South Dakota's young adults and senior citizens posted the lowest median incomes.
South Dakota's young adults and senior citizens posted the lowest median incomes.
South Dakota Dashboard chart
Dec 3, 2015

For Median Income, SD Next To Last In Region

In 2014, South Dakotans' median income rose to its highest rate in a decade, $50,979, but that still reflects a stagnant income for South Dakotans and leaves the Rushmore State next to last among its neighbors, according to recently updated federal data. 

South Dakota ranks ahead of Montana, which posted a median income of $46,328, but is more than $10,000 less than Minnesota, at $61,481. Minnesota ranks 10th nationally, behind No. 1 Maryland at $73,971. Here's a look at South Dakota and its neighboring states: 

State Median Income in 2014 National Rank
Minnesota $61,481 10
North Dakota $59,029 15
Wyoming  $57,055 18 
Iowa  $53,712 21 
Nebraska  $52,686 24
South Dakota $50,979 29
Montana  $46,328 41

And while South Dakota's $50,979 is the state's recent high point for median income, it isn't by much. Since 2006, South Dakota's median income -- in inflation-adjusted 2014 dollars -- has stayed close to the $50,000 mark, with a low of $49,582 in 2007 and a second-highest of $50,856 in 2011. That compares to $50,128 in 1999 (in dollars adjusted for inflation).

As the nationwide median income has fallen since the Great Recession in 2008-2009, South Dakotans' incomes are closer to the national median but still below the $53,657 figure from 2014. That national income figure compares to $57,936 in 2007 and to $59,664 in 1999 (inflation-adjusted to 2014 dollars). 

South Dakota households headed by young adults and senior citizens have consistently posted the lowest median incomes, while those ages 45-64 have posted the highest.

Here's a look at South Dakota's median incomes by the age of head of household in 2014:

  • 24 & younger -- $28,502
  • 65 & older -- $$35,240
  • 25-44 -- $57,732
  • 45-64 -- $61,945 

Only senior citizens posted measurably better incomes in 2014 than in 1999, when their median income was $33,792 in inflation adjusted dollars. For the other age groups, the 2014 figure was less than $1,000 more than in 1999, with those 24 and younger posting lower incomes in 2014 than in 1999. (All figures are inflation-adjusted to 2014 dollars.)

Median incomes vary widely in South Dakota depending on household type. Married couples with children posted incomes more than three times higher than households with children headed by single women -- $81,458 versus $25,159. Married couples without children took in median incomes of $71,708 compared to households with children headed by single men, $37,047. 

Geography affects median incomes in South Dakota, too. The Sioux Falls metropolitan area has consistently posted higher median incomes than the Rapid City metro area and the state as a whole. And since 2012, incomes have been growing faster in the Sioux Falls metro area than elsewhere. 

In 2014, the Sioux Falls metro area -- Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha and Turner counties -- had a median income of $58,849, up about $5,000 from 2012 but still below the recent high in 2008 of $62,545. That compares to $49,808 in 2014 for the Rapid City metro area -- Custer, Meade and Pennington counties -- where incomes have been sliding since 2011 from $53,007. 


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