These Are The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In South Dakota For 2019


We used science and data to determine which cities in South Dakota that will put a big dent in your wallet.

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the most expensive places to live in South Dakota.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and South Dakota does this very well. Families love the Mount Rushmore State’s beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state — and that’s how we’re going to help you.

These are the places in South Dakota that cost a pretty penny — the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in South Dakota for 2019.

So where is the most expensive place to live in South Dakota? That would be Spearfish.

So hopefully Britton (the cheapest place to live in South Dakota) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about South Dakota and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In South Dakota For 2019

Spearfish, SD

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 11,300
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.7x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 65.4x (13th most expensive)
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.

The median income in Spearfish comes in at $43,692 and the median home value is $206,100 for 2019.

Rapid City, SD

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 72,841
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x (6th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 62.4x (8th most expensive)
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.

The median income in Rapid City comes in at $48,895 and the median home value is $170,700 for 2019.

Brookings, SD

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 23,471
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.6x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 68.0x (18th most expensive)
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.

The median income in Brookings comes in at $47,506 and the median home value is $169,400 for 2019.

Vermillion, SD

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 10,687
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.9x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 48.6x (2nd most expensive)
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.

The median income in Vermillion comes in at $34,972 and the median home value is $136,100 for 2019.

Custer, SD

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,124
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 61.7x (6th most expensive)
More on Custer: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Custer comes in at $48,581 and the median home value is $153,700 for 2019.

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 2,285
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 11)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.7x (19th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 66.6x (15th most expensive)
More on Summerset: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Summerset comes in at $80,139 and the median home value is $217,400 for 2019.

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 1,386
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.0x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 67.1x (16th most expensive)
More on Deadwood: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Deadwood comes in at $37,181 and the median home value is $147,600 for 2019.

Watertown, SD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 22,083
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.3x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 70.8x (23rd most expensive)
More on Watertown: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Watertown is a city in and the county seat of Codington County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 21,482 at the 2010 census. It is the fifth largest city in South Dakota. It is also the principal city of the Watertown Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Codington and Hamlin counties.

The median income in Watertown comes in at $48,485 and the median home value is $161,000 for 2019.

Sturgis, SD

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,715
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 6)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.9x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 69.9x (21st most expensive)
More on Sturgis: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Sturgis is a city in Meade County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 6,627 as of the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Meade County and is named after Union General Samuel D. Sturgis.

The median income in Sturgis comes in at $37,388 and the median home value is $147,100 for 2019.

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,180
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (14th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 67.4x (17th most expensive)
More on Hill City: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Hill City comes in at $52,857 and the median home value is $155,000 for 2019.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Mount Rushmore State For 2019

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In South Dakota
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it’s actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2013-2017 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in South Dakota to figure out which is the most expensive.

What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 63 places in South Dakota that have more than 1,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in South Dakota according to the data is Spearfish.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In South Dakota For 2019

Well there you have it, the places in South Dakota that have the highest cost of living, with Spearfish ranking as the most expensive city in the Mount Rushmore State.

Here’s a look at the most affordable cities in South Dakota according to the data:

  1. Britton
  2. Tyndall
  3. De Smet

For more South Dakota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In South Dakota

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Spearfish 5.33 11,300 4.7x 65.4x
2 Rapid City 7.0 72,841 3.5x 62.4x
3 Brookings 10.67 23,471 3.6x 68.0x
4 Vermillion 10.67 10,687 3.9x 48.6x
5 Custer 10.67 2,124 3.2x 61.7x
6 Summerset 11.67 2,285 2.7x 66.6x
7 Deadwood 12.67 1,386 4.0x 67.1x
8 Watertown 14.33 22,083 3.3x 70.8x
9 Sturgis 15.0 6,715 3.9x 69.9x
10 Hill City 15.67 1,180 2.9x 67.4x
11 Sioux Falls 16.67 170,401 3.0x 73.6x
12 Mitchell 17.33 15,566 3.0x 63.2x
13 Box Elder 18.0 9,277 2.7x 48.8x
14 Yankton 18.33 14,529 3.3x 70.5x
15 Belle Fourche 20.67 5,622 2.8x 62.8x
16 Aberdeen 20.67 27,925 3.0x 74.1x
17 North Sioux City 23.0 2,693 2.6x 68.3x
18 Pierre 24.33 13,974 3.0x 90.9x
19 Volga 25.0 2,127 2.6x 76.7x
20 Lead 25.33 3,021 2.6x 66.3x
21 Hartford 26.0 3,043 2.5x 86.2x
22 Groton 26.0 1,965 2.5x 78.9x
23 Lennox 28.0 2,190 2.3x 64.2x
24 Mission 28.67 1,220 2.7x 53.4x
25 Dell Rapids 29.0 3,683 2.4x 80.5x
26 Brandon 29.0 9,731 2.5x 92.6x
27 Elk Point 29.0 2,231 2.5x 76.4x
28 Tea 29.33 4,866 2.5x 91.4x
29 Miller 29.33 1,481 2.8x 75.5x
30 Webster 29.33 1,808 2.5x 58.5x
31 Canton 29.33 3,352 2.5x 74.9x
32 Harrisburg 33.0 5,429 2.3x 99.2x
33 Crooks 33.0 1,349 1.9x 80.7x
34 Chamberlain 33.0 2,653 2.7x 98.9x
35 Fort Pierre 35.67 2,276 2.3x 99.5x
36 Platte 37.0 1,509 2.5x 87.4x
37 Springfield 39.0 1,962 1.9x 61.8x
38 Hot Springs 39.33 3,519 2.2x 79.9x
39 Mobridge 39.33 3,420 2.0x 70.9x
40 Huron 39.67 13,116 2.1x 77.3x
41 Milbank 40.67 3,178 2.1x 80.6x
42 Eagle Butte 40.67 1,182 1.8x 44.8x
43 Garretson 42.0 1,221 2.1x 111.8x
44 Baltic 42.0 1,108 2.0x 137.5x
45 Madison 43.0 7,094 2.3x 94.5x
46 Sisseton 43.0 2,548 1.8x 64.6x
47 Clark 45.33 1,351 2.0x 74.2x
48 Worthing 45.67 1,114 1.9x 94.0x
49 Beresford 46.0 2,212 2.0x 100.3x
50 Wagner 46.33 1,494 2.4x 90.7x
51 Gregory 47.0 1,430 1.9x 73.8x
52 Parkston 47.33 1,645 1.9x 81.8x
53 Flandreau 48.0 2,440 2.0x 88.3x
54 Winner 48.67 2,854 1.9x 81.5x
55 Salem 49.67 1,394 1.6x 80.8x
56 Redfield 49.67 2,623 1.7x 74.9x
57 Gettysburg 51.0 1,233 1.6x 80.2x
58 Lemmon 51.0 1,335 1.5x 72.4x
59 Clear Lake 54.67 1,307 1.7x 120.4x
60 Freeman 55.67 1,322 1.5x 84.6x
61 De Smet 57.33 1,162 1.6x 172.2x
62 Tyndall 58.33 1,151 1.7x 107.9x
63 Britton 59.0 1,687 1.4x 100.7x

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