Moving to South Dakota A Complete Relocation Guide 2021

This is a complete guide for Moving to South Dakota
Get all the information you need to know about moving to South Dakota

Are you considering moving to South Dakota?

South Dakota is one of the most millennial-friendly states in the country. If you’d like to live in a state where you can enjoy all four seasons and more sunny days than the U.S. average, moving to South Dakota is right for you.

The Mount Rushmore State’s booming job market, low cost of living, low housing costs and low property crime rates make it one of the best places for millennial.

South Dakota is a tax-friendly state for individuals and businesses making it a hot spot for startups and business owners.

If you’re considering moving to South Dakota and wondering if the state is right for you or not, this guide contains all the key information you need to know about the state in order to make the right decision.

Quick facts to know before moving to South Dakota

  • South Dakota’s cost of living is lower than the U.S. average
  • The average cost of homes in South Dakota are lower than the U.S. average
  • South Dakota’s unemployment rates are lower than the U.S. average
  • South Dakota has no personal income and corporate income tax
  • South Dakota gets an average of 213 sunny days per year
  • The property crime rate in South Dakota is lower than the U.S. average

What’s the population of South Dakota?

South Dakota is home to 896,581 people. The state stretches across 77,116 square miles making it the 17th largest state in the country by area.

  • South Dakota has 10.7 people per square miles
  • South Dakota is the 46th most densely populated state in the U.S.
  • South Dakota’s current growth rate is 1.17%
  • South Dakota is the 11th fastest-growing state in the U.S.

How is the weather like in South Dakota?

South Dakota gets an average of 213 sunny days per year. The national average is 205 sunny days. If you’d like to enjoy more sunny days than the national average, moving to South Dakota is perfect for you. Here are key metrics of the state’s weather since you’re considering moving to South Dakota:

  • South Dakota’s summer high in July is around 85 degrees
  • South Dakota’s winter low in January is around 7 degrees
  • On average, South Dakota gets 23 inches of rain in a year
  • On average, South Dakota gets 39 inches of snow in a year

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How fast can you commute in South Dakota?

South Dakota’s average one-way commute time is 17.0 minutes. The national average is 26.4 minutes. That means commuting time in South Dakota is shorter than the national average. That’s one of the key perks of moving to South Dakota. The following is a breakdown of how people in South Dakota commute to work:

  • About 80.0% of South Dakotans drive their own car alone
  • Around 8.9% of South Dakotans carpool with others
  • Up to 5.6% of South Dakotans work from home
  • About 0.5% of South Dakotans take mass transit
moving to south dakota

Top 10 Reasons to move to South Dakota

Thousands of people move to South Dakota every year for various reasons.

Since you’re considering moving to South Dakota, we’ve made a list of the top ten reasons why people are moving to the state. Check out the list below:

  • You’ll enjoy all four seasons in a year

    South Dakota celebrates 4 distinct seasons. In spring, the temperature ranges between 50°F to 60°F in the daytime and anywhere between 45°F to below freezing at night. The state will have 15 to 16 hours of sunlight in summer when the average high temperature will be 90°F during the day and will be low to near 60°F at night. Fall weather tends to be mild with an average daytime high of 57°F and low of 44°F. The winters are cold and snowy, alternating between mild and extreme. The average high will be below 32°F and the average low will be below 10°F.

  • South Dakota has a booming job market

    South Dakota's economy is thriving, opening more job opportunities. The unemployment level is significantly coming down and currently, it is 3.3%, much lower than the US average. Your chance of grabbing a job is much higher in South Dakota

  • The cost of living in South Dakota is low

    South Dakota has an extremely low cost of living. Groceries, housing, healthcare, and transportation costs are lower in the state than in the neighboring ones.

  • There is no personal income tax in South Dakota

    South Dakota does not levy a personal income tax. The state's sales tax is also among the lowest in the country. This means your take-home salary will be higher and will reflect on your lifestyle.

