These Are The 10 Happiest Places In South Dakota

Chris Kolmar
by Chris Kolmar
Rankings - 3 years ago
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There’s a search that we are all on that dwarfs our job or career search — the search for happiness.

And as we all know, where we live and the job we have can all play a big part in our overall sense of contentment and happiness. For that reason, we took a dive into a the most recent census data to help you identify which places in South Dakota have the biggest smile of them all.

On our happy data journey, we settled on seven criteria to help determine which South Dakota places are the happiest. The criteria include things like having insurance, owning a home, and having a job.

As it turns out, life is all rainbows and butterflies in Pierre, the happiest place in South Dakota.

Don’t start feeling sad, there’s plenty of happy to go around as life is still pretty sweet in the following “Happiest Places in the Mount Rushmore State”:

  1. Pierre
  2. Brandon
  3. Rapid Valley
  4. Aberdeen
  5. Mitchell
  6. Yankton
  7. Watertown
  8. Sioux Falls
  9. Box Elder
  10. Huron
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There’s Nothing We’d Rather Do Than Measure Happiness In The Mount Rushmore State

There’s a bunch of different studies out there that try to measure what makes people truly happy. And while we all know that money doesn’t buy happiness, it definitely removes anxieties and helps keep you healthy. It’s just that anything past about $70,000 a year doesn’t help as much.

So what else besides money contributes to your happiness? Well we think the following certainly do:

  • Being well educated (Population with at least a bachelor’s degree)
  • Having a job (As measured by the unemployment rate)
  • A short commute to work (God do people hate traffic)
  • Low cost of living
  • Having a family (Getting, and staying married, has a ton of happiness benefits, on average)
  • Owning a home (That’s a big plus)
  • And the poverty rate (Money definitely helps out)

That’s a ton of fun — and happiness — for the whole family, backed by science. The data all comes from the 2010-2014 American Community Survey.

After we decided on the criteria, we gathered the data for the 17 places in South Dakota with over 2,000 people.

We then ranked each place from one to 17 for each of the seven criteria with a score of one being the happiest (Any ties were given to the larger place).

Next, we averaged the seven rankings into a Happiness Index for each place with the lowest overall Index being crowned “Happiest Place In South Dakota”.

Read on for more happy information about the top ten or skip to the end to see a list of how every places in South Dakota ranked. Our apologies to Madison which ranked 11th overall and just missed the list.

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1. Pierre

Pierre, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 13,885People Who Own Their Home: 56.2%
Married Adults: 53.3%

2. Brandon

Brandon, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,350People Who Own Their Home: 71.3%
Married Adults: 60.7%

3. Rapid Valley


Population: 8,619 People Who Own Their Home: 89.5%
Married Adults: 54.8%

4. Aberdeen

Aberdeen, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 26,979People Who Own Their Home: 59.0%
Married Adults: 48.7%

5. Mitchell

Mitchell, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 15,490People Who Own Their Home: 54.7%
Married Adults: 49.9%

6. Yankton

Yankton, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,513People Who Own Their Home: 59.1%
Married Adults: 48.5%

7. Watertown

Watertown, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 21,795People Who Own Their Home: 60.2%
Married Adults: 47.1%

8. Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 160,964People Who Own Their Home: 57.0%
Married Adults: 48.9%

9. Box Elder

Box Elder, South Dakota

Source: Flickr

Population: 8,683People Who Own Their Home: 38.6%
Married Adults: 54.8%

10. Huron

Huron, South Dakota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 12,982People Who Own Their Home: 53.9%
Married Adults: 49.0%

Detailed List Of Happiest Places In South Dakota

City Rank Population People Who Own Their Home Married Adults
Pierre 1 13,885 56.2% 53.3%
Brandon 2 9,350 71.3% 60.7%
Rapid Valley 3 8,619 89.5% 54.8%
Aberdeen 4 26,979 59.0% 48.7%
Mitchell 5 15,490 54.7% 49.9%
Yankton 6 14,513 59.1% 48.5%
Watertown 7 21,795 60.2% 47.1%
Sioux Falls 8 160,964 57.0% 48.9%
Box Elder 9 8,683 38.6% 54.8%
Huron 10 12,982 53.9% 49.0%
Madison 11 6,830 57.5% 41.6%
Belle Fourche 12 5,677 59.9% 50.7%
Sturgis 13 6,652 52.7% 46.5%
Brookings 14 22,645 44.9% 34.0%
Rapid City 15 70,126 54.4% 45.2%
Spearfish 16 10,836 47.3% 45.5%
Vermillion 17 10,697 36.8% 27.5%