The Pros And Cons Of Residing In South Dakota

Written by
Amber Hobert
Published on
October 6, 2023
Table of Contents

South Dakota is one of the many states in America and is home to the famous Ellsworth Air Force Base. It is also known for its tourist attractions, including Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills.

But is it an excellent place to move to and live? This will form the focus of this article. Read along as we review this state, identifying the pros and cons of living there to help you make the right decision.

About South Dakota

South Dakota is named in honor of the Lakota and Dakota natives, inhabitants of the nine reservations that make up the geographical area called South Dakota. In terms of the landmass, it is the 7th largest and 5th least populated among all the 50 states in the United States. Its biggest city is Sioux Falls, with a population of about 188,000 people.

It is surrounded to the North by North Dakota, Southeast by Iowa, East by Minnesota, West by Wyoming, South by Nebraska, and Northwest by Montana. The Missouri River splits the state into two: the East River and the West River. South Dakota's population is estimated to be 900,000, making it the 46th most populated state in the United States.

The racial composition estimate shows that 84.7% are white, 8.8% are American Indians, 1.2% are African Americans, 0.9% are Asian Americans, while the rest are from other races. Regarding religious demographics, 86% of the residents are Christians (24% are Catholics), 3% are other religions, and 8% are non-religious.

The current GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of South Dakota is $39.8 billion as of 2010, making it the 5th smallest in the U.S. It has a per capita income of $38,865, the 25th highest in the U.S. As of 2008, 12.5% of her residents were living below the poverty level.

The most significant contributor to the South Dakotan economy is the service industry, including retail, health care, and finance. Citibank is the biggest financial service provider in the state. Government spending also contributes significantly to the economy and accounts for 10% of GDP. Agriculture is also another critical component of the economy. South Dakota is known for its cattle, soybeans, wheat, hogs, and corn.

Pros Of Living In South Dakota

Amazing tax benefits

One of the reasons you should choose to settle in South Dakota is the tax benefits the state offers. South Dakota is just one of seven states in the U.S. that don't charge personal income tax. It doesn’t end there; it is one of two states (the other state is Wyoming) that don’t charge corporate income tax and gross receipt tax on businesses. So, it is an ideal place to set up your business.

Are you a retiree or a senior citizen looking for a place to enjoy the rest of your years with minor tax troubles? In that case, South Dakota is the best choice because it charges neither inheritance tax nor estate tax, so you have all your money with you to pass on to family or donate to a charity. So, if tax is a major determinant of where you want to live, try South Dakota.

Relatively low cost of living

South Dakota has a low cost of living compared with the national average. For instance, the state’s average home value is almost 18% lower than the national average. Also, a 2-bedroom apartment is about 35% cheaper in South Dakota. Power is also cheaper by between 3 to 4%. Finally, transportation is cheaper in the state compared to most others.

According to a survey conducted by CNN Money, the state has one of the lowest costs of car ownership. Since there is no road congestion, residents spend less on gasoline and vehicle maintenance costs. If you are searching for a more affordable place to live, consider moving to South Dakota.

Housing market

People are now beginning to see the potential in South Dakota. For instance, A study by the United Van Lines indicates that about 23 percent of the people coming into the state are from other states. This migration to South Dakota is because of jobs (78% of those who responded to a survey alluded to this). South Dakotans are now preparing for a real estate revolution driven by increasing demand from immigrants.

Even with a surge in population and increasing demand for housing, the price of real estate in the area is still a little lower than the national average. For instance, the average cost of a home in the state is $181,800, while the average rent charged is $1080. Although the price of houses is projected to go up by 2.4%, the state ranks 9th in terms of housing affordability.

Across the state, the Black Hills area is becoming the most preferred destination for most people relocating to South Dakota. There has been an increase in the rate of construction of new houses. There has also been a continual escalation in property demand in cities such as Brookings and Sioux Falls.

Availability of jobs

South Dakota currently has a bubbling employment market, and this is not all farm jobs, which many people know South Dakota for. Most of the migration to the state now is because of job availability. Statistics show that the fastest-growing jobs are those of machinists, field service technicians, and industrial mechanics.

