South Dakota Population 2019


In 2019, the estimated population of South Dakota is 892,631.

The current population of South Dakota is estimated at 858,469, which shows an increase from the 2010 Census. The state currently enjoys a growth rate of 1.17%, which ranks 11th in the country.

The last national census in the United States took place in 2010, and it was confirmed at the time that the population of South Dakota was 814,180, which represented a rise of nearly 8% on the numbers declared in 2000. An estimate of the state's population from July 2015 places it at 858,469, which makes South Dakota the 46th most populous state in the US.

Situated in the northern midwest, the US state of South Dakota is the 17th largest in the Union but has a relatively sparse population by comparison. Like its near neighbor North Dakota, the state's geographical features do not lend themselves to mass urban settlements, and a lack of choice when it comes to employment has seen an exodus to other parts of the country.

South Dakota Area and Population Density

Not only is South Dakota the 46th largest state in the US in terms of numbers, it also shares that rank with regards to population density. The state is a vast area, covering 77,116 square miles, which makes it the 17th largest state in the country by area, but for each of those square miles, there is an average of just 10.7 people. It's the 46th most densely populated state in the US.

Like other Great Plains states, South Dakota has seen a dropping population in its rural areas for many decades in a phenomenon known as "rural flight." Between 1990 and 2000, 9 counties in the state saw a population drop greater than 10%, with one county losing 19% of its population in just a decade.

Despite this, many areas of South Dakota are seeing increases in population. The Sioux Falls city area, large counties along Interstate 29, the Black Hills area and many Indian reservations have enjoyed growing populations. Lincoln County in particular is notable as the 9th fastest growing county (in terms of percentage) in the country.

The two most populated counties in the state are Minnehaha and Pennington with respective populations of 188,616 and 110,141.

South Dakota Gender and Religion Statistics

The median age across the population of South Dakota is approximately 36.8 years of age. In terms of the ratio of females to males in the population of the state, the divide sits at 49.7% female while males make up the remaining 50.3%.

In terms of religious preferences among the residents of South Dakota, the numbers are currently at 79% Christian based faith affiliations, 3% non-Christian based faith affiliations, and 18% of residents unaffiliated with any religion.

South Dakota Boundary, Census, and Statehood History

Most of present-day North and South Dakota was acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, and was included in Louisiana (soon renamed Missouri) Territory. The part generally west of the Missouri River remained in Missouri Territory until becoming part of Nebraska Territory, formed in 1854. The portion east of the Missouri River became part of Michigan Territory (1834), Wisconsin Territory (1836), Iowa Territory (1838), and Minnesota Territory (1849). After Minnesota became a State in 1858, this area remained unorganized until Dakota Territory was established in 1861, including all of the present-day Dakotas as well as most of Montana and the northern half of Wyoming. After 1868 Dakota Territory corresponded to the present two States, plus an area transferred to Nebraska in 1882. South Dakota (like North Dakota) was admitted as a State on November 2, 1889 with essentially its present boundaries.

Present-day South Dakota had no census coverage in 1850. The population given for 1860 is for the whole of Dakota Territory as organized in 1861, essentially comprising present-day South and North Dakota east of the Missouri River; no determination has been made to assign the 1860 total to what became the two separate States. In 1860, some forts and settlements in the present State also were enumerated in Nebraska Territory. The 1870 and 1880 populations consist of the totals of those counties of Dakota Territory located wholly or primarily in what is now South Dakota, plus (in 1870) an estimated portion of the Territory's unorganized part. The total population of Dakota Territory was 14,181 in 1870 and 135,177 in 1880. Considerable portions of the State were not covered by the census until 1900.

South Dakota Demographics

According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of South Dakota was:

  • White: 84.68%
  • Native American: 8.66%
  • Two or more races: 2.75%
  • Black or African American: 1.72%
  • Asian: 1.37%
  • Other race: 0.78%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.04%

South Dakota Population Chart

South Dakota Population History

The first recorded population figures date from 1860 when it was reported that 4,837 South Dakotans were already living in the area. Ten years later those numbers had jumped to 11,776, but the biggest spike in South Dakota population history was to follow as a leap of over 700% took those numbers to 98,268.

By the beginning of the 20th century, the population of South Dakota had reached 401,570, and while the overall picture throughout the 1900s was one of growth, there have been censuses where numbers fell on a decade by decade basis.

The blame for this was put firmly on a phenomenon called rural flight which saw a ‘brain drain’ of sorts, particularly among University graduates who sought a future away from the unpredictable life of subsistence farming.

South Dakota Population Growth

South Dakota is enjoying steady growth that is expected to continue, and it is actually growing faster than the country for the first time in more than 50 years. It's believed this growth is due to more working-age adults, as well as the high birth rate that exceeds the national average, a low death rate and migration to the area as manufacturing jobs have increased 458% from 1970 to 2000, while retail grew 79% and finance jobs 137%.

In recent years, the population of South Dakota has returned to healthy growth, and from 1980 onwards, there has been an increase in numbers. Could the most recent increases be due to the growth of the internet, the rise in remote working and therefore a reduction in the need to leave the state to seek work elsewhere?

