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North Dakota Tattoo on armHave you ever noticed how people from Texas love, and I mean capital L-O-V-E being from Texas?

They have a built-in state pride that’s so large that even the rest of the world knows that “everything is bigger in Texas.” In fact, if you Google image search “Texas flag tattoos” you’ll return over 93,000 photos of people who have forever inked their body with the Texas flag or some other iconic Texan thing.

It’s admirable.

It’s a little scary.

But in the end, I want a little of that.

No, not some crazy Texas tattoo, but a state pride for all our citizens that runs deep. One that North Dakota citizens could wear like a badge of honor no matter where they live now.

North Dakota has reason to be proud:  We have a budget surplus and the lowest unemployment in the nation. We’re a leader in energy, agricultural, aerospace and more. We’re ranked in the top 10 in lots of stuff: #1 job market, #1 state competitiveness, #3 happiest people, #1 most social (media) state, #3 for gross domestic product growth, and #1 in awesomeness.

OK, I made up the awesomeness statistic. BUT, if there was a scale for that, I just know North Dakota would rank high there too.

Check out more North Dakota rankings in the 12 reasons to Live, Work and Play in North Dakota.

In the end, North Dakota is filled with a humble brood. Most our ancestors came from Scandinavian and Germans stock, where it just isn’t the cultural norm to brag about anything. We all live our lives, do our jobs, care about our neighbors and we don’t have much to say about it.

The citizens of North Dakota have much to brag about, but mostly they just like living and being from here. And, if asked, we’ll gently tell you we are from “North Dakota.” No extra context needed. No bragging necessary.

We may never reach the “Texas-level” of state pride, but I do hope we all strive to be Ambassadors for North Dakota. Staying positive about the state we live in and love helps others to see that what we don’t have is sometimes what makes us such a great place. And, remembering what we do have tends to keep us humble.

Amazingly, the North Dakota Ambassadors program, which is North Dakota’s volunteer feel good force, has grown to just over 7,600 members on our social networks. Ambassadors spread our positive state messages and we’re changing the nation’s view about what we are. Join us on Facebook or Twitter.

In the end, my dream would be that all our citizens and former citizens choose to be a North Dakota Ambassador. We all carry a different vision of what being an Ambassador for North Dakota is. The Ambassadors program is even looking for feedback on what you think an Ambassador is – Take the Ambassador Survey.

We may never reach a time when there are 93,000 Google hits depicting people with North Dakota’s flag inked on their body, but I hope we’ve got our North Dakota roots tattooed on our souls. It is a quieter kind of state pride than Texas has, but in the end, I’m left thinking maybe I don’t want everything to be bigger in North Dakota … maybe, I’m simply humbled by the fact that it’s better in North Dakota.

What can we say, North Dakota loves accolades! The state has recently been recognized for having one of the best job markets in 2010, being number 3 in the nation for “well being,” and for having one of the lowest underemployment rates in the country by Gallup.

Here’s a little insight into the latest Gallup rankings.

 Best Job Market

gallup best job market chartNorth Dakota has a Job Creation Index of 29 which puts us on top for Gallup’s best job market survey.  More than half of the 10 best job markets in 2010 were in energy- and commodity-producing states. Having a significant presence of natural resource-based industries has been a distinct job-creation advantage for North Dakota.

*To learn more about best job markets in 2010 go to


North Dakota is among the 10 states with the highest overall well-being scores, sitting happily at number three with a score of 68.4 on the Well-Being Index scale. The state-level data is based on daily surveys conducted from January through December 2010. The Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index is calculated on a scale of zero to 100, where a score of 100 represents ideal -. The wellbeing index is based on six main elements, evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors and basic access.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks U.S. wellbeing and provides best-in-class solutions for a healthier world. To learn more, please visit

*To learn more about well-being go to


North Dakota has a underemployment rating of 9.0-11.9 percent and is in the top 10 states of the union not only in terms of underemployment, but also on measures of economic confidence and job creation.

Nationally, 18.9 percent of Americans were underemployed in 2010, but rates varied substantially across states. A group of six states, mostly in the middle of the country, had underemployment rates of less than 15 percent in 2010 and North Dakota was one of them with less than 12 percent underemployment. Underemployed Americans are generally those who are not working to their desired capacity. The definition of unemployment used as a component of underemployment closely follows the government’s definition; respondents are “unemployed” if they don’t have a job, and are actively looking for work and are available to begin work.

The extent of underemployment in the U.S. varies widely by state, from relatively low levels in the energy states of North Dakota and Wyoming to quite high levels in a number of states, including the nation’s largest, California.

*To learn more about underemployment go to

Note: Thanks to Ambassador and North Dakota Department of Commerce Marketing Intern Stacey Loula for authoring this post.

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