Rapid City, South Dakota Population 2019

75,443

Rapid City is a city located in the state of South Dakota. Its location at Rapid Creek is what led to its name. Rapid City serves as the county seat of Pennington County, and it is also the second most populous city in the state with an estimated population of 75,443.

Rapid City History

Settlers originally came to what is now Rapid City in the 1870s after gold was discovered. In 1876, Rapid City was founded under the name “Hay Camp” and was promoted by miners as the “Gateway to the Black Hills.” Later that year, the site of the city was laid out around Rapid Creek. Six blocks were designated for a business center, which was used for selling supplies to miners and pioneers. By the 20th century, the city was becoming known as a regional trade center.

The city began to grow following World War I with the construction of highways and local efforts that lured in tourists. Mount Rushmore, a popular tourist destination to this day, was started in 1927 and was later completed in 1941. Throughout this period, the city was keeping the economy afloat through tourism through the Great Depression. However, the tourism industry declined following World War II, although the city still managed to get by due to war-related growth.

The Rapid City Army Air Base (later changed to the Ellsworth Air Force Base) resulted in significant population growth during the 1940s. By the end of the decade, city officials made a plan to expand the city with new schools, a civic center, and paved roads, leading to a construction boom during the 1950s. During the 1960s, growth slowed, but development picked up again in the 1970s after the Black Hills Flood killed hundreds and caused $100 million in damage. This led to significant development including the construction of a park, new homes and businesses, a civic center and Central High School.

In the 1980s, the Sioux people filed a lawsuit against the federal government stating that the Black Hills were stolen. The Supreme Court found in favor of the tribe and offered a monetary settlement, but the Sioux continued to push for the return of land including Rapid City. The dispute is still ongoing.

The city also continued to grow in the 1980s as tourism increased, primarily due to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, one of the most famous rallies in the world. Today, tourism remains a driver of the economy, although the city has also ventured into other economic sectors including technology, scientific research, and medicine.

Rapid City Population Statistics

Rapid City’s population is over 74,000. The city has a total area of over 55 square miles and has a population density of over 1,226 people per square mile. It is only the 471st most populous city in the United States.

The largest age group is between 25 to 44, accounting for 25.7% of the total population. Nearly 24% of the population is under age 18, while 14.5% are at least 65 years old. There are slightly more female residents than male residents, with females making up 50.5% of the population. Approximately 12.7% of the population lives below the federal poverty line.

Rapid City Population Growth

Rapid City has experienced steady growth throughout its history, although it did see a drop in its population at the time of the 1900 census. By 1920, the city’s population had accumulated over 5,000 people, and this number nearly doubled at the time of the 1930 census. By 1950, the city had over 25,000 residents. By 1990, the population exceeded 54,000. Recent estimates indicate that this growth will only continue, as the current count is up 9% from the last census taken in 2010.

Rapid City, South Dakota's estimated population is 75,443 according to the most recent United States census estimates. Rapid City, South Dakota is the 2nd largest city in South Dakota based on official 2017 estimates from the US Census Bureau.

The population density is 1385.25 people/mi² (534.85 people/km²).

The overall median age is 37.1 years, 35.4 years for males, and 39.3 years for females. For every 100 females there are 98.8 males.

Based on data from the American Community Survey, in 2017 there were 32,110 households in the city, with an average size of 2.34 people per household. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.7%, with a median rent of $784/month. The median house has 5.4 rooms, and has a value of $170,700.

The median income for households in Rapid City, South Dakota is $48,895, while the mean household income is $67,575.

Rapid City Demographics

According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Rapid City was:

  • White: 79.69%
  • Native American: 11.42%
  • Two or more races: 5.61%
  • Asian: 1.47%
  • Black or African American: 1.21%
  • Other race: 0.58%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.02%

How Many People Live in Rapid City, South Dakota?

75,443
Year Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
201875,4439671.30%
201774,4761,0411.42%
201673,4356430.88%
201572,7923610.50%
201472,4311,2641.78%
201371,1679861.40%
201270,1811,1461.66%
201169,0354170.61%
201068,6189,0111.42%
200059,6075,0840.90%
199054,5238,0311.61%
198046,4922,6560.59%
197043,8361,4370.33%
196042,39917,0895.29%
195025,31011,4666.22%
194013,8443,4402.90%
193010,4044,6276.06%
19205,7771,9234.13%
19103,8542,55411.48%
19001,3000.00%
Year Total Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
2018148,7491,8801.26%
2017146,8691,9721.34%
2016144,8971,6131.11%
2015143,2846260.44%
2014142,6581,9391.36%
2013140,7192,3351.66%
2012138,3842,1501.55%
2011136,2341,2320.90%
2010135,0020.00%

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
White58,04879.69%
American Indian and Alaska Native8,31811.42%
Two or More Races4,0885.61%
Asian1,0681.47%
Black or African American8811.21%
Some Other Race4230.58%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander150.02%

Rapid City Population Pyramid 2019

Rapid City Median Age

37.1


Total

35.4


Male

39.3


Female

Rapid City Adults

There are 56,060 adults, (12,336 of whom are seniors) in Rapid City.