South Dakota Population Projections

Whatever the reasons may be, with growth levels around 8% between Censuses at present, the population of South Dakota should be on its way to the next milestone in 2020.

Population Data via US Census

South Dakota Growth Rate

South Dakota Population Rank

Year Pop % Change

South Dakota Facts

  • Arikara, Sioux and Cheyenne Indian tribes lived in the area until the 1700s, when the Sioux forced all other tribes off of the land.
  • Today, the Sioux Nation's Dakota, Lakota and Nakota tribes still reside in South Dakota.
  • The state has one of the largest populations of Native Americans. Approximately 60,000 people from nine official tribes reside within South Dakota.
  • Fort Pierre was the first permanent settlement in the state. It was established in 1817.
  • However, real population growth did not begin until gold was discovered in the Black Hills in 1874.
  • Wall Drug Store in the town of Wall is world famous for how it pulled in business using ice water.

Minnehaha County

  • Population192,876
  • Density238.96 per sq km
  • Growth Since 201013.49%
  • State Rank1
  • % of State21.86%

The counties located within the state of South Dakota have seen both increases and decreases in population since the last US Census was taken in 2010 compared to estimates taken by the Census Bureau in 2015. There were five counties that had population growths exceeding 5%, while two of these counties had population growth of over 10%. The highest growth was posted in Lincoln at 16.98%, followed by Lake County at 11.88%. The remaining counties that had increases of more than 5% are Minnehaha, Jackson, and Buffalo. Other counties such as Dewey, Meade, and Pennington reflected smaller increases during the 5-year period.

Some counties in South Dakota had decreasing populations between 2010 and 2015. The highest loss occurred in Jones County, with an 8.06% loss. Campbell County and Miner County each saw decreases in population that exceeded 5%, while counties such as Day, Grant, Tripp, and Fall River posted smaller losses in population.

Population by Race

Race Population
American Indian and Alaska Native74,062
Two or More Races23,493
Black or African American14,698
Some Other Race6,687
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander381

South Dakota Population Pyramid 2019

South Dakota Median Age







South Dakota Adults

There are 644,483 adults, (132,118 of whom are seniors) in South Dakota.

South Dakota Age Dependency


Age Dependency Ratio


Old Age Dependency Ratio


Child Dependency Ratio

South Dakota Sex Ratio







South Dakota Households and Families

South Dakota Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

South Dakota Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Non Family49.8%50.2%


Rate of Home Ownership

Type Count Average Size Owned
Non Family123,3041.2449.8


Average Family Size


Average Household Size


Unmarried (Opposite Sex)


Unmarried (Same Sex)

South Dakota Education

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade19,1423.41%
9th to 12th Grade28,8925.15%
High School Graduate170,91230.49%
Some College122,13221.79%
Associates Degree63,41311.31%
Bachelors Degree109,46819.53%
Graduate Degree46,6468.32%

South Dakota Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
Native American36,31228,4243,691
Multiple Races8,7727,6941,504
Other Race3,4401,842387

The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 93.46%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 41.60%.

Name Average Male Female
Less Than High School$23,876$27,381$15,985
High School Grad$29,896$36,029$22,676
Some College$33,577$41,583$27,055
Bachelors Degree$42,085$51,715$36,252
Graduate Degree$53,606$62,120$49,082


Average Earnings


Average Male


Average Female

South Dakota Language

South Dakota Language by Age

South Dakota Language

93.57% of South Dakota residents speak only English, while 6.43% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 2.06% of the population.

South Dakota Poverty

South Dakota Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate


Overall Poverty Rate


Male Poverty Rate


Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in South Dakota

The race most likely to be in poverty in South Dakota is Native, with 49.30% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in South Dakota is White, with 9.24% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 2.89%. Among those working part-time, it was 19.03%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 24.60%.

Name Poverty
Less Than High School28.86%
High School12.26%
Some College9.57%
Bachelors or Greater4.05%
Name Poverty
Female Unemployed42.78%
Male Unemployed39.63%
Female Employed8.30%
Male Employed5.90%

South Dakota Income

South Dakota Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Married Families$80,031$97,530
Non Families$32,038$42,940

South Dakota Marital Status

South Dakota Marital Status

Marriage Rates


Overall Marriage Rate


Male Marriage Rate


Female Marriage Rate

South Dakota Married by Age and Sex

South Dakota Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over 65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 55-64.

South Dakota Marital Status by Race

South Dakota Veterans


Number of Veterans


Male Veterans


Female Veterans

War Veterans
First Gulf War12,054
Second Gulf War11,109
World War II2,376
Age Group Veterans
65 to 7415,292
35 to 5414,744
55 to 6411,215
18 to 345,536

South Dakota Veterans by Race

Name Veterans % of Total
2 or More1,1059.46%

South Dakota Veterans by Education


Veteran Poverty Rate


Veteran Disability Rate

South Dakota Employment Status


Labor Force Participation


Employment Rate


Unemployment Rate

South Dakota Nativity

  1. SDSU Census Data Center
  2. US Census State Population Estimates - Most recent state estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  3. US Census County Population Estimates - Most recent county estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program
  4. American Community Survey (2009 - 2013)
  5. Census QuickFacts
  6. Historical Populations of States and Counties (1790 - 1990)