Although still higher than pre-recession levels, poverty rates across South Dakota and the nation declined slightly in 2015 to 13.7 percent and 14.7 percent respectively, according to recent federal data.
Overall poverty rates by household type were on the decline in 2015. The largest decrease was seen in single women with children, which was down five percent from 2014. A recent peak in poverty rates for this household group was seen in 2013 at 41.2 percent. Rates declined slightly to 39.3 percent in 2014, and continued to drop in 2015 to 34.3 percent. While fewer single mothers were living below the poverty level than in recent years, they were still the most challenged household group, with 15.2 percent more single mothers living in poverty than single fathers.
The only demographic group to see an increase in poverty rates was individuals with one or more disabilities. In 2015, 22.7 percent of individuals with disabilities in South Dakota lived under the federal poverty level, up from 21.9 percent in 2014. Poverty rates for individuals with no disability declined slightly to 12.5 from 13.1 percent in 2014.
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.
South Dakotans without a college degree have nearly a four times greater risk of living in poverty than South Dakotans with a college degree. Poverty rates for people without a college degree dropped marginally in 2015 to 13.1 percent compared to 13.3 percent in 2014. Poverty rates of South Dakotans with a college degree also declined slightly in 2015 to 3.1 percent, down from 3.3. percent in 2014.