Plenty of jobs, good pay and a long life: those are all factors that help make Lincoln County, South Dakota, one of the best places in the nation to live. Lincoln County comes in at number eight, according to a New York Times report.
The Merrigans have three kids under the age of five. They moved into the Heather Ridge neighborhood in southern Sioux Falls because of the close proximity to an elementary school.
"(We) Kind of looked on the south side of Sioux Falls, knowing that there is a lot of development and new things happening," Merrigan said.
The Merrigans say in Lincoln County they have the best of both worlds.
"Having smaller communities to the south--Harrisburg, Tea--they have a lot of community activities, you can involve yourself in those; as well as getting into Sioux Falls, the bigger city," Merrigan said.
It's the diversity of the county that long-time commissioner Jim Schmidt says makes it so vibrant.
"Because you have the urban on the north end, which is Sioux Falls; which is sponsoring all the growth and yet you are heavily agricultural, which is the majority of the area that comes in," Schmidt said.
The New York Times report that puts Lincoln County in the top ten looked at six life factors. Lincoln County has a median income of more than $73,000. Nearly 40 percent of people here have a college degree and the average person lives to be 82. That's good news for retirees Larry and Marcia Myrvik.
"I like living in Lincoln County and Sioux Falls. I don't know about the stats or anything, but I just like it here," Myrvik said.
The Myviks have lived here for 12 years. Before that they lived in Minnehaha County, which came in at 307th.
"I don't know what the big difference is--why?" Myrvik said.
Minnehaha County didn't fare as well in income, education or life expectancy as Lincoln County. But South Dakota is also home to one of the hardest places to live in the nation. Shannon County, where Pine Ridge is located, came in near the bottom of the list, along with several other counties on the state's Indian reservations.