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Portal, North Dakota
Building in Portal
Building in Portal
Location of Portal, North Dakota
Location of Portal, North Dakota
Country United States
State North Dakota
County Burke
 • Total 0.68 sq mi (1.75 km2)
 • Land 0.67 sq mi (1.73 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
1,955 ft (596 m)
 • Total 126
 • Estimate 
 • Density 212.57/sq mi (82.07/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 701
FIPS code 38-63740
GNIS feature ID 1030785

Portal is a city in Burke County, North Dakota, United States. The population was 125 at the 2020 census. Portal was founded in 1893.

Portal sits along the Canada–United States border and is a major port of entry for road and rail traffic. North Portal, Saskatchewan is just over the border north of Portal. It is one of three year-round, 24-hour ports in North Dakota (the others being Dunseith and Pembina).


Portal is located at 48°59′44″N 102°33′2″W / 48.99556°N 102.55056°W / 48.99556; -102.55056 (48.995629, -102.550430).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.56 square miles (1.45 km2), all land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 491
1920 454 −7.5%
1930 512 12.8%
1940 499 −2.5%
1950 409 −18.0%
1960 351 −14.2%
1970 251 −28.5%
1980 238 −5.2%
1990 192 −19.3%
2000 131 −31.8%
2010 126 −3.8%
2020 125 −0.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 126 people, 61 households, and 38 families residing in the city. The population density was 225.0 inhabitants per square mile (86.9/km2). There were 80 housing units at an average density of 142.9 per square mile (55.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.0% White, 0.8% African American, 2.4% Native American, and 0.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.0% of the population.

There were 61 households, of which 23.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.7% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.07 and the average family size was 2.58.

The median age in the city was 46.6 years. 19% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 18.3% were from 25 to 44; 40.4% were from 45 to 64; and 13.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 54.8% male and 45.2% female.


Because Portal is in the Bakken Oil Field region, the cost of living has risen considerably in recent years. A 2015 speech by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official used Portal as an example of an area where the cost of living, combined with limited housing availability, and the distance from medical care and shopping, can make it difficult to attract employees for federal government positions.

The Portal State Bank, built in 1903, is on the National Register of Historic Places. The William E. Metzger House, built in 1904 - 1905, is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

A notable tourist attraction is the Gateway Cities Golf Club. It is one of only two golf courses along the border, the other being the Aroostook Valley Country Club in Maine. Eight of the course's nine holes are located within Canada, but the course's ninth hole, and the clubhouse, are located in the United States.

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