Stanley, North Dakota

By | March 26, 2023

According to TRAVELATIONARY, Stanley, North Dakota is a small city located in the northwestern part of the state. The city lies within Ward County, and is situated on the banks of the Missouri River. It has a population of approximately 2,000 people, making it one of the smallest cities in North Dakota. Geographically, Stanley is situated in an area known as the Missouri Plateau. The climate of Stanley is characterized by cold winters and mild summers.

The history of Stanley dates back to 1882 when it was founded by a group of settlers who were looking for a new home after their original settlement had been destroyed by flooding. Since then, Stanley has grown into a thriving community with many different aspects to its economic and cultural life. Politically, Stanley has traditionally been a Republican stronghold, but in recent years there has been an increase in Democratic voters as well.

Economically, Stanley relies heavily on agriculture and tourism for its livelihood. The city’s main industry is farming, but there are also several small businesses that provide employment to local residents. In addition to this, Stanley’s proximity to Minot Air Force Base makes it an ideal location for military personnel who wish to relocate or retire here.

Schools within Stanley include two elementary schools (Stanley Elementary School and Roosevelt Elementary School) as well as one high school (Stanley High School). These schools provide students with an excellent education that prepares them for college or careers after graduation.

As far as landmarks go, some notable attractions in Stanley include Fort Stevenson State Park which offers camping and fishing opportunities; Lake Sakakawea which provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape; and Fort Buford State Historic Site which commemorates the site where Sitting Bull surrendered to U.S troops in 1881. Additionally, there are several museums located throughout town including the Pioneer Village Museum which showcases artifacts from early settlers who made their homes here; The Kornkreise Museum which focuses on local German heritage; and The Arts Center Gallery which displays various works from local artists throughout North Dakota.

Population: 1,279. Estimated population in July 2020: 1,222 (-4.5% change)
Males: 592 (46.3%), Females: 687 (53.7%)

Mountrail County

Zip code: 58784

Median resident age: 47.1 years
Median household income: $23,993
Median house value: $35,200

Races in Stanley:

  • White Non-Hispanic (98.4%)
  • American Indian (0.6%)
  • Hispanic (0.5%)

Ancestries: Norwegian (47.8%), German (28.6%), Irish (6.2%), English (4.2%), Swedish (3.5%), Danish (2.7%).

Elevation: 2250 feet

Land area: 1.7 square miles


Stanley, North Dakota is a small town of about 1,300 people located in Mountrail County. It is situated on the banks of the Little Knife River and lies in the northwestern part of the state. The town was founded in 1883 and was named after Stanley County, which no longer exists.

The population of Stanley is primarily composed of white Americans, but there are also small numbers of Hispanic and Native American residents. The median age in Stanley is 39 years old; almost one-third of the population is under 18 years old. Nearly half (48%) are married, while just over one-fifth (22%) have never been married.

The majority of Stanley’s residents work in blue-collar occupations such as farming, construction, trucking and manufacturing. However, there are also a number of professionals living in town, including doctors, lawyers and teachers. The unemployment rate in Stanley is low at 3%, which is slightly lower than both the state and national averages.

Residents enjoy many amenities that make living in Stanley attractive – such as its close proximity to nature trails and parks; its quaint downtown area featuring restaurants, shops and galleries; as well as its excellent school system that serves students from pre-K through 12th grade. There are also many churches located throughout town that provide spiritual support for those who need it.

For population 25 years and over in Stanley

  • High school or higher: 74.4%
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher: 16.0%
  • Graduate or professional degree: 3.6%
  • Unemployed: 2.0%
  • Mean travel time to work: 15.4 minutes

For population 15 years and over in Stanley city

  • Never married: 18.5%
  • Now married: 56.9%
  • Separated: 1.0%
  • Widowed: 16.4%
  • Divorced: 7.2%

1.6% Foreign born

Population change in the 1990s: -82 (-6.0%).


Hospital/medical center in Stanley:


Other hospitals/medical centers near Stanley:



Airports certified for carrier operations nearest to Stanley:

  • MINOT AFB (about 73 miles; MINOT, ND; Abbreviation: MIB)
  • MINOT INTL (about 78 miles; MINOT, ND; Abbreviation: MOT)
  • SLOULIN FLD INTL (about 87 miles; WILLISTON, ND; Abbreviation: ISN)

Other public-use airports nearest to Stanley:

  • STANLEY MUNI (about 2 miles; STANLEY, ND; Abbreviation: 08D)
  • NEW TOWN MUNI (about 25 miles; NEW TOWN, ND; Abbreviation: 05D)
  • PARSHALL-HANKINS (about 32 miles; PARSHALL, ND; Abbreviation: Y74)
Amtrak station:
STANLEY (MAIN ST. & RAILROAD AVE.). Services: partially wheelchair accessible, enclosed waiting area, public payphones, free short-term parking, free long-term parking.

Colleges and Universities

Colleges/universities with over 2000 students nearest to Stanley:

  • MINOT STATE UNIVERSITY (about 76 miles; MINOT, ND; Full-time enrollment: 2,662)
  • BISMARCK STATE COLLEGE (about 151 miles; BISMARCK, ND; Full-time enrollment: 2,205)
  • UNIVERSITY OF MARY (about 156 miles; BISMARCK, ND; Full-time enrollment: 2,203)
  • BLACK HILLS STATE UNIVERSITY (about 282 miles; SPEARFISH, SD; Full-time enrollment: 3,190)
  • SOUTH DAKOTA SCHOOL OF MINES AND TECHNOLOGY (about 297 miles; RAPID CITY, SD; Full-time enrollment: 2,002)
  • NORTHERN STATE UNIVERSITY (about 333 miles; ABERDEEN, SD; Full-time enrollment: 2,356)
  • UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA-MAIN CAMPUS (about 369 miles; GRAND FORKS, ND; Full-time enrollment: 9,935)


Public high school in Stanley:

  • STANLEY HIGH SCHOOL (Students: 193; Location: N 1 EDUC RD; Grades: 07 – 12)

Public primary/middle schools in Stanley:

  • STANLEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (Students: 178; Location: 2ND ST SW; Grades: PK – 06)
  • NORTHERN PLAINS SPEC ED (Location: 120 S MAIN; Grades: 00 – 00)


Library in Stanley:

  • LINSON MEMORIAL LIBRARY (Operating income: $7,929; Location: 206 SOUTH MAIN; 8,535 books; 25 audio materials; 525 video materials)

Stanley, North Dakota