These Are 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:

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

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:

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.

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

There’s two types of people who live in Brandon. Either the old hold outs who have lived there forever and are watching their home values skyrocket, or those d who can afford to buy a $183,000 home there.

Either way, you’re set. Your kids go to great schools, there’s a ton of things to do, and you earn a great salary. Brandon is exactly what you hoped for when you played that board game, LIFE as a kid.

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

Crime is something that doesn’t happen very often in Tea. Statistically the 15th safest place in the state, there were only 9 violent crimes in the entire city last year.

It’s really beautiful in Tea, and new homes continue to replace older homes. Resident earn $75,473 a year, and homes are valued at more than $175,200.

What else could you possibly want if you’re someone who likes the good things in life?

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

Known for its low unemployment rates and great education, Dell Rapids 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, Dell Rapids still holds its own in in South Dakota.

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

Hartford offers an impressive amount to do while maintaining a small town’s charm.

The unemployment rate sits as the 23rd lowest in South Dakota and incomes are the 5th highest.

When you come into town be sure to check out the parks as they are a good time for people of all ages.

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

Harrisburg is a short drive from everything, but who would want to leave the 5th best place in South Dakota?

Homes are priced around $172,300 and residents have the 31st shortest commute in South Dakota.

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

Things can’t get much better than in the town of Brookings. The crime is the 17th lowest in the entire state, and the residents who live in Brookings make huge salaries, and almost all of them have great jobs.

The median home costs a cool $164,500 and households make $47,060 which is good for 18th in South Dakota.

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 ranks as the 7th best place in South Dakota for 2019. Let’s take a look at why.

Summerset has a lower crime rate than the cities mentioned above. Summerset’s cost of living is a tick higher, but families also earn much higher salaries – to the tune of $74,063 a year.

The knock? We can’t really find one 🙂

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

Taking its place as the 8th best place in South Dakota is Beresford. 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 1.3% helps thing too.

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

The crime is the 6th lowest in the state in Lennox, and there were only 2 violent crimes in the entire city last year. We think it’s even safer here than the numbers indicate.

The schools are some of the best in South Dakota, and residents live in very expensive homes. They also earn more than most every other city in the state. Residents in Lennox earn $51,509 a year.

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

Madison had the 25th lowest unemployment of any place in our research (4.1%) and the 11th lowest crime rate. However, the relative lack of population density and long commute times held it back from being higher on our list.

Madison is home to an exceptional Volunteer Fire Department that represents so much about what it’s like to live there.

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:

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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