These Are The 10 Most Miserable Cities In South Dakota

We used science and data to determine which places in South Dakota are the unhappiest of all.

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Do you live in one of the most miserable places in South Dakota?

According to a Harris Poll taken in October of 2015, only a third of Americans say they are truly happy. That’s too bad, considering that Americans – especially folks in South Dakota – don’t really have it too bad, in the grand scheme of things.

But, we were curious – which South Dakota cities might be the most miserable? We’re about to find out, using science and data.

After analyzing the largest cities, we sadly present the most miserable cities in the Mount Rushmore State:

  1. Vermillion (Photos)
  2. Flandreau
  3. Spearfish (Photos)
  4. Rapid City (Photos)
  5. Brookings (Photos)
  6. Winner
  7. Sturgis (Photos)
  8. Lead
  9. Chamberlain
  10. Mobridge

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked. If you have a smile on your face, you probably don’t live in one of these cities.

Oh, and by the way, Tea is the happiest place in South Dakota.

Or check out the Most Miserable Cities In America.

If you’re looking for something more positive, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.


How We Measured The Most Miserable Cities In South Dakota

In order to rank the unhappiest places in South Dakota, we had to determine what criteria makes people happy. It isn’t a stretch to assume that happy people earn great salaries, are relatively stress free, and have a stable home life.

So we went to the Census’s American Community Survey 2010-2014 report for the criteria, flipped the list, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Percentage of residents with a college degree
  • Average commute times
  • Unemployment rates
  • Cost of living
  • % of married couples
  • % of home owners
  • Poverty rate

After we decided on the criteria, we gathered the data for the 108 places in South Dakota with over 2,000 people.

We then ranked each place from one to 40 for each of the seven criteria with a score of one being the most miserable (Any ties were given to the larger place).

Next, we averaged the seven rankings into a Miserable Index for each place with the lowest overall Miserable Index ‘earning’ the title ‘Most Miserable City In South Dakota’.

If you’d like to see the complete list of states, most miserable to happiest, scroll to the bottom of this post to see the unabridged chart.


1. Vermillion

Vermillion, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,697
People Who Own Their Home: 36.81%
Married Adults: 27.47%

2. Flandreau

Flandreau, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 2,088
People Who Own Their Home: 51.55%
Married Adults: 41.83%

3. Spearfish

Spearfish, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,836
People Who Own Their Home: 47.29%
Married Adults: 45.55%

4. Rapid City

Rapid City, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 70,126
People Who Own Their Home: 54.42%
Married Adults: 45.19%

5. Brookings

Brookings, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 22,645
People Who Own Their Home: 44.9%
Married Adults: 33.98%

6. Winner

Winner, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 2,871
People Who Own Their Home: 54.71%
Married Adults: 46.36%

7. Sturgis

Sturgis, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,652
People Who Own Their Home: 52.68%
Married Adults: 46.51%

8. Lead

Lead, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 3,097
People Who Own Their Home: 57.56%
Married Adults: 54.08%

9. Chamberlain

Chamberlain, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 2,660
People Who Own Their Home: 52.79%
Married Adults: 49.36%

10. Mobridge

Population: 3,293
People Who Own Their Home: 46.51%
Married Adults: 47.1%

There You Have It

Like we said earlier, trying to determine the most miserable cities in {state} is usually a subjective matter. But if you’re analyzing cities where people are not stable, where you’re stuck in traffic, and no one spent the time to go to college, then this is an accurate list.

If you’re curious enough, here are the happiest cities in {state}, according to science:
For more South Dakota reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Miserable Places In South Dakota

City Rank People Who Own Their Home
Vermillion 1 36.81%
Flandreau 2 51.55%
Spearfish 3 47.29%
Rapid City 4 54.42%
Brookings 5 44.9%
Winner 6 54.71%
Sturgis 7 52.68%
Lead 8 57.56%
Chamberlain 9 52.79%
Mobridge 10 46.51%
Belle Fourche 11 59.91%
Hot Springs 12 48.11%
Madison 13 57.48%
Huron 14 53.9%
Box Elder 15 38.64%
Sioux Falls 16 56.96%
Watertown 17 60.16%
Lennox 18 62.47%
Yankton 19 59.12%
Mitchell 20 54.68%
North Sioux City 21 58.34%
Canton 22 62.03%
Summerset 23 72.61%
Blackhawk 24 82.83%
Aberdeen 25 59.02%
Hartford 26 73.19%
Rapid Valley 27 89.48%
Dell Rapids 28 72.17%
Milbank 29 64.86%
Dakota Dunes 30 56.81%
Brandon 31 71.29%
Pierre 32 56.24%
Fort Pierre 33 70.49%
Redfield 34 55.03%
Elk Point 35 67.33%
Volga 36 69.25%
Beresford 37 71.06%
Harrisburg 38 81.68%
Colonial Pine Hills 39 91.12%
Tea 40 76.67%

About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.