North Dakota and Minnesota offer more small livable towns than South Dakota – Dakota Free Press


Governing reports on some new numbers from WalletHub looking for cute little towns to live. Four professors examined 1,322 cities with between 25,000 and 100,000 inhabitants in terms of affordability, economic health, education and human health, quality of life and safety. The two South Dakota cities considered, Rapid City and Aberdeen, failed to make it into the first half of the survey:

Of the nineteen cities that reached the top 99th percentile, eight are in Massachusetts, three in Indiana, two in Washington and Tennessee, Maine, Ohio, Wisconsin, New Jersey and Kansas each have one.

Aberdeen is far in the 47th percentile. Rapid City is even lower, in the 30th percentile. I find Aberdeen’s ranking above Rapid City confusing, because, come on: Hills ! WalletHub ranks Rapid City in the top 100 for quality of life while Aberdeen is in the 700s, but WalletHub believes Aberdeen is more affordable, healthier economically, healthier education and human, and more secure.

North Dakota has five cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000. Williston lands in the 38th percentile, worse than Aberdeen but better than Rapid City. The other four beat South Dakota’s two outposts, with Minot percentile scores of 56; Grand Forks, 61; Bismarck, 68 years old; and West Fargo, an impressive 91.

Nebraska has four cities in this survey. Grand Island and Fremont are in the bottom half of the nation’s scores, at 43 and 31 respectively. Kearney and Bellevue scored in the 60s.

Minnesota has 39 small towns in this survey. 34 of them rank in the top half. Ten, all of the Twin Cities suburbs, rank at the 90th percentile: Plymouth, Lakeville, Eden Prairie, Savage, Cottage Grove, Ramsey, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Edina and Woodbury.

Sioux City, Iowa, is Aberdeen’s 47th percentile. Five Iowa cities have a lower score; ten Iowa cities score higher, in the first half, with Ankeny and Urbandale hitting the ’90s.

Laramie (70th percentile) is the only one of four Wyoming cities surveyed to rank in the top half of the best places to live. Cheyenne marks 42; Casper, 36; and Gillette, 28.

Montana overturns Wyoming’s performance, with just one city in the bottom half (Great Falls at 22) and three in the top half: Helena, 58; Missoula, 64 years old; and Bozeman, 95.


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