. There weren't many machines those days and the manual labor was very intensive and started and ended when they were too tired to continue or it was too dark to work. The typical hay bale was about 90 pounds and "bucked" entirely with brute brawn. Today's farmers that could survive in those days are few and far between.

  • Jon Hendrickson posted at 12:53 pm on Fri, Oct 8, 2010.

    Jon Hendrickson Posts: 1

    Growing up in Minot, I heard people referring to Lodi as "Little North Dakota." Back in the day, North Dakota license plates were a common sight in Lodi. Not so much anymore, but the connection's still there. And it's more than just coincidence. If you pay attention to the counties listed as the "least economically stressed," the common theme is that they're all kind of economic backwaters of the country who didn't participate much in the "boom," and not so much in the "bust," either. It's pretty much a matter of "steady as she goes," which is probably a reason they're in the economic backwater of the country.



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