Rapid City, South Dakota Population 2021

80,169
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Rapid City is a city located in Pennington County South Dakota. With a 2020 population of 80,169, it is the 2nd largest city in South Dakota (after Sioux Falls) and the 442nd largest city in the United States . Rapid City is currently growing at a rate of 1.69% annually and its population has increased by 17.97% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 67,956 in 2010. Spanning over 55 miles, Rapid City has a population density of 1,465 people per square mile.

The average household income in Rapid City is $73,679 with a poverty rate of 16.21%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $837 per month, and the median house value is $184,700. The median age in Rapid City is 38 years, 36.3 years for males, and 39.6 years for females.

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 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.

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 Demographics

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

  • White: 79.54%
  • Native American: 11.34%
  • Two or more races: 5.66%
  • Asian: 1.62%
  • Black or African American: 1.27%
  • Other race: 0.53%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.05%
The current population of Rapid City, South Dakota is 80,169 based on our projections of the latest US Census estimates. The US Census estimates the 2018 population at 80,169.The last official US Census in 2010 recorded the population at 67,956.

Rapid City, South Dakota Population 2021

2020 and 2021 population is estimated by projecting the 2019 numbers.

Year Population Growth Growth Rate
2021146,0131,9531.34%
2020144,0601,9531.36%
2019142,1071,9531.37%
2018140,1541,7101.22%
2017138,4441,9941.44%
2016136,4501,5921.17%
2015134,8586270.46%
2014134,2311,9111.42%
2013132,3202,2451.70%
2012130,0752,1721.67%
2011127,9031,1760.92%
2010126,7270.00%

Rapid City Metro Area Population by Year

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage
White59,86079.54%
American Indian and Alaska Native8,53411.34%
Two or More Races4,2605.66%
Asian1,2171.62%
Black or African American9561.27%
Some Other Race3960.53%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander350.05%
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Rapid City Population by Race

Rapid City Population Pyramid $2021

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Rapid City Median Age

38


Total

36.3


Male

39.6


Female

Rapid City Adults

There are 57,946 adults, (13,706 of whom are seniors) in Rapid City.

Rapid City Age Dependency

70.1

Age Dependency Ratio

31

Old Age Dependency Ratio

39.1

Child Dependency Ratio

Rapid City Sex Ratio

Female

37,696

50.09%

Male

37,562

49.91%

Rapid City Population by Age

Rapid City Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

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Rapid City Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Female40.9%59.1%
Non Family44.8%55.2%
Male57.8%42.2%
All61.8%38.2%
Married84.4%15.6%

61.8%

Rate of Home Ownership

Rapid City Households and Families

Type Count Average Size Owned
All30,5782.3461.8
Married13,1662.9584.4
Non Family12,8901.2544.8
Female3,5643.6340.9
Male9583.957.8

3.03

Average Family Size

2.34

Average Household Size

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Rapid City Households by Type

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Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade7601.48%
9th to 12th Grade2,9005.64%
High School Graduate13,05125.38%
Some College12,43424.18%
Associates Degree5,41410.53%
Bachelors Degree10,96421.32%
Graduate Degree5,90911.49%
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Rapid City Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Rapid City Educational Attainment by Race

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Race Total High School Bachelors
White42,94940,91115,197
Native American4,1053,007507
Hispanic1,8091,423375
2+ Races1,6341,538400
Asian812725377
Black60857182
Other Race21917659
Islander35358

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 46.43%.

Rapid City Educational Attainment by Race

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Name Average Male Female
Overall$32,637$38,568$30,232
Less Than 9th Grade$17,659$22,794$7,904
High School Graduate$27,077$29,743$25,644
Some College$31,248$38,461$26,085
Bachelors Degree$43,290$52,712$35,408
Graduate Degree$59,647$68,690$54,388

$32,637

Average Earnings

$38,568

Average Male

$30,232

Average Female

Rapid City Earnings by Educational Attainment

Rapid City Language by Age

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Rapid City Language

95.21% of Rapid City residents speak only English, while 4.79% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Other languages, which is spoken by 1.43% of the population.

Rapid City Language

Rapid City Poverty by Race

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Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
White56,3485,5129.78%
Native7,7064,50358.43%
Multiple4,1541,15727.85%
Hispanic3,9171,08527.70%
Black86523026.59%
Asian1,18115112.79%
Other3874912.66%

16.21%

Overall Poverty Rate

14.36%

Male Poverty Rate

18.02%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Rapid City

The race most likely to be in poverty in Rapid City is Native, with 58.43% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Rapid City is White, with 9.78% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 1.91%. Among those working part-time, it was 24.84%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 21.71%.

Rapid City Poverty

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Name Poverty
Less Than 9th Grade37.54%
High School15.86%
Some College11.42%
Bachelors or Greater3.72%

Rapid City Poverty Rate by Education

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Rate Poverty
Female Unemployed56.68%
Male Unemployed42.04%
Female Employed10.07%
Male Employed6.41%

Rapid City Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Rapid City Income by Household Type

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Name Median Mean
Households$52,351$73,679
Families$70,943$94,610
Married Families$87,052$112,468
Non Families$31,543$42,688
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Income by Household Type

Rapid City Marital Status

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Marriage Rates

45.5%

Overall Marriage Rate

46.1%

Male Marriage Rate

44.8%

Female Marriage Rate

Rapid City Married by Age and Sex

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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

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Rapid City Marital Status

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7,192

Number of Veterans

6,503

Male Veterans

689

Female Veterans

War Veterans
Vietnam2,588
First Gulf War2,110
Second Gulf War1,771
Korea674
World War II235

Rapid City Veterans by War

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Age Group Veterans
65 to 742,025
35 to 541,726
75+1,603
55 to 641,130
18 to 34708

Rapid City Veterans by Age

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Name Veterans % of Total
White6,38613.20%
Native American3116.35%
2+ Races29413.60%
Hispanic24411.46%
Black11215.93%
Asian535.38%
Other Race3616.82%

Rapid City Veterans by Race

Rapid City Veterans by Education

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7.51%

Veteran Poverty Rate

31.03%

Veteran Disability Rate

Rapid City Veterans by Education

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64.4%

Labor Force Participation

59.8%

Employment Rate

5.7%

Unemployment Rate

Rapid City Employment by Age

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Rapid City Employment by Race

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Rapid City Employment by Education

Origin of Non-Citizens

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

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

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58.10%

Born in Rapid City

97.54%

Native Born

2.46%

Foreign Born

1.20%

Non Citizen

1.25%

Naturalized

Place of Birth

97.54% of Rapid City residents were born in the United States, with 58.10% having been born in South Dakota. 1.20% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Asia.

Rapid City Place of Birth

Note: 2020 and 2021 data is projected
Year Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
202180,1691,3331.69%
202078,8361,3331.72%
201977,5031,3331.75%
201876,1709331.24%
201775,2371,1211.51%
201674,1167461.02%
201573,3703750.51%
201472,9951,2651.76%
201371,7309911.40%
201270,7391,1521.66%
201169,5874330.63%
201069,1549,5471.50%
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%

Rapid City Population by Year