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:
- Brandon (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Tea (Homes For Sale)
- Dell Rapids (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Hartford (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Harrisburg (Homes For Sale)
- Brookings (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Summerset (Homes For Sale)
- Beresford (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Lennox (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Madison (Photos | Homes For Sale)
Well, it looks like you should check out Brandon if you’re thinking of moving to South Dakota — it’s the best the Mount Rushmore State has to offer according to the data.
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in South Dakota.
For more South Dakota reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In South Dakota
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In South Dakota
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In South Dakota
Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in South Dakota
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 2,000
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 2,000
- 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 2,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.
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
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
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.
Taking its place as the 1st best place in South Dakota is Brandon. Residents here earn a really high salary each year, and crime is fairly low, in comparison to the rest of South Dakota.
It’s considered a cultural community, as it boasts an arts scene, and many ethnic restaurants, too. Which means you can’t be bored here.
An unemployment rate of only 2.7% helps thing too.
The Town of Tea might be a bit of a surprise to some in terms of how well it ranks according to science.
The crime rate in Tea isn’t amazing, but it’s far below the state average. The homes are valued at $175,200 here, and the schools get some of the most funding in South Dakota.
If Tea can get some more of their residents to work, things will look even rosier here. The unemployment rate (2.8% is the 15th highest in the state.
At an unemployment rate of 2.3%, everyone who wants a job can get one in Dell Rapids. And the residents command high salaries ($63,818 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($149,400 each).
We’re not saying money is why these cities are the ‘best’ in South Dakota. What we’re implying is that money means safety and peace of mind. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Hartford ranks 4th on our list of best places to live in South Dakota thanks to its low unemployment and high adjusted median income.
Additionally, its crime rate ranks in the lowest 10% of all places in South Dakota that we examined.
People have been flocking to Hartford over the past years. Goes to show that everyone wants in on this great community.
Harrisburg broke into the top ten best places to live in South Dakota on the back of a low unemployment and a quality schools system.
It placed 4th overall for its low unemployment rate and the 1st highest median income of any place in our analysis.
However, it only has the 31st shortest average commute time of any place in South Dakota.
Let’s take a look at why Brookings is a great place to call home for 2018.
There’s low crime in Brookings, and the residents here are gainfully employed (3.6% unemployment rate).
You can make Brookings your home for only $164,500 which won’t be too hard on a $47,060 household salary.
Known for its low unemployment rates and great education, Summerset is a wonderful place to live in this state.
The relatively stable household incomes and below average crime rates don’t hurt either!
While it may not be as great as some other places on this list, Summerset still holds its own in in South Dakota.
Beresford is known for having a great education system and has the 30th shortest commute time.
Additionally, the unemployment rate in Beresford is the 6th lowest in South Dakota and the median income is the 12th highest in the state.
Lennox is by far one of the best places to live in South Dakota: the math proves it! This city has the 10th lowest unemployment rate and the 11th highest median income in all of South Dakota.
Plus, the median home values are the 29th highest in the state. And if all of that isn’t enough to convince you, then check this out: their crime rate is the 6th lowest in the state, making Lennox a safe and great place to live.
In Madison, everyone loves to call Madison home! The median home value is the 24th highest in South Dakota.
Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 25th lowest in the state. and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Mount Rushmore State.
Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living 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
- Crooks (Pop. 1,380)
- Groton (Pop. 1,905)
- Piedmont (Pop. 1,111)
- Britton (Pop. 1,689)
- Volga (Pop. 1,883)
- Platte (Pop. 1,531)
- Gettysburg (Pop. 1,203)
- Garretson (Pop. 1,291)
- Worthing (Pop. 1,066)
- Miller (Pop. 1,527)
Best Small Towns To Live In South Dakota
- Pine Lakes Addition (Pop. 305)
- Bath (Pop. 242)
- Warner (Pop. 454)
- Northville (Pop. 160)
- Ethan (Pop. 423)
- Shindler (Pop. 782)
- St. Lawrence (Pop. 165)
- Humboldt (Pop. 719)
- Onida (Pop. 748)
- Jefferson (Pop. 584)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in South Dakota according to the data:
- Sisseton (Pop. 2,682)
- Mitchell (Pop. 15,610)
- Flandreau (Pop. 2,164)
For more South Dakota reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In South Dakota
- 10 Safest Places In South Dakota
- 10 Worst Places To Live In South Dakota
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In South Dakota