The 10 Best Counties To Live In South Dakota For 2021


Using science and data, we can tell you which counties in South Dakota have the most for people looking to make the move to South Dakota.

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Some of you might be asking yourself, at this very moment: is South Dakota a good place?

The answer is unequivocally yes… if you know where to locate the best places to live in South Dakota.

Lucky for you, we’re here to help you identify the best counties to live in the Mount Rushmore State based on the most recently available data from the Census. And this isn’t our first rodeo — we’ve been helping people find the best places to live in America for years.

So, the question becomes, if you wanted to relocate to the best part of South Dakota, where would you go? To answer that we looked at crime, cost of living, and demographic data for all 66 counties in the state.

After the analytic dust settled, we identified the 10 best counties to live in Mount Rushmore State for 2021.

Stanley County is the county to be when it comes to living the good life in South Dakota. And you might want to avoid Oglala Lakota County if you can — at least according to the data.

So if you’re thinking of making the move South Dakota, we’ve got you covered. Keep on reading for a detailed methodology.

Or, check out the best places to live in South Dakota and the cheapest places to live in South Dakota.

The Best Counties To Live In South Dakota For 2021

1. Stanley County

Fort Pierre, SD

Biggest Place: Fort Pierre

Population: 3,017
Median Income: $71,382 (2nd best)
Median Home Price: $163,300.0 (14th best)
Unemployment Rate: 0.5% (5th best)
More on Stanley County: PhotosData

2. Sully County

Biggest Place: Onida

Population: 1,305
Median Income: $62,153 (11th best)
Median Home Price: $144,100.0 (19th best)
Unemployment Rate: 0.5% (4th best)
More on Sully County: Data

3. Lincoln County

Beresford, SD

Biggest Place: Sioux Falls

Population: 56,826
Median Income: $82,473 (best)
Median Home Price: $228,800.0 (best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.0% (23rd best)
More on Lincoln County: PhotosData

4. Edmunds County

Biggest Place: Ipswich

Population: 3,909
Median Income: $71,324 (3rd best)
Median Home Price: $118,400.0 (30th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.5% (16th best)
More on Edmunds County: Data

5. Union County

Beresford, SD

Biggest Place: Dakota Dunes

Population: 15,368
Median Income: $70,378 (4th best)
Median Home Price: $179,300.0 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.9% (20th best)
More on Union County: PhotosData

6. Hand County

Biggest Place: Miller

Population: 3,256
Median Income: $54,155 (40th best)
Median Home Price: $128,400.0 (27th best)
Unemployment Rate: 0.0% (best)
More on Hand County: Data

7. Hanson County

Biggest Place: Alexandria

Population: 3,399
Median Income: $64,696 (8th best)
Median Home Price: $130,800.0 (25th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.3% (29th best)
More on Hanson County: Data

8. Turner County

Biggest Place: Parker

Population: 8,300
Median Income: $59,242 (19th best)
Median Home Price: $122,400.0 (28th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.1% (25th best)
More on Turner County: Data

9. Meade County

Sturgis, SD

Biggest Place: Box Elder

Population: 27,717
Median Income: $60,578 (17th best)
Median Home Price: $190,500.0 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.6% (18th best)
More on Meade County: PhotosData

10. Kingsbury County

De Smet, SD

Biggest Place: De Smet

Population: 4,944
Median Income: $61,699 (14th best)
Median Home Price: $109,900.0 (32nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 0.7% (8th best)
More on Kingsbury County: Data

How do you determine which South Dakota county is the best?

To give you the best county in South Dakota, we have to look at a handful of metrics that signal the quality of a place. To do that, we need to make some assumptions about what’s a “best county” and what isn’t. And, for reference, we are trying to make the kind of argument you’d make at a bar using facts, don’t take this analysis to court.

With that in mind, we went to two of the best sources of data on the internet; the American Community Survey data and FBI Crime data for the most recent time period.

We paid particular attention to:

  • Violent Crime Rates
  • Property Crime Rates
  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Unemployment Rates
  • Adult Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty Rates

We then ranked each county in South Dakota across each of the criteria from one to 66, with one being the best.

Taking the average rank across all criteria, we created a quality of life score with the county posting the lowest overall score being the “Best County To Live In South Dakota”.

The result is some of the safest, quiet, and best counties to raise a family in the Mount Rushmore State.

Read on to see why Stanley County is the best county, while Oglala Lakota County is probably in contention for being the worst county in South Dakota.

