These Are The 10 Best Small Towns In South Dakota


We used science and data to determine which small towns in South Dakota are the best of the best.

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You’ve seen these lists before: Best places to live in South Dakota, Most Beautiful Downtowns, etc., etc. But all of them focus on major cities and towns in the Mount Rushmore State and no one pays attention to the little guy.

Well, that’s all about to change as we put together a list of the best small towns in South Dakota based on numbers–not opinions or hearsay.

We’ll dive right into our methodology in the next section; but first, we thought you might just want to know which places in South Dakota ranked the based–you know, based on science. Here are the 10 Best Small Towns in South Dakota (in which to live):

  1. Warner
  2. Colton
  3. Baltic
  4. Onida
  5. Aurora
  6. Humboldt
  7. Worthing
  8. Volin
  9. Philip
  10. Jefferson

If you live in one of these small towns like Warner, chances are, you’re not surprised. After all, you know how great you have it.

But for the rest of you–keep reading and we’ll get to just why these small towns made our list. Or feel free to check out the worst small towns in South Dakota.

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How We Determined The Best Small Towns In South Dakota

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the Census’s 2010-2014 American Community Survey, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Lowest Unemployment Rates
  • Housing costs (Higher is better. More demand.)
  • Adjusted Median Income (Higher is better)
  • High School Dropouts (Lower is better)
  • Crime Rates (Lower is better)

We looked at places with populations lower than 1,000 people, of which, there were a lot – 149 to be exact.

We then ranked each place in each category with scores from 1 to 149, averaged them out, and the lowest scores went to our Best Small Towns in South Dakota. Top of that list — Warner.

Keep reading to find out more about our top 10 best small towns in South Dakota.

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1. Warner


Population 2014: 401
Median Income: $78,750
Median Home Price: $149,600
Crime Per 100k: 943

2. Colton


Population 2014: 884
Median Income: $60,114
Median Home Price: $98,800
Crime Per 100k: 1,506

3. Baltic


Population 2014: 1,078
Median Income: $60,096
Median Home Price: $137,100
Crime Per 100k: 437

4. Onida


Population 2014: 825
Median Income: $58,750
Median Home Price: $79,400
Crime Per 100k: 1,472

5. Aurora


Population 2014: 696
Median Income: $53,822
Median Home Price: $111,100
Crime Per 100k: 1,335

6. Humboldt


Population 2014: 486
Median Income: $56,875
Median Home Price: $112,200
Crime Per 100k: 1,278

7. Worthing


Population 2014: 771
Median Income: $61,406
Median Home Price: $112,500
Crime Per 100k: 106

8. Volin


Population 2014: 217
Median Income: $63,864
Median Home Price: $78,300
Crime Per 100k: 1,456

9. Philip


Population 2014: 771
Median Income: $44,875
Median Home Price: $79,600
Crime Per 100k: 395

10. Jefferson


Population 2014: 624
Median Income: $58,571
Median Home Price: $110,100
Crime Per 100k: 186

Science Can Tackle Any Issue, Even Small Ones

We said it once and we’ll say it again — this list: it’s just science. We did the research, we crunched the numbers, and it turns out, these 10 small towns in South Dakota are the best, in which to live.

And who can argue with that?

If you’re curious, here are the worst small towns in South Dakota:

  1. Hosmer
  2. McIntosh
  3. Stockholm

For more South Dakota reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Small Towns In South Dakota

