Governing reports on some new WalletHub number-crunching in search of nice small cities in which to live. Four professors looked at 1,322 cities with populations between 25K and 100K for 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 the top half of the survey:
Of the nineteen cities that made the top 99th percentile, eight are in Massachusetts, three are in Indiana, two are in Washington, and Tennessee, Maine, Ohio, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Kansas each have one.
Aberdeen is way down in the 47th percentile. Rapid City is even lower, in the 30th percentile. I find Aberdeen’s ranking above Rapid City puzzling, because, come on: Hills! WalletHub does rank Rapid City in the top 100 for quality of life while Aberdeen sits in the 700s, but WalletHub thinks Aberdeen is more affordable, more economically healthy, educationally and humanly healthier, and safer.
North Dakota has five towns in the 25K–100K population range. Williston lands in the 38th percentile, worse than Aberdeen but better than Rapid City. The other four beat both South Dakota outposts, with percentile scores for Minot of 56; Grand Forks, 61; Bismarck, 68; and West Fargo, an impressive 91.
Nebraska has four towns 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 score in the 60s.
Minnesota has 39 small cities in this survey. 34 of them rate in the top half. Ten, all Twin Cities suburbs, score in the 90th percentile: Plymouth, Lakeville, Eden Prairie, Savage, Cottage Grove, Ramsey, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Edina, and Woodbury.
Sioux City, Iowa, matches Aberdeen’s 47th percentile. Five Iowa towns score lower; ten Iowa towns score higher, in the top half, with Ankeny and Urbandale reaching the 90s.
Laramie (70th percentile) is the only one of Wyoming’s four surveyed cities making the top half of nice places to live. Cheyenne scores 42; Casper, 36; and Gillette, 28.
Montana flips Wyoming’s performance, with only one town in the bottom half (Great Falls at 22) and three in the top half: Helena, 58; Missoula, 64; and Bozeman, 95.