  • South Dakota has a robust economy

    South Dakota has one of the strongest economies in the US, predominantly based on agriculture, tourism, forestry, and mining. And this contributes to the high standard of living.

  • No corporate income and personal property tax in South Dakota

    A big plus of living in South Dakota is the absence of corporate income and personal property tax, which ensures a fatter bank account. However, sales tax exists, based on where in the state you are shopping.

  • South Dakota is a millennial-friendly state

    South Dakota is voted as the best state for the millennial population, considering the low rate of unemployment, education, a better stand of living, and economic health.

  • Safe driving

    South Dakota is sparsely populated and outside the major cities, the traffic is almost nil. Even the city roads are not choked like many big US cities outside. This ensures you will experience safe driving while residing here.

  • South Dakota is a kid-friendly state

    South Dakota must be one of the best kid-friendly places on Earth. Our mountains are climbable, our lakes clean and swimmable. In addition, the state has many magical wonders in store for kids.

  • Top-quality healthcare

    South Dakota’s healthcare is often called one of the best in the US for its affordability. Some of the hospitals in the state rank top in the list of best healthcare centers in the country.

    To help you, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 hospitals in South Dakota.

    • Sanford USD Medical Center, Sioux Falls
    • Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center, Sioux Falls
    • Avera Dells Area Hospital, Dell Rapids
    • Bennett County Hospital and Nursing Home, Martin
    • Black Hills Surgical Hospital, Rapid City
    • Bowdle Hospital, Bowdle
    • Community Memorial Hospital-Burke, Burke
    • Coteau des Prairies Hospital, Sisseston
    • Custer Regional Hospital, Custer
    • Dakota Plains Surgical Center, Aberdeen

south dakota pros and cons

Pros & Cons of Living in South Dakota

One of the easiest ways to figure out if moving to South Dakota is right for you or not is to consider the pros and cons of living in the state.

To give you a head start, here are the key pros and cons of living in Mount Rushmore State:

Pros of living in South Dakota Cons of living in South Dakota
Remarkable career opportunitiesRelatively low salary
A robust and rapidly growing economySmall town mentality
Unspoiled natureSouth Dakota is sparsely populated
Robust job marketExtreme weather conditions
Decent and high quality of lifeUnpredictable weather
Huge banking opportunitySmall town vibe
Spacious surroundingSparse population
No state income taxWeird statutes
To-quality education
Low cost of living
place in south dakota

Best Places to Live in South Dakota

If you’re moving to South Dakota, you’ll be interested in living in the best places in the state. South Dakota is home to many beautiful and livable cities, towns, and neighborhoods. Since you’re considering moving to South Dakota, here’s a list of the ten best places to live in the state:

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1Brandon9,9341.6%$225,200
2Tea5,3972.7%$199,300
3Dell Rapids3,6600.5%$170,700
4Hartford3,2201.5%$184,000
5Summerset2,4772.0%$225,200
6Harrisburg6,0870.9%$199,200
7Elk Point2,1762.6%$151,300
8Fort Pierre2,2400.7%$158,000
9Brookings24,1084.1%$181,000
10Spearfish11,5471.5%$212,700
cost of living in south dakota

Cost of Living in South Dakota

The cost of living in South Dakota is rated 88.3. The national average is 100.

That means the cost of living in South Dakota is lower than the United States average. This is a key metric to consider while making up your mind about moving to South Dakota:

Cost of living South Dakota United States
Overall88.3100
Grocery97100
Health101.5100
Housing83.8100
Utilities93.6100
Transportation71.2100
Miscellaneous98.3100

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Housing market info in South Dakota

Housing costs are one of the key things you’ll most likely consider before making up your mind about moving to South Dakota.

