10 Best Places To Raise A Family In South Dakota For 2018

We used science and data to determine which cities in South Dakota have the best set up for children: a lot to do, good schools, and no crime.

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If you’re like the rest of us, you’re looking for the perfect place for your family. But you have a strict criteria; the city has to be safe, affordable, and stimulating. Basically, the place you move – or even visit – has to be outright perfect.

Is that attainable? Perhaps not, but we’ll get you as close as we can.


According to the United States Census, the number of American families who move is trending downwards Why is that? Perhaps it has to do with the ‘safety net’ factor: We get comfortable where we live, and we’re afraid to try a new move. What if the schools are bad? What if it’s dangerous?

Well, we can pretty much guarantee that if you choose the cities we’re mentioning below, you won’t lose any sleep whatsoever.

So, where are the best cities for families in South Dakota? We’ve got the answers here.

These are the best cities to raise a family in the Mount Rushmore State:

  1. Sisseton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Lennox (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Canton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Madison (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Lead (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Beresford (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Brandon (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Tea (Homes For Sale)
  9. Vermillion (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Winner (Photos | Homes For Sale)

If you’re thinking of making a move to South Dakota, and want a family-friendly place, we’ve got you covered. And if you already have kids, we’re surprised you made it this far into the article and hope your little ones give you a couple of more minutes of free time.

Keep on reading for a detailed methodology.

Or, check out some more reading about South Dakota and the best places for families in the country:

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How do you determine which place is best for families in South Dakota anyways?

To give you the places in South Dakota which are best for families, we have to look at a handful of metrics. Of course, we want to measure the type of people who live in each city, and make some assumptions about what’s family-friendly and what isn’t.

So we researched the internet for a database that contains all that information.

How we crunched the family friendly numbers for the Mount Rushmore State

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using U.S. Census data produced for the state of South Dakota, we looked at every single city in the state. We paid particular attention to:

  • Crime (Both violent and property)
  • Quality of local schools
  • Distance to a major city without necessarily being in it
  • % of households with children
  • Family-friendly amenities nearby (museums, libraries and colleges)

We then gave each city a Family Score.

The higher the score, the better the city is for families. We also limited our results to cities with populations over 2,000 people. For South Dakota, that meant a total of 27 cities.

Read on to see why Sisseton is where all the families are headed, while Pierre is probably a place made for singles.

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Sisseton, SD

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,682
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 55
Closest Major City: Minneapolis
Households with kids: 31.6%
More on Sisseton: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Lennox, SD

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,095
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 52
Closest Major City: Omaha
Households with kids: 31.3%
More on Lennox: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Canton, SD

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,306
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 63
Closest Major City: Omaha
Households with kids: 32.0%
More on Canton: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Madison, SD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,101
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 57
Closest Major City: Omaha
Households with kids: 27.5%
More on Madison: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Madison is a city in Lake County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 6,474 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Lake County and is home to Dakota State University.

Lead, SD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,050
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 49
Closest Major City: Denver
Households with kids: 31.2%
More on Lead: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Lead is a city in Lawrence County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 3,124 at the 2010 census. Lead is located in western South Dakota, in the Black Hills near the Wyoming state line.

Beresford, SD

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,324
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 32
Closest Major City: Omaha
Households with kids: 28.2%
More on Beresford: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Brandon, SD

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,674
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 45
Closest Major City: Omaha
Households with kids: 43.0%
More on Brandon: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Brandon is a city in Minnehaha County, South Dakota, United States and is the largest suburb of Sioux Falls. Brandon is located five miles east of Sioux Falls. The population was estimated at 9,923 by the United States Census Bureau on July 1, 2016, which was up from 8,785 at the 2010 census.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,628
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 59
Closest Major City: Omaha
Households with kids: 57.4%
More on Tea: Homes For Sale | Data

Vermillion, SD

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,778
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 53
Closest Major City: Omaha
Households with kids: 20.7%
More on Vermillion: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Vermillion is a city in and the county seat of Clay County, in the southeastern corner of the state of South Dakota, and the eleventh largest city in the state. According to the 2010 Census, the population was 10,571. The city lies atop a bluff near the Missouri River.

Winner, SD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,843
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 50
Closest Major City: Lincoln
Households with kids: 27.2%
More on Winner: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Winner is a city in Tripp County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 2,897 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Tripp County. Winner also serves as the administrative center of neighboring Todd County, which does not have its own county seat. The nearest airport is Winner Regional Airport.

Winner was laid out in 1909, and named for the fact the town had emerged the “winner” as the county’s most successful trading point.

There You Have It – The Best Places To Grow Up In South Dakota

If you’re looking for a breakdown of cities in South Dakota ranked by criteria that most would agree make a place a great spot for families, this is an accurate list.

Here’s a look at the best cities for singles South Dakota according to the data:

  1. Pierre
  2. Mobridge
  3. Box Elder

For more South Dakota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places For Families In South Dakota

Rank City Population Amenities Score
1 Sisseton 2,682 51
2 Lennox 2,095 43
3 Canton 3,306 60
4 Madison 7,101 44
5 Lead 3,050 63
6 Beresford 2,324 35
7 Brandon 9,674 52
8 Tea 4,628 38
9 Vermillion 10,778 40
10 Winner 2,843 33
11 Chamberlain 2,662 62
12 Brookings 23,292 48
13 Hot Springs 3,570 48
14 Flandreau 2,164 45
15 Summerset 2,155 54
16 Yankton 14,585 43
17 Spearfish 11,176 48
18 Mitchell 15,610 58
19 Sioux Falls 167,884 95
20 Watertown 22,026 59
21 Aberdeen 27,783 56
22 Huron 13,149 35
23 Belle Fourche 5,696 54
24 Sturgis 6,711 34
25 Box Elder 9,126 52
26 Mobridge 3,460 40
27 Pierre 13,959 39

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