South Dakota State: Population, Rankings, and Facts

#14 in Overall Ranking out of 50 in 2021

Those looking to strike a balance between quality of life and tranquility should try out SD (the South Dakota abbreviation). While the state may not be so well-known, it has a lot to offer in terms of nature and certain industries, like agriculture. Plus, the area has a unique identity, with plenty of national parks. Keep on reading and decide whether it’s the best place to live in the United States or not.

Updated April 5, 2021
  • Area
    77,183 SQ. MI.
  • Capital
    Pierre
  • Population
    884,659
  • Income
    $56,521
  • Home Value
    $225,662
  • Crime
    3,530
  • Unemployment
    3.3%
  • Education
    27.8%
  • Medicine
    24
  • Poverty
    12.3%
  • Environment
    1
  • Infrastructure
    4.6%

This state is located in the Upper Midwest area of the United States of America. The name was given to the region because of the Sioux Native American population that lived there (and continues to do so today). It is quite a large province but with a very small population living there, mainly because of the weather and economic opportunities.

SD became an American state in 1889, together with North Dakota. President Harrison was the one that gave permission at the time. Although most towns are small, some cities, like Pierre, offer opportunities and high quality of life. The largest urban center here, yet, is not the capital of South Dakota, Pierre, but Sioux Falls.

In terms of borders, it has North Dakota to the north. Then, it has Minnesota to the east, Wyoming to the West, and Nebraska to the South. Geography also plays an essential role within the territory divided into two by the Missouri River. While the East River has fertile land and grows a variety of crops, the West is dedicated to ranching and tourism by history, mainly.

The majority of the population is white. There is no big community of black or Hispanic peoples. When it comes to politics, the dominant political party is the Republican, though, in the past, it had been the Democrats.

How We Figured Out Which Were the Best States to Live In

To understand the best place to live in, we took into consideration several metrics of similar importance. These include education, history, income by family, density, and more. To get this data and create the best states to live report, we used official information from different sources like the US Census Bureau page, FBI reports, the National Health Department, and more.

South Dakota Rankings

  • Population
    #46
    Population
    Data: 884,659

    The population density in this province is very low, that is why it’s in 46th place out of 50. This comes as a result of the low number of cities and professional opportunities. Plus, most reputable universities are somewhere else, so the South Dakota population tends to travel there to pursue a career.

  • Median Income
    #9
    Income in $
    Data: $56,521

    While the population density is a bit lacking, the median income per family is decent. It’s up the ladder, and it might be enough for most of the population to buy their own homes. The richest person living in the state is Denny Sanford, with a net of 2.1 billion.

  • Home Value
    #29
    Home Value
    Data: $225,662

    The home market in SD is on the rise, though it’s not as competitive as in richer parts of the United States, according to the latest census page. For instance, houses in New York cost almost double than here. Still, the price is not increasing that much because of the coronavirus pandemic that hit the world in 2020.

  • Unemployment Rate
    #2
    Unemployment
    Data: 3.3%

    Although the professional opportunities in the region are not that many, the South Dakota unemployment rate is low. The most common jobs here include correspondence clerk, insurance advisors, sewing machine technicians, and checkers. Those in the agriculture industry are also successful.

  • Poverty
    #26
    Poverty
    Data: 12.3%

    The poverty indicator in this province could improve, following the latest census. The ones without a job (and below the poverty line) are both working women and men, though their feminine counterparts have more difficulty finding a job, especially if they have kids. Oglala Lakota is the poorest county here (and in the United States as a whole).

  • Education
    #34
    Education
    Data: 27.8%

    Education has one of the highest qualities but is scarce in the South Dakota state. Most reputable universities are in other places, such as the Ivy League institutions, so students usually travel to get their degrees. The most respected universities are the Black Hills and Dakota Wesleyan.

  • Medicine
    #24
    Medicine
    Health Outcomes: 24

    While the rate of uninsured is not amazing, it could be worse. In particular, when compared to other provinces like Louisiana or Oklahoma. The best hospitals in this land include Avera McKennan, Sanford US, and Avera Queen of Peace Hospital. Those health centers will treat anyone, with or without insurance.

  • Crime Rate
    #20
    Crime
    Violent Crime: 3,530

    The region does not have the highest crime rate, though some indicators are worrying. For instance, the murder incidence is among the lowest in the United States. Yet, there are many property crimes and larceny thefts, especially in places like Flandreau and Rapid City.

  • Natural Environment
    #2
    Environment
    Air: 1

    While tap water is abundant (there are more than 650 drinking-water systems), most of it is contaminated with copper, lead, and radium. Something similar happens with the air quality, which has always been a bit contaminated in history and which quality could improve.

  • Infrastructure
    #39
    Infrastructure
    Poor Roads: 4.6%

    The quality of the roads in SD is quite good. It is even better if compared to states like Hawaii or New York, which use a lot more money to keep them in the right conditions. The bridges are not in such a good state, especially the Chamberlain Bridge or the Chilson one.

South Dakota Facts

  • The state motto is Under God the people rule, which shows its connection to history and religion. 
  • There are 359 zip codes here, one of the highest numbers. 
  • Its nickname is Mount Rushmore State.
  • The state animal is the coyote, and the tree is the Black Hills Spruce
  • In terms of geography, people can find the most beautiful glacial lakes. 
  • The province makes almost $2 billion every year out of tourism and services.
  • The flag is a sun in a field of sky blue. 
  • It is well-known for the monument called the Rushmore State, which features the faces of many presidents. 
  • The sales tax is 4.5%, which is one of the lowest in the whole country.
  • On the contrary, the property tax at 1.22% is high, compared to most U.S. states.
  • The state flower is the American Pasque
  • The Native American tribes that lived there include Cheyenne, Arikara, Sioux, Ponca, and Dakota.
  • The name of the state came from a Sioux term that means “allies.” 
  • The wildlife is very diverse, with plenty of animals living in the territory. Some examples include buffalos, deer, antelopes, elks, or bald eagles
  • There are 66 counties. Minnehaha County is the most populous one.

South Dakota in Photos

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South Dakota Mt. Rushmore
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FAQ Section

  • Where Is South Dakota?

    The United States is a huge country, and, as such, it is divided into many different regions. South Dakota, for example, is in the Upper Midwest. New York is on the West Coast, and San Francisco is on the East Coast, for instance.

  • What Is the State Bird of SD?

    The state bird has been the Chinese ring-necked pheasant ever since 1943. The animal has lived in this territory since 1898 and has beautiful plumage easily recognized because of its color red. Its meat is considered to be delicious in many places in the country.

  • What Time Zone Is SD in?

    Being in the middle of the country, SD has inserted the Eastern Standard Zone (GMT-6). This is a different time zone than the East and the West Coast, for example.

  • What to Do in South Dakota?

    This state may not be the most famous place in the USA, but it has a lot of tourism and services to offer.

    Here are some of them:

    • Visit the Hotel Alex Johnson. This is one of the oldest hotels in the country and is said to be haunted by ghosts of dead presidents and other famous people.
    • Take a look at the Hall of Records in Mount Rushmore.
    • Go around the beautiful Chapel in the Hills.
    • Visit Missouri National Recreational River.

  • Visit Missouri National Recreational River.

    While some people may not have heard a lot about this province, it is home to many famous attractions.

    For instance:

    • Find the Crazy Horse Memorial and the Good Earth State Park, with lots of nature, plants, and even fauna to see.
    • The Badlands National Park is also famous worldwide.
    • The Mammoth area is well regarded by scientists and specialists in the field.
    • This is where to find Mount Rushmore, with the faces of the presidents carved in stone.