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.

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.

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 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\Brandon had the 3rd highest household median income adjusted for cost of living at $75,424.

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

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

Tea 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.

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 ranks 3rd 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 Dell Rapids over the past years. Goes to show that everyone wants in on this great community.

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 has a really low crime rate (2nd lowest) and only 3.7% of the people are unemployed. Additionally, residents here have high paying jobs ($67,031). 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 Hartford.

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

Let’s take a look at why Harrisburg is a great place to call home for 2019.

There’s low crime in Harrisburg, and the residents here are gainfully employed (1.0% unemployment rate).

You can make Harrisburg your home for only $172,300 which won’t be too hard on a $77,151 household salary.

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

At an unemployment rate of 3.6%, everyone who wants a job can get one in Brookings. And the residents command high salaries ($47,060 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($164,500 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.

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 known for having a great education system and has the 28th shortest commute time.

Additionally, the unemployment rate in Summerset is the 31st lowest in South Dakota and the median income is the 4th highest in the state.

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

Beresford is by far one of the best places to live in South Dakota: the math proves it! This city has the 6th lowest unemployment rate and the 12th highest median income in all of South Dakota.

Plus, the median home values are the 23rd highest in the state. And if all of that isn’t enough to convince you, then check this out: their crime rate is the 7th lowest in the state, making Beresford a safe and great place to live.

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

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, 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

Crime is something that doesn’t happen very often in Madison. Statistically the 11th safest place in the state, there were only 4 violent crimes in the entire city last year.

It’s really beautiful in Madison, and new homes continue to replace older homes. Resident earn $47,579 a year, and homes are valued at more than $110,100.

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

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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