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Watford City Community Profile


Community Profile:

Watford City is located in western North Dakota and is the county seat of McKenzie County.  It is surrounded by the Missouri River to the east, Lake Sakakawea to the north, the Yellowstone River to the west, and the Little Missouri River in Badlands county to the south.  Watford City is the epicenter of the Bakken Shale Formation, home to the north unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and the Little Missouri National Grasslands where landscapes of natural beauty efface with a robust economy driven by America’s energy frontier.

The 2010 US Census counted Watford City at 1,744 people.  The 2017 US estimated Census counted the city at 6,525 people.  Today’s estimate on the cusp of the 2020 US Census is around 8,000 people.  In the same 2010 - 2018 time frame, McKenzie County School District #1 located in Watford City realized K-12 enrollment growth from 581 students to 1,814.

The community is sustained by a natural resource based economy of ranching, farming, tourism, and oil and gas energy production.  With over 500,000 acres of public and tribal land in the Little Missouri National Grasslands, the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Lake Sakakawea, and the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, Watford City has a sizable federal employee base in addition to its robust economy.

Watford City has developed an extensive community plan focusing on advanced technology infrastructure, recreation and quality of life assets, and attractive community amenities to support employers in successfully attracting and retaining a skilled workforce and their families.


2017 US Census est. County Population:                     12,724

Est. Median Family Income:                                     $ 93,269

Median Age:                                                                    31.2

Median Value of owner-occupied housing              $ 213,600


Distance in Miles from:

Bismarck              190

Denver                  600

Dickinson               89

Fargo                    360

Minot                    125

Minneapolis          575

Regina                  245

Williston                 47


Annual Ave Temp:                       41 degrees F

Monthly Ave Temp:        January 18 degrees F

                                  July 84 degrees F

Annual Ave Rainfall:                                   14”

Annual Ave Snowfall:                                 39”

K-12 Education:

“Home of the Wolves”

Watford City Elementary Schools

Watford City Intermediate School

Watford City High School




McKenzie County Community Library




McKenzie County Healthcare System, Inc.




Rough Rider Center


Watford City Parks & Recreation


Watford City Parks


Watford City Area Chamber of Commerce:



Official Newspaper:


The Buzz

In Watford I got to go to my first National Park. I made some friends and we went to the badlands and saw things we never heard of before like jackrabbits and mule deer. In my opinion Watford is the best city ever!

~ Justice C Staton-Grade 5

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