Population growth on Indian reservations appears to have slowed since some notable growth from 2000-2010.
Population growth on Indian reservations appears to have slowed since some notable growth from 2000-2010.
South Dakota Dashboard chart
Aug 6, 2015

SD's Indian Reservation Counties Show Modest Growth or Declines in Population

Most of South Dakota's nine American Indian reservations have grown only modestly in population or experienced population declines from 2013 to 2014, according to recently updated federal data.

All of Oglala Lakota County is part of the Pine Ridge Reservation, and that county has grown by fewer than 100 residents each year since 2010 and grew by 0.4 percent between 2013 and 2014. That county's population stood at 14,218 in 2014, up from 13,586 in 2000, according to the U.S. Census.

The Pine Ridge Reservation is home to the largest population of any of South Dakota's reservations, at 18,834 in 2010, the most recent year federal data is available for entire reservations. The Pine Ridge Reservation grew 21.3 percent between 2000 and 2010. Other counties that contain part of the Pine Ridge Reservation are Jackson County (up 1.3 percent from 2013 to 2014) and Bennett County (down 0.6 percent from 2013 to 2014).

While Oglala Lakota County's story has been one of slow but steady growth, other reservation counties have declined. Reservation counties that lost population between 2013 and 2014, according to the U.S. Census, include:

  • Corson County (Standing Rock Reservation) – Down 1.1 percent to 4,182.

  • Todd County (Rosebud Reservation)– Down 1.0 percent to 9,882.

  • Moody County (Flandreau-Santee Reservation) – Down 0.8 percent to 6,367.

  • Ziebach County (Cheyenne River Reservation) – Down 0.3 percent to 2,826.


At the same time, one reservation county – Buffalo County – is South Dakota's fourth-fastest growing county. The population increased 2.2 percent from 2013 to 2014 to 2,077. Buffalo County is home to much of the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation.

Other reservation counties that grew from 2013 to 2014 are listed below:

  • Dewey County (Cheyenne River Reservation) – Up 1 percent to 5,662.

  • Charles Mix County (Yankton Sioux Reservation) – Up 0.8 percent to 9,287.

  • Roberts County (Lake Traverse Reservation) – Up 0.7 percent to 10,374.


American Indians comprised 8.9 percent of South Dakota's population in 2014, and many live outside of reservations. Therefore, reservation populations do not necessarily reflect the status of the state's entire American Indian population. 


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