Disability 65+

SD's Disability 65+ Rate Just Below National Rate

Disability rates have continued to decrease across South Dakota, placing the state 8th in the nation for individuals over the age of 65 with a disability. The disability rate for South Dakotans over 65 has gone from more than four percent below the national rate in 2008 to 2.8 percent below the national rate in 2015, according to recently updated data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

From 2014 to 2015 the state's disability rate for those older than 65 decreased by nearly two percent while the number of disabled residents decreased from 42,298 to 41,697.

South Dakota’s overall disability rate for individuals 65 years and over was 32.6 percent, the lowest the rate has been. No. 1 Connecticut’s 65+ disability rate is 31.0 percent while No. 50 West Virginia landed at 43.5 percent. The state 65+ disability rate is down from 35.5 percent in 2013 but up from 33.7 percent in 2008. This compares to the national rate, at 36.0 percent in 2014 and 38.1 percent in 2008.

Todd County and its principal city, Mission, continue to top the list for the highest percentage of residents aged 65 and over with disabilities, according to data combined for the years 2010-2014. Fall River County, whose principal city is Hot Springs, comes in 6th place. Sturgis ranks highest among South Dakota cities.

Both Hot Springs and Sturgis are home to Veterans Affairs hospitals, and Hot Springs also is home to the state veteran's home. Those facilities likely influence these figures, as they draw military veterans seeking healthcare and other services.

Here's how South Dakota cities and counties compare. (Data from 27 of South Dakota's largest municipalities were measured.)

South Dakota Disability 65+ Rates (by county, 2011-2015):

Top Three: 

  • Stanley County - 19.8%
  • Lake County - 28.1%
  • Lincoln County - 28.4%

Bottom Three:  

  • Haakon County - 49.5%
  • Oglala Lakota County - 49.5%
  • Todd County - 68.1%


South Dakota Disability 65+ Rates (by city, 2011-2015):

Top Three: 

  • Canton - 23.9%
  • Milbank - 24.7%
  • Hartford - 29.9%

Bottom Three: 

  • Spearfish - 45.1%
  • Mitchel - 46.1%
  • Hot Springs 55.5%

Disability 65+ rates held steady in the state’s metropolitan areas, with the exception of Rapid City, which experienced a decrease from 34.3 percent in 2014 to 32.4 percent in 2015. In 2015, the 65+ disability rate fell to 30.4 percent from 30.9 percent reported in 2014. The Sioux City metropolitan area increased slightly from 34.6 percent in 2014 to 34.8 percent in 2015.

Using models of disability from the Institute of Medicine and the International Classification of Functioning, the American Community Survey identifies disability as serious difficulty in one or more of four basic areas of functioning: vision, hearing, ambulation, and cognition.

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