South Dakota sits in the upper Midwest, but its culture, geography and economy are more in line with the western states. It's one of the least populated states in the country, but several towns continue to rank as some of the best places to raise a family. Housing in South Dakota is incredible affordable, with most new developments consisting of traditional- and craftsman-style construction.
Residents in South Dakota enjoy a lot of open space. The average commute is low, even in the cities. Sioux Falls in the largest city, with roughly 150,000 residents as of the 2010 census. This is where much of the state growth has occurred over the last few years. Because it's so isolated geographically, Sioux Falls has become a regional finance and shopping hub. It also has a surprisingly rich arts scene, and residents enjoy a variety of festivals during the warm summer months. Homebuyers can find an array of new developments on the south and east ends of the city. Schools and civic services are close by, and local traffic is always light. Rapid City lies about 180 miles to west and is the only other midsize city in the state by American standards. Homes are affordable, and residents enjoy easy access to recreational activities in several national parks and forests, including the Badlands, the Black Hills, Wind Cave and Mount Rushmore.
The unemployment rate in South Dakota is one of the lowest in the nation. The economy is largely centered on tourism and defense spending. Retail is the largest sector in terms of job numbers, but many residents work in agriculture or with the government. Major products include corn, hogs, wheat and soybeans, and the Ellsworth Air Force base outside Rapid City is the second largest employer in the entire state. Rapid City also serves as a major healthcare hub, servicing Wyoming, Nebraska, North Dakota and Montana.