After four years of slow but steady growth in median income, South Dakotans who live outside a metropolitan or micropolitan area are closing the income gap with their city cousins, according to federal data recently updated through 2013.
While South Dakotans who live in metro areas still take home more bacon to the tune of $11,000 per year, those in metropolitan areas have seen median incomes stagnate and dip in recent years while their country cousins have chugged upwards. The gap between South Dakotans of non-metro and metro status has gone from $17,000 in 2008 to $10,000 in 2012, the smallest such gap since at least 1999.
It was a rural county -- Bon Homme County -- that saw the state's largest percentage increase in median income between 2012 and 2013. Bon Homme County was up 9.5 percent, from $41,827 to $45,803.
As non-metro incomes continued their steady growth, metro incomes resumed growth between 2012 and 2013, widening the gap to $11,000.
In 2013, South Dakotans living in metropolitan areas logged a median income of $54,781 compared to $43,650 for those in non-metropolitan areas and $48,638 for those living in micropolitan areas. The state as a whole showed a median income of $49,200 in 2013. (The median income for South Dakota's micropolitan areas has closely tracked the median income for the state as a whole since 1999. Both remain virtually unchanged when inflation is factored in.)
The Black Hills region has seen a similar stagnate trend, however the median income in the Black Hills has slipped in recent years, and now a gap exists between the region and the state as a whole. The median income in the Black Hills region has held at about $47,000 since at least 1999, keeping it virtually even with the overall state figure. But when the state's overall median income ticked up to nearly $50,000 in 2011, the Black Hills region remained at $47,000 and then dipped to $46,750 in 2013.
Among the state's nine micropolitan areas, the Pierre micropolitan area (Hughes, Stanley, and Sully counties) ranked No. 1 at $58,121. The Vermillion micropolitan area (Clay County) is last at $38,173.
Among South Dakota's 66 counties, Lincoln County in the Sioux Falls metro area maintained its No. 1 spot, with a median income of $78,567 in 2013. Buffalo County, on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation, stayed in last place with a median income of $21,572. Buffalo County also logged the largest percentage drop in median income, at 15.6 percent, down from $25,552.
The city of Harrisburg, in Lincoln County, claims the No. 1 spot for South Dakota's most populous 27 cities, with a median income of $72,404 in 2013. The city of Tea, also in Lincoln County, is at No. 2 with $71,975. All of the top five cities are in southeast South Dakota, and four are bedroom communities to the largest city of Sioux Falls, which ranks No. 7 with $51,672.
The state capital of Pierre is No. 6 at $55,063, while third-largest Aberdeen ranks No. 9 at $47,963 and second-largest Rapid City ranks No. 11 at $46,370.