Open for the Win: Kristi Noem's South Dakota Among the Most Popular States for Relocation

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas


Kristi Noem’s been the target of colossal COVID criticism.

The Republican governor’s taken a stand curious to those sold on a shutdown: She’s preferred living in the open — with open stores and open restaurants.


Subsequently, Kristi’s been mashed by media for months.

But what do Americans think of the South Dakota leader and her homeland’s hesitation to close?

Well, if it’s any indication, some folks are absolutely impressed.

According to a January survey by United Van Lines — which tracked state-to-state moves across 2020 — SD came in fourth for most popular place..

Per The Daily Wire, South Dakota was “virtually tied for second behind the state of Idaho.”

Rapid City Journal has more:

Black Hills area realtors and builders say there’s an influx of people who are relocating permanently or buying land in the region — and the trend isn’t expected to slow anytime soon. Newcomers from California, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Texas, Michigan, Colorado and Virginia along with Minnesota, North Dakota and Wyoming are leading the trend of relocating to South Dakota, local realtors say.

VIP Properties (Rapid City) owner and broker Lori Barnett noted folks’ fondness for free-living amid lockdown:

“We had a strong market to start the 2020 year. However, after COVID-19 hit and cities and states across the country began to implement massive shutdowns, people in those areas started looking to less restrictive states. Gov. Kristi Noem has certainly taken the laissez faire approach in dealing with COVID-19, which has definitely drawn attention to our state and our area in particular. People tend to be searching for a place to have more autonomy, be less populated, great outdoor recreation, and not having a state income tax is definitely a plus.”


Of course, South Dakota has the good fortune of being spectacularly sparse compared to the country’s crowded capitals of coronavirus compression.

Noem knows it — as I covered in April, she heaped hot coals on herd mentality:

“The calls to apply a one-size-fits all approach to this problem in South Dakota is herd mentality, not leadership.”

And put this in your pipe and smoke it:

“My responsibility is to respect the rights of people, and the people who elected me. To manage our state operations in a way that reflects the realities of what we have here on the ground in our state. On the foundation of my principles, commonsense conservative values, and the principles that we hold dear in America, the facts, the science, and the data will guide our decision-making here in South Dakota.”

As for lockdowns in other locales, do they work?

That’s outside my area of expertise (movies, alliteration, and the most mouthwatering malts), but consider a graph previously posted by the politician:

For good measure, here’s the Wire with more on moving:

In a significant indication that people are fleeing the lockdowns implemented in leading Democrat-run states, New Jersey was atop the rankings of locations people fled from, at 70%, followed by New York (67%), Illinois (67%), Connecticut (63%) and California (59%).


And courtesy of United Van Lines:

Data from March to October 2020 also revealed the COVID-19 pandemic influenced Americans’ decisions to move. For customers who cited COVID-19 as an influence on their move in 2020, the top reasons associated with COVID-19 were concerns for personal and family health and wellbeing (60%); desires to be closer to family (59%); 57% moved due to changes in employment status or work arrangement (including the ability to work remotely); and 53% desired a lifestyle change or improvement of quality of life.

So there ya go.

Looking for a new place to hang your hat? You may wanna consider South Dakota.

Many others are.



See more pieces from me:

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