The Best Places to Live in South Dakota

Families, those on a budget, and new homeowners can find a place to land among the eight best places to live in South Dakota.
Written by Abbey Orzech
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Among the best places to live in
South Dakota
are Brandon, Harrisburg, Britton, Ipswich, Springfield, Brookings, and Dakota Dunes. 
In a ranking of overall best U.S. states that considers factors like healthcare, education, economy, and infrastructure, U.S. News places South Dakota firmly at #15. Affordable home prices, excellent public schools, and great amenities in tight-knit communities are some of the major pulls of South Dakota towns. 
Whether you’re scouring for the ideal community to put your family’s roots down or you’re on the hunt for the cheapest place to live, these towns may be right for you. To help you decide on the best place for your needs and preferences,
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What makes a good place to live? 

When considering a place good to live in, we often think about whether it can provide for our specific needs, wants, and circumstances.
If you can’t go without the convenient amenities and non-stop activities of a big city, the countryside’s fresh air will only go so far. If, on the other hand, you need wide-open spaces and a village-like community, the tight quarters and anonymity of cities won’t be your cup of tea. 
You’ll also want to consider things like average home values, the type of economy, crime rates, and school districts. We’ll go over some of those key home-making factors of the best South Dakota towns: Brandon, Harrisburg, Britton, Ipswich, Springfield, Brookings, and Dakota Dunes. 
We considered metrics like home price, household income, population count, crime rates, quality of schools, and average commute times to break them down into three categories: best places to live for families, the most affordable places, and the best place to buy a house

The best places for families to live in South Dakota 

When families relocate, they’re generally looking for places that have great schools, low crime rates, and active community life. The towns of Brandon and Harrisburg check all of those boxes and are considered among the best places to live in South Dakota.


Location: Minnehaha County
Population: 9,934
Median household income: $87,250
Median home price: $225,200
The fair-sized suburb of
, South Dakota is one of the best places for families to settle. With under 10,000 people (most of whom own their homes), Brandon has that small-town community feel that makes you feel a part of everything.  
Families with school-aged children, rejoice! Brandon has the second-best public schools in all of South Dakota, so you can feel good about the solid investment in your children’s education. Outside of the classroom, your kids can enjoy all the knowledge that nature has to offer. There is plenty of access to outdoor recreation, so you’ll never be short on things to do. 
Brandon also is a strong contender for the best place to live for families because of its very low crime rates. Crime rates in Brandon, South Dakota are 85% lower than the average U.S. city. 


Location: Lincoln County
Population: 6,087
Median household income: $81,359
Median home price: $199,200 
Harrisburg ranks among South Dakota’s best family spots—and for good reason. Though the town is not densely populated, you can expect to get to know the other families in the area through its highly rated public school system and nine public parks
Take the kids out for a day of fishing, head to one of the playgrounds, pack a picnic, or bring the family pup to the dog park! The Sporty Spices of your family can thrive at the basketball courts, t-ball fields, and a championship baseball field, while the less hand-eye coordinated family members can try their green thumb on for size at the community garden
Better yet, you can feel safe attending any family outing—Harrisburg has an A+ crime rate, meaning crime happens at a significantly lower rate than the average U.S. city. 

The most affordable places to live in South Dakota

If you’re looking for a new place to live, you’re likely considering the cost of living above other factors. South Dakota’s overall cost of living is less than the national average, but some South Dakota towns stick out as the most affordable
Based on both the overall cost of living and the average commuting times—or how much you’re likely to spend on gas—these are the cheapest places to live in South Dakota. 


Location: Marshall County 
Population: 1,678
Median household income: $63,333
Median home price: $87,400 
The town of Britton has an average cost of living index of 73.0, which is lower than both the national average (100) and the South Dakota average (88.3). Its proximity to several lakes and outdoor spaces makes this town great for cheap or free outdoor recreation, and the economy is mainly manufacturing, retail, and service. 
Commuters in Britton typically see drive times around nine minutes, so you won’t be gridlocked in traffic or driving long distances that empty your gas tank very often. And with the gas prices these days, a short commute can save you a lot of money. 


Location: Edmunds County 
Population: 1,021 
Median household income: $58,333
Median home price: $104,900
The cost of living in Ipswich, South Dakota sits at 73.1, well below the national average. Add that to the city’s extremely low unemployment rate, low crime rates, and great community involvement, and you’ll get a high quality of life for a low price. 
And you won’t have to worry about spending the whole day stuck in your car, either! The average commute time in Ipswich is only 14.7 minutes—so one fill-up will go a long way.  


Location: Bon Homme County 
Population: 2,110
Median household income: $43,864
Median home price: $84,600 
Sitting on the banks of Lewis and Clark Lake and among thousands of acres of wildlife habitat is Springfield—a city with ample outdoor recreation at little to no cost. 
The cost of living in Springfield comes in at 72.3, which is the lowest ranking on this list! You’ll also be able to save money on your gas prices with average commute times of just over 26 minutes. If you’re an outdoor explorer on the hunt for an affordable place to live in South Dakota, Springfield’s community is happy to welcome you. 

Best places to buy a house in South Dakota

Buying a house is a massive investment, so when you decide it’s time to more permanently put down roots, you’ll want to consider the area’s housing market and your lifestyle


Location: Brookings County
Population: 24,479 
Median household income: $57,571
Median home price: $159,400 
Brookings is the fourth largest city in South Dakota, but it still has that small-town charm. Home to a few large businesses, the Children's Museum of South Dakota, the Dakota Nature Park, and a vibrant nightlife, Brookings can make a good home for many different people 
It also happens to be one of the best places in the state to buy a home. Most of the city’s residents own their homes so you can bet on dedication and care to the community, but, like everywhere else, median home listing prices have been consistently on the rise this year. 

Dakota Dunes

Location: Union County 
Population: 2,895
Median household income: $103,466 
Median home price: $266,400 
Head to Dakota Dunes if you like both the homey, small-town feel and proximity to the city. Residents are greeted by many local, family-owned businesses around town but can take an hour-long
road trip
to reach South Dakota’s biggest city,
Sioux Falls
, or drive an hour and a half to visit
Median home listing prices in Dakota Dunes have been trending up in the past year but the market is currently relatively balanced between a buyer’s and seller’s market, so now may be a good time to get in! 


Location: Minnehaha County 
Population: 9,934 
Median household income: $87,250
Median home price: $225,200 
Not only is the South Dakota city of Brandon one of the best places to live if you have a family, but it’s also one of the best places to buy a home. You’ll find a welcoming community, convenient amenities, and lots of options for outdoor recreation. 
While you’re working on paying off your home’s mortgage—the average listing price has gone up in the last year—you can save money on your travel expenses through Brandon’s Transit Bus System. The affordable public transportation system charges $2 per ride or is free for people 65 years old or above. 

How to find affordable homeowners and car insurance in South Dakota 

After finding the perfect South Dakota place to live for your circumstances, you’ll need to work on finding the perfect
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