These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In South Dakota For 2018


These are the cream of the crop in the Mount Rushmore State.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2018.

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Where are the best places in the state of South Dakota?

To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Mount Rushmore State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.

However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in South Dakota.

There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.

After analyzing 34 places in South Dakota, we came up with this list of the best places:

  1. Brandon (Photos | Homes)
  2. Tea (Homes)
  3. Dell Rapids (Photos | Homes)
  4. Hartford (Photos | Homes)
  5. Harrisburg (Homes)
  6. Brookings (Photos | Homes)
  7. Summerset (Homes)
  8. Beresford (Photos | Homes)
  9. Lennox (Photos | Homes)
  10. Madison (Photos | Homes)

Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in South Dakota.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more South Dakota reading, check out:

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Pierre with a population of 13,959 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities — Populations over 2,100
  • Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 2,100
  • Small Towns — Populations below 1,000

This left us with 34 cities, 37 towns, and 239 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 2,100 people to truly be ‘the best’.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Place To Live In South Dakota

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in South Dakota across a number of criteria from one to 34, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In South Dakota”.

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data.

If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in South Dakota.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Brandon at the end of the cul-de-sac.

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1. Brandon

Brandon, South Dakota

Population: 9,674
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Values: $183,000 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (13th best)
More on Brandon: Real Estate | Data
When you look at it from a scientific perspective, Brandon is the best place you can live in South Dakota. Here’s why:

It’s really safe in this city with the 1st lowest crime rate. Plus, the median household income sits at $75,424 (Good for 3rd best).

There are plenty of jobs nearby, as evident by the 2.7% unemployment rate.

Add that all up and Brandon places 1st in our ranking of the best places to live in South Dakota for 2018.

2. Tea


Population: 4,628
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Home Values: $175,200 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.8% (15th best)
More on Tea: Real Estate | Data
Who wouldn’t want to live in a place where there’s low crime and everyone is rich? That’s the case with Tea.

Things are looking peachy keen here. The unemployment rate is the 15th lowest in South Dakota and the median income comes in at $75,473.

This is the kind of place you brag to your friends on Facebook about.

3. Dell Rapids

Dell Rapids, South Dakota

Population: 3,715
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Home Values: $149,400 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.3% (10th best)
More on Dell Rapids: Real Estate | Data
Tiny Dell Rapids (population 3,715) packs a big punch when it comes to desirability in the state of South Dakota.

It looks like the mayor has things going in the right direction: Crime is the 2nd lowest in the state and incomes are the 6th highest. Top that off with the 7th most educated adult population and Dell Rapids won’t be staying tiny for much longer.

4. Hartford

Hartford, South Dakota

Population: 2,980
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Values: $166,100 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (23rd best)
More on Hartford: Real Estate | Data
In Hartford, everyone loves to call Hartford home! The median home value is the 6th highest in South Dakota.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 23rd lowest in the state. and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Mount Rushmore State.

5. Harrisburg


Population: 5,129
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Home Values: $172,300 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.0% (4th best)
More on Harrisburg: Real Estate | Data
Let’s take a look at why Harrisburg is a great place to call home for 2018.

There’s low crime in Harrisburg, and the residents here are gainfully employed (1.0% unemployment rate).

You can make Harrisburg your home for only $172,300 which won’t be too hard on a $77,151 household salary.

6. Brookings

Brookings, South Dakota

Population: 23,292
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Home Values: $164,500 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (20th best)
More on Brookings: Real Estate | Data
When you’re looking at the best places you could live in South Dakota, Brookings came in 6th. Let’s see why.

It has a low unemployment rate and high incomes.

Plus, Brookings has an impressive history for a place of just over 23,292 people. The median home costs a cool $164,500 and households make $47,060 which is good for 18th in South Dakota.

7. Summerset


Population: 2,155
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 5)
Home Values: $201,900 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (31st best)
More on Summerset: Real Estate | Data
Things can’t get much better than in the town of Summerset. The crime is the 8th lowest in the entire state, and the residents who live in Summerset make huge salaries, and almost all of them have great jobs.

The median home costs a cool $201,900 and households make $74,063 which is good for 4th in South Dakota.

8. Beresford

Beresford, South Dakota

Population: 2,324
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Home Values: $111,500 (23rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.3% (6th best)
More on Beresford: Real Estate | Data
Taking a similar route to the top ten as many others on this list, Beresford ranked highly for adjusted median income (12th), crime (7th), and unemployment (6th).

