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:
- 10 Best Places To Live In South Dakota
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In South Dakota
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live 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.
Brandon 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 14th overall for its low unemployment rate and the 3rd highest median income of any place in our analysis.
However, it only has the 27th shortest average commute time of any place in South Dakota.
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.
Who doesn’t want to live in Dell Rapids? Because, according to the data, most everyone should want to.
Crime is lower than the state average, and the unemployment rate sits at only 2.3%. The school systems are generally well funded, meaning lots of personal attention for area kids.
Expect to see more of Dell Rapids in the news in the coming months.
Hartford is a short drive from everything, but who would want to leave the 4th best place in South Dakota?
Homes are priced around $166,100 and residents have the 33rd shortest commute in South Dakota.
At an unemployment rate of 1.0%, everyone who wants a job can get one in Harrisburg. And the residents command high salaries ($77,151 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($172,300 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.
Brookings is known for having a great education system and has the 12th shortest commute time.
Additionally, the unemployment rate in Brookings is the 20th lowest in South Dakota and the median income is the 18th highest in the state.
Taking a similar route to the top ten as many others on this list, Summerset ranked highly for adjusted median income (4th), crime (8th), and unemployment (31st).
With a population of 2,155 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 Summerset, you can be anything you want.
Beresford is just about as close to a perfect area as you can get. Residents here are gainfully employed, and the schools are some of the best in the state. It’s safe, and residents get to enjoy the benefits of quality at home living.
It’s quite a gem tucked away in South Dakota.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a place where there’s low crime and everyone is rich? That’s the case with Lennox.
Things are looking peachy keen here. The unemployment rate is the 10th lowest in South Dakota and the median income comes in at $51,509.
This is the kind of place you brag to your friends on Facebook about.
Madison 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 Madison has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 4.1% and lowering. And the Madison police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 11th lowest in the state here.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?
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:
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In South Dakota
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In South Dakota For 2018
- 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