The 10 Best Places To Live In South Dakota For 2019


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

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

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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.

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.

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 10 Best Places To Live In South Dakota For 2019

Brandon, SD

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,674
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $183,000 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (14th best)
More on Brandon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Brandon has a really low crime rate (1st lowest) and only 2.7% of the people are unemployed. Additionally, residents here have high paying jobs ($75,424). And that goes a long way.

The population is growing at a steady clip, and the cost of living is lower than it should be. So people have an extra incentive to live in Brandon.

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 4,628
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $175,200 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.8% (15th best)
More on Tea: Real Estate | Data

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.

Dell Rapids, SD

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 3,715
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $149,400 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.3% (10th best)
More on Dell Rapids: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Dell Rapids is a cute little city where crime is far below the state average, and where it’s affordable. The schools are also solidly rated.

Home prices clock in at $149,400 and households earn a median salary of $63,818. One could get used to that.

Hartford, SD

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,980
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $166,100 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (23rd best)
More on Hartford: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The tiny town of Hartford may not remain tiny forever. The word has been out for a long, long time about how special this place is.

The residents are heavily involved in making their community even more awesome, and as many South Dakota residents know, Hartford is a great central spot for making the most of life.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,129
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $172,300 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.0% (4th best)
More on Harrisburg: Real Estate | Data

Who doesn’t want to live in Harrisburg? Because, according to the data, most everyone should want to.

Crime is lower than the state average, and the unemployment rate sits at only 1.0%. The school systems are generally well funded, meaning lots of personal attention for area kids.

Expect to see more of Harrisburg in the news in the coming months.

Brookings, SD

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 23,292
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $164,500 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (20th best)
More on Brookings: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Brookings has been called one of the best small towns in America. If you live here, you’re most likely already aware of how great it is to live there.

Just about everyone who wants a job in Brookings has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 3.6% and lowering. And the Brookings police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 17th lowest in the state here.

Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 2,155
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $201,900 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (31st best)
More on Summerset: Real Estate | Data

Summerset isn’t just the nicest place to live in South Dakota – it’s also the one of the fastest growing places in the state. And with good reason.

It’s got the 31st lowest unemployment rate, the 4th highest adjusted income, and rates above most places in education.

When you’re looking at science and data, Summerset definitely deserves a spot on the list for 2019.

Beresford, SD

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 2,324
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $111,500 (23rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.3% (6th best)
More on Beresford: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The Town of Beresford consistently ranks as one of the best places to live. There aren’t any surprises here. Which probably adds credibility to our data, right?

Let’s see why Beresford ranks so high. First of all, the homes in Beresford are the 23rd most expensive in the state of South Dakota, with the average home worth a whopping $111,500. We’re not elitists, nor are we saying that big homes means a better place to live. But price reflects demand, and simply put, a lot of people want to live in Beresford if they can afford it.

Other numbers that stand out: Beresford residents have the 12th highest income in the state, and the 7th lowest crime numbers in South Dakota.

Lennox, SD

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,095
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $97,600 (29th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.3% (10th best)
More on Lennox: Real Estate | Data | Photos

We think the motto in Lennox should be “Everything is greater in Lennox,” and that seems to be pretty close to the truth.

Lennox has some of the highest home values in South Dakota, and they’re going up fast. Additionally, Lennox only has 560.0% of its residents living in poverty.

Crime is also well below the state average, making Lennox a solid option for people who value safety. At least those who can afford it.

Madison, SD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,101
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $110,100 (24th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (25th best)
More on Madison: Real Estate | Data | Photos

If you want to live in South Dakota, you can’t go wrong if you decide to make the Madison area your home. However, everyone and their mother wants to live here.

Can you blame them? It’s a beautiful place with really low crime, where a majority of residents are wealthy (a $47,579 median income will do that).

Plus, the residents are really involved with helping to make Madison as great as possible. You can’t get it much better than in Madison.

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’.

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 Cities 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.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in South Dakota? That would be Brandon.

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.

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 the best place to live in South Dakota for 2019.

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 according to the data:

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

For more South Dakota reading, check out:

Where Are The 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

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