Williston, N.D.
Bored in Williston? Just go shopping!
Andrew Filer

We’re sure that Williston, N.D., used to be a lovely little town, perched as it is near the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers. But you wouldn’t want to live there anymore. It’s at the epicenter of a fracking boom that’s tapping the Bakken shale formation for its incendiary crude. That means the streets are choked with trucks and the water and air are polluted. “I have to wash my dishes after taking them from the cupboard, they’re so coated in dust,” one rancher in the area told OnEarth last year.

But here’s what’s really crazy: You probably couldn’t afford to live there, even if for some strange reason you actually wanted to.

An influx of oil workers has maxed out the supply of rental housing. The city’s population has doubled from about 15,000 in 2010 to about 30,000 today, and that has caused rents to skyrocket.

According to findings published Monday by ApartmentGuide.com, Williston is now the most expensive city in America in which to rent housing. It’s more expensive to rent there than in New York City, San Francisco, or Silicon Valley. Here’s more from the real-estate website’s blog:

A 700-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bath apartment in Williston easily can cost more than $2,000 per month.

Looking for a little more space? A three-bedroom, three-bath apartment could cost as much as $4,500 per month. …

Many apartment buildings feature mudrooms in the front, where workers can remove their dirty shoes and overcoats before they enter their homes. The ratio of men to women in Williston is about 12 to 1.

Those oil workers cause more problems than soaring rents and pollution. As we reported last year, they’ve also lead to an increase in sexual assault, STDs, car crashes, and drug-related crimes

This map from ApartmentGuide.com shows the most expensive areas for entry-level housing in red, and the least expensive in blue:

Click to embiggen.
Click to embiggen.
ApartmentGuide.com