The Best College Towns In South Dakota For 2019


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Believe it or not, America has the best colleges in the world. It's been proven by data (and surveys) that the U.S. educational system is of the highest quality

It's actually not even close and South Dakota is home to a handful of them.

While we could debate which colleges within the are the 'best,' that's not the goal of this post.

Instead, ride along with us as we determine which college towns in South Dakota are the best.

You know, the type of places where there's energy and stimulation, but the type of place you can walk around at night. The happiest, chillest, most downright fun places where you can send your kids off to college where you won't break the bank, or worry about their well being.

Without further ado, here are the best college towns in South Dakota for 2019:

  1. Aberdeen, SD (Photos | Homes)
  2. Madison, SD (Photos | Homes)
  3. Vermillion, SD (Photos | Homes)
  4. Spearfish, SD (Photos | Homes)
  5. Yankton, SD (Photos | Homes)
  6. Brookings, SD (Photos | Homes)
  7. Mitchell, SD (Photos | Homes)
  8. Sioux Falls, SD (Photos | Homes)
  9. Rapid City, SD (Photos | Homes)

While some of these may not seem like a 'real' college town per se, when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue against.

And for those who live in Aberdeen, Madison and Vermillion - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Aberdeen ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Even though there are only 9 cities on our list, you need to remember there are another 381 places in South Dakota that don't even have a college. One might say you gotta be in it in to win it.

Read on to find out more or for more on South Dakota check out:

How'd we figure out the best college towns in South Dakota?

To crunch our data on South Dakota's best college towns, we had to first decide which qualities (or rankings) make sense to use in the data, and then crunch the numbers for our rankings.

First off, we firmly decided that only cities with a 4 year college should make the cut -- so there has to be at least one college granting bachelors degrees in town.

You might be surprised to hear that there are only 9 places in South Dakota with an institution of higher learning with that criteria.

Source of data include OpenStreetMaps, the College Scorecard, the U.S. Census, and FBI reporting data to include the following factors:

  • Students Make Up Large % of the Population
  • College-specific Factors
    • Graduation rate
    • Tuition Cost
    • Student Body Diversity
  • Town Characteristics
    • Safety
    • Affordability
    • Income and Employment Opportunities
  • Things to Do
    • Bars
    • Museums & Libraries
    • Population Density

We ranked each city across each of the criteria, with one being the best.

We rolled up the individual scores into the category and ranked them again based on the category.

Finally, we took the average rank across each category, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best College Town In South Dakota For 2019".

And it looks like Aberdeen placed Summa Cum Laude.

Aberdeen, SD
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 27,925
% Undergrad Pop.: 11.9% (5th best)
Median Rent: $641 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 230.0% (1st best)
Crime Rank: 4th best
More on Aberdeen: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Aberdeen is a city in and the county seat of Brown County, South Dakota, United States, about 125 miles northeast of Pierre. The city population was 26,091 at the 2010 census, making it the third most populous city in the state after Sioux Falls and Rapid City. Aberdeen is the principal city of the Aberdeen Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Brown and Edmunds counties and has a population of 40,602 in 2010. Aberdeen is considered a college town, being the home of both Northern State University and Presentation College.

Colleges: Northern State University, Presentation College

Madison, SD
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 7,094
% Undergrad Pop.: 23.0% (4th best)
Median Rent: $534 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 530.0% (8th best)
Crime Rank: 1st best
More on Madison: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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.

Colleges: Dakota State University

Vermillion, SD
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 10,687
% Undergrad Pop.: 48.2% (1st best)
Median Rent: $720 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 770.0% (9th best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Vermillion: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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.

Colleges: University of South Dakota

Spearfish, SD
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 11,300
% Undergrad Pop.: 31.4% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $668 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 300.0% (2nd best)
Crime Rank: 7th best
More on Spearfish: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Spearfish is a city in Lawrence County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 10,494 at the 2010 census.

Colleges: Black Hills State University

Yankton, SD
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 14,529
% Undergrad Pop.: 7.2% (6th best)
Median Rent: $592 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 300.0% (2nd best)
Crime Rank: 5th best
More on Yankton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Yankton is a city in, and the county seat of, Yankton County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 14,454 at the 2010 census. Yankton is the principal city of the Yankton Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the entirety of Yankton County, and which had an estimated population of 22,702 as of July 1, 2015.

Colleges: Mount Marty College, Avera Sacred Heart Hospital

Brookings, SD
Overall SnackAbility
8.5
/10

Population: 23,471
% Undergrad Pop.: 31.7% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $699 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 360.0% (4th best)
Crime Rank: 2nd best
More on Brookings: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Brookings is a city in Brookings County, South Dakota, United States. Brookings is the fourth largest city in South Dakota, with a population of 22,056 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Brookings County, and home to South Dakota State University, the largest institution of higher education in the state. Also found in Brookings are the South Dakota Art Museum, the Children's Museum of South Dakota, the annual Brookings Summer Arts Festival, and the headquarters of a number of manufacturing companies and agricultural operations.

Colleges: South Dakota State University

Mitchell, SD
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 15,566
% Undergrad Pop.: 4.3% (7th best)
Median Rent: $716 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 480.0% (7th best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Mitchell: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Mitchell is the county seat of Davison County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 15,254 at the 2010 census.

Colleges: Mitchell Technical Institute, Dakota Wesleyan University

Sioux Falls, SD
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 170,401
% Undergrad Pop.: 2.2% (9th best)
Median Rent: $771 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 360.0% (4th best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Sioux Falls: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Sioux Falls is the most populous city in the U.S. state of South Dakota and the 145th-most populous city in the United States. It is the county seat of Minnehaha County. and also extends into Lincoln County to the south. It is the 47th fastest-growing city in the United States and the fastest-growing metro area in South Dakota, with a population increase of 22% between 2000 and 2010.

Colleges: Southeast Technical Institute, Augustana University, University of Sioux Falls

Rapid City, SD
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 72,841
% Undergrad Pop.: 4.1% (8th best)
Median Rent: $784 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 460.0% (6th best)
Crime Rank: 9th best
More on Rapid City: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Rapid City is the second most populous city in South Dakota and the county seat of Pennington County. Named after Rapid Creek, on which the city is established, it is set against the eastern slope of the Black Hills mountain range. The population was 67,956 as of the 2010 Census. Known as the "Gateway to the Black Hills" and the "City of Presidents", it is split by a low mountain ridge that divides the western and eastern parts of the city. Ellsworth Air Force Base is located on the outskirts of the city. Camp Rapid, a part of the South Dakota Army National Guard, is located in the western part of the city. The historic "Old West" town of Deadwood is nearby. In the neighboring Black Hills are the popular tourist attractions of Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, and Wind Cave National Park.

Colleges: South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, National American University-Rapid City, Western Dakota Technical Institute

There You Have It -- The Best College Towns In The

If you're looking for the best college towns in South Dakota, you came to the right place.

These places all have great college sports programs, tons of stuff to do, and are great places to raise a family.

For more reading, check out:

9 Best College Towns In South Dakota

Rank City Population
1 Aberdeen, SD 27925
2 Madison, SD 7094
3 Vermillion, SD 10687
4 Spearfish, SD 11300
5 Yankton, SD 14529
6 Brookings, SD 23471
7 Mitchell, SD 15566
8 Sioux Falls, SD 170401
9 Rapid City, SD 72841

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?