World War II (1939-1945) helped the state recover from the Depression. Because many North Dakotans were German-Americans, opposition to U.S. involvement in the war was strong in North Dakota. The war, however, brought federal work programs that created jobs and increased the demand for farm products that encouraged innovative agricultural techniques such as the use of new pesticides and fertilizers that increased productivity. In the late 1940s prices for farm goods dropped, agricultural unemployment increased, and as people began leaving rural areas, farms became fewer and larger. Farm consolidation in North Dakota continued into the 1990s. Between 1987 and 1992, the number of farms decreased by about 12 percent, but the acreage of the remaining farms increased by about 11 percent. In 1890 the rural population was about 95 percent of the total population; in 1990 North Dakota’s rural population fell below 50 percent of the state’s total population for the first time, to about 47 percent.
Since the 1980s North Dakota has diversified its economy. Although agriculture remains the most important industry, agriculture-related producer cooperatives now also manufacture finished products such as pasta and ethanol. Energy industries have also developed: North Dakota now produces a substantial amount of crude oil; several coal-fired electrical generating plants sell electricity to neighboring states; and North Dakota has the only significant plant in the United States that converts coal to natural gas. A wide variety of small manufacturing businesses have appeared, and tourism has become a major industry. Native Americans in North Dakota have also been economically and politically important. In 1990 more than 25,300 Native Americans were living in North Dakota, and they remain an integral part of North Dakota society.
In 1992, 58 Native Americans held public offices and Native Americans contributed more than $1.3 billion to the state’s economy.
In April 1997 North Dakota was hit by the flooding of the Red River, which forms the North Dakota-Minnesota border and empties into Lake Winnipeg in Canada. The river crested at more than 16 m (54 ft), about 8m (about 26 ft) above flood level, and damaged many areas, including the cities of Fargo and Grand Forks. Almost all of the residents of Grand Forks had to be evacuated, and the flood caused electrical fires in the downtown section of the city that destroyed 11 buildings. President Bill Clinton visited the area and declared a state of emergency. Republicans controlled North Dakota politics from 1944 until 1960, when Democrat Quentin Burdick was elected U.S. senator and his popularity helped fellow Democrat William L. Guy win the governorship.
In 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win North Dakota since Franklin Delano Roosevelt had won it in 1936, and following Johnson’s lead, the Democrats swept the lower house of the legislature. In 1968 the state voted for the Republican presidential candidate, Richard M. Nixon, and elected a Republican legislature, but Democrats retained the governorship through the 1970s. In 1980 Allen I. Olson, a Republican, was elected governor, but in 1984 he was defeated by Democrat George Sinner, who was reelected in 1988. Sinner chose not to run in 1992 and was succeeded in office by Republican Edward T. Schafer. Schafer was reelected in 1996. In 2000 Republican John Hoeven was elected governor. Hoeven was reelected in 2004 and 2008. "North Dakota" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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