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 187 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:
- Soldier Creek
- Little Eagle
- La Plant
- St. Francis
- Lower Brule
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.
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 crunched the numbers
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the Census’s 2010-2014 American Community Survey, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 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 100 and 1,000 people, of which, there were a lot – 187 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.
1. Soldier Creek
Population: 231 Median Income: $18,571
Median Home Value: $10,000
Population: 362 Median Income: $14,375
Median Home Value: $10,000
3. Little Eagle
Population: 334 Median Income: $16,750
Median Home Value: $27,500
Population: 496 Median Income: $27,778
Median Home Value: $28,500
5. La Plant
Population: 105 Median Income: $28,214
Median Home Value: $22,900
Population: 868 Median Income: $14,107
Median Home Value: $14,800
Population: 728 Median Income: $28,036
Median Home Value: $54,400
Population: 374 Median Income: $25,893
Median Home Value: $31,900
9. St. Francis
Population: 562 Median Income: $23,958
Median Home Value: $12,500
10. Lower Brule
Population: 671 Median Income: $23,295
Median Home Value: $40,300
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.
- Best: Pine Lakes Addition
- 2nd Best: Warner
- 3rd Best: Bath
For more reading, check out:
Ranking Of The 100 Worst Small Towns In South Dakota
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