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South Dakota Ranks 41st in Nation for Racial Diversity

South Dakota is more racially diverse than ever. From 2010-2016, the state's population of color grew at nearly twice the national rate, and grew more than six times faster than did the non-Hispanic White population. South Dakota's population of color grew by 22.3% during those seven years while the United States population of color grew by only 12.3%. The state's non-Hispanic White population grew 3.4% while the nation's White population grew 0.3%.

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. In South Dakota, the largest racial and ethnic group was non-Hispanic Whites, making up 82.5% of the population in 2016, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Only 17.5% of the South Dakota population identified as a belonging to a minority racial or ethnic group; whereas nationally 38.3% of the population identified with a minority racial or ethnic group.

South Dakota ranks 41st among the 50 states for its population of color as a percent of the total population, compared to last-place Maine at 6.4% and first-place Hawaii at 77.9%. In addition to Hawaii, four other states have populations of color above 50% — California at 62.3%, New Mexico at 61.9 %, Texas at 57.4% and Nevada at 50.1%.

Regionally, South Dakota was more racially diverse than Wyoming, North Dakota, Iowa, and Montana. Nebraska was the most racially diverse state in the region with its population of color comprising 20.3% of the total population followed closely by Minnesota at 19.4%. The table below details the percent of each state’s population that identified as of persons of color.

State Percent Rank
Nebraska 20.4 36
Minnesota 19.4 38
South Dakota 17.5 41
Wyoming 15.9 42
North Dakota 15.0 44
Iowa 13.8 45
Montana 13.5 46

South Dakota's population of color, as a percentage of the total population, has increased by 5.5% since 2010, increasing from 12.2% to 17.5% over the period 2010-2016. Over the same time period, the total number of South Dakotans of color has increased by 51,274, from 814,180 to 865,454.

American Indians remain the state's largest racial minority group. According to 2016 ACS estimates, 77,711 persons identified as American Indian, comprising 9.0% of the total population. And between 2010 and 2016 the American Indian population in South Dakota increased by approximately 5,000.

Minority population growth, albeit modest, has occurred primarily in the Hispanic, Black and Asian populations. From 2010 to 2016, the Hispanic community increased from 2.7% to 3.7% of the total population, while Blacks grew from 1.3% to 2.0%  and Asians rose from 1.0% to 1.5% of South Dakota’s total population.Over the same time period, the share of Whites in the state’s population has decreased from 84.8% to 82.5%.

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