White South Dakotans are almost twice as likely to be employed as are Native Americans.
White South Dakotans are almost twice as likely to be employed as are Native Americans.
South Dakota Dashboard chart
Feb 22, 2016

Whites Far Outpace People of Color in SD Workforce

White South Dakotans have substantially higher rates of employment than do their counterparts of color, with the gap being nearly double between Native American adults and whites, according to federal data

Between 2010 and 2014, an average of 79.8 percent of whites ages 16 to 64 had jobs, compared to 44.9 percent for Native Americans and 67.6 percent for other people of color. Overall during those years, an average of 76.1 percent of South Dakota adults were in the workforce. 

The federal government considers people to be “working” if they:

  1. did any work at all during the reference week as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession, worked on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers on a family farm or in a family business; or
  2. were “with a job but not at work,” that is, those who did not work during the reference week but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent due to illness, bad weather, industrial dispute, vacation or other personal reasons. 

Members of the military on active are not considered to be working, and those who volunteer only are not counted. 

Among South Dakota's nine American Indian reservations, the Lake Raverse reservation in northeast South Dakota recorded the most working adults while the Pine Ridge reservation in southern South Dakota recorded the least.

American Indian Reservations
  1. Lake Traverse -- 67.4 percent
  2. Yankton -- 63.1 percent
  3. Flandreau -- 59.2 percent
  4. Cheyenne River -- 53.6 percent
  5. Lower Brule -- 51.5 percent
  6. Crow Creek -- 50 percent
  7. Standing Rock -- 46.9 percent
  8. Rosebud -- 46.3 percent
  9. Pine Ridge -- 39.6 percent

On a county-by-county basis, rural areas where agriculture is a leading industry dominated the 10 counties with the most adults working, while counties home to American Indian reservations dominated the bottom 10. 

Top 10 South Dakota Counties
  1. Jones County -- 87 percent
  2. Stanley County -- 85.8 percent
  3. Lincoln County -- 84.2 percent
  4. Hyde County -- 82.8 percent
  5. McCook County -- 82.5 percent
  6. Codington County -- 82.4 percent
  7. Douglas County -- 81.8 percent
  8. Davison County -- 81.5 percent
  9. Miner County -- 81.5 percent
  10. Kingsbury County -- 81.4 percent
Bottom 10 South Dakota Counties 
  1. Oglala Lakota County -- 35.4 percent
  2. Corson County -- 46.6 percent
  3. Todd County -- 47.3 percent
  4. Ziebach County -- 52.9 percent
  5. Dewey County -- 53.8 percent
  6. Bennett County -- 54.3 percent
  7. Buffallo County -- 54.7 percent
  8. Bon Homme County -- 59.3 percent
  9. Mellette County -- 60.7 percent
  10. Jackson County -- 61 percent

Among the 11 metropolitan and micropolitan areas inside South Dakota's borders, the Watertown micropolitan area leads the pack while the Vermillion micropolitan area ranks the lowest. 

South Dakota Metropolitan and Micropolitan areas 
  1. Watertown micro area -- 82.4 percent
  2. Mitchell micro area -- 81.5 percent
  3. Pierre micro area -- 81.3 percent
  4. Sioux Falls metro area -- 80.9 percent
  5. Aberdeen micro area -- 80.9 percent
  6. Huron micro area -- 78.3 percent
  7. Rapid City metro area -- 75.1 percent
  8. Brookings micro area -- 75 percent
  9. Spearfish micro area -- 74.1 percent
  10. Yankton micro area -- 72.9 percent
  11. Vermillion micro area -- 65.2 percent

 Read more about South Dakota's workforce on the South Dakota Dashboard


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