The number of South Dakota residents over the age of 65 continues to increase, according to U.S. Census data. There were 134,420 seniors over the age of 65 in the Rushmore State in 2015, up from just 118,472 in 2011. Additionally, the population of seniors aged 85 and above increased from 19,766 in 2011 to 21,368 in 2015.
Potter County had the highest percentage of seniors at 28.8 percent, while Oglala Lakota County had the lowest at 6.8 percent. Minnehaha County had the most senior residents in the state with a population of 23,258. Buffalo County had the fewest residents aged 65 and older with a total population of just 161.
The Black Hills region has seen a substantial increase in the senior population since 2000. In 2015, 16.4 percent of the Rapid City metro area’s population was aged 65 or older, up from 14.6 percent in 2012, and 11.5 percent in 2000. The Spearfish micropolitan area’s senior population was 19.2 percent in 2015, up 4.6 percent from 2000. By comparison, the Sioux Falls metropolitan area has only experienced a 1.0 percent increase from 11.6 percent in 2000 to 12.6 percent in 2015.
The median household incomes of individual aged 65 and above also increased in 2015 to $37,896 from $35,285 in 2014. However, income gaps persisted. Men 65 years and older had a median household income of $52,200 in 2015, while women had an average of $27,400 during the same time period.
Poverty rates also declined for South Dakota seniors. In 2015, just 6.5 percent of seniors aged 65-74 lived below the federal poverty level compared to 8.9 percent in 2014. The poverty rate for seniors over the age of 75 also decreased in 2015 to 10.6 percent in 2015 from 12.7 percent in 2014.