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SD's Disability Rate Just Below National Rate

South Dakota's disability rate has remained slightly below the national rate since 2013, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2016, the disability rate in South Dakota was 12.2%, or 0.6% less than the national disability rate of 12.8%.

From 2015-2016, the Rushmore State's disability rate increased slightly from 12.0% to 12.2%, ranking the state 19th in the nation. The total number of disabled residents in South Dakota increased from 100,775 to 103,296.

Disability rates across South Dakota’s metropolitan areas varied slightly 2015 to 2016. The only metro area to experience a decline in in its disability rate was Sioux Falls, which fell from 10.2% to 9.3%. The Sioux City metro area’s disability rate increased over the same period of time, from 11.6% to 12.6%. Rapid City’s rate also increased from 13.3% to 13.7%.

Fall River County and its principal city, Hot Springs, had the highest percentage of residents with disabilities at 22.9% and 24.0%, respectively. Sturgis ranked third-highest among South Dakota cities with a disability rate of 16.3%.

Both Hot Springs and Sturgis are home to Veterans Affairs hospitals. The South Dakota State Veterans Home is located in Hot Springs as well. These facilities attract many military veterans seeking healthcare and other services, which increases the number of disabled persons in the region relative to the rest of the state. As a result the Black Hills region's average disability rate of 14.6% was higher than the overall state rate of 12.2% from 2011-2015.

Using models of disability from the Institute of Medicine and the International Classification of Functioning, the American Community Survey identifies disability as serious difficulty in one or more of four basic areas of functioning: vision, hearing, ambulation, and cognition.

Here's how South Dakota cities and counties compared with each other from 2012-2016, the most recent period for which data is available. (Data from 27 of South Dakota's largest municipalities were measured.)

South Dakota Disability Rates (2012-2016)
       Cities Counties
  Top Three Bottom Three Top Three Bottom Three
  Tea 3.5   Hot Springs 24.0   Lincoln 7.0   Fall River 21.5
  Harrisburg 3.9   Redfield 21.0   Stanley 8.5   McPherson 17.8
  Hartford 8.3   Chamberlain 19.9   Harding 9.0   Perkins 17.4

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