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Race

South Dakota is more racially diverse than ever, but we lag far behind the nation for the proportion of our population that is of color.
 
 
In South Dakota, non-Hispanic whites remain the dominant majority race at 83 percent of the population in 2015, according to recently updated federal data.

At the same time, from 2010-2015, the state's population of color grew at twice the national rate and grew six times faster than did the white population.

South Dakota's population of color grew by 18.5 percent during those five years while the United States population of color grew 10.8 percent. The state's white population grew 3.1 percent while the nation's white population grew 0.3 percent.

South Dakota's population of color, as a percentage of the total population, has doubled since 1990, going from 8.5 percent to 17.1percent in 2015. The number of South Dakotans of color has also more than doubled, increasing from 58,823 in 1990 to 147,117 in 2015. South Dakota's total population in 2015 was 858,469.

American Indians remain the state's largest racial minority group, at 8.9 percent of the total population, but the state's total American Indian population has remained constant since 2012 at just above 75,000 and, since 2010, at 8.9 or 9 percent of the state’s total population.

Minority population growth, albeit modest, has occurred primarily in the Hispanic, Black and Asian populations. From 2010 to 2015, Hispanics increased their share from 2.7 percent to 3.6 percent of the total population, while Blacks grew from 1.3 percent to 1.8percent and Asians rose from 1 percent to 1.4percent of South Dakota’s total population.

At the same time, the white share of the state’s population has decreased from 84.8 percent to 82.9 percent.

While South Dakota has been gaining in racial diversity at a faster rate than the nation as a whole, the state remains well behind the nation for the proportion of the population that is of color. Nationally, that figure was 38.4 percent in 2015 compared to 17.1 percent in South Dakota.

South Dakota ranks 41st among the 50 states for its population of color, compared to last-place Maine at 6.4 percent and first-place Hawaii at 77.1 percent. In addition to Hawaii, three other states have populations of color above 50 percent — California at 62 percent, New Mexico at 61.6 percent and Texas at 57 percent.

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