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South Dakota

South Dakota

State of South Dakota

ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: The state was formerly the southern part of Dakota Territory; dakota is a Sioux word meaning "friend" or "ally."

NICKNAME: Mount Rushmore State; the Coyote State.

CAPITAL: Pierre.

ENTERED UNION: November 2, 1889 (40th).

SONG: "Hail, South Dakota."

MOTTO: Under God the People Rule.

COAT OF ARMS: Beneath the state motto, the Missouri River winds between hills and plains; symbols representing mining (a smelting furnace and hills), commerce (a steamboat), and agriculture (a man plowing, cattle, and a field of corn) complete the scene.

FLAG: The state seal, centered on a light-blue field and encircled by a serrated sun, is surrounded by the words "South Dakota" above and "The Mount Rushmore State" below.

OFFICIAL SEAL: The words "State of South Dakota. Great Seal. 1889" encircle the arms.

BIRD: Chinese ring-necked pheasant.

FISH: Walleye.

FLOWER: American Pasque (also called the May Day flower).

TREE: Black Hills spruce.

GEM: Fairburn agate.

LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Presidents' Day, 3rd Monday in February; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Native Americans' Day, 2nd Monday in October; Veterans' Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; Christmas Day, 25 December.

TIME: 6 AM CST = noon GM; 5 AM MST = noon GMT.


Situated in the western north-central United States, South Dakota ranks 16th in size among the 50 states.

The state has a total area of 77,121 sq mi (199,730 sq km), comprising 75,896 sq mi (196,715 sq km) of land and 1,164 sq mi (3,015 sq km) of inland water. Shaped roughly like a rectangle with irregular borders on the e and se, South Dakota extends about 380 mi (610 km) e-w and has a maximum n-s extension of 245 mi (394 km).

South Dakota is bordered on the n by North Dakota; on the e by Minnesota and Iowa (with the line in the ne passing through the Bois de Sioux River, Lake Traverse, and Big Stone Lake, and in the se through the Big Sioux River); on the s by Nebraska (with part of the line formed by the Missouri River and Lewis and Clark Lake); and on the w by Wyoming and Montana.

The total boundary length of South Dakota is 1,316 mi (2,118 km). The state's geographic center is in Hughes County, 8 mi (13 km) ne of Pierre. The geographic center of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, is at 44°58n, 103°46w, in Butte County, 17 mi (27 km) w of Castle Rock.


The eastern two-fifths of South Dakota is prairie, belonging to the Central Lowlands. The western three-fifths falls within the Missouri Plateau, part of the Great Plains region; the High Plains extend into the southern fringes of the state. The Black Hills, an extension of the Rocky Mountains, occupy the southern half of the state's western border; the mountains, which tower about 4,000 ft (1,200 m) over the neighboring plains, include Harney Peak, at 7,242 ft (2,209 m) the highest point in the state. East of the southern Black Hills are the Badlands, a barren, eroded region with extensive fossil deposits. The mean elevation of the state is approximately 2,200 ft (671 m).

South Dakota's lowest elevation, 966 ft (295 m), is at Big Stone Lake, in the northeastern corner. Flowing south and southeast, the Missouri River cuts a huge swath through the heart of South Dakota before forming part of the southeastern boundary. Tributaries of the Missouri include the Grand, Cheyenne, Bad, Moreau, and White rivers in the west and the James, Vermillion, and Big Sioux in the east. The Missouri River itself is controlled by four massive dams, Gavins Point, Ft. Randall, Big Bend, and Oahe, which provide water for irrigation, flood control, and hydroelectric power. Major lakes in the state include Traverse, Big Stone, Lewis and Clark, Francis Case, and Oahe.


South Dakota has an interior continental climate, with hot summers, extremely cold winters, high winds, and periodic droughts. The normal January temperature is 12°f (11°c); the normal July temperature, 74°f (23°c). The record low temperature is 58°f (50°c), set at McIntosh on 17 February 1936; the record high, 120°f (49°c), at Gannvalley on 5 July 1936.

Normal annual precipitation averages about 25 in (63 cm) in Sioux Falls in the southeast, decreasing to less than 13 in (33 cm) in the northwest. Sioux Falls receives an average of 39.6 in (100 cm) of snow per year.


Oak, maple, beech, birch, hickory, and willow are all represented in South Dakota's forests while thickets of chokecherry, wild plum, gooseberry, and currant are found in the eastern part of the state. Pasqueflower (Anemone ludoviciana) is the state flower; other wild flowers are beardtongue, bluebell, and monkshood. No South Dakota plant species were listed as threatened or endangered as of April 2006.

Familiar native mammals are the coyote (the state animal), porcupine, raccoon, bobcat, buffalo, white-tailed and mule deer, white-tailed jackrabbit, and black-tailed prairie dog. Nearly 300 species of birds have been identified; the sage grouse, bobwhite quail, and ring-necked pheasant are leading game birds. Trout, catfish, pike, bass, and perch are fished for sport.

Nearly 50% of the North American population of Franklin's gull have stopped at the site of the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refugee, which is also considered to be the world's largest nesting site for this bird. The site also serves as a nesting area for nearly 50% of the continental duck population.

In April 2006, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed nine South Dakota animal species (vertebrates and invertebrates) as threatened or endangered, including the American burying beetle, whooping crane, Eskimo curlew, black-footed ferret, Topeka shiner, pallid sturgeon, least tern, and bald eagle.