  • South Dakota’s median home cost is $193,700
  • Homes in South Dakota has appreciated by 34.3% over the last 10 years
  • Currently, home appreciation in South Dakota is up by 6.5%

Average rental costs in South Dakota

Renting a home is one of the most preferred housing options if you’re moving to South Dakota. About 28.3% of the state’s population are renters. Also, about 1.7% of homes and apartments in the state are available to rent. Here’s the average cost of renting a home in the state since you’re considering moving to South Dakota:

  • The average cost of a studio apartment in South Dakota is $541
  • The average cost of a 1-bedroom home or apartment in South Dakota is $625
  • The average cost of a 2-bedroom home or apartment in South Dakota is $794
  • The average cost of a 3-bedroom home or apartment in South Dakota is $1,070
  • The average cost of a 4-bedroom home or apartment in South Dakota is $1,221
jobs in south dakota

How is the job market in South Dakota?

Getting a job is fairly easy if you’re moving to South Dakota. The state’s unemployment rate is 3.3%. The U.S. average is 6.0%.

Since you’re considering moving to South Dakota, here are key metrics of the state’s job market:

Employment Information South Dakota, South Dakota United States
The income per Cap$28,761$31,177
Household Income$54,126$57,652
Unemployment Rate3.36.0%
Recent Job Growth-1.71%-6.18%
Future Job Growth29.81%33.51%

What’s the median salary in South Dakota?

The median salary in South Dakota is also an indication of the state’s economy’s strength. Since you’re considering moving to South Dakota, here’s a breakdown of the state’s average pay:

  • The average annual pay for the average job in South Dakota is $68,022 a year
  • The average hourly rate in South Dakota is $32.70 an hour
  • The average weekly rate in South Dakota is $1,308 per week
  • The average monthly rate in South Dakota is $5,668 a month
  • The minimum wage in South Dakota is $9.45 per hour

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Top Career Options in South Dakota

Moving to South Dakota could mean considering a new career. The state has a booming job market and a robust economy. Here are the top career options in the state if you’re moving to South Dakota:

Rank Job Title Average Salary Entry Level Salary # Of People
1Surgeons, Except Ophthalmologists$290,730$206,080270
2General Internal Medicine Physicians$286,330$204,780210
3Obstetricians And Gynecologists$271,100$183,38070
4Physicians, All Other; And Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric$269,100$180,330390
5Chief Executives$259,430$151,970470
6Family Medicine Physicians$224,960$117,920340
7Pediatricians, General$221,720$160,70030
8Nurse Anesthetists$190,660$154,410360
9Dentists, General$187,850$91,640270
10Marketing Managers$165,180$106,35070

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Top Industries in South Dakota

South Dakota is home to several large industries propelling the state’s economy. Since you’re considering moving to South Dakota, here’s a list of the largest industries in the state:

  • Manufacturing
  • Bioscience
  • Value-added AG
  • Livestock development
  • Precision AG
  • Cybersecurity

Largest employers in South Dakota

South Dakota is home to several large companies and employers. If you’re interested in working for some of the largest companies after moving to South Dakota, we’ve made a list of the top ten. These companies also double as the largest employers in South Dakota:

Rank Company City Employees
1Sanford HealthSioux Falls28,000
2Monument HealthRapid City4,270
3Rapid City Regional HospitalRapid City4,200
4SiouxFalls.comSioux Falls3,000
5Black HillsRapid City2,834
6Lantis EnterprisesSpearfish2,500
7DaktronicsBrookings2,500
8Molded Fiber Glass CompaniesAberdeen51,972
9WellmarkSioux Falls1,878
10HF FinancialSioux Falls1,750

What’s the unemployment rate in South Dakota?

If you’re interested in getting a job after moving to South Dakota, you’ll most likely be interested in the state’s unemployment rates. Here are the key stats of the state’s job market:

  • The unemployment rate in South Dakota is 3.3%. The U.S. average is 6.0%
  • South Dakota’s future job growth over the next 10 years is 29.8%. The U.S. average is 33.5%
  • Over the last year, jobs in South Dakota have grown by 1.2%
taxes in south dakota

South Dakota tax info

Will you be paying a higher or lower tax by moving to South Dakota?

