Over the July 4th weekend, Mayor Mike Huether teased readers of that Sioux Falls paper by mentioning that Money Magazine had contacted his office last month to talk about including the Queen City in its top cities list. O! to hearken back to those halcyon days of the 1990s when Money once named Sioux Falls the best place to live in the country. Might we be on the verge of recapturing our glory?
No. Surveying 752 cities of population 50K to 300K, Money crowns Eden Prairie, Minnesota, as the best little burg. Sioux Falls ranks 77th. Rapid City doesn't make the top 100.
Here's how Sioux Falls and Rapid City stack up against the top 10 cities on the list and the average metrics for the top 100:
Note that Money fails to include city sales tax for Sioux Falls and Rapid City. But tax rates apparently don't matter much: Minnesota's relatively high income tax doesn't keep Eden Prairie from ranking #1... or Plymouth, Woodbury, Egan, or Apple Valley from making the top 20.
Fargo, Lincoln, and Cedar Rapids all beat Sioux Falls with cheaper median housing prices. Grand Forks, Bismarck, Dubuque, Ames, Missoula, Rochester, and Cheyenne all beat Sioux Falls for shorter commute time (which makes sense, given how dependent Sioux Falls is on workforce driving from Harrisburg, Dell Rapids, Madison, and elsewhere). Sioux Falls doesn't even make the top 25 for clean air, falling behind Ames, Bismarck, Lincoln, Fargo, and even refinery-happy Cheyenne (uh oh: I feel a Hyperion argument coming on).
Sioux Falls does come out on top for job growth over the decade, thanks to Lincoln County's 67% job boom. Sioux Falls is also the 20th coldest city on the list (though Minnesota still beats the snowpants off us in this category, too).
Some nice places Sioux Falls beat overall:
- Fargo (#86) but not Bismarck (#74)
- Sioux City (as if there were any doubt)
- Green Bay and Milwaukee
- Madison, Wisconsin (#95)
- 15 out of 17 cities in Ohio
- Boulder, Colorado (wait a minute—Boulder, you should call for a recount)
- Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Daytona Beach, and Boca Raton (seriously!)
- every place in Oregon!
Related: South Dakota fails to make the list of the 2010 Digital Counties Survey Awards from the Center for Digital Government. Minnesota's Hennepin, Dakota, and Olmsted counties make the top-ten lists in their respective population groups. Half of South Dakota's counties don't even have websites.