The mission of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the primary environmental agency in South Dakota, is to provide environmental services in a customer-oriented manner that promotes economic development; conserves natural resources; helps municipalities, industry, and citizens comply with regulations; and protects public health and the environment.

There are about 1.8 million acres (728,434 hectares) of wetlands in the state, accounting for about 3.6% of the land area. The Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge, a freshwater cattail marsh, was designated as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in 1998.

In 2003, 10.3 million pounds of toxic chemicals were released in the state. In 2003, South Dakota had 39 hazardous waste sites listed in the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) database, two of which, Ellsworth Air Force Base and Gilt Edge Mine, were on the National Priorities List as of 2006. In 2005, the EPA spent over $3 million through the Superfund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. The same year, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $8.2 million for the drinking water state revolving fund and $5 million for the clean water revolving fund.


South Dakota ranked 46th in population in the United States with an estimated total of 775,933 in 2005, an increase of 2.8% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, South Dakota's population grew from 696,004 to 754,844, an increase of 8.5%. The population is projected to reach 796,954 by 2015 and 801,845 by 2025.

In 2004, the median age for South Dakotans was 37. In the same year, more than 24.8% of the populace was under the age of 18 while 14.2% was age 65 or older. The population density in 2004 was 10.2 persons per sq mi, making it the fifth most sparsely populated state in the nation.

Sioux Falls proper had an estimated 2004 population of 136,695. The Sioux Falls metropolitan area had an estimated population of 203,324. The Rapid City metropolitan area had an estimated 117,487 residents.


According to the 2000 census, South Dakota's population included some 62,283 American Indians, or 8.3% of the total state populationthe third-highest percentage among the 50 states. Many lived on the 5,099,000 acres (2,063,500 hectares) of Indian lands in 1982, but Rapid City also had a large Indian population. Among the state's largest reservations, with their populations as of 2000, are the Pine Ridge (15,521), Rosebud (10,469), and Cheyenne River (8,470) reservations. In 2004, 8.6% of the state's population was American Indian.

As of 2000, the black population was 4,685, up from 3,000 recorded in the 1990 census. The black population accounted for 0.8% of the state's total population in 2004. The estimated number of Asian residents was 4,378. In 2004, 0.7% of the population was Asian. Pacific Islanders numbered 261 in 2000. Of the South Dakotans who reported at least one specific ancestry in the 2000 census, 307,309 listed German, 115,292 Norwegian, 78,481 Irish, 53,2141 English, and 35,655 Dutch. In the same year, 13,495 South Dakotans1.8% of the populationwere foreign born, up from 7,731 in 1990. In 2000, the number of Hispanics and Latinos was 10,903, or 1.4% of the population. In 2004, 2% of the state's population was of Hispanic or Latino origin, and 1.2% reported origin of two or more races.


Despite hints given by such place-names as Dakota, Oahe, and Akaska, English has borrowed little from the language of the Sioux still living in South Dakota. Tepee is such a loanword, and tado (jerky) is heard near Pine Ridge. South Dakota English is transitional between the Northern and Midland dialects. Diffusion throughout the state is apparent, but many terms contrast along a curving line from the southeast to the northwest corner.

In 2000, 658,245 South Dakotans93.5% of the resident population five years of age or olderspoke only English at home.

The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "Other Native North American languages" includes Apache, Cherokee, Choctaw, Dakota, Keres, Pima, and Yupik. The category "Other Slavic languages" includes Czech, Slovak, and Ukrainian. The category "African languages" includes Amharic, Ibo, Twi, Yoruba, Bantu, Swahili, and Somali. The category "Scandinavian languages" includes Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish.

Population 5 years and over 703,820 100.0
  Speak only English 658,245 93.5
  Speak a language other than English 45,575 6.5
Speak a language other than English 45,575 6.5
  German 13,422 1.9
  Other Native North American languages 11,246 1.6
  Spanish or Spanish Creole 10,052 1.4
  French (incl. Patois, Cajun) 1,256 0.2
  Other Slavic languages 1,055 0.1
  African languages 1,042 0.1
  Standinavian languages 1,024 0.1
  Serbo-Croatian 573 0.1
  Chinese 569 0.1
  Vietnamese 553 0.1
  Tagalog 457 0.1
  Russian 411 0.1
  Arabic 384 0.1


The largest single denomination in the state is the Roman Catholic Church, which had 154,772 adherents, in 2004. According to 2000 data, leading Protestant denominations were the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, with 121,871 adherents; the United Methodist Church, 37,280; and the Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod, 31,524. The Jewish population was estimated at 350 adherents. A few religious groups, though still relatively small in numbers, reported significant growth in membership since 1990. The Salvation Army grew from 732 members in 1990 to 2,804 in 2000, a difference of 283%. Likewise, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel grew from 466 adherents in 1990 to 1,518 in 2000, a difference of 225%. In the 2000 survey, about 242,950 people (32.3% of the population) were not counted as members of any religious organization. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported a membership of about 8,957 adherents in 32 congregations in 2006.


In 2003, a total of 1,940 mi (3,123 km) of railroad track was operated in South Dakota by nine railroads. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and Soo Line were the state's two Class I rail-roads, operating a combined total of 937 mi (1,508 km) of track that same year. The remaining track was operated by nine other regional, local, or switching and terminal railroads. Freight was primarily coal and petroleum gas (terminating), and agricultural products (originating). As of 2006, there was no Amtrak passenger service in the state.

