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 (Photos)
  2. Belle Fourche (Photos)
  3. Aberdeen (Photos)
  4. Brookings (Photos)
  5. Madison (Photos)
  6. Sturgis (Photos)
  7. Brandon (Photos)
  8. Yankton (Photos)
  9. Huron (Photos)
  10. Sioux Falls (Photos)

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. Or check out the purely worst and best places to live in South Dakota.

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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: 10,778
Cost Of Living: 92
Distance to Closest Airport: 187 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,486
Vermillion ranked 1st overall thanks to it’s 6th place rank for cost of living and it’s 7th place safety rank.

2. Belle Fourche

Belle Fourche, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,696
Cost Of Living: 90
Distance to Closest Airport: 177 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,544
Belle Fourche ranked 2nd overall thanks to it’s 4th place rank for cost of living and it’s 3rd place safety rank.

3. Aberdeen

Aberdeen, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 27,783
Cost Of Living: 93
Distance to Closest Airport: 182 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,245
Aberdeen ranked 3rd overall thanks to it’s 7th place rank for cost of living and it’s 6th place safety rank.

4. Brookings

Brookings, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 23,292
Cost Of Living: 95
Distance to Closest Airport: 179 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,635
Brookings ranked 4th overall thanks to it’s 11th place rank for cost of living and it’s 4th place safety rank.

5. Madison

Madison, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,101
Cost Of Living: 86
Distance to Closest Airport: 200 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,464
Madison ranked 5th overall thanks to it’s 2nd place rank for cost of living and it’s 2nd place safety rank.

6. Sturgis

Sturgis, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,711
Cost Of Living: 94
Distance to Closest Airport: 179 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,548
Sturgis ranked 6th overall thanks to it’s 9th place rank for cost of living and it’s 9th place safety rank.

7. Brandon

Brandon, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,674
Cost Of Living: 98
Distance to Closest Airport: 188 miles
Crime Per 100k: 268
Brandon ranked 7th overall thanks to it’s 14th place rank for cost of living and it’s 1st place safety rank.

8. Yankton

Yankton, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,585
Cost Of Living: 90
Distance to Closest Airport: 212 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,414
Yankton ranked 8th overall thanks to it’s 4th place rank for cost of living and it’s 13th place safety rank.

9. Huron

Huron, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 13,149
Cost Of Living: 83
Distance to Closest Airport: 247 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,829
Huron ranked 9th overall thanks to it’s 1st place rank for cost of living and it’s 10th place safety rank.

10. Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 167,884
Cost Of Living: 95
Distance to Closest Airport: 196 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,382
Sioux Falls ranked 10th overall thanks to it’s 11th place rank for cost of living and it’s 12th 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 10,778 92 187 2,486
Belle Fourche 2 5,696 90 177 1,544
Aberdeen 3 27,783 93 182 2,245
Brookings 4 23,292 95 179 1,635
Madison 5 7,101 86 200 1,464
Sturgis 6 6,711 94 179 2,548
Brandon 7 9,674 98 188 268
Yankton 8 14,585 90 212 3,414
Huron 9 13,149 83 247 2,829
Sioux Falls 10 167,884 95 196 3,382
Watertown 11 22,026 94 192 2,487
Box Elder 12 9,126 96 188 1,654
Spearfish 13 11,176 99 171 3,060
Mitchell 14 15,610 90 250 4,131
Pierre 15 13,959 94 272 3,481

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