Depending on where you’re moving from, moving to South Dakota could mean paying more or less. Check out the key tax rates in South Dakota:

  • There is no income tax in South Dakota
  • South Dakota sales tax is 4.50% - 7.50%
  • South Dakota property tax is 1.22% average effective rate
  • South Dakota gas tax is 28 cents per gallon of regular gasoline and diesel
  • None of the cities in South Dakota has local income taxes
south dakota

Best things to do in South Dakota

If you’re moving to South Dakota, you’ll most likely be interested in the best things to do in the state.

The state is home to several beautiful attractions and there are lots of exciting activities to keep you happy while having fun. Check out this list of best things to do if you’re moving to South Dakota:

  • Visit the Spearfish Canyon

    A deep but narrow gorge carved by Spearfish Creek, Spearfish Canyon is assumed to be much ancient than the Grand Canyon. The sight of the 1,000-foot narrow walls of the canyon is breathtaking. A great wildlife spot, the Canyon is home to a large population of deer, mountain goats, porcupines, and bobcats. The canyon is also a popular spot for rock climbing, biking, hiking, and fishing.

  • Explore the Wind Cave National Park

    This was the first cave to be designed as a national park in the US. Wind Cave National Park features the world's largest concentration of rare boxwork formations along with 33,970 acres of forest and prairie on the surface that act as a natural sanctuary for wildlife. Wind Cave is the seventh longest cave in the world with 154.2 miles of explored cave passageways and the third-longest cave in the United States.

  • Catch a glimpse of the Mammoth Site

    An active paleontological excavation site Near Hot Springs, Mammoth Site boasts the largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world. More than 60 mammoths have been unearthed from this site, as well as over 85 other species of associated Ice Age fauna.

  • See the Old Courthouse Museum

    The Old Minnehaha County Courthouse or Old Courthouse Museum is a restored Richardsonian Romanesque building constructed of native pink quartzite and is a National Historic Landmark. There is a tall clock tower, a restored circuit courtroom and law library, and 16 murals painted from 1915 to 1917 inside.

  • Explore the Sertoma Butterfly House and Marine Cove

    The butterfly house and aquarium have more than 800 free-flying butterflies from around the world in a tropical conservatory. In addition, a variety of marine life and live coral exhibits are displayed in more than 5,000 gallons of aquariums including a shark and stingray touch pool.

  • Visit the Mount Rushmore National Historic Site

    Mount Rushmore National Memorial features the 60-foot faces of four great American presidents, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. The memorial park covers 1,278 acres and is often referred to as the "Shrine of Democracy”, attracting more than 2 million visitors annually.

  • See the wild Mustangs

    The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary near Hot Springs is where wild horses run free. You’ll see large herds of wild horses freely roaming at this 11,000-acre prairie with no fences.

  • Tour the Badlands National Park

    The 244,000-acre park protects an expanse of mixed-grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets live today. Skeletons of three-toed horses and saber-toothed cats are among the many fossilized species found here.

  • Catch a glimpse of the Buffalo at Custer State Park

    The 71,000-acre Custer State Park reserve is home to a herd of 1,500 bison, Elk, coyotes, mule deer, white-tailed deer, mountain goats, prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, river otters, pronghorn, cougars, and feral burros. Every last Friday of September, cowboys, and cowgirls drive a herd of approximately 1,300 buffalos, which is a famous festival inviting thousands of visitors.

  • See the Needles Highway

    The 37.894-mile-long-Needles Highway or South Dakota Highway 87 passes through ponderosa pine and the Black Hills spruce forests, meadows surrounded by birch and aspen, and rugged granite mountains. The stretch includes sharp turns, narrow tunnels, and granite spires and is one of the adventurous driving routes in the US. The road's name comes from the needle-like granite formations, which seem to pierce the horizon along the highway.

  • Catch a glimpse of the Crazy Horse Memorial

    The mountain monument in the Black Hills depicting the Oglala Lakota warrior, Crazy Horse riding a horse will be the largest mountain carving in the world after its completion. The monument has been in progress since 1948.

How safe is South Dakota?

