Bismarck is the capital of the State of North Dakota, the county seat of Burleigh County, and the second most populous city in North Dakota after Fargo. Its population is 58,333 (July 2006 est.). Bismarck was founded in 1872.
The North Dakota State Capitol, the tallest building in the city, towers over the central part of Bismarck. The state government employs many people within the city. As a hub of manufacturing, retail trade, and health care, Bismarck is the economic center of a large portion of south-central North Dakota.
The North Dakota State Capitol complex is located just north of downtown Bismarck. The 19-story Art Deco Capitol building is the tallest building in the city at 241.75 ft (74 m). The Capitol building towers over the central part of the city and is easily seen from 20 miles (30 km) away on a clear day. Completed during the Great Depression in 1934, it replaced an earlier capitol building which burned to the ground in 1930. The Capitol grounds also house the North Dakota Heritage Center, the North Dakota State Library, the North Dakota Governor's Residence, the State Office Building, and the Liberty Memorial Building. The North Dakota State Penitentiary is located in eastern Bismarck. Bismarck is also the home of the Ruth Meiers Hospitality House, a 66 bed house for the the homeless.
Downtown Bismarck is located near the center of the city. The downtown area is rather unique because the city's major shopping center, Kirkwood Mall, is located there instead of in a suburban setting. Several other major retail stores are located in the vicinity of Kirkwood Mall as is the Bismarck Civic Center. Downtown is also home to both Medcenter One Health Systems and St. Alexius Medical Center. The streets of downtown Bismarck are lined with small stores and restaurants.
The Cathedral District is a historic neighborhood located near downtown Bismarck. The neighborhood gets its name from the Art Deco Cathedral of the Holy Spirit located within the district. Some homes in this neighborhood date back to the 1880s although many were built in the first decades of the 20th century. For years, the city has put forth controversial proposals to widen the streets in the neighborhood, but any such project would require the removal of many of the towering American Elms which line the streets.
Much of the recent commercial and residentual growth in the city of Bismarck has taken place on the northern side of the city due in large part to expanding retail shops. Shopping centers in this area include the Gateway Mall, Northbrook Mall, Arrowhead Plaza and the new Pinehurst Square "power center" mall.
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 55,532 people, 23,185 households, and 14,444 families residing in the city. The population density was 797.4/km² (2,065.2/mi²). There were 24,217 housing units at an average density of 347.7/km² (900.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.78% White, 0.28% Black or African American, 3.39% Native American, 0.45% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.89% from two or more races. 0.75% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 23,185 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.1% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.7% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.94.
In the city, the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.
The median income per household in the city was $39,422, and the median income per family was $51,477. Males had a median income of $33,804 versus $22,647 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,789. About 5.7% of families and 8.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.5% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.
With over 4,300 employees, the state government of North Dakota is the largest employer in Bismarck. Bismarck's two major health care providers, Medcenter One Health Systems and St. Alexius Medical Center, together employ about 4,100 people. Other major employers in Bismarck include Bobcat/Ingersoll Rand, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Bismarck Public Schools, Midwest Motor Express, and the United States Federal Government.
Bismarck is also the home of MDU Resources Group. As of 2007, the company was ranked as number 519 on the Fortune 1000 list. It is believed that the company will enter the Fortune 500 list in the near future which would make it the only such company based in North Dakota.
Bismarck is home to several colleges and a university. The University of Mary is the largest degree-granting institution in the city of Bismarck. It is a four-year university affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Bismarck State College, a two-year public college, is a member of the North Dakota University System. Bismarck is also home to United Tribes Technical College (a two-year tribal college) and a satellite campus of Aakers College (a two-year private college).