City Rank Population Median Income Median Home Price Crime Per 100k
Warner 1 401 $78,750 $149,600 943
Colton 2 884 $60,114 $98,800 1,506
Baltic 3 1,078 $60,096 $137,100 437
Onida 4 825 $58,750 $79,400 1,472
Aurora 5 696 $53,822 $111,100 1,335
Humboldt 6 486 $56,875 $112,200 1,278
Worthing 7 771 $61,406 $112,500 106
Volin 8 217 $63,864 $78,300 1,456
Philip 9 771 $44,875 $79,600 395
Jefferson 10 624 $58,571 $110,100 186
Alcester 11 682 $37,708 $76,500 501
Peever 12 250 $50,833 $85,000 1,813
Presho 13 417 $53,182 $81,600 1,510
Montrose 14 543 $39,118 $87,500 1,667
Kranzburg 15 172 $49,583 $96,900 1,442
Wall 16 906 $47,670 $81,100 1,551
Mellette 17 171 $49,519 $58,800 1,652
Tulare 18 259 $47,361 $40,200 1,591
Buffalo 19 424 $47,250 $57,600 1,612
Canistota 20 579 $45,500 $65,800 1,490
Valley Springs 21 660 $50,694 $107,800 1,488
Florence 22 403 $49,107 $92,400 1,560
La Bolt 23 93 $43,750 $63,900 1,560
Tabor 24 418 $56,250 $67,400 1,634
Mount Vernon 25 423 $55,000 $63,300 1,688
Elkton 26 737 $56,875 $85,000 1,607
Hurley 27 384 $45,694 $53,800 1,662
Sherman 28 78 $66,250 $66,300 1,432
Kadoka 29 616 $44,107 $54,200 1,001
Colman 30 779 $46,250 $85,900 1,542
Sinai 31 125 $53,125 $85,000 1,728
Viborg 32 925 $27,955 $75,000 129
Fulton 33 121 $63,500 $65,000 1,672
Blunt 34 307 $50,625 $57,600 1,515
Big Stone City 35 526 $50,556 $77,200 1,520
Dimock 36 104 $38,125 $105,600 1,432
Centerville 37 902 $40,500 $72,000 564
Oacoma 38 521 $51,429 $89,400 1,477
Estelline 39 737 $44,886 $83,300 528
Emery 40 510 $45,417 $66,500 1,753
Colome 41 407 $46,071 $38,300 1,851
Gayville 42 409 $26,000 $79,800 1,600
Mission Hill 43 262 $54,688 $64,600 1,748
Marion 44 720 $42,292 $63,600 1,644
Selby 45 673 $39,028 $45,600 460
New Underwood 46 628 $45,278 $109,800 1,475
Pringle 47 161 $36,500 $86,000 1,581
Alexandria 48 654 $39,395 $73,800 1,691
Corsica 49 575 $55,486 $66,000 1,548
Castlewood 50 688 $45,357 $96,300 1,532
Bowdle 51 492 $40,521 $50,500 1,629
Lake Preston 52 685 $42,361 $64,600 1,664
Ethan 53 247 $38,125 $71,500 1,703
Chancellor 54 242 $43,958 $75,000 1,597
Wessington Springs 55 1,051 $39,107 $56,700 576
Armour 56 650 $40,625 $60,700 1,624
Kennebec 57 349 $46,250 $47,700 1,666
Hayti 58 358 $33,594 $63,200 1,715
Keystone 59 397 $34,250 $128,600 1,468
Westport 60 87 $48,125 $77,000 1,667
Woonsocket 61 683 $42,292 $55,800 1,713
Bruce 62 171 $51,750 $85,400 1,549
Lesterville 63 161 $45,833 $41,300 1,758
White 64 504 $36,797 $85,200 1,638
Iroquois 65 231 $45,781 $53,300 1,702
Harrold 66 145 $51,563 $31,300 1,615
Northville 67 141 $52,292 $58,800 1,887
Plankinton 68 693 $44,871 $66,900 1,728
Frederick 69 326 $36,771 $56,000 1,791
Hudson 70 321 $36,500 $55,500 1,623
Bison 71 258 $38,194 $55,600 1,587
Columbia 72 113 $30,000 $50,000 1,491
Trent 73 215 $44,107 $61,300 1,603
Cavour 74 119 $61,250 $56,100 1,732
Doland 75 188 $54,125 $32,800 1,531
Lake Norden 76 672 $31,083 $69,300 1,667
Monroe 77 186 $37,708 $44,500 1,831
Faulkton 78 868 $31,515 $55,800 1,757
Oldham 79 179 $37,813 $19,500 1,906
South Shore 80 272 $44,792 $47,400 1,777
Roslyn 81 153 $38,000 $43,300 1,657
Highmore 82 952 $45,455 $63,000 1,690
Roscoe 83 332 $43,125 $41,500 1,780
Toronto 84 294 $33,478 $71,300 1,784
Stickney 85 203 $36,429 $47,500 1,710
Astoria 86 183 $43,542 $41,300 1,842
Newell 87 862 $32,927 $71,700 1,773
Wolsey 88 355 $35,357 $78,600 1,641
Langford 89 380 $28,333 $63,000 1,773
Letcher 90 167 $36,563 $37,500 1,718
Ramona 91 202 $33,472 $66,700 1,735
Avon 92 603 $41,625 $67,100 3,257
Timber Lake 93 451 $41,964 $47,300 1,763
Pukwana 94 264 $31,667 $77,500 1,664
Wakonda 95 327 $42,262 $55,300 1,723
Revillo 96 75 $53,750 $24,500 1,824
Midland 97 168 $35,156 $44,800 1,880
Cresbard 98 122 $30,313 $30,700 1,735
Reliance 99 129 $50,938 $59,200 1,727
Java 100 126 $42,000 $27,500 1,856

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