Cost of Living in South Dakota

Living in South Dakota is less expensive than it is on average across the U.S. as a whole. According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, goods and services in the state cost 12.1% less than they do on average nationwide. Compared with all other states, South Dakota has the sixth lowest overall cost of living.

In general, living in dense, urban metro areas is more expensive than living in more rural areas. South Dakota is home to two metropolitan areas. The most expensive in the state is the Sioux Falls metro area, where the cost of goods and services is 8.7% lower than the national average and 3.4% higher than the statewide average.

South Dakota Housing Costs

Housing is one of the largest components of cost of living. In South Dakota, the typical home is worth $159,100, $45,800 less than the national median home value of $204,900. Across the state, the median price of a home built in 1939 or earlier is $101,600, while the median value of a home built in 2014 or later is $301,000.

The typical renter in South Dakota spends $722 a month on housing, $301 less than the $1,023 national median monthly rent. Monthly rent for a one-bedroom in the state is $553, while the typical rent for a unit with five or more bedrooms is $898.

Across the state, 31.9% of occupied homes are rented, less than the 36.2% national average and the 17th lowest renter rate of any state.

South Dakota Transportation Costs

Transportation can also be a significant component of cost of living. In South Dakota, 89.0% of commuters drive to work, compared to 85.5% of commuters nationwide. On average, the typical motorist in the state drives 11,042 miles a year. Taking into account average fuel economy and the average cost of gas -- regular fuel cost an average of $2.16 a gallon in South Dakota in mid-2020 -- the average motorist in the state can expect to spend $985 on gas alone in one year.

Other transportation costs, like car insurance premiums, can vary by state. In South Dakota, the average car insurance premium is $1,434, less than the $1,517 national average, according to data from And according to data from the EPI, the average single adult in the state spends $10,641 a year on transportation.

South Dakota Health Care Costs

Out-of-pocket costs and insurance premiums for health care -- assuming at least a basic level of health insurance coverage -- are relatively high in South Dakota. Average health care costs for a single adult in the state total $5,176 per year, compared to the national average of $4,266. For a family of four, average annual health care costs total $15,598 -- $2,648 more than the comparable national average of $12,950.

South Dakota Food Costs

Food is another every day expense that has a significant impact on the overall cost of living in an area. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that the cost of food varies from state to state.

In South Dakota, a single adult spends an average of $3,254 on food annually, and a family of four spends $9,397 on average. For context, the nationwide average annual food expenditure is $3,240 for a single adult and $9,354 for a family of four. These estimates are calculated for a nutritionally adequate diet of food purchased at a grocery store for at home preparation.

South Dakota Child Care Costs

For families, child care adds thousands of dollars to overall annual spending. The average annual cost of child care for a 4 year old child in South Dakota is $5,880, well below the national average of $8,903. Similarly, it costs an average of $12,215 to care for a 4 year old child and an 8 year old child per year in South Dakota compared to the national average of $15,853.

South Dakota Taxes

Few expenses vary as much from state to state as taxes. Accounting for state and federal income taxes, as well as Social Security contributions and Medicare payroll, the average adult working in South Dakota pays $4,825 annually in taxes -- below the national average of $6,542. The state is one of only nine nationwide that does not levy a tax on wages, which partially explains lower than average tax payments.

Excluding federal taxes and incorporating state and local taxes such as property and sales taxes -- the state and local tax burden in South Dakota is lower than the average across the U.S. as a whole. Per capita state tax collections in South Dakota come out to $2,174 per year, compared to the $3,151 average across all states.

Cost of Living by County or County Equivalent

Just as cost of living varies from state to state, it also varies from place to place within states. In South Dakota, Lincoln County, home to the city of Sioux Falls, has the highest overall cost of living for a family of four at $85,541 per year, well above the statewide average of $75,839 per year.

Meanwhile, Beadle County is the least expensive place in South Dakota. The average annual cost of living for a family of four in the area is just $70,803, $5,036 less than it is across the state as a whole. Huron is the most populous community in Beadle County.

Note that monetary figures are rounded to the nearest dollar and calculated differences may not always add up perfectly to the nearest dollar.

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