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Poverty Rates Continue Downward Trend Statewide, Disparities Remain

Although still higher than pre-recession levels, poverty rates across South Dakota and the nation have declined slightly from 2015. According to the latest Census data, the national poverty rate in 2016 was 14.0%. The poverty rate in South Dakota was 13.3%.


Regionally, South Dakota had the highest poverty rate and also dropped three places nationally to No. 27 in 2016 from No. 24 in 2015. Minnesota had the lowest poverty rate in the region at 9.9% while Montana—which placed last in the region in 2015—moved up two places to No. 25 in the nation. A review of poverty in the states around South Dakota can be viewed below:

 State Rank Percentage
Minnesota 6  9.9
North Dakota 10 10.7
Wyoming 14 11.3
Nebraska 15 11.4
Iowa 17 11.8
Montana 25 13.3
South Dakota 27 13.3

Slightly fewer individuals with one or more disabilities lived in poverty in 2016, declining to 22.4% from 22.7% in 2015.  Poverty rates for South Dakotans with no disability declined from 12.5% to 12.0.

While college degree holders are still more than 50% less likely to live in poverty than those without a college degree, this educational group experienced an increase in poverty levels. In 2016, 4.8% of college degree holders lived in poverty, up from 3.3% in 2015. Meanwhile, 12.6% of individuals without a college degree lived in poverty in 2016, down from 13.1% in 2015.

Single women with children were more than twice as likely to live in poverty in 2016 than any other household group. Last year, 38.1% of single mothers lived in poverty, up significantly from 34.3% in 2015. By comparison, 17.1% of nonfamily households lived in poverty while 15.6% of single men with children lived below the poverty line.

Women were also more likely to live in poverty than men, at 14.9% in 2016 compared to 15.4% in 2015. The number of men who lived in poverty was 11.6%, down from 12.1% in 2015.

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