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Children & Youth

South Dakota's Youth Population Stabilizes As Nation's Shrinks

South Dakota's population below age 18 has shrunk as a percentage of the total population in recent decades, but that trend appears to have stabilized, according to federal data. At the same time, the nation's youth population continues a slow decline as a proportion of the overall population.

In South Dakota in 2015, those under age 18 comprised 24.6 percent of the total population—the same as in 2012, compared to 28.5 percent in 1990 and 26.8 percent in 2000. The state's youth population slid from 24.9 percent in 2010 to 24.6 percent in 2012 before making a slight rebound and then falling back to 24.6 percent.

Nationwide, those under age 18 made up 22.9 percent of the total population in 2015, down from 23.1 percent in 2014 and from 25.7 percent in 2000.

The number of South Dakotans younger than 18 was nearly 13,000 more in 2015 than in 1990 — 211,324 compared to 198,462. At the same time, the number of adult South Dakotans grew by almost 150,000, from 497,542 to 647,145.

As a proportion of the state's population, South Dakota children ages 10 to 14 and 5 to 9 have dropped the most,  both decreasing 1.4 percent from 1990 to 2015. South Dakotans ages 0 to 4 went from 7.8 percent in 1990 to 7.1 percent in 2015, while those ages 15 to 19 went from 7.3 percent to 6.6 percent.

In 2000, the 15 to 19 age group had the largest share of the overall population, at 8.3 percent. By 2010, the 0 to 4 cohort had surpassed the teens, at 7.3 percent compared to 7.1 percent for the 15- to 19-year-olds. In 2012, the 5- to 9-year-olds rose to 7 percent to surpass the 15 to 19 group, which was at 6.9 percent that year.

By 2015, the 0 to 4 group—the smallest group in 2000—had become the largest group, at 7.1 percent. They were followed closely by the 5- to 9-year-olds at 7.0 percent, then by the 15 to 19 and 10 to 14 groups, both at 6.6 percent.

When looking at ages by single years, the ages 9 and 10 each had fewer people in 2015 than in 1990, and each age between 11 and 18 has fewer people than in 2000.


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