The 10 Worst Small Towns In South Dakota For 2022


Using science and data, we can tell you which teeny specks in SD are the pits.

RoadSnacks is reader-supported. When you click through real estate links on our site, we earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the worst small places to live in South Dakota.

Most Americans have never been to South Dakota. However, as the people who live there know, South Dakota is an awesome state.

But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, South Dakota has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Mount Rushmore State. Don't shoot the messenger, this is all using data.

After analyzing more than 61 of South Dakota's smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in South Dakota where you'd never want to live:

These are the worst small towns in South Dakota for 2022:

  1. Porcupine
  2. Oglala
  3. Fort Thompson
  4. Rosebud
  5. North Eagle Butte
  6. Eagle Butte
  7. Pine Ridge
  8. Mission
  9. Sisseton
  10. Tyndall

So what is the worst small town to call home in South Dakota for 2022? According to the most recent census data, Porcupine is the worst small town to live in South Dakota.

Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since South Dakota has its stuff figured out.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers, or scroll to the bottom to see how your town ranked.

And if you already know about the small towns, check out the best places to live in South Dakota or the worst places to live in South Dakota.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

The 10 Worst Small Towns In South Dakota For 2022

1. Porcupine

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 1,381
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $24,000 (worst)
Unemployment Rate: 21.5% (6th worst)
More on Porcupine:  Data

2. Oglala

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 1,816
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $1,000 (1000th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 31.8% (4th worst)
More on Oglala:  Data

3. Fort Thompson

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 1,275
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $1,000 (1000th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 29.1% (5th worst)
More on Fort Thompson:  Data

4. Rosebud

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 2,073
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $26,400 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.4% (8th worst)
More on Rosebud:  Data

5. North Eagle Butte

North Eagle Butte, SD

Source: Wikipedia
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 1,838
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $50,900 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 32.4% (3rd worst)
More on North Eagle Butte:  Data | Photos

6. Eagle Butte

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,458
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $50,600 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 34.9% (2nd worst)
More on Eagle Butte:  Data

7. Pine Ridge

Pine Ridge, SD

Source: Wikipedia User |
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,984
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $1,000 (1000th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.6% (10th worst)
More on Pine Ridge:  Data | Photos

8. Mission

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,408
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $45,000 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.0% (7th worst)
More on Mission:  Data

9. Sisseton

Sisseton, SD

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,539
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $90,400 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (14th worst)
More on Sisseton:  Data | Photos

10. Tyndall

Tyndall, SD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 1,155
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $91,000 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (2worst)
More on Tyndall:  Data

How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?

In order to rank the worst small towns to live in South Dakota, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn't a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, things to do and a stable economy.

So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

How we determined the worst small towns to live in South Dakota for 2022

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data and the Census's 2016-2020 American Community Survey, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (The lower the worse)
  • Highest Unemployment Rates
  • Low housing costs (meaning there's no demand)
  • Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
  • Education (Number of high school dropouts)
  • High Crime

We looked at cities with populations between 1,000 and 5,000 people, of which, there were a lot - 61 to be exact.

Additional note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. Dropout numbers are based on the adult population, not just the current graduation rates of teenagers.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

There You Have It - The Worst Small Towns In South Dakota

If you're analyzing teeny places in the Mount Rushmore State with the worst economic situations, where there's high crime and there's not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

If you're curious enough, here are the best small towns to live in South Dakota, according to science:

  1. Dell Rapids (Pop. 3,678)
  2. Dakota Dunes (Pop. 3,231)
  3. Crooks (Pop. 1,408)

For more South Dakota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In South Dakota

Rank Town Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Porcupine 1,381 21.5% $24,000
2 Oglala 1,816 31.8% $1,000
3 Fort Thompson 1,275 29.1% $1,000
4 Rosebud 2,073 13.4% $26,400
5 North Eagle Butte 1,838 32.4% $50,900
6 Eagle Butte 1,458 34.9% $50,600
7 Pine Ridge 2,984 10.6% $1,000
8 Mission 1,408 15.0% $45,000
9 Sisseton 2,539 5.8% $90,400
10 Tyndall 1,155 4.1% $91,000
11 Wagner 1,566 5.4% $106,000
12 Gregory 1,444 2.8% $98,000
13 Lemmon 1,288 3.2% $73,700
14 Martin 1,170 5.6% $77,100
15 Freeman 1,641 5.2% $98,200
16 Hot Springs 3,498 3.3% $127,600
17 Winner 2,821 4.8% $98,800
18 Flandreau 2,425 3.9% $104,800
19 Custer 2,314 12.4% $142,800
20 Mobridge 3,303 4.9% $90,800
21 Clark 1,233 3.8% $79,300
22 Ashland Heights 1,082 36.1% $160,600
23 Springfield 2,110 6.4% $84,600
24 Deadwood 1,584 3.0% $162,500
25 Arlington 1,007 3.2% $107,500
26 Lead 2,979 4.2% $157,900
27 Salem 1,183 4.0% $107,900
28 North Sioux City 2,868 3.8% $183,600
29 Canton 3,499 3.9% $142,400
30 Chamberlain 2,549 2.4% $153,600
31 Blackhawk 3,029 5.9% $190,400
32 Webster 1,681 0.6% $93,300
33 Platte 1,290 3.9% $152,400
34 Lennox 2,432 1.2% $142,400
35 Garretson 1,493 6.3% $154,400
36 Gettysburg 1,273 0.3% $133,100
37 Redfield 2,496 3.1% $92,400
38 Ipswich 1,021 1.9% $104,900
39 Milbank 3,137 3.9% $134,100
40 Miller 1,366 0.0% $118,900
41 Beresford 2,371 3.7% $152,400
42 Clear Lake 1,503 0.5% $122,800
43 Elk Point 2,102 1.9% $155,700
44 Piedmont 1,188 0.8% $266,700
45 Green Valley 1,252 0.0% $192,600
46 North Spearfish 2,251 2.3% $218,500
47 De Smet 1,041 0.0% $122,500
48 Parkston 1,756 2.3% $127,300
49 Volga 1,948 1.9% $176,100
50 Summerset 2,607 2.3% $242,500
51 Worthing 1,046 2.3% $155,800
52 Groton 1,842 0.8% $136,700
53 Hartford 3,300 2.3% $164,800
54 Fort Pierre 2,487 0.0% $150,900
55 Britton 1,339 0.5% $102,300
56 Colonial Pine Hills 2,720 0.6% $293,100
57 Baltic 1,169 1.2% $175,200
58 Aurora 1,015 0.0% $163,200
59 Dell Rapids 3,678 0.4% $194,000
60 Dakota Dunes 3,231 0.5% $355,800
61 Crooks 1,408 0.9% $206,600

How Is The Area In ?