The Annie E. Casey Foundation monitors kids across the country through its Kids Count survey. It's a way to track progress and shine light on children's issues.
South Dakota is ranked is 17th overall for child well-being.
"That's actually pretty good compared to other states," said Rapid City mother Misty Apt.
The survey judges states on sub-categories like education, where South Dakota ranks 21st; family and community, also 21st; and health, where the state drops to 43rd.
"There are things we are lacking in, for sure, such as health care providers and specialists and things like that," Jennifer Schroeder, another mother from Rapid City, said.
"It all depends on what city you're in, too," Apt added.
A county-by-county profile backs that up.
Pennington, for instance, has a child poverty rate of about 17 percent. Shannon County's rate, though, is more than 55 percent.
"For our kids," said Peter Sulzle, a father of six living in Rapid City, "we feel it's very safe, a safe city and safe environment for our kids and they're very blessed, very taken care of."
Part of that, parents say, is because of the emphasis on community.
"The community events, the small-town atmosphere and everything like that that's good for raising kids," said Schroeder.
The state's financial standing is also good for raising kids, according to the survey.
South Dakota comes in fourth in economic rank, another indicator of well-being the Kids Count survey uses.
"I think economically, South Dakota wasn't hit as hard in the downturn," Sulzle said.
"Money provides a lot for our children," added Schroeder. "Opportunities to learn and grow."
Parents agree those opportunities, along with the abundance of public activities, make South Dakota, and Rapid City in particular, a pretty good place to start a family.
"This is really awesome," said Apt, "because kids get to meet each other and it doesn't matter where they're from."
See the full survey here.