Rapid City Age Dependency

66.6

Age Dependency Ratio

28.2

Old Age Dependency Ratio

38.4

Child Dependency Ratio

Rapid City Sex Ratio

Female

36,647

50.31%

Male

36,194

49.69%

Rapid City Households and Families

Rapid City Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

Rapid City Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married82.4%17.6%
All60.8%39.2%
Male49.7%50.3%
Non Family45.6%54.4%
Female37.1%62.9%

60.8%

Rate of Home Ownership

Type Count Average Size Owned
All29,7232.3460.8
Married13,0042.9682.4
Non Family11,9011.2545.6
Female3,6073.1737.1
Male1,2113.7449.7

2.95

Average Family Size

2.34

Average Household Size

6%

Unmarried (Opposite Sex)

0.2%

Unmarried (Same Sex)

Rapid City Education

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade1,0102.05%
9th to 12th Grade2,5645.20%
High School Graduate12,83626.01%
Some College12,28824.90%
Associates Degree5,27110.68%
Bachelors Degree10,04320.35%
Graduate Degree5,32910.80%

Rapid City Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
White41,52839,37114,072
Native American4,0263,078489
Hispanic1,5541,301300
Multiple Races1,4521,293162
Asian712616291
Black483431119
Other Race23118934
Islander1515

The highest rate of high school graduation is among islander people with a rate of 100.00%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among asian people with a rate of 40.87%.

Name Average Male Female
Overall$31,561$37,518$27,017
Less Than High School$16,709$20,549$9,097
High School Grad$26,817$31,141$23,098
Some College$29,641$37,658$23,386
Bachelors Degree$41,064$48,560$35,364
Graduate Degree$50,278$62,606$45,453

$31,561

Average Earnings

$37,518

Average Male

$27,017

Average Female

Rapid City Language

Rapid City Language by Age

Rapid City Language

95.67% of Rapid City residents speak only English, while 4.33% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Other Indo-European, which is spoken by 1.23% of the population.

Rapid City Poverty

Rapid City Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
White54,7475,73110.47%
Native7,4724,12955.26%
Multiple4,01890922.62%
Hispanic3,51261917.63%
Black82636844.55%
Asian1,05614713.92%
Other4145613.53%

16.29%

Overall Poverty Rate

14.50%

Male Poverty Rate

18.03%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Rapid City

The race most likely to be in poverty in Rapid City is Native, with 55.26% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Rapid City is White, with 10.47% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 2.52%. Among those working part-time, it was 23.90%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 22.63%.

Name Poverty
Less Than High School30.73%
High School14.23%
Some College12.75%
Bachelors or Greater5.10%
Name Poverty
Female Unemployed57.46%
Male Unemployed41.61%
Female Employed10.95%
Male Employed6.82%

Rapid City Income

Rapid City Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Households$48,895$67,575
Families$63,942$84,489
Married Families$78,968$102,776
Non Families$31,097$39,769

Rapid City Marital Status

Rapid City Marital Status

Marriage Rates

46.2%

Overall Marriage Rate

46.3%

Male Marriage Rate

46.1%

Female Marriage Rate

Rapid City Married by Age and Sex

Rapid City 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 45-54.

Rapid City Marital Status by Race

Rapid City Veterans

7,438

Number of Veterans

6,521

Male Veterans

917

Female Veterans

War Veterans
Vietnam2,350
First Gulf War2,192
Second Gulf War1,923
Korea736
World War II291
Age Group Veterans
35 to 541,928
65 to 741,628
75+1,523
55 to 641,335
18 to 341,024

Rapid City Veterans by Race

Name Veterans % of Total
White6,40013.69%
Indian52910.82%
2 or More30014.58%
Hispanic24012.79%
Black16023.99%
Asian253.10%
Other2410.04%

Rapid City Veterans by Education

9.12%

Veteran Poverty Rate

29.88%

Veteran Disability Rate

Rapid City Employment Status

65.7%

Labor Force Participation

61.6%

Employment Rate

4.6%

Unemployment Rate

Rapid City Place of Birth

Origin of Non Citizens

Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

58.08%

Born in South Dakota

97.60%

Native Born

2.40%

Foreign Born

1.02%

Non Citizen

Place of Birth

97.60% of Rapid City residents were born in the United States, with 58.08% having been born in South Dakota. 1.02% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Asia.