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Poverty Rates in South Dakota Decline in 2015

Although still higher than pre-recession levels, poverty rates across South Dakota and the nation have declined slightly from 2014 to 13.7 percent and 14.7 percent respectively in 2015, according to recent federal data. 

South Dakota ranks 24th nationally and 6th in the region for poverty rates over the past two years. Regionally, Minnesota posted the lowest rate, 10.2 percent, while Montana had the highest, 14.6 percent. Across the United States, only two states (Nebraska and Mississippi) did not show a decrease in poverty rates from 2014. Nationally, New Hampshire posted the lowest rate, 8.2 percent, compared to No. 50 Mississippi with 22.0 percent.

In South Dakota, more individuals with one or more disabilities lived in poverty in 2015, up to 22.7 percent compared to 21.9 percent in 2014, while poverty rates for individuals with no disability declined from 13.1 percent to 12.5 percent.

South Dakotans without a college degree have nearly a four times greater risk of living in poverty compared to residents who have a four-year degree. In 2015, both groups experienced slight decreases in poverty rates: to 13.1 percent compared to 13.3 percent in 2014 for those without a degree and down to 3.1 percent from 3.3. percent in 2014 for college graduates.

Poverty rates by household type declined in 2015, with the largest decrease seen in households headed by single women with children. This household group peaked at 41.2 percent in 2013 and declined slightly to 39.3 percent in 2014. In 2015, 34.3 percent of single women with children lived in poverty, down five percent from 2014 and nearly six percent from 2013. 

Women were also more likely to live in poverty than men, at 15.4 percent compared to 12.5 percent in 2015. The poverty rate for women in South Dakota stayed the same in 2015 while the rate for South Dakotan men decreased by 0.9 percent. 

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