While the U.S. Census Bureau pegs Rapid City's Native American population at 12.4 percent, or about 9,000 of the more than 72,000 Rapid City residents, a researcher at the Unversity of South Dakota's Government Research Bureau believes 26 percent is a better estimate based on multiple factors.
Professor Rich Braunstein told attendees of the South Dakota Demography Conference that he evaluated factors including the Census' own estimate of its undercount of the Native American population to people who report being of "multiple races" rather than only Native American to a transient population that travels to Rapid City from multiple reservations on any given day.
The image included in this post is the slide from Braunstein's presentation that breaks down his calculations. He estimates Rapid City's population at closer to 79,000 when undercounted populations are accounted for.
While the visitors from surrounding reservations might not be residents of Rapid City, Braunstein said he has information to indicate that many of those people maintain residences both on a reservation and in Rapid City. In addition, that population likely interacts with agencies and services within the city, including the Rapid City Police Department. Recently released data has shown that Native Americans are arrested and are victims of crime at rates much higher than the 12.4 percent Census population figure.
Braunstein's research into this issue will be made publicly available in November in a report commissioned by the Rapid City Police Department.
His keynote luncheon speech on Oct. 9 closed out the two-day demography conference, held at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology campus. The conference included a "Focus on the Economy" mini-conference the morning of Oct. 8 and featured presentations by experts on a variety of topics, including those listed below:
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapols - View From the Fed
- Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Health Board - Epidemiology
- South Dakota Kids Count
- U.S. Census Bureau - Guide to American Community Survey Data
- SDSU Extension/iGrow - Marketing Hometown America
- South Dakota Dashboard - Native Data & Guide to Dashboard Data
- SDSU Rural Life and Census Data Center - Census' New Business Builder Tool
- Augustana University - Comparing Economies in Rapid City & Sioux Falls
- City of Rapid City Community Development - Examining Prosperity
- Governor's Office of Economic Development - Wage Calculator
- Black Hills, Badlands & Lakes/Buffalo Chip/Reptile Gardens - Measuring Black Hills Tourism & Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
- Arts Rapid City - Patron Survey
Find links to many of the presentation slides from the conference on the South Dakota Dashboard.