Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geography & Geographic Information Science

First Advisor

Enru Wang


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the changes in the quality of life (QoL) perceived by long-term community members in oil boomtowns in Western North Dakota. The study focused on basic QoL indicators and indicators based on oil boom effects. This study explored what QoL indicators mattered most to long-term community members. The main method in this study was a principal component analysis (PCA) done on two surveys from 2012 and 2020 which included many indicators related to oil boom effects. This statistical method grouped together indicators related to each other according to the perception of long-term community members but also showed change over time between 2012 and 2020. Interviews were also done to gain background knowledge on community response to quality-of-life issues and gain insight into what long-term community members value most with QoL in mind. Findings indicate that perceived QoL in most areas improved including economic, certain environmental, sense of community, and political satisfaction indicators. The only indicators that degraded from 2012 to 2020 were perception of safety and security. QoL improvement was associated mostly with economic success according to the PCA. Some of the most important dimensions of QoL were economic (positive and negative), safety/security, and traffic/noise. This study found change over time in QoL and found some important indicators that could be used in boomtown QoL indices in the future.