Public highways, streets, and roads covered 83,574 mi (134,554 km) in 2004 when the state had some 863,000 registered motor vehicles and 563,298 licensed drivers. In 2005, South Dakota had a total of 193 public and private-use aviation-related facilities. This included 159 airports, 33 heliports and one seaplane base. Joe Foss Field at Sioux Falls is the state's most active airport, with 333,338 passenger enplanements in 2004. South Dakota had 75 mi (120 km) of navigable inland waterways.


People have lived in what is now South Dakota for at least 25,000 years. The original inhabitants, who hunted in the northern Great Plains until about 5000 bc, were the first of a succession of nomadic groups, followed by a society of semisedentary mound builders. After them came the prehistoric forebears of the modern riverine groupsMandan, Hidatsa, and Arikarawho were found gathering, hunting, farming, and fishing along the upper Missouri River by the first European immigrants. These groups faced no challenge until the Sioux, driven from the Minnesota woodlands, began to move westward during the second quarter of the 18th century, expelling all other Native American groups form South Dakota by the mid-1830s.

Significant European penetration of South Dakota followed the Lewis and Clark expedition of 180406. White men came to assert US sovereignty, to negotiate Indian treaties, to "save Indian souls," and to traffic in hides and furs. Among the most important early merchants were Manuel Lisa, who pressed up the Missouri from St. Louis, and Pierre Chouteau Jr., whose offices in St. Louis dominated trade on both the upper Mississippi and upper Missouri rivers from 1825 until his death in 1865, by which time all major sources of hides and furs were exhausted, negotiations for Indian land titles were in progress, and surveyors were preparing ceded territories for non-Indian settlers.

The Dakota Territory, which included much of present-day Wyoming and Montana as well as North and south Dakota, was established in 1861, with headquarters first at Yankton (186183) and later at Bismarck (188389). The territory was reduced to just the Dakotas in 1868; six years later, a gold rush brought thousands of prospectors and settlers to the Black Hills. South Dakota emerged as a state in 1889, with the capital in Pierre. Included within the state were nine Indian reservations, established, after protracted negotiations and three wars with the Sioux, by Indian Office personnel. Five reservations were established west of the Missouri for the Teton and Yanktonai Sioux, and four reserves east of the Missouri for the Yankton and several Isanti Sioux tribes. Sovereignty was thus divided among Indian agents, state officials, and tribal leaders, a division that did not always make for efficient government. Through the late 19th and early 20th centuries, South Dakotans had limited economic opportunities, for they depended mainly on agriculture. Some 30,000 Sioux barely survived on farming and livestock production, supplemented by irregular government jobs and off-reservation employment. The 500,000 non-Indians lived mainly off cattle-feeding enterprises and small grain sales east of the Missouri, mineral production (especially gold) in the Black Hills, and various service industries at urban centers throughout South Dakota.

The period after World War I saw extensive road building, the establishment of a tourist industry, and efforts to subdue and harness the waters of the Missouri. Like other Americans, South Dakotans were helped through the drought and depression of the 1930s by federal aid. Non-Indians were assisted by food relief, various work-relief programs, and crop-marketing plans, while Indians enjoyed an array of federal programs often called the "Indian New Deal." The economic revival brought about by World War II persisted into the postwar era. Rural whites benefited from the mechanization of agriculture, dam construction along the Missouri, rural electrification, and arid-land reclamation. Federal programs were organized for reservation Indians, relocating them in urban centers where industrial jobs were available, establishing light industries in areas already heavily populated by Indians, and improving education and occupational opportunities on reservations.

Meanwhile, the Sioux continued to bring their historic grievances to public attention. For 70 days in 1973, some 200 armed Indians occupied Wounded Knee, on the Pine Ridge Reservation, where hundreds of Sioux had been killed by US cavalry 83 years earlier. In 1980, reviewing one of several land claims brought by the Sioux, the US Supreme Court upheld compensation of $105 million for land in the Black Hills taken from the Indians by the federal government in 1877. But members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) opposed this settlement and demanded the return of the Black Hills to the Sioux. The economic plight of South Dakota's Indians worsened during the 1980s after the federal government reduced job training programs, and conditions on reservations remained bad in the 1990s, with unemployment in some cases as high as 70%. By 2005, unemployment on the Pine Ridge Reservation, the nation's second-largest, hovered at 80%; life ex- pectancy for men was 48, and 52 for women. The alcoholism rate is the highest in the nation.

In sharp contrast, the state economy as a whole showed strength under the direction of Republican Governor William Janklow, elected in 1978 and reelected in 1982 and, after an eight-year hiatus, in 1994. Janklow, noted for his strong opposition to Indian claims, developed the state's water resources, revived railroad transportation, and attracted new industry to South Dakota, including Citicorp, the largest bank-holding company in the United States, which set up a credit-card operation in Sioux Falls and bought controlling interest in the American State Bank of Rapid City. In the 1990s, farm income had risen; record corn and soybean yields were reported in 1994, in spite of major flooding the year before that resulted in parts of the state being declared disaster areas. Manufacturing also prospered, expanding by up to 10% each year in the early 1990s. Legalized casino gambling has become an important source of government revenue since it was authorized in 1989.

Although the state had budget problems in the early 2000s, they were not as severe as other states. Republican Governor Mike Rounds, elected in 2002, asked legislators in 2003 to increase state aid to schools by $15 million and to create a prescription drug program. He planned a full-scale review of the state department of education. By 2004, Rounds had passed a balanced state budget; reduced the structural deficit from $28 to $20 million; increased state aid for local public schools and public universities; created the Homestake Underground Laboratory project; and created a program to give sales tax on food relief to individuals within 150% of the poverty level.

