South Dakota (/- dəˈkoʊtə/ (listen)) is a U.S. state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes, who compose a large portion of the population and historically dominated the territory. South Dakota is the seventeenth largest by area, but the fifth smallest by population and the 5th least densely populated of the 50 United States. As the southern part of the former Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889, simultaneously with North Dakota. Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls, with a population of about 187,200, is South Dakota’s largest city.
South Dakota is in the north-central United States, and is considered a part of the Midwest by the U.S. Census Bureau; it is also part of the Great Plains region. The culture, economy, and geography of western South Dakota have more in common with the West than the Midwest. South Dakota has a total area of 77,116 square miles (199,730 km), making the state the 17th largest in the Union.
Black Elk Peak, formerly named Harney Peak, with an elevation of 7,242 ft (2,207 m), is the state’s highest point, while the shoreline of Big Stone Lake is the lowest, with an elevation of 966 ft (294 m). South Dakota is bordered to the north by North Dakota; to the south by Nebraska; to the east by Iowa and Minnesota; and to the west by Wyoming and Montana. The geographical center of the U.S. is 17 miles (27 km) west of Castle Rock in Butte County. The North American continental pole of inaccessibility is between Allen and Kyle, 1,024 mi (1,648 km) from the nearest coastline.
The Missouri River is the largest and longest river in the state. Other major South Dakota rivers include the Cheyenne, James, Big Sioux, and White Rivers. Eastern South Dakota has many natural lakes, mostly created by periods of glaciation. Additionally, dams on the Missouri River create four large reservoirs: Lake Oahe, Lake Sharpe, Lake Francis Case, and Lewis and Clark Lake.
The United States Census Bureau estimates the population of South Dakota was 882,235 on July 1, 2018, an 8.36% increase since the 2010 United States Census, only North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming have fewer residents.
As of 2018, South Dakota had an estimated population of 882,235, an increase of 68,055, or 8.36%, since the year 2010. 7.3% of South Dakota’s population was reported as under 5, 24% under 18, and 14.3% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 50.2% of the population. As of the 2000 census, South Dakota ranked fifth-lowest in the nation in population and population density.
Of the people residing in South Dakota, 65.7% were born in South Dakota, 31.4% were born in another U.S. state, 0.6% were born in Puerto Rico, U.S. Island areas, or born abroad to American parent(s), and 2.3% were born in another country.
The center of population of South Dakota is in Buffalo County, in the unincorporated county seat of Gann Valley.
According to the 2010 Census, the racial composition of the population was:
Ethnically, 2.7% of South Dakota’s population was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (they may be of any race).
As of 2011, 25.4% of South Dakota’s population younger than age 1 were minorities, meaning they had at least one parent who was not non-Hispanic white.
As of 2000, the five largest ancestry groups in South Dakota are German (40.7%), Norwegian (15.3%), Irish (10.4%), Native American (8.3%), and English (7.1%).
German Americans are the largest ancestry group in most parts of the state, especially in East River (east of the Missouri River), although there are also large Scandinavian-descended populations in some counties. South Dakota has the nation’s largest population of Hutterites, a communal Anabaptist group which emigrated in 1874 from Europe, primarily from German-speaking areas.
American Indians, largely Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota (Sioux), are predominant in several counties and constitute 20 per cent of the population in West River. The seven large Indian reservations in the state occupy an area much diminished from their former Great Sioux Reservation of West River, which the US government had once allocated to the Sioux tribes. South Dakota has the third-highest proportion of Native Americans of any state, behind Alaska and New Mexico.
Five of the state’s counties are wholly within the boundaries of sovereign Indian reservations. Because of the limitations of climate and land, and isolation from urban areas with more employment opportunities, living standards on many South Dakota reservations are often far below the national average; Ziebach County ranked as the poorest county in the nation in 2009. The unemployment rate in Fort Thompson, on the Crow Creek Reservation, is 70%, and 21% of households lack plumbing or basic kitchen appliances. A 1995 study by the U.S. Census Bureau found 58% of homes on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation did not have a telephone. The reservations’ isolation also inhibits their ability to generate revenue from gaming casinos, an avenue that has proved profitable for many tribes closer to urban centers.
In 1995 the legislature passed a law to make English the “common language” of the state. Since 2019, “the language of the Great Sioux Nation, comprised of three dialects, Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota” is an official language. As of the 2000 census, 1.90% of the population aged 5 or older speak German at home, while 1.51% speak Lakota or Dakota, and 1.43% Spanish. As of 2010, 93.46% (692,504) of South Dakota residents aged 5 and older spoke English as their primary language. 6.54% of the population spoke a language other than English. 2.06% (15,292) of the population spoke Spanish, 1.39% (10,282) spoke Dakota, and 1.37% (10,140) spoke German. Other languages spoken included Vietnamese (0.16%), Chinese (0.12%), and Russian (0.10%).
Over the last several decades, the population in many rural areas has declined in South Dakota, in common with other Great Plains states. The change has been characterized as “rural flight” as family farming has declined. Young people have moved to cities for other employment. This trend has continued in recent years, with 30 of South Dakota’s counties losing population between the 1990 and the 2000 census. During that time, nine counties had a population loss of greater than 10%, with Harding County, in the northwest corner of the state, losing nearly 19% of its population. Low birth rates and a lack of younger immigration has caused the median age of many of these counties to increase. In 24 counties, at least 20% of the population is over the age of 65, compared with a national rate of 12.8%.
The effect of rural flight has not been spread evenly through South Dakota, however. Although most rural counties and small towns have lost population, the Sioux Falls area, the larger counties along Interstate 29, the Black Hills, and many Indian reservations have all gained population. As the reservations have exercised more sovereignty, some Sioux have returned to them from urban areas. Lincoln County near Sioux Falls was the seventh fastest-growing county (by percentage) in the United States in 2010. The growth in these areas has compensated for losses in the rest of the state. South Dakota’s total population continues to increase steadily, albeit at a slower rate than the national average.
The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2010 were the Roman Catholic Church with 148,883 members; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) with 112,649 members; and the United Methodist Church (UMC) with 36,020 members. (The ELCA and UMC are specific denominations within the broader terms ‘Lutheran’ and ‘Methodist’, respectively.)
The results of a 2001 survey, in which South Dakotans were asked to identify their religion, include:
South Dakota neighborhoods include: Alcester, Baltic, Black Hawk, Box Elder, Brandon, Buffalo Ridge, Camp Crook, Canton, Caputa, Central City, Chancellor, Colton, Creighton, Crooks, Custer, Deadwood, Dell Rapids, Elkton, Ellsworth Afb, Garretson, Hartford, Hermosa, Hill City, Howes, Humboldt, Keystone, Lead, Ludlow, Montrose, Nemo, New Underwood, North Sioux City, Owanka, Parker, Quinn, Rapid City, Renner, Rowena, Saint Onge, Scenic, Sherman, Silver City, Sioux Falls, Spearfish, Sturgis, Valley Springs, Wall, Wanblee, Wasta, Whitewood