10 Best Places To Live In South Dakota For 2019


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

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 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 Brandon has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 2.7% and lowering. And the Brandon police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 1st lowest in the state here.

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

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

Good things do come in small packages; it's true for Tea, which with a population of 4,628 makes it one of the smallest on this list.

Relatively low unemployment and relatively high adjusted income are just two blessings Tea residents enjoy.

The 15th lowest crime rate in all of South Dakota makes Tea one of the safest place on this list.

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

Little Dell Rapids has it made. It has the 10th lowest unemployment rate, and crime is far below average for South Dakota.

Residents here have great jobs, and the home price proves it's a highly desirable location in the state, for those who can afford the high cost of living

We'd recommend you start saving up!

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 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 23rd overall for its low unemployment rate and the 5th highest median income of any place in our analysis.

However, it only has the 33rd shortest average commute time of any place in South Dakota.

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

We think the motto in Harrisburg should be "Everything is greater in Harrisburg," and that seems to be pretty close to the truth.

Harrisburg has some of the highest home values in South Dakota, and they're going up fast. Additionally, Harrisburg only has 720.0% of its residents living in poverty.

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

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 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 $164,500 and households earn a median salary of $47,060. One could get used to that.

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 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 Summerset. 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.

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

At an unemployment rate of 1.3%, everyone who wants a job can get one in Beresford. And the residents command high salaries ($51,087 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($111,500 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.

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

Lennox has a long and illustrious history and its ranking in the top ten of our best places to live is just another notch in its belt.\n\Lennox had the 11th highest household median income adjusted for cost of living at $51,509.

Not to mention that its residents have plenty to do on the weekends.

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

Well, I guess technically 4.1% of Madison residents who want to have a job can't find one, so not everyone has a job, but it's the 25th closest of any city in South Dakota.

You can tell they take business seriously as they have by far the coolest Chamber of Commerce website we came across in our research.

In addition to its incredibly low unemployment rate, Madison also ranked well for crime (11th) and median income ($47,579).

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 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

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

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