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South Dakota Continues to Grow

For the first time, South Dakota’s rate of population growth exceeds the national average. From 2010-2016, the state’s population grew by 6.3 percent, while the average national growth was only 4.7 percent. This pattern is vastly different from past decades when the national average growth was around 10 or 15 percent. 

From 2015 to 2016, however, South Dakota’s population did not increase by much. As of 2016, the U.S. Census estimates that the population of South Dakota includes 865,454 people, up less than 1.0 percent from the population of 857,919 in 2015.

Within the state of South Dakota, the Sioux Falls metro area and the Brookings micropolitan area tied for the largest population growth at 1.5 percent in 2015. The Rapid City metro area experienced the second largest growth at 0.4 percent. The Watertown, Vermillion and Pierre micropolitan areas all experienced slight declines in population in 2015.

South Dakota ranked No. 14 in terms of annual growth in the nation, at 0.9 percent from 2015-2016. Nevada had the highest rate of population growth at 2.0 percent. West Virginia placed last with a slight decline of 0.5 percent during the same time period. 

Within the state, growth rates vary. The following are the top three fastest growing counties in the year 2014-2015, followed by the three who are shrinking the most quickly.


  • Lincoln County: +2.6%
  • Lake County: +2.4%
  • Campbell County: +1.6%
  • MelletteCounty: -2.4%
  • MinerCounty: -3.2%
  • Jones County: -4.2%


At the city level, smaller towns are growing the fastest. Here's the breakdown for the state's top 10 fastest growing cities.


  • 1 – Tea, 6.9%
  • 2 - Harrisburg, 6.0%
  • 3 – North Sioux City, 3.7%
  • 4 – Madison, 2.2%
  • 5 – Sioux Falls, 1.9%
  • 6 – Brookings, 1.6%
  • 7 - Hartford, 1.5%
  • 8 – Spearfish, 1.5%
  • 9 - Brandon, 0.9%
  • 10 – Aberdeen, 0.6%


In terms of raw numbers, Sioux Falls and Rapid City remain at the top with a combined total of 28.6 percent of the state’s population. As of 2015, Sioux Falls had 171,544 residents while Rapid City had an estimated 73,569.


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