The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In South Dakota For 2021


We used science and data to determine which cities in South Dakota that will put a big dent in your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the most expensive places to live in South Dakota.

Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and South Dakota does this very well. Families love the Mount Rushmore State's beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state -- and that's how we're going to help you.

These are the places in South Dakota that cost a pretty penny -- the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in South Dakota for 2021.

So where is the most expensive place to live in South Dakota? That would be Spearfish.
the 2015-2019 American Community Survey for the 64 places in South Dakota with more than 1,000 people.

Here are the 10 most expensive places to live in South Dakota for 2021:

  1. Spearfish
  2. Rapid City
  3. Vermillion
  4. Watertown
  5. Box Elder
  6. Brookings
  7. Sioux Falls
  8. Mitchell
  9. North Sioux City
  10. Volga

What's the most expensive place to live in South Dakota? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that Spearfish is the most expensive place to live in South Dakota.

So hopefully Britton (the cheapest place to live in South Dakota) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about South Dakota and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In South Dakota For 2021

1. SpearfishSpearfish, SD

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 11,547
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.6x (most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 60.5x (6th most expensive)
More on Spearfish: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Spearfish comes in at $46,193 and the median home value is $212,700 for 2021.

2. Rapid CityRapid City, SD

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 75,258
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 62.5x (9th most expensive)
More on Rapid City: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Rapid City comes in at $52,351 and the median home value is $184,700 for 2021.

3. VermillionVermillion, SD

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 10,753
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.9x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.2x (3rd most expensive)
More on Vermillion: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Vermillion comes in at $40,874 and the median home value is $159,600 for 2021.

4. WatertownWatertown, SD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 22,166
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.3x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 67.1x (12th most expensive)
More on Watertown: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Watertown comes in at $50,971 and the median home value is $170,500 for 2021.

5. Box ElderBox Elder, SD

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 9,683
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.0x (13th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 53.9x (2nd most expensive)
More on Box Elder: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Box Elder comes in at $53,382 and the median home value is $160,700 for 2021.

6. BrookingsBrookings, SD

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 24,108
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.4x (6th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 71.5x (19th most expensive)
More on Brookings: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Brookings comes in at $53,863 and the median home value is $181,000 for 2021.

7. Sioux FallsSioux Falls, SD

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 177,117
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 72.4x (25th most expensive)
More on Sioux Falls: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Sioux Falls comes in at $59,912 and the median home value is $189,800 for 2021.

8. MitchellMitchell, SD

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 15,727
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (10th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 61.7x (7th most expensive)
More on Mitchell: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Mitchell comes in at $46,661 and the median home value is $147,200 for 2021.

9. North Sioux CityNorth Sioux City, SD

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 2,837
Rank Last Year: 22 (Up 13)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (15th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.5x (5th most expensive)
More on North Sioux City: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in North Sioux City comes in at $50,625 and the median home value is $148,100 for 2021.

10. VolgaVolga, SD

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,926
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (16th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 71.8x (22nd most expensive)
More on Volga: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Volga comes in at $56,852 and the median home value is $166,000 for 2021.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Mount Rushmore State For 2021

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In South Dakota
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2015-2019 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in South Dakota to figure out which is the most expensive.

What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 64 places in South Dakota that have more than 1,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in South Dakota according to the data is Spearfish. You can download the data here.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In South Dakota For 2021

Well there you have it, the places in South Dakota that have the highest cost of living, with Spearfish ranking as the most expensive city in the Mount Rushmore State.

