1. North Dakota
North Dakota
State GDP: $31 billion
Growth in 2010: 7.1%

The national economy may be limping ahead at a snail's pace, but in North Dakota, you wouldn't know it.

The state's economy is growing at a rate leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the country, at 7.1% in 2010. That's compared to an anemic 2.9% for the United States as a whole.

The biggest contributor to North Dakota's growth spurt? Oil.

Even though U.S. energy demand was nearly flat in 2010, North Dakota is expanding its oil production, due to a new controversial practice called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."

That technology is allowing North Dakota to suddenly tap into billions of barrels of oil in the Bakken Shale deposit, buried two miles underneath a remote area of the state.

The state is also rich in natural gas and coal that's easy to get at without digging deep -- which makes it perfectly positioned to reap enormous financial rewards from rising demand for energy in 2011.

Read: Billions of barrels of untapped U.S. oil

Last updated June 16 2011: 10:47 AM ET
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