Wishek, North Dakota

Wishek is a city in McIntosh County, North Dakota with a population of 1,308 according to the 2010 census. It is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and North Dakota Highway 13. Wishek has a semi-arid climate with cold winters and hot summers. The average annual precipitation is around 16 inches while the average snowfall is around 24 inches per year.

The city was founded in 1883 by German immigrants and has remained largely German-speaking ever since, although English is also widely spoken today. Wishek has a long history of political conservatism; it was one of only two counties in North Dakota to vote for Barry Goldwater in 1964 and for George Wallace in 1968.

The economy of Wishek primarily revolves around agriculture and manufacturing, with many local businesses producing food products such as canned vegetables, hogs, beef cattle, and milk products. The city also has some industries related to oil production and tourism due to its proximity to Lake Oahe, which provides excellent fishing opportunities as well as recreational activities such as boating and camping.

Wishek is served by the Wishek Public School system which consists of three schools: an elementary school (K-6), a middle school (7-8), and a high school (9-12). There are also two private schools: Sts Peter & Paul Catholic School (K-8) and Wishek Christian School (K-12).

The town’s most notable landmark is the 40-foot tall statue of Jesus Christ known as “Jesus on the Prairie” which overlooks Lake Oahe from atop a hill just outside town. Other popular attractions include the historical museum located at City Hall which houses artifacts from Wishek’s early days including photographs, newspaper clippings, clothing items from different eras, furniture pieces from old buildings, farming implements used by local settlers over 100 years ago, etc., as well as numerous churches scattered throughout town that reflect its strong religious heritage.

Wishek, North Dakota

Population: 1,122. Estimated population in July 2020: 1,000 (-10.9% change)
Males: 507 (45.2%), Females: 615 (54.8%)

McIntosh County

Zip code: 58495

Median resident age: 53.5 years
Median household income: $30,208
Median house value: $39,200

Races in Wishek:

  • White Non-Hispanic (97.4%)
  • Hispanic (1.5%)
  • American Indian (0.8%)
  • Two or more races (0.8%)

Ancestries: German (73.4%), Russian (19.9%), Norwegian (4.6%), English (4.3%), United States (4.1%), Irish (1.4%).

Elevation: 2038 feet

Land area: 1.5 square miles


Wishek, North Dakota is a small town of about 1,000 people located in McIntosh County. The town is known for its strong agricultural roots and friendly atmosphere. The median age of the population is 37 years, with the majority of residents being White (90%) and Native American (7%). The median household income in Wishek is approximately $39,000 per year. Despite its small size and rural location, the cost of living in Wishek is quite reasonable. Housing costs are very affordable compared to other parts of the state and nation, with a median home value of around $100,000. Other living costs such as transportation and utilities are also relatively inexpensive when compared to other areas. Although there are no major shopping centers or malls near Wishek, there are several local stores that provide basic necessities at competitive prices. In addition to these local stores, Wishek also has several restaurants and bars that offer a variety of dining options for visitors and locals alike.

For population 25 years and over in Wishek

  • High school or higher: 51.5%
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher: 10.5%
  • Graduate or professional degree: 2.6%
  • Unemployed: 0.6%
  • Mean travel time to work: 13.4 minutes

For population 15 years and over in Wishek city

  • Never married: 12.7%
  • Now married: 64.1%
  • Separated: 0.6%
  • Widowed: 19.4%
  • Divorced: 3.2%

0.3% Foreign born

Population change in the 1990s: -44 (-3.8%).


Hospital/medical center in Wishek:


Other hospitals/medical centers near Wishek:

  • ASHLEY MEDICAL CENTER – CAH (about 25 miles; ASHLEY, ND)
  • LINTON HOSPITAL (about 48 miles; LINTON, ND)


Airports certified for carrier operations nearest to Wishek:

  • JAMESTOWN REGIONAL (about 77 miles; JAMESTOWN, ND; Abbreviation: JMS)
  • BISMARCK MUNI (about 89 miles; BISMARCK, ND; Abbreviation: BIS)
  • ABERDEEN REGIONAL (about 98 miles; ABERDEEN, SD; Abbreviation: ABR)

Other public-use airports nearest to Wishek:

  • WISHEK MUNI (about 3 miles; WISHEK, ND; Abbreviation: 6L5)
  • NAPOLEON MUNI (about 21 miles; NAPOLEON, ND; Abbreviation: 5B5)
  • ASHLEY MUNI (about 22 miles; ASHLEY, ND; Abbreviation: ASY)

Colleges and Universities

According to educationvv, North Dakota is home to the following higher educational institutes:

Colleges/universities with over 2000 students nearest to Wishek:

  • UNIVERSITY OF MARY (about 90 miles; BISMARCK, ND; Full-time enrollment: 2,203)
  • NORTHERN STATE UNIVERSITY (about 92 miles; ABERDEEN, SD; Full-time enrollment: 2,356)
  • BISMARCK STATE COLLEGE (about 94 miles; BISMARCK, ND; Full-time enrollment: 2,205)
  • MINOT STATE UNIVERSITY (about 183 miles; MINOT, ND; Full-time enrollment: 2,662)
  • NORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY-MAIN CAMPUS (about 186 miles; FARGO, ND; Full-time enrollment: 8,836)
  • NORTH DAKOTA STATE COLLEGE OF SCIENCE (about 204 miles; WAHPETON, ND; Full-time enrollment: 2,176)
  • UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA-MAIN CAMPUS (about 207 miles; GRAND FORKS, ND; Full-time enrollment: 9,935)


Public high school in Wishek:

  • WISHEK HIGH SCHOOL (Students: 127; Location: 200 BADGER ST S; Grades: 07 – 12)

Public primary/middle school in Wishek:

  • WISHEK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (Students: 130; Location: 200 BADGER ST S; Grades: KG – 06)


Library in Wishek:

  • WISHEK SCHOOL & PUBLIC LIBRARY (Operating income: $4,927; Location: 100 BADGER STREET S; 21,450 books; 3 audio materials; 115 video materials; 60 serial subscriptions)