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.