There You Have It – The Best Counties In South Dakota To Call Home For 2018

It turns out living in South Dakota can vary from one part of the state to the next — who woulda thought?

But now you the know the really good parts and the parts to avoid and that’s why you came here to learn at the end of the day. And for that, you are welcome.

Here’s a look at the worst counties in South Dakota according to the data:

  1. Oglala Lakota County
  2. Todd County
  3. Buffalo County

For more South Dakota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Counties In South Dakota

County Rank Population Median Income Median Home Price
Stanley County 1 3,017 $71,382 $163,300.0
Sully County 2 1,305 $62,153 $144,100.0
Lincoln County 3 56,826 $82,473 $228,800.0
Edmunds County 4 3,909 $71,324 $118,400.0
Union County 5 15,368 $70,378 $179,300.0
Hand County 6 3,256 $54,155 $128,400.0
Hanson County 7 3,399 $64,696 $130,800.0
Turner County 8 8,300 $59,242 $122,400.0
Meade County 9 27,717 $60,578 $190,500.0
Kingsbury County 10 4,944 $61,699 $109,900.0
Hamlin County 11 6,025 $67,105 $157,100.0
Minnehaha County 12 188,674 $61,772 $186,800.0
Deuel County 13 4,318 $65,437 $133,500.0
Hyde County 14 1,319 $57,788 $88,800.0
Hughes County 15 17,608 $64,783 $177,500.0
Brown County 16 38,915 $58,216 $166,800.0
Lake County 17 12,717 $61,846 $168,400.0
Brookings County 18 34,601 $58,136 $179,000.0
Campbell County 19 1,485 $54,449 $68,800.0
Bon Homme County 20 6,929 $54,737 $89,600.0
Harding County 21 1,306 $59,655 $101,100.0
Codington County 22 28,026 $56,376 $174,500.0
Lawrence County 23 25,478 $52,641 $207,900.0
Marshall County 24 4,891 $63,723 $118,900.0
Potter County 25 2,315 $54,583 $102,300.0
Clark County 26 3,685 $48,980 $102,400.0
Sanborn County 27 2,379 $56,875 $87,600.0
Clay County 28 13,957 $50,724 $168,300.0
Haakon County 29 2,018 $42,250 $105,400.0
Hutchinson County 30 7,308 $57,089 $94,100.0
Aurora County 31 2,763 $64,083 $85,800.0
Davison County 32 19,871 $50,570 $154,700.0
Grant County 33 7,149 $58,158 $133,700.0
Miner County 34 2,211 $52,910 $77,000.0
Custer County 35 8,719 $58,522 $214,400.0
Fall River County 36 6,747 $50,588 $129,400.0
Yankton County 37 22,717 $58,342 $148,300.0
Brule County 38 5,258 $57,196 $152,600.0
Douglas County 39 2,929 $58,684 $94,400.0
Faulk County 40 2,312 $55,096 $85,100.0
Pennington County 41 110,685 $57,039 $187,800.0
Moody County 42 6,507 $61,538 $133,700.0
Perkins County 43 2,897 $57,981 $102,000.0
Walworth County 44 5,457 $55,583 $88,200.0
Jerauld County 45 2,018 $49,632 $81,900.0
Mccook County 46 5,548 $61,507 $137,800.0
Jones County 47 793 $46,149 $77,100.0
Gregory County 48 4,186 $43,438 $83,400.0
Spink County 49 6,483 $54,423 $82,800.0
Butte County 50 10,225 $46,508 $139,000.0
Beadle County 51 18,346 $52,313 $109,700.0
Tripp County 52 5,458 $57,720 $101,200.0
Roberts County 53 10,287 $50,348 $103,600.0
Charles Mix County 54 9,349 $50,481 $116,700.0
Day County 55 5,486 $46,679 $100,500.0
Lyman County 56 3,848 $53,862 $102,800.0
Mcpherson County 57 2,297 $44,574 $58,900.0
Jackson County 58 3,290 $33,295 $52,500.0
Bennett County 59 3,425 $47,500 $75,900.0
Dewey County 60 5,833 $47,475 $64,400.0
Corson County 61 4,150 $35,759 $58,500.0
Ziebach County 62 2,791 $37,400 $57,700.0
Mellette County 63 2,052 $30,650 $32,100.0
Buffalo County 64 2,026 $34,808 $49,000.0
Todd County 65 10,195 $24,331 $26,000.0
Oglala Lakota County 66 14,335 $31,997 $27,400.0
Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best counties to live in South Dakota.

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.