Crime rate is most likely one of the key things you’ll have to consider before moving to South Dakota. We’ve collated key stats about the state’s crime rates so you’ll have an idea of what to expect. Check out the stats below:

  • The violent crime rate in South Dakota is rated at 24.5. The national average is 22.7
  • Aggravated assault accounts for 76%of all violent crimes in South Dakota
  • The property crime rate in South Dakota is rated 29.1. The national average is 35.4
  • Larceny-theft accounts for 82% of all crimes in South Dakota

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10 Safest cities in South Dakota

Moving to South Dakota most likely means living in the safest cities in the state. Check out the list of the ten safest cities in the state since you’re considering moving to South Dakota:

Rank City Population Violent Crimes Per 100k Property Crimes Per 100k
1Brandon, SD10,107108534
2Lead, SD2,957202371
3Sisseton, SD2,395831,294
4Madison, SD7,4411341,102
5Summerset, SD2,690371,412
6Tea, SD5,7251391,310
7Brookings, SD24,2061901,338
8North Sioux City, SD2,821352,091
9Hot Springs, SD3,4263211,079
10Canton, SD3,4812291,694
schools in south dakota

Best Schools & Universities in South Dakota

Moving to South Carolina gives you the opportunity to have easier access to the best schools in the state.

The state is home to several top-quality universities, colleges, elementary, middle, and high schools.

We’ve made a list of the best schools in the state to make it easier for you to choose the right one since you’re moving to South Dakota.

Best Elementary Schools in South Dakota

  • Valley Springs Elementary - 04
    Brandon Valley School District 49-2, Public, K-4 | 100 students, Rating: 10/10

  • Buffalo Elementary - 02
    Harding County School District 31-1, Public, K-5 | 76 students, Rating: 10/10

  • Canistota Elementary - 02
    Canistota School District 43-1, Public, PK-5 | 98 students, Rating: 10/10

  • Dell Rapids Elementary - 02
    Dell Rapids School District 49-3, Public, K-4 | 369 students, Rating: 10/10

  • Faulkton Elementary - 02
    Faulkton Area Schools 24-4, Public, PK-6 | 156 students, Rating: 10/10

Best Middle Schools in South Dakota

  • Gettysburg Middle School - 03
    Gettysburg School District 53-1, Public, 6-8 | 55 students, Rating: 10/10

  • Deerfield Colony Elementary - 05
    Ipswich Public School District 22-6, Public, PK-8 | 27 students, Rating: 10/10

  • Rockport Colony Elementary- 10
    Mitchell School District 17-2, Public, K-8 | 17 students, Rating: 10/10

  • Rosedale Colony Elementary - 11
    Mitchell School District 17-2, Public, K-8 | 25 students, Rating: 10/10

  • Timber Lake Middle School - 03
    Timber Lake School District 20-3, Public, 6-8 | 77 students, Rating: 10/10

Best High Schools in South Dakota

  • Hill City High School - 01
    Hill City School District 51-2, Public, 9-12 | 153 students, Rating: 10/10

  • Armour High School - 01
    Armour School District 21-1, Public, 9-12 | 59 students, Rating: 10/10

  • Sanborn Central High School - 01
    Sanborn Central School District 55-5, Public, 9-12 | 44 students, Rating: 10/10

  • Hitchcock-Tulare High School - 01
    Hitchcock Tulare School District 56-6, Public, 9-12 | 53 students, Rating: 10/10

  • Kadoka Area High School - 01
    Kadoka Area School District 35-2, Public, 9-12 | 73 students, Rating: 10/10

Best universities and colleges in South Dakota

  • Augustana University - Sioux Falls, SD

  • South Dakota School of Mines and Technology - Rapid City, SD

  • University of South Dakota - Vermillion, SD

  • Northern State University - Aberdeen, SD

  • University of Sioux Falls - Sioux Falls, SD

  • Mount Marty College - Yankton, SD

  • South Dakota State University - Brookings, SD

  • Dakota Wesleyan University - Mitchell, SD

  • Dakota State University - Madison, SD

  • Black Hills State University - Spearfish, SD

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