These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In South Dakota


We analyzed over 15 places in South Dakota to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

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When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.

But not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of South Dakota.

But where exactly in South Dakota? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.

To that end, we have tried to identify the places in South Dakota that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.

What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Vermillion don’t mind us spreading the word. Here are our top ten places in the Mount Rushmore State to retire:

  1. Vermillion
  2. Belle Fourche
  3. Aberdeen
  4. Madison
  5. Brookings
  6. Sturgis
  7. Brandon
  8. Yankton
  9. Huron
  10. Watertown

Why did Vermillion take the top spot? And where are Sioux Falls and Aberdeen? Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details.

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How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Mount Rushmore State

To create our list of the best places in South Dakota to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Mount Rushmore State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.

This left us with 15 places from across the state.

For these 15, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (As measured by population density)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 15, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Vermillion, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.

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1. Vermillion

Vermillion, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,697
Cost Of Living: 92
Distance to Closest Airport: 187 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,505
Vermillion ranked 1 overall thanks to its 6 place rank for cost of living and 7 place safety rank.

2. Belle Fourche

Belle Fourche, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,677
Cost Of Living: 90
Distance to Closest Airport: 177 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,550
Belle Fourche ranked 2 overall thanks to its 4 place rank for cost of living and 3 place safety rank.

3. Aberdeen

Aberdeen, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 26,979
Cost Of Living: 93
Distance to Closest Airport: 182 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,312
Aberdeen ranked 3 overall thanks to its 7 place rank for cost of living and 6 place safety rank.

4. Madison

Madison, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,830
Cost Of Living: 86
Distance to Closest Airport: 200 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,522
Madison ranked 4 overall thanks to its 2 place rank for cost of living and 2 place safety rank.

5. Brookings

Brookings, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 22,645
Cost Of Living: 95
Distance to Closest Airport: 179 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,682
Brookings ranked 5 overall thanks to its 11 place rank for cost of living and 4 place safety rank.

6. Sturgis

Sturgis, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,652
Cost Of Living: 94
Distance to Closest Airport: 179 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,570
Sturgis ranked 6 overall thanks to its 9 place rank for cost of living and 9 place safety rank.

7. Brandon

Brandon, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,350
Cost Of Living: 98
Distance to Closest Airport: 188 miles
Crime Per 100k: 278
Brandon ranked 7 overall thanks to its 14 place rank for cost of living and 1 place safety rank.

8. Yankton

Yankton, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,513
Cost Of Living: 90
Distance to Closest Airport: 212 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,431
Yankton ranked 8 overall thanks to its 4 place rank for cost of living and 12 place safety rank.

9. Huron

Huron, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 12,982
Cost Of Living: 83
Distance to Closest Airport: 247 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,865
Huron ranked 9 overall thanks to its 1 place rank for cost of living and 10 place safety rank.

10. Watertown

Watertown, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 21,795
Cost Of Living: 94
Distance to Closest Airport: 192 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,514
Watertown ranked 10 overall thanks to its 9 place rank for cost of living and 8 place safety rank.

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…

So there you have it, the best place to retire in South Dakota goes to Vermillion.

If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  • Pierre
  • Mitchell
  • Spearfish

For more South Dakota reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In South Dakota

City Rank Population Cost Of Living Distane To Airport Crimes per 100k
Vermillion 1 10,697 92 187 2,505
Belle Fourche 2 5,677 90 177 1,550
Aberdeen 3 26,979 93 182 2,312
Madison 4 6,830 86 200 1,522
Brookings 5 22,645 95 179 1,682
Sturgis 6 6,652 94 179 2,570
Brandon 7 9,350 98 188 278
Yankton 8 14,513 90 212 3,431
Huron 9 12,982 83 247 2,865
Watertown 10 21,795 94 192 2,514
Sioux Falls 11 160,964 95 196 3,527
Box Elder 12 8,683 96 188 1,739
Spearfish 13 10,836 99 171 3,156
Mitchell 14 15,490 90 250 4,163
Pierre 15 13,885 94 272 3,500

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