The unemployment rate there is 3.4% which is lower than the national average. Records indicate that the state is the 4th best in the U.S. in terms of job opportunity and economic standing.

So, if you have considered moving to South Dakota and have any of the hottest skills mentioned above, South Dakota sounds like the state to visit. Even if you don’t have those skills, education and healthcare are two sectors that will continue to grow.

Great diversity and amazing culture

There are fewer than one million people in the state, and most towns are scarcely populated and largely rural. However, there is an excellent side to this agricultural-based lifestyle as most South Dakotans enjoy the rural-urban mix of the state. For instance, while cities like Sioux Falls and Rapid City are urban with all amenities, they still have areas that accommodate the non-affluent peacefully.

Educational facilities

South Dakota is home to some of the best higher education facilities you will find in the United States. These schools do a great job preparing kids for universities and colleges; they are well renowned for their K-12 education system. South Dakota is ranked so high compared to other states in many areas that have to do with schooling and academic accomplishment.

Although a college education is never cheap anywhere you go, the University of South Dakota offers in-state tuition, which is quite competitive compared to other states in the country.

Tourist attractions

For a state whose population could be described as small, nature has a lot to offer to its inhabitants. Some of the must-see sites in the state include:

Mount Rushmore National Memorial: This iconic memorial attracts over three million visitors yearly who come to say hello to the sculptures of American national heroes, including Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson.

• Custer State Park: This 71,000-acre park hosts many outdoor competitions, including hiking, fishing, and biking.

• Badlands National Park: Sits on over 244,000 acres of prairie grassland and is located about 75 miles east of Rapid City. Tourists come there to roam about its Bison, camp under a canopy of stars, and hike.

• Sturgis Motorcycle Rally: Sturgis’s tiny town usually hosts one of the most popular motorcycle rallies in the world every August. Almost 500,000 come to this town every year to partake in its revelry.

Cons Of Living In South Dakota

Extreme weather

Residents of South Dakota always experience extreme weather, whether hot or cold. Winter, from September to May, can be very long and challenging. Temperatures can drop to as low as sub-zero, coupled with plenty of snow. A White Christmas is a regular occurrence for South Dakotans.

During this time, snow is about 30 to 40 inches, which makes shoveling and blowing very difficult. The wind can be violent and terrible when it blows snowy conditions; this reduces visibility dramatically. During Summer, it is always hot and humid, which forces people to turn on air conditioning all day. Temperatures can go as high as 100+ degrees Fahrenheit.

Remote life

Although there are many advantages of living in a small town, as earlier highlighted, it also comes with its challenges. Depending on the area you decide to live in, you may find yourself in a place that is so remote that you feel so isolated.

Limited social amenities

There are limited social amenities in South Dakota. For instance, there are no big shopping malls, aside from Walmart, except for small stores with limited options. Nightlife activities are few and limited except for bars; most businesses close around five pm.

There are regretfully no professional sports teams in the state. If you are worried about all these and still want to stay in South Dakota, you must move to Sioux Falls. Sioux Falls may not be Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York; however, it is considered a better mid-sized city in the U.S.

How To Become A Resident Of South Dakota

There are three things you need to qualify for South Dakota residency. These are:

• Stay one night in South Dakota

• Obtain a physical street address

• Obtain a South Dakota driver's license

Under South Dakota residency law, spending a night in the state qualifies you for residency. There are a few caveats, though. The person cannot be a resident in another U.S. state, and the person must be classified as a traveler in the state residency affidavit.

The residency affidavit must be signed by a notary or South Dakota driver’s license examiner. This is then used to obtain a state identification or driver’s license.

Obtaining South Dakota Residency Is Easy

If you are interested in obtaining South Dakota residency, start by spending a night there, having a physical street address, and obtaining a driver’s license. Going through all these may not be easy for everybody, especially for strangers unfamiliar with the state.

Sign up for Residency in South Dakota