Florida Vs South Dakota Which is a Better State to Live or Retire?

Would it be Better to Retire/Live in Hot Humid Florida or Cold Snowy South Dakota?

I know, you think that’s a stupid question because the “obvious” answer is that Florida is a much better place to live or retire than South Dakota. Some of you are probably asking, “Where is South Dakota, is that near the Ukraine?

For those of us who have been out of school for a long time, South Dakota is actually part of the US. What does South Dakota have to do with a website about moving to Florida? If you “assume” that Florida is the best state to live in or retire to, I’m going to use South Dakota to make a point.

The Match-up

Florida (where you want to move to)


South Dakota (you don’t even know where it is exactly)

Ok lets begin! It’s Florida, the assumed best state to retire/live in by millions VS South Dakota, a place most Americans have never been to and but there’s something about a big bunch of rocks there.

Comparison of 9 Factors: Living in Florida Vs South Dakota

1) Quality of Healthcare Who Wins Florida or South Dakota?

We all want to know that we’ll be properly taken care of if we get sick, so which is the better state when it comes to healthcare quality?

Winner: South Dakota

What? South Dakota? They have doctors there? According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality South Dakota easily beats Florida (which scores in the lower half of all states). Score Florida-0 / South Dakota-1

2) Violent Crime Rate, Who Wins Florida or South Dakota?

I don’t know about you, but a best place to live or retire has to have a low risk of becoming a victim of a violent crime and becoming tomorrow’s news headline. Who has a lower rate of rapes, murders and other violent crime?

Winner: South Dakota

Unfortunately for Florida which consistently has one of the highest the highest violent crime rates in the US, this wasn’t even close. Florida has a violent crime rate about 50% higher than South Dakota according to the FBI. The score in now Florida-0 / South Dakota-2

3) “Well-Being” Who Wins?

Now wait a minute. Are you just making this up? What is a “well-being” score? The Gallup Poll people together with Healthways asked residents of all the US states about their emotion heath, physical health, healthy behaviors, access to healthcare and other questions to come up with a “Well-Being Index”. It’s another tool to determine where people feel they are experiencing a better quality of life.

The Winner: South Dakota by a mile. If they even have have miles in S. Dakota.

South Dakota had the 2nd highest well-being score of the 50 states. Florida ranked a distant 30th. Don’t blame me. The rankings are a result of residents from all states answering the same questions. Score Florida-0 / South Dakota-3

4) Total Burden of State Taxes, Florida Doesn’t have a Personal Income Tax, Who Wins?

Nobody loves paying taxes, so which state takes less money out of it’s residents pockets?

Winner: South Dakota

florida move guide book cover and discription

Wow, I didn’t see that one one coming, did you? Turns out South Dakota doesn’t have a personal state income tax either, plus it has a lower overall tax bite than Florida according to the Tax Foundation. Florida’s reeling right now, come on weather, when are we going to battle about the weather? Score Florida-0 / South Dakota-4

5) Property Crime, Who has Less of it?

Violent crime is bad, but how safe would you feel about living in your home after criminals broke in and went through your stuff? Again, I sure don’t want to be shot or stabbed, but I don’t want thugs breaking into my home or stealing my car either, so who wins?

Winner: South Dakota

Again, not even close with Florida having 50% more of this type of life disrupting unnecessary stuff, according to the FBI. This isn’t your grandmother,s Florida. Score Florida-0 / South Dakota-5

6) Standard of Living

Florida’s sure going to win this because I think people in South Dakota still do laundry by taking their clothes down to the river and beating them with sticks on the rocks. Anyway, Gallup asked residents of all states if they were satisfied with their standard of living, and if the felt it was going to improve or get worse in the future.

Warning to Florida-lovers who never lived in the state. Everyone loves it at first, but feelings about Florida can change the longer you actually live there. Again, don’t blame me for how residents  answer poll questions.

Winner: South Dakota

Residents in South Dakota scored in the top 10, coming in at #6. And Floridians? Lets just say they weren’t as happy with their standard of living and leave it at that. Score Florida-0 / South Dakota-6

7) Question: Is your state the best, or one of the best states to live in?

Alright! Florida’s got to win this, right? Because if you found this website, you’re probably thinking of moving to Florida and to blow all that cash to move to a state a million miles away, you wouldn’t do that unless Florida was the best state to live in, right? Surely you must think it’s one of the best.