With a population of 2,324 it was one of the smaller in the top ten and its government website actually goes to pains to say that it’s a “community though not a city”.

But don’t listen to what they say people of Beresford, you can be anything you want.

9. Lennox

Lennox, South Dakota

Population: 2,095
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Home Values: $97,600 (29th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.3% (10th best)
More on Lennox: Real Estate | Data
Lennox is another great city in South Dakota with a low unemployment rate and where residents earn high salaries.

Said one reviewer on City-Data.com: ” We feel incredibly safe in Lennox. The houses and neighborhoods are beautiful, the people are friendly, and it’s wonderful to have such good neighbors. People watch out for each other here, they teach their children to be respectful of others and things.”

Enough said.

10. Madison

Madison, South Dakota

Source: Public domain

Population: 7,101
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 6)
Home Values: $110,100 (24th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (25th best)
More on Madison: Real Estate | Data
Tiny Madison (population 7,101) packs a big punch when it comes to desirability in the state of South Dakota.

It looks like the mayor has things going in the right direction: Crime is the 11th lowest in the state and incomes are the 17th highest. Top that off with the 11th most educated adult population and Madison won’t be staying tiny for much longer.

Wrapping Up The Best Of The Best In South Dakota

If you’re looking at areas in South Dakota with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Brandon made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for 2018.

Best Towns To Live In South Dakota

  1. Crooks (Pop. 1,380)
  2. Groton (Pop. 1,905)
  3. Piedmont (Pop. 1,111)
  4. Britton (Pop. 1,689)
  5. Volga (Pop. 1,883)
  6. Platte (Pop. 1,531)
  7. Gettysburg (Pop. 1,203)
  8. Garretson (Pop. 1,291)
  9. Worthing (Pop. 1,066)
  10. Miller (Pop. 1,527)

Best Small Towns To Live In South Dakota

  1. Pine Lakes Addition (Pop. 305)
  2. Bath (Pop. 242)
  3. Warner (Pop. 454)
  4. Northville (Pop. 160)
  5. Ethan (Pop. 423)
  6. Shindler (Pop. 782)
  7. St. Lawrence (Pop. 165)
  8. Humboldt (Pop. 719)
  9. Onida (Pop. 748)
  10. Jefferson (Pop. 584)

If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in South Dakota:

  1. Flandreau (Pop. 2,164)
  2. Mitchell (Pop. 15,610)
  3. Sisseton (Pop. 2,682)

For more South Dakota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In South Dakota

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Brandon 9,674 2.7% $183,000
2 Tea 4,628 2.8% $175,200
3 Dell Rapids 3,715 2.3% $149,400
4 Hartford 2,980 3.7% $166,100
5 Harrisburg 5,129 1.0% $172,300
6 Brookings 23,292 3.6% $164,500
7 Summerset 2,155 5.8% $201,900
8 Beresford 2,324 1.3% $111,500
9 Lennox 2,095 2.3% $97,600
10 Madison 7,101 4.1% $110,100
11 Elk Point 2,120 0.4% $131,000
12 Pierre 13,959 2.2% $164,900
13 Fort Pierre 2,278 1.7% $138,400
14 Watertown 22,026 3.0% $156,500
15 Aberdeen 27,783 2.7% $140,300
16 Sioux Falls 167,884 3.7% $161,500
17 Sturgis 6,711 0.8% $153,100
18 Milbank 3,252 3.7% $107,100
19 Lead 3,050 5.1% $105,900
20 Yankton 14,585 3.6% $127,600
21 Vermillion 10,778 7.6% $133,000
22 Mobridge 3,460 4.4% $80,700
23 Belle Fourche 5,696 1.2% $116,200
24 Redfield 2,727 2.2% $65,400
25 Canton 3,306 3.3% $119,600
26 Chamberlain 2,662 4.7% $134,800
27 Spearfish 11,176 3.6% $203,000
28 Box Elder 9,126 4.9% $138,400
29 Winner 2,843 0.4% $83,700
30 Hot Springs 3,570 3.5% $102,800
31 Huron 13,149 2.4% $99,300
32 Sisseton 2,682 11.1% $76,500
33 Mitchell 15,610 4.8% $130,600
34 Flandreau 2,164 9.3% $85,600

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