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South Dakota Population Grows Steadily, Remains 5th Least Populous State

South Dakota ‘s population growth has continued its steady pace according to the most recent population estimates from the US Census Bureau. As of 2018, the Census estimates that the population of South Dakota was 882,235, up approximately 1.4% from 869,666 in 2017. South Dakota was the 5th least populous state in the United States. Florida and Utah both saw their populations increase by 2.0% between 2017 and 2018, the highest positive rate of change nationally. West Virginia saw the largest decrease in population between 2017 and 2018 at -0.6%.

Metro and micropolitan areas were once again home for the plurality of South Dakota’s population. The states’ ten largest cities (according to 2018 estimates) had a combined population of 401,407, or 45.5% of the state’s total 2018 population. South Dakota’s three most populated counties were Minnehaha (192,876), Pennington (111,729), and Lincoln (58,807) – Minnehaha and Lincoln both contain parts of the Sioux Falls metro area, while Pennington County is the most populous county in the Rapid City metro area. In 2018, the Sioux Falls metro area had a population of 265,653, compared to the Rapid City metro area, which had a population of 148,749.

The total metropolitan population of South Dakota in 2018 was 430,021, compared to the micropolitan population of 233,202, and the non-metro population of 219,012. A metropolitan area contains a core urban area of 50,000 or more population. A micropolitan area contains an urban core of at least 10,000, but less than 50,000, population.

The Native America population also plays a large role in the demographics and culture of South Dakota. Of the nine Native American reservations in South Dakota, Pine Ridge was the largest, with a population of 19,779 in 2017, followed by the Lake Traverse (10,967) and Standing Rock (8,616) reservations. The smallest reservation in the state was the Flandreau reservation, which had a population of 442 in 2017.

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