In the early 2000s South Dakota was experiencing severe drought conditions; damaging drought conditions have ruined crops, kept grass from growing, and led ranchers to sell off their cattle. The Great Plains states by 2005 were projected to face wide-spread drought in the coming decades.


South Dakota is governed by the constitution of 1889, which had been amended 212 times by January 2005. The legislature consists of a 35-seat Senate and 70-seat House of Representatives; all members serve two-year terms. Convening every January, regular sessions are limited to 40 legislative days in odd-numbered years and 35 legislative days in even-numbered years. To run for the legislature, a person must be at least 21 years old, a US citizen, a qualified voter in their district, and must have resided in the state for at least two years prior to election. As of 2004 the legislative salary was $12,000 for two years.

Executives elected statewide are the governor and lieutenant governor (elected jointly), secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, the commissioner for school and public lands, who are all elected for four-year terms. (Voters also elect three public utility commissioners who serve six-year terms.) A candidate for governor must be a US citizen, at least 18 years old, and have been a resident of the state for at least two years. The governor is limited to serving two consecutive terms. As of December 2004, the governor's salary was $103,222.

A bill passed by the legislature becomes law if signed by the governor, if left unsigned by the governor for five days (including Sundays) while the legislature is in session (15 days, including Sundays, if has adjourned), or if passed over the governor's veto by two-thirds of the elected members of each house. Constitutional amendments may be proposed by the legislature with a majority vote in both houses. If the amendment is approved by a majority of voters during general elections, it becomes part of the constitution. Amendments may also be proposed by initiative (by petition of 10% of total votes for governor at last election).

Voters must be US citizens, at least 18 years old, and state residents. Restrictions apply to convicted felons and those declared mentally incompetent by the court.


For the most part, South Dakota has voted Republican in presidential elections, even when native-son George McGovern was the Democratic candidate in 1972. Conservatism runs strong at the local level, although between the two world wars, populist groups gained a broad agrarian following. South Dakotans chose George Bush in 1988 and again in 1992, and in 1996 they gave Republican Bob Dole 46% of the vote. In 2000 and 2004, Republican George W. Bush received 60% of the vote to Democrat Al Gore's 38% (2000) and Democrat John Kerry's 38% (2004). In 2004 there were 502,000 registered voters. In 1998, 40% were Democratic, 48% Republican, and 12% unaffiliated or members of other parties. The state had three electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election.

In 1994 voters elected Republican William Janklow to the governor's office; Janklow had earlier served in that capacity for two terms, 197983 and 198387. He was reelected in 1998. Republican Mike Rounds was elected governor in 2002 (Janklow had reached his term limit). Janklow was elected South Dakota's US Representative in 2002, but was convicted of second-degree manslaughter for his involvement in a fatal accident with a motorcyclist. In 2004, Democrat Stephanie Herseth won election to represent the state in the US House of Representatives.

Democrat Thomas Daschle won a third term in the Senate in 1998, but was narrowly defeated in his bid for a fourth term by Republican John Thune in 2004. In 1996, South Dakota's US representative,

South Dakota Presidential Vote by Major Political Parties, 19482004
*Won US presidential election.
**IND. candidate Ross Perot received 73,295 votes in 1992 and 31,250 votes in 1996.
1948 4 Dewey (R) 117,653 129,651
1952 4 *Eisenhower (R) 90,426 203,857
1956 4 *Eisenhower (R) 122,288 171,569
1960 4 Nixon (R) 128,070 178,417
1964 4 *Johnson (D) 163,010 130,108
1968 4 *Nixon (R) 118,023 149,841
1972 4 *Nixon (R) 139,945 166,476
1976 4 Ford (R) 147,068 151,505
1980 4 *Reagan (R) 103,855 198,343
1984 3 *Reagan (R) 116,113 200,267
1988 3 *Bush (R) 145,560 165,415
1992** 3 Bush (R) 124,888 136,718
1996** 3 Dole (R) 139,333 150,543
2000 3 *Bush, G. W. (R) 118,804 190,700
2004 3 *Bush, G. W. (R) 149,244 232,584

Democrat Tim Johnson, won the US Senate seat of Larry Pressler, who was seeking a fourth term; Johnson won re-election in 2002. There were 25 Republicans and 10 Democrats in the state Senate, and 46 Republicans and 19 Democrats in the state House in mid-2005.


As of 2005, South Dakota had 66 counties, 308 municipal governments, 176 public school districts, and 376 special districts, most of them concerned with agricultural issues such as soil conservation. Typical county officials include a treasurer, auditor, state's attorney, sheriff, register of deeds, and clerk of courts. In 2002, there were 940 townships.

In 2005, local government accounted for about 30,149 full-time (or equivalent) employment positions.


To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in South Dakota operates under the authority of the governor; a homeland security director is appointed to oversee the state's homeland security activities.

The Department of Education oversees all elementary, secondary, and vocational education programs. The Board of Regents oversees the higher education system.

The Department of Social Services administers a variety of welfare programs, the Department of Labor aids the unemployed and underemployed, and the Department of Human Services serves disabled South Dakotans. Special agencies within the executive branch include the Office of Tribal Government Relations, the Office of Economic Development, and the State Energy Office.


South Dakota has a supreme court with five justices, and eight circuit courts with 167 judges. All are elected on a nonpartisan ballot with staggered eight-year terms.

