DEMOGRAPHICS OF SOUTH DAKOTA

Population
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2006, South Dakota has an estimated population of 781,919, an increase of 27,075, or 3.6%, since the year 2000. 7.0% of South Dakota's population were reported as under 5, 24.9% under 18, and 14.2% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 50.0% of the population. As of the 2000 census, South Dakota ranked fifth-lowest in the nation in both population and population density. The center of population of South Dakota is located in Buffalo County, in the unincorporated county seat of Gannvalley.

South Dakota has a number of large Indian reservations (shown in pink).

Race and ethnicity
As of the 2005-2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 87.4% of South Dakota's population, American Indians made up 8.2% of the state's population, Blacks or African Americans made up 1.0% of South Dakota's population, Asian Americans made up 0.9% of the state's population, and Pacific Islander Americans made up less than 0.1% of the state's population. Individuals from some other race made up 0.7% of the state's population and individuals from two or more races made up 1.8% of the state's population. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 2.1% of South Dakota's population.

The five largest ancestry groups in South Dakota are: German (40.7%), Norwegian (15.3%), Irish (10.4%), Native American (8.3%), and English (7.1%).[71] German-Americans are the largest ancestry group in most parts of the state, especially in the east, although there are also large Scandinavian populations in some counties. South Dakota has the nation's largest population of Hutterites,[72] a communal Anabaptist group who emigrated from Europe in 1874.

American Indians, largely Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota (Sioux) are predominant in several counties. South Dakota has the third highest proportion of Native Americans of any state, behind Alaska and New Mexico. Five of the state's counties are wholly within Indian reservations. Living standards on many reservations are often very low when compared with the national average. The unemployment rate in Fort Thompson, on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation, is 70%, and 21% of households there lack plumbing or basic kitchen appliances. A 1995 study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that 58% of homes on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation did not have a telephone. As of the 2000 census, 1.90% of the population aged 5 or older speak German at home, while 1.51% speak Dakota, and 1.43% Spanish.

Growth and rural flight
South Dakota, in common with other Great Plains states, has been experiencing a falling population in many rural areas over the last several decades, a phenomenon known as "rural flight". This trend has continued in recent years, with 30 of South Dakota's counties losing population between the 1990 and the 2000 census. During that time, nine counties experienced a population loss of greater than 10%, with Harding County, in the northwest corner of the state, losing nearly 19% of its population. Low birth rates and a lack of younger immigration has caused the median age of many of these counties to increase. In 24 counties, at least 20% of the population is over the age of 65, compared with a national rate of 12.5%.

The effect of rural flight has not been spread evenly through South Dakota, however. Although most rural counties and small towns have lost population, the Sioux Falls area, the larger counties along Interstate 29, the Black Hills, and many Indian reservations have all gained population. In fact, Lincoln County, near Sioux Falls, is the ninth-fastest growing county (by percentage) in the United States. The growth in these areas has compensated for losses in the rest of the state, and South Dakota's total population continues to increase steadily, albeit at a slower rate than the national average.

Luciano Mende

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