These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In South Dakota For 2018


Using science and data, we can tell you which counties in South Dakota have the most for people looking to make the move to South Dakota.

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Some of you might be asking yourself, at this very moment: is South Dakota a good place?

The answer is unequivocally yes… if you know where to locate the best places to live in South Dakota.

Lucky for you, we’re here to help you identify the best counties to live in the Mount Rushmore State based on the most recently available data from the Census. And this isn’t our first rodeo — we’ve been helping people find the best places to live in America for years.

So, the question becomes, if you wanted to relocate to the best pat of South Dakota, where would you go? To answer that we looked at crime, cost of living, and demographic data for all 34 counties in the state.

After the analytic dust settled, we identified the 10 best counties to live in Mount Rushmore State for 2018:

  1. Hand County
  2. Bon Homme County
  3. Lincoln County (Photos)
  4. Turner County
  5. Union County (Photos)
  6. Custer County
  7. Minnehaha County (Photos)
  8. Lake County (Photos)
  9. Meade County (Photos)
  10. Brookings County (Photos)

Hand County is the county to be when it comes to living the good life in South Dakota. And you might want to avoid Bennett County if you can — at least according to the data.

So if you’re thinking of making the move South Dakota, we’ve got you covered. Keep on reading for a detailed methodology.

Or, check out the best places to live in South Dakota and the best places to raise a family in South Dakota.

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How do you determine which South Dakota county is the best?

To give you the best county in South Dakota, we have to look at a handful of metrics that signal the quality of a place. To do that, we need to make some assumptions about what’s a ‘best county’ and what isn’t. And, for reference, we are trying to make the kind of argument you’d make at a bar using facts, don’t take this analysis to court.

With that in mind, we went to two of the best sources of data on the internet; the American Community Survey data and FBI Crime data for the most recent time period.

We paid particular attention to:

  • Violent Crime Rates
  • Property Crime Rates
  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Unemployment Rates
  • Adult Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty Rates

We then ranked each county in South Dakota across each of the criteria from one to 34, with one being the best.

Taking the average rank across all criteria, we created a quality of life score with the county posting the lowest overall score being the ‘Best County To Live In South Dakota’.

The result is some of the safest, quiet, and best counties to raise a family in the Mount Rushmore State.

Read on to see why Hand County is the best county, while Bennett County is probably in contention for being the worst county in South Dakota.

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1. Hand County

Biggest Place: Miller
Population: 3,311
Median Income: $52,266 (11th best)
Median Home Price: $96,000 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.9% (6th best)
More on Hand County: Data

2. Bon Homme County

Avon, SD

Biggest Place: Springfield
Population: 7,001
Median Income: $48,023 (21st best)
Median Home Price: $75,900 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 0.9% (2nd best)
More on Bon Homme County: Data

3. Lincoln County

Beresford, SD

Biggest Place: Sioux Falls
Population: 51,396
Median Income: $77,455 (1st best)
Median Home Price: $198,500 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.9% (6th best)
More on Lincoln County: PhotosData

4. Turner County

Biggest Place: Parker
Population: 8,289
Median Income: $54,707 (6th best)
Median Home Price: $107,000 (32nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.3% (9th best)
More on Turner County: Data

5. Union County

Beresford, SD

Biggest Place: Dakota Dunes
Population: 14,842
Median Income: $63,890 (2nd best)
Median Home Price: $156,500 (23rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (12th best)
More on Union County: PhotosData

6. Custer County

Custer, SD

Biggest Place: Custer
Population: 8,447
Median Income: $52,891 (10th best)
Median Home Price: $202,000 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (25th best)
More on Custer County: Data

7. Minnehaha County

Brandon, SD

Biggest Place: Sioux Falls
Population: 182,014
Median Income: $55,293 (5th best)
Median Home Price: $160,100 (21st best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (21st best)
More on Minnehaha County: PhotosData

8. Lake County

Madison, SD

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Madison
Population: 12,331
Median Income: $57,239 (4th best)
Median Home Price: $147,100 (25th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.9% (23rd best)
More on Lake County: PhotosData

9. Meade County

Box Elder, SD

Biggest Place: Box Elder
Population: 26,840
Median Income: $53,069 (9th best)
Median Home Price: $166,200 (19th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.5% (3rd best)
More on Meade County: PhotosData

10. Brookings County

Brookings, SD

Biggest Place: Brookings
Population: 33,435
Median Income: $52,086 (12th best)
Median Home Price: $160,500 (20th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (20th best)
More on Brookings County: PhotosData

There You Have It – The Best Counties In South Dakota To Call Home For 2018

It turns out living in South Dakota can vary from one part of the state to the next — who woulda thought?

But now you the know the really good parts and the parts to avoid and that’s why you came here to learn at the end of the day. And for that, you are welcome.

Here’s a look at the worst counties in South Dakota according to the data:

  1. Bennett County
  2. Brule County
  3. Jackson County

For more South Dakota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Counties In South Dakota

County Rank Population Median Income Median Home Price
Hand County 1 3,311 $52,266 $96,000
Bon Homme County 2 7,001 $48,023 $75,900
Lincoln County 3 51,396 $77,455 $198,500
Turner County 4 8,289 $54,707 $107,000
Union County 5 14,842 $63,890 $156,500
Custer County 6 8,447 $52,891 $202,000
Minnehaha County 7 182,014 $55,293 $160,100
Lake County 8 12,331 $57,239 $147,100
Meade County 9 26,840 $53,069 $166,200
Brookings County 10 33,435 $52,086 $160,500
Haakon County 11 2,073 $39,554 $74,800
Hughes County 12 17,518 $58,934 $170,700
Gregory County 13 4,217 $40,045 $63,400
Brown County 14 38,430 $53,073 $149,000
Codington County 15 27,886 $50,133 $159,300
Hutchinson County 16 7,264 $47,356 $74,400
Walworth County 17 5,538 $46,526 $80,000
Clark County 18 3,639 $48,563 $77,000
Tripp County 19 5,475 $41,210 $78,800
Butte County 20 10,268 $43,750 $119,000
Lawrence County 21 24,859 $48,220 $190,000
Roberts County 22 10,294 $50,108 $92,500
Yankton County 23 22,649 $48,723 $130,500
Fall River County 24 6,874 $45,750 $115,900
Mcpherson County 25 2,252 $41,338 $55,500
Davison County 26 19,824 $48,310 $137,900
Clay County 27 14,029 $38,399 $137,500
Moody County 28 6,445 $54,383 $121,300
Dewey County 29 5,652 $40,585 $63,200
Beadle County 30 18,155 $48,423 $106,400
Charles Mix County 31 9,277 $43,376 $90,800
Jackson County 32 3,268 $41,510 $54,700
Brule County 33 5,312 $50,696 $106,900
Bennett County 34 3,445 $45,820 $60,900

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