As of 31 December 2004, a total of 3,095 prisoners were held in South Dakota's state and federal prisons, an increase from 3,026 of 2.3% from the previous year. As of year-end 2004, a total of 292 inmates were female, up from 269 or 8.6% from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), South Dakota had an incarceration rate of 399 per 100,000 population in 2004.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, South Dakota in 2004, had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 171.5 reported incidents per 100,000 population, or a total of 1,322 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 14,905 reported incidents or 1,933.5 reported incidents per 100,000 people. Although South Dakota has a death penalty, in which lethal injection is the sole method of execution, the state has not carried out an execution since 1930, when only one inmate was executed. As of 1 January 2006, South Dakota had four inmates on death row.

In 2003, South Dakota spent $19,976,389 on homeland security, an average of $25 per state resident.


In 2004, there were 3,698 active duty military personnel and 1,161 civilian personnel stationed in South Dakota, almost all of whom were at Ellsworth Air Force Base, near Rapid City, the state's only defense installation. South Dakota firms received more than $236 million in federal defense contracts in 2004. Defense Department payroll outlays totaled $396 million.

In 2003, 73,400 veterans were living in the state, including 9,765 from World War II; 9,865 from the Korean conflict; 21,938 from the Vietnam era; and 11,678 from the Persian Gulf War. In 2004, the Veterans Administration expended more than $299 million in pensions, medical assistance, and other major veterans' benefits.

As of 31 October 2004, the South Dakota Highway Patrol employed 150 full-time sworn officers.


Since the 1930s, more people have left South Dakota than have settled in the state. Between 1940 and 1990, the net loss from migration amounted to almost 340,000. In 1980, the urban population stood at 46.4%, but had grown to equal the rural population (at 50%) by 1990. Between 1990 and 1998, South Dakota had net gains of 6,000 in domestic migration and 4,000 in international migration. In 1998, the state admitted 356 foreign immigrants. Between 1990 and 1998, the state's overall population increased 6.1%. In the period 200005, net international migration was 3,957 and net internal migration was 735, for a net gain of 3,222 people.


South Dakota participates in the Belle Fourche River Compact (with Wyoming), the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact, and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, among other organizations; there are, in addition, boundary compacts with Minnesota and Nebraska. In fiscal year 2005, South Dakota received $1.010 billion in federal grants, an estimated $1.101 billion in fiscal year 2006, and an estimated $1.097 billion in fiscal year 2007.


Agriculture has traditionally dominated South Dakota's economy. Grains and livestock have been the main farm products, and processed foods and farm equipment the leading manufactured items. However, since 1970, forty four of South Dakota's 67 counties have lost population, and for five these counties, the rate of depopulation accelerated during the 1990s. The prolonged drought affecting many western states helped to reduce the state's corn production by 10% and soybean production 6% in 2002, disrupted cattle production, and worsened the winter of 20022003. The historically important mining sector was contributing less than 1% of total state product in 2001. South Dakota's tax free environment was designed in part to attract high-technology, financial, and manufacturing investments during the 1990s. Manufacturing output grew at a substantial 16.9% from 1997 to 2000, but then plummeted 10% in the recession year of 2001, reducing manufacturing's share of gross state product from about 13% to 11.3%. The strongest growth in output has been in various services sectors. Coming into the 21st century (1997 to 2001), output from fi-nancial services increased 42.6%, while government services rose 29.4%, general services by 28.7% and wholesale and retail trade by 21.4%.

In 2004, South Dakota's gross state product (GSP) was $29.386 billion, of which manufacturing (durable and nondurable goods) accounted for the largest share at $3.181 billion or 10.8% of GSP, followed by health care and social assistance at $2.501 billion (8.5% of GSP), and the real estate sector at $2.237 billion (7.6% of GSP). In that same year, there were an estimated 72,949 small businesses in South Dakota. Of the 23,713 businesses that had employees, an estimated total of 22,958 or 96.8% were small companies. An estimated 1,691 new businesses were established in the state in 2004, up 26.4% from the year before. Business terminations that same year came to 2,251, up 18.5% from 2003. There were 108 business bankruptcies in 2004, down 1.8% from the previous year. In 2005, the state's personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate was 360 filings per 100,000 people, ranking South Dakota 43rd in the nation.


In 2005 South Dakota had a gross state product (GSP) of $31 billion which accounted for 0.3% of the nation's gross domestic product and placed the state at number 47 in highest GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 South Dakota had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $30,209. This ranked 32nd in the United States and was 91% of the national average of $33,050. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 4.5%. South Dakota had a total personal income (TPI) of $23,279,500,000, which ranked 47th in the United States and reflected an increase of 4.6% from 2003. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 5.1%. Earnings of persons employed in South Dakota increased from $16,303,502,000 in 2003 to $17,156,459,000 in 2004, an increase of 5.2%. The 200304 national change was 6.3%.

The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 200204 in 2004 dollars was $40,518 compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 12.5% of the population was below the poverty line as compared to 12.4% nationwide.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006 the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in South Dakota 432,500, with approximately 13,000 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 3%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 398,700. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in South Dakota was 5.9% in October 1982. The historical low was 2.4% in March 2000. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 5.7% of the labor force was employed in construction; 10.4% in manufacturing; 19.9% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 7.3% in financial activities; 14.7% in education and health services; 10.7% in leisure and hospitality services; and 18.9% in government. Data were unavailable for professional and business services.

The US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2005, a total of 21,000 of South Dakota's 350,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. This represented 5.9% of those so employed, down slightly from 6% in 2004, and below the national average of 12%. Overall in 2005, a total of 29,000 workers (8.2%) in South Dakota were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation. South Dakota is one of 22 states with a right-to-work law.