I wonder what people who actually already live in Florida and South Dakota think. After all, all of the people who moved to Florida must of thought is was at least one of the best places to live in the US before they moved, right?

Winner: South Dakota

Curses, those darn people at Gallup Polls are busting my myth that Florida is a great place to retire to or live in. Less than 50% of Floridians responded that Florida was the best state to live in, or even one of the best. More than 50% of South Dakotains (did I say that right? It doesn’t matter, they don’t have internet up there yet so nobody from South Dakota will ever see this) think their state is the best or at least one of the best. There’s more. A higher percentage of Floridians said Florida was THE worst state in the US to live in, than South Dakotaians said their state was the worst. Score Florida-0 / South Dakota

8) Weather, This Should be a No-Brainer, Right?

Now come on, Who’s got better weather, the “sunshine state” or some state that you never hear about, don’t know where it is and the main mode of public transportation is by buffalo.

Winner: _____ You score it after you read below.

South Dakota: 4 Seasons with cold winters. Florida: 3 seasons, winter (3months and beautiful weather) summer (up to 9 months of hot humid weather with the air conditioner running full speed) and hurricane season (6 months per year)

Hint: Why do people move to Florida? For the weather. Why do people move out of Florida? The weather (and other things)

9) Which State has More Tourist Attractions?

Winner: Florida! Yea Florida!

The Points I Wanted to Make?

  • Florida is a great place to visit.
  • A great place to visit doesn’t necessarily make a great place to live.
  • Are you about to move from a state that’s a better place to live, to Florida?

I have a book that may help prevent you from making an expensive mistake (wow, was that a shameless plug?).


Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

  • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.


10 thoughts on “Florida Vs South Dakota Which is a Better State to Live or Retire?”

  1. Having lived in “Flaahridah” for close to 20 years, I would say that Hell would be a better choice.

    South Dakota is a beautiful state! Yes, it has four seasons – something to appreciate after spending summers in a place that you can almost wring out with your bare hands.


    • I have lived in South Florida for nearly 9 years. It did not take me long to realize that South Florida is not the best state to live in. The cost of living is ridiculously high.

      I am moving to South Dakota! Many co-workers have expressed their unwanted opinion about me relicating to SD. Their ignorance is entertainment to me and sad at the same time. South Dakota, here I come!

  2. My husband and I had the best intentions of making SW Florida our home, again, in 2017, after over 30+ years of having lived out of the state. We have been shocked by the high cost of homes and property taxes. Condo fees are over the top, as well. That is before factoring in homeowner’s insurance premiums. We have been looking in the Naples area and have abruptly stopped all searches. I have just found your website and it has been so very informative and eye opening. This will most likely be a game changer for us and will have saved us a lot of money and heartache. Thank you for this invaluable website. We may look in the beautiful state of South Dakota!

  3. Thank you for your insights on moving to Florida or South Dakota for retirement. We have been in a real battle over where to settle. We live in Connecticut and if we can get out of here with our shirts on our backs we will be lucky.
    Thank you

  4. I have lived all over Florida for forty years; worked and now retired. I agree with this article. The summers here are physically oppressing and threatening with the onslaught of yearly hurricanes. It is now becoming over populated at 22,000,000 residents and new people coming here at the rate of 1,000 per day! Traffic in central Florida, around Orlando is horrible. Interstate I-4 becomes a parking lot (literally) during rush hour. Crime is definitely a factor, as well; theft being a considerable problem along with human trafficking.

    I will be looking into South Dakata.

    Thank You Ron Stack

  5. We had a condo in Marco Island and met up with Hurricane Irma and it didn’t end well. We decided to sell and have not repurchased. The high hoa fees along with home expense and heavy population have made our decision easy. Again, nice place to visit but we are buying in the Midwest.

  6. Interesting article. I have no desire to live with lots of bugs, heat, and humidity. I can’t take a lot of beach sun either, as I am fair skinned. We are retired and planning to move from CO to SD ,to the Black Hills. It is beautiful country, low humidity , lots of sunny days. We are used to lots of snow, so that will not be a shocker. We are leaving CO mainly because the radical progressive left have taken over the state and turned it into CA 2.0. , and leaving large metros. I think FL is overated, people visit there in the winter when it is wonderful and think, I want to move here and don’t do a lot of research. They need to spend a couple of weeks in the summer before making that decision to move.

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