Here's a look at the most affordable cities in South Dakota according to the data:

  1. Britton
  2. Freeman
  3. De Smet

For more South Dakota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In South Dakota

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Spearfish 3.33 11,547 4.6x 60.5x
2 Rapid City 7.33 75,258 3.5x 62.5x
3 Vermillion 8.67 10,753 3.9x 55.2x
4 Watertown 10.67 22,166 3.3x 67.1x
5 Box Elder 11.5 9,683 3.0x 53.9x
6 Brookings 11.67 24,108 3.4x 71.5x
7 Sioux Falls 13.33 177,117 3.2x 72.4x
8 Mitchell 15.67 15,727 3.2x 61.7x
9 North Sioux City 16.33 2,837 2.9x 57.5x
10 Volga 17.67 1,926 2.9x 71.8x
11 Deadwood 18.17 1,548 3.6x 75.7x
12 Sturgis 20.0 6,796 3.7x 81.5x
13 Milbank 20.33 3,166 3.1x 68.7x
14 Aberdeen 21.0 28,225 3.1x 76.9x
15 Belle Fourche 21.33 5,616 2.8x 65.9x
16 Summerset 21.83 2,477 2.5x 78.6x
17 Lennox 23.33 2,505 2.8x 69.1x
18 Custer 24.67 2,282 2.8x 71.6x
19 Miller 25.33 1,421 3.2x 74.5x
20 Lead 25.67 2,985 2.6x 67.2x
21 Harrisburg 26.67 6,087 2.4x 86.5x
22 Tea 27.0 5,397 2.4x 85.6x
23 Brandon 27.5 9,934 2.6x 94.2x
24 Pierre 27.67 13,961 2.8x 93.2x
25 Yankton 27.67 14,573 2.9x 82.1x
26 Dell Rapids 28.67 3,660 2.4x 83.1x
27 Hartford 28.67 3,220 2.5x 88.9x
28 Groton 29.33 1,673 2.5x 78.0x
29 Chamberlain 30.33 2,565 2.9x 91.4x
30 Webster 31.0 1,673 2.7x 68.7x
31 Crooks 31.0 1,279 2.1x 85.2x
32 Platte 31.67 1,533 2.7x 88.2x
33 Elk Point 32.33 2,176 2.4x 77.9x
34 Hot Springs 35.33 3,509 2.6x 78.9x
35 Sisseton 35.67 2,468 2.3x 65.0x
36 Gregory 36.0 1,507 2.4x 71.6x
37 Garretson 37.33 1,263 2.3x 91.2x
38 Salem 37.33 1,260 2.0x 70.9x
39 Baltic 37.33 1,110 2.2x 94.0x
40 Wagner 38.67 1,482 2.4x 77.2x
41 Fort Pierre 39.0 2,240 2.2x 94.1x
42 Whitewood 39.0 1,104 2.1x 74.3x
43 Gettysburg 39.67 1,294 2.1x 73.8x
44 Clark 40.0 1,370 2.2x 69.8x
45 Arlington 42.0 1,045 1.9x 72.1x
46 Mission 43.33 1,310 1.6x 52.8x
47 Huron 44.0 13,282 2.0x 75.3x
48 Eagle Butte 44.33 1,062 1.5x 55.4x
49 Worthing 44.33 1,020 1.9x 88.9x
50 Madison 46.33 7,261 2.2x 97.7x
51 Mobridge 46.67 3,385 1.8x 72.5x
52 Canton 47.0 3,447 2.1x 96.3x
53 Tyndall 47.33 1,263 1.8x 72.0x
54 Beresford 48.0 2,291 2.0x 101.2x
55 Clear Lake 50.0 1,393 2.1x 116.1x
56 Redfield 51.0 2,583 1.7x 75.7x
57 Springfield 52.67 2,056 2.0x 88.5x
58 Flandreau 53.0 2,458 2.0x 96.1x
59 Parkston 55.33 1,653 1.9x 106.2x
60 Lemmon 56.33 1,239 1.4x 80.1x
61 Winner 57.0 2,826 1.7x 99.2x
62 De Smet 58.0 1,092 1.7x 166.9x
63 Freeman 59.67 1,459 1.5x 94.9x
64 Britton 61.67 1,678 1.4x 97.6x

How Is The Area In ?

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.