As of 1 March 2006, South Dakota had a state-mandated minimum wage rate of $5.15 per hour. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 48% of the employed civilian labor force.


South Dakota ranked 19th among the 50 states in 2005 in agricultural income, with receipts of $4.8 billion. In 2004 there were an estimated 31,600 farms and ranches in the state, covering about 43.8 million acres (17.7 million hectares).

Leading crops and their values during 2004 were hay, 6.87 million tons, $421.2 million; wheat, 128.6 million bushels, $416.9 million; corn for grain, 539.5 million bushels, $890.2 million; soybeans, 140.1 million bushels, $693.4 million; oats, 13.9 million bushels, $18.8 million; and barley, 3.1 million bushels, $6.3 million. In 2004, South Dakota ranked fifth among states in hay production, sixth in corn for grain as well as wheat, and seventh in grain sorghum.


The livestock industry is of great importance in South Dakota, particularly in the High Plains. In 2005 the state had an estimated 3.7 million cattle and calves, valued at around $3.8 billion. During 2004, there were 1.3 million hogs and pigs, valued at $146.3 million. In 2003 the state produced 30.1 million lb (13.7 million kg) of sheep and lambs, 152.7 million lb (69.4 million kg) of turkeys, 761 million eggs, and 1.7 million lb (0.8 million kg) of chickens. Dairy farmers produced nearly 1.33 billion lb (0.6 billion kg) of milk from around 82,000 milk cows in the same year.


Virtually all fishing is recreational. The state manages the maintenance of 5 million angler days of recreation per year. In 2004, South Dakota issued 206,349 sport fishing licenses. The D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery, established in 1896 (formerly Spearfish National Fish Hatchery), is one of the oldest operating hatcheries in the country. The facility primarily produces trout to stock the Black Hills region of the state. The Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery raises endangered pallid sturgeon and paddlefish. There are four state hatcheries.


In terms of geography and forests, east meets west in South Dakota in a rather dramatic way. The Prairie Plains in the east gradually give way to the grasslands of the Great Plains in the west as elevation increases by some 1,500 ft (450 m) between the Minnesota border and Rapid City.

The forests in the Plains regions are primarily associated with water-reservoirs, lakes, and the dominating Missouri River and its major tributaries such as the Cheyenne, Big White, Moreau, Grand, and Bad rivers. Collectively these forests make up only 10% of the total forestland in the state and consist primarily of tree species associated with the eastern hardwood forestselm, ash, basswood, and so forth. In the far western portion of the state and spilling over into northeastern Wyoming are the Black Hills. The forests in the Black Hills and at higher elevations west of the 103rd meridian to the southeast and north of the "Hills" are typically "western," consisting principally of ponderosa pine. About 90% of the forestland in South Dakota occurs west of the 103rd meridian, and most of it is in the Black Hills. Three counties, Pennington, Lawrence, and Custer, account for most of the State's forest area, which totals roughly 1,620,000 acres (656,000 million hectares).

The public sector owns 66% of South Dakota's forestland. The Black Hills and Custer National Forests administer about 90% of the public forestland. The rest is under the jurisdiction of the State and the US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Most of the state-owned land is in the Custer State Park. East of Rapid City the 226,300 acres (91,500 hectares) of forestland is primarily privately owned.

Nonreserved timberland is the primary component of the state's forestland and occupies 1,511,000 acres (612,000 hectares). Woodland covers an additional 23,000 acres (9,300 hectares). Of the forestland, 1% contained primarily in national parks is reserved from harvesting wood products. Ponderosa pine is the state's predominant species. The second most predominant species is the bottomland hardwood group (elm/ash).

Sawtimber stands occupy 964,700 acres (390,400 hectares), which is more than half the total forested area; 675,000 acres (273,000 hectares) of this area is found in national forests. Poletimber stands account for a fifth of the timberland base, and sapling and seedling stands account for an additional 118,700 acres (48,000 hectares) of timberland.

South Dakota's timberland is not very productive when compared to other western states. Less than one-fifth of the state's timberland has the potential to produce greater than 50 cu ft (1.42 cu m) per acre per year. However, this is not to say that the state's timberland, and in particular the Black Hills area, has not been a good timber producer. The Black Hills have, for nearly a century, been successfully producing and supplying sawlogs, fuelwood, pulpwood, posts, and poles.


According to preliminary data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the estimated value of nonfuel mineral production by South Dakota in 2003 was $206 million, a decrease from 2002 of about 4.5%.

According to the preliminary data for 2003, by descending order of value, portland cement, construction sand and gravel, crushed stone, granite dimension stone, gypsum and common clays were the state's top nonfuel minerals. Collectively, these six commodity sectors accounted for around 81% of all nonfuel mineral output, by value. By volume, South Dakota in 2003, was the nation's second leading producer of granite dimension stone. The state also ranked fourth in mica, seventh in gold and feldspar, and 10th in dimension stone.

Preliminary data for 2003 showed that construction sand and gravel production totaled 13 million metric tons, with a value of $52.6 million, while crushed stone output that year, came to 6.7 million metric tons, with a value of $33.5 million.

Milbank Granite, a dark- to medium-red granite found in the northeastern part of the state, has been quarried continuously since 1907 and is the major source of dimension stone in the state.


As of 2003, South Dakota had 72 electrical power service providers, of which 35 were publicly owned and 30 were cooperatives. Of the remainder, six were investor owned, and one was federally operated. As of that same year there were 400,234 retail customers. Of that total, 212,384 received their power from investor-owned service providers. Cooperatives accounted for 132,379 customers, while publicly owned providers had 55,453 customers. There were 18 federal customers.

Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 2.690 million kW, with total production that same year at 7.943 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, 99.5% came from electric utilities, with the remainder coming from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 4.276 billion kWh (53.8%), came from hydroelectric plants, with coal-fired plants in second place at 3.431 billion kWh (43.2%) and natural gas fueled plants in third at 176.024 billion kWh (2.2%). Other renewable power sources and petroleum fired plants accounted for the remaining generation.

South Dakota has very modest fossil-fuel resources. As of 2004, the state had proven crude oil reserves of under 1% of all proven US reserves, while output that same year averaged 4,000 barrels per day. Including federal offshore domains, the state that year ranked 25th (24th excluding federal offshore) in production among the 31 producing states. In 2004 South Dakota had 148 producing oil wells and accounted for less than 1% of all US production. The state has no oil refineries.

In 2004, South Dakota had 61 producing natural gas and gas condensate wells. In 2003 (the latest year for which data was available), marketed gas production (all gas produced excluding gas used for repressuring, vented and flared, and nonhydrocarbon gases removed) totaled 1.103 billion cu ft (.031 billion cu m). There was no data on the state's proven reserves of natural gas.

South Dakota also has lignite reserves of 366,100,000 tons.


According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, South Dakota's manufacturing sector covered some 11 product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $12.083 billion. Of that total, computer and electronic equipment product manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $3.556 billion. It was followed by food manufacturing at $2.708 billion; miscellaneous manufacturing at $1.239 billion; machinery manufacturing at $1.104 billion; and transportation equipment manufacturing at $607.207 million.

In 2004, a total of 37,469 people in South Dakota were employed in the state's manufacturing sector, according to the ASM. Of that total, 28,628 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the food manufacturing industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees at 7,257, with 6,136 actual production workers. It was followed by miscellaneous manufacturing at 4,778 employees (3,158 actual production workers); machinery manufacturing at 4,698 employees (3,369 actual production workers); fabricated metal product manufacturing at 3,537 employees (2,676 actual production workers); and computer and electronic product manufacturing with 3,262 employees (2,594 actual production workers).

ASM data for 2004 showed that South Dakota's manufacturing sector paid $1.222 billion in wages. Of that amount, the food manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $211.705 million. It was followed by machinery manufacturing at $176.672 million; miscellaneous manufacturing at $146.375 million; fabricated metal product manufacturing at $127.931 million; and computer and electronic product manufacturing at $107.559 million.


According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, South Dakota's wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $7.8 billion from 1,329 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 690 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 565 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 74 establishments. Sales by durable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $2.5 billion, while wholesalers of nondurable goods saw sales of $3.5 billion. Electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry had sales of $1.7 billion.

In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, South Dakota was listed as having 4,249 retail establishments with sales of $9.6 billion. The leading types of retail businesses by number of establishments were: gasoline stations (678); motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers tied with building material/garden equipment and supplies dealers (523 each); miscellaneous store retailers (522); and food and beverage stores (484). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers accounted for the largest share of retail sales at $2.3 billion, followed by nonstore retailers at $1.29 billion; general merchandise stores at $1.26 billion; and gasoline stations at $1.1 billion. A total of 49,152 people were employed by the retail sector in South Dakota that year.

South Dakota's foreign exports in 2005 totaled $941.4 million, ranking the state 48th in the nation.


The Division of Consumer Protection of the Office of the Attorney General enforces South Dakota's Deceptive Trade Practices Act, prosecutes cases of fraud and other illegal activities, and registers Charitable Solicitation organizations and Buying Clubs. Disputes are mediated between consumers and businesses. The Division also distributes consumer education materials, aids in the preparation of consumer related legislation, takes part in multi-jurisdictional actions with other state or federal law enforcement agencies, and advises consumers of complaints that are on file against specific companies.

When dealing with consumer protection issues, the state's Attorney General's Office can initiate civil and criminal proceedings; represent the state before state and federal regulatory agencies; administer consumer protection and education programs; handle formal consumer complaints; and exercise broad subpoena powers. In antitrust actions, the Attorney General's Office can act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own; initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts; and initiate criminal proceedings. However, the state's Attorney General's Office cannot represent counties, cities and other governmental entities in recovering civil damages under state or federal law.

The offices of Division of Consumer Affairs are located in Pierre.


As of June 2005, South Dakota had 91 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, and 55 federally chartered credit unions (CUs). Excluding the CUs, the Sioux Falls market area accounted for the largest portion of the state's financial institution deposits in 2004, at $32.171 billion and ranked second in the number of financial institutions, at 32. The Sioux City market area, which includes portions of Nebraska and Iowa, ranked first in the number of financial institutions with 34, and second in deposits, at $2.051 billion. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for only 0.4% of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $1.525 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 99.6% or $433.470 billion in assets held.

Regulation of South Dakota's state-chartered banks and other state-chartered financial institutions is the responsibility of the state's Division of Banking.


In 2004 there were 514,000 individual life insurance policies worth over $43.8 billion were in force in South Dakota; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was over $59.3 billion. The average coverage amount is $85,300 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled $160.8 million.

As of 2003, there were 20 property and casualty and one life and health insurance company domiciled in the state. In 2004, direct premiums for property and casualty insurance totaled over $1.4 billion. That year, there were 2,997 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of $364 million.

