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AARP AARP States South Dakota Livable Communities

Pierre Tops State Rankings in Latest AARP Livability Index

South Dakota State Capitol Building

Pierre and Sioux Falls made the list of the top 25 small and large cities, respectively, in the newly released AARP Livability Index for 2023.

Launched in 2015, the AARP Livability Index platform scores livability by using more than 50 national data sources, such as the U.S. Census Bureau American Communities Survey, across seven categories: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement, and opportunity. The tool measures every city, county, and town against 61 indicators of livability, ranging from monthly housing costs to environmental pollution, opportunities for social connections to the presence of age-friendly community plans. It aims to inform and encourage residents, local advocates, researchers, and policymakers to take action to make their communities great places to live for people of all ages.

Users can search the website by address, ZIP code, or community to find an overall or category score, identify challenges in their community and compare their neighborhood to others across performance benchmarks. New search tools include the “Community Finder Quiz” and the “Explore All Communities” feature, which match users to communities according to their preferred location characteristics that meet their unique needs.

“A livable community is a place for people of all ages. It’s a place that has the housing and transportation options and community features that people need so they can safely thrive there regardless of age, income or physical abilities,” says Erik Gaikowski, AARP South Dakota State Director.

Pierre has a Livability Index score of 69, while the score for Sioux Falls is 63. Across the nationwide rankings, the top score in the U.S. is 73, the average score is 48 and the lowest score is 23.

Other South Dakota cities’ rankings include:

  • Mitchell – 63
  • Hartford – 62
  • Dell Rapids, Lemmon, Lennox, Madison, Tea, Watertown – 61
  • Custer, Ft. Pierre, Milbank, Webster, Yankton – 60
  • Brookings – 59
  • Aberdeen, Brandon, Harrisburg – 58
  • Spearfish – 57
  • Dakota Dunes, Sturgis, Winner – 56
  • Lead – 55
  • Huron, Rapid City - 54

“The AARP Livability Index shows that all communities have room to improve to ensure that residents of all ages are active, engaged, and supported, particularly when it comes to affordable housing options," says Gaikowski. "The tool provides valuable information for individuals looking to help their aging loved ones find a neighborhood that supports their specific needs. It is equally good for policymakers looking to make their neighborhoods and communities more livable."

To view the AARP Livability Index and see community scores, visit www.aarp.org/livabilityindex.