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Best South Dakota Towns For Young Families


Yankton, South Dakota
Kristin Gilbery.

When young families are looking for a place to call home, they look for more than just the perfect house.  Factors such as a reasonable cost of living, a good community, a good job market and a great school system are other things young families look at before settling down and claiming a town as their home.

Keeping those factors in mind, researchers at Nerdwallet analyzed cities and towns across the state to find the best South Dakota towns for young families.

The first thing addressed in research was does the town have a good school system.  Nerdwallet measured schools’ academic performance with ratings from GreatSchool, comparing school’s standardized test scores to the state average to obtain a rating on a 1 to 10 scale, with a 10 representing the highest score.

Being able to afford to live in a community was another factor addressed.  Nerdwallet looked at median home values and monthly bills, including a young couples mortgage, real estate taxes, insurance, utilities, fuel and other bills.  The lower the costs led to a higher overall score.

And finally, is the town growing?  Researchers looked at the town’s economy, studying the average household income and the growth of that income over the past 10 years.  A higher income and bigger growth led to a higher overall score.

Although there are many great towns and cities in South Dakota for a young family to settle down in and call home, Nerdwallet only looked at those that had a population no smaller than 2,000 to come up with this Top 10.

So, with all of those factors analyzed, here are the top 10 towns for young families in South Dakota, according to Nerdwallet.

Best South Dakota Towns For Young Families






One of the most positive factors for Yankton being in the number one spot is the school system.  Students at Yankton High School can boast having, on the average, higher test scores than other schools in the state.  The school system also collaborates with Southeast Technical Institute to offer many adult-education options.  Mount Marty College is also located in Yankton, and has a 96 percent job-placement rate.  Yankton is the seat of Yankton County.




Mitchell is the seat of Davison County. An excellent school system helps put Mitchell toward the top of the list.  The Mitchell school system graduated 93.4% of it's students this past academic year.  Mitchell is also the home of Dakota Wesleyan University providing the chance for adults to receive a quality education.


Elk Point


Elk Point is considered to be part of the Sioux City metro area, but it is the seat of Union County.  A significant growth in the job market has added about 2,500 new jobs in the area, and unemployment has dropped nearly half a percent in the last year.


North Sioux City


Even though it is only 10 minutes from downtown Sioux City, North Sioux City has the lowest median home values of all the towns in the top 10.  The school system is also good, with Dakota Valley students outperforming other students in South Dakota on the STEP math and reading scores, at every grade level.




Basically a suburb of Sioux Falls, Tea is one of the fastest growing communities in Sioux Dakota.  Not only did Tea double it's size in the last decade, but it also had the highest growth in income of the top 10.




It's the seat of Codington County, and Watertown can boast that the city has invested $43.6 million in infrastructure in the last three years.  The school system can also boast that it has a computer to student ration of 2:1.




Students in Volga have an excellent school system.  Students in the Sioux Valley School System brag of marks of "proficient" or "advanced" on the STEP tests, often out-performing other students in the state.  The staff constantly trying to improve those STEP scores by doing a Data Retreat.




Harrisburg has seen the population quadruple over the past 10 years because of the low cost of business in the area.  Harrisburg, home of the Tigers, can also boast of beautiful campuses for their students.




In western South Dakota, Spearfish is home to Black Hills State University, the third largest university in South Dakota.  There is plenty to do as a family in Spearfish, the city has 17 parks, 14 tennis courts, eight ball fields and the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery.




The third largest city in South Dakota, Aberdeen is home to Northern State University, and also has 7 recognized No Child Left Behind Schools in the district, with teachers averaging 17 years of experience.


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