In 2004, 52% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 9% held individual policies, and 25% were covered under Medicare and Medicaid; 12% of residents were uninsured. In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged at 23% for single coverage and 27% for family coverage. The state offers an 18-month health benefits expansion program for small-firm employees in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.

In 2003, there were 627,527 auto insurance policies in effect for private passenger cars. Required minimum coverage includes bodily injury liability of up to $25,000 per individual and $20,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $25,000. Uninsured motorist coverage is also required. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was $563.18, which ranked as the second-lowest average in the nation (before North Dakota).


There are no securities exchanges in South Dakota. In 2005, there were 110 personal financial advisers employed in the state and 360 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. In 2004, there were over 12 publicly traded companies within the state, with over four NASDAQ companies (including Daktronics and HF Financial Corp), two NYSE listings (Black Hills Corp. and North Western Corp.), and one AMEX listing (The Credit Store).


The governor must submit the annual budget to the state legislature by 1 December. The fiscal year begins the following 1 July. The legislature may amend the budget at will, but the governor has a line item veto.

Fiscal year 2006 general funds were estimated at $1.0 billion for resources and $1.0 billion for expenditures. In 2004, federal government grants to South Dakota were $1.6 billion.

In the fiscal year 2007 federal budget, South Dakota was slated to receive $9.7 million in State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funds (a 23% increase over 2006) to help provide health coverage to low-income, uninsured children who do not qualify for Medicaid. The state was also to receive $4.6 million for the HOME Investment Partnership Program to help South Dakota fund a wide range of activities that build, buy, or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership, or provide direct rental assistance to low-income people; this was a 12% increase over fiscal year 2006. An addition $32 million was earmarked toward completion of the Mni Wiconi Rural Water Project, designed to provide a clean, reliable water supply to rural areas of South Dakota, including some of the poorest Native American communities in the country; and another $21 million (a $4 million increase over fiscal year 2006) for ongoing construction of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System, which will bring high quality water to rural areas of South Dakota, as well as to the city of Sioux Falls.


In 2005, South Dakota collected $1,110 million in tax revenues or $1,430 per capita, which placed it 50th among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Sales taxes accounted for 56.0% of the total; selective sales taxes, 25.4%; corporate income taxes, 4.4%; and other taxes, 14.1%.

As of 1 January 2006, South Dakota had no state income tax, a distinction it shared with Wyoming, Washington, Nevada, Florida, Texas and Alaska.

In 2004, local property taxes amounted to $705,183,000, or $915 per capita. South Dakota has no state level property taxes. The per capita amount ranks the state 32nd nationally.

South Dakota taxes retail sales at a rate of 4%. In addition to the state tax, local taxes on retail sales can reach as much as 2%, making for a potential total tax on retail sales of 6%. Food purchased for consumption off-premises is taxable, although an income tax credit is allowed to offset sales tax on food. The tax on cigarettes is 53 cents per pack, which ranks 37th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. South Dakota taxes gasoline at 22 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.

According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, South Dakota citizens received $1.49 in federal spending, which ranks the state 10th nationally.


Efforts to attract industry to South Dakota and to broaden the state's economic base are under the jurisdiction of the Governor's

South DakotaState Government Finances
(Dollar amounts in thousands Per capita amounts in dollars.)
Abbreviations and symbols: - zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable.
source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.
Total Revenue 3,863,621 5,011.18
  General revenue 2,906,921 3,770.33
    Intergovernmental revenue 1,239,324 1,607.42
    Taxes 1,062,722 1,378.37
     General sales 586,389 760.56
     Selective sales 278,873 361.70
     License taxes 138,877 180.13
     Individual income tax - -
     Corporate income tax 47,108 61.10
     Other taxes 11,475 14.88
    Current charges 209,524 271.76
    Miscellaneous general revenue 395,351 512.78
  Utility revenue - -
  Liquor store revenue - -
  Insurance trust revenue 956,700 1,240.86
Total expenditure 2,989,366 3,877.26
  Intergovernmental expenditure 576,215 747.36
  Direct expenditure 2,413,151 3,129.90
    Current operation 1,602,276 2,078.18
    Capital outlay 410,762 532.77
    Insurance benefits and repayments 257,703 334.25
    Assistance and subsidies 43,768 56.77
    Interest on debt 98,642 127.94
Exhibit Salaries and wages 488,804 633.99
Total expenditure 2,989,366 3,877.26
  General expenditure 2,731,663 3,543.01
    Intergovernmental expenditure 576,215 747.36
    Direct expenditure 2,155,448 2,795.65
  General expenditures, by function:
    Education 875,238 1,135.20
    Public welfare 694,152 900.33
    Hopsitals 42,655 55.32
    Health 93,611 121.42
    Highways 417,467 541.46
    Police protection 24,407 31.66
    Correction 61,675 79.99
    Natural resources 98,706 128.02
    Parks and recreation 27,075 35.12
    Government administration 110,392 143.18
    Interest on general debt 98,642 127.94
    Other and unallocable 187,643 243.38
  Utility expenditure - -
  Liquor store expenditure - -
  Insurance trust expenditure 257,703 334.25
Debt at end of fiscal year 2,613,067 3,389.19
Cash and security holdings 9,467,630 12,279.68

Office of Economic Development. Among the advantages noted by the agency are the absence of corporate or personal income taxes, the low level of property taxes, the availability of community development corporations to finance construction of new facilities, various property tax relief measures, inventory tax exemptions, personal property tax exemptions, and a favorable labor climate in which work stoppages are few and union activity is limited by a right-to-work law. South Dakota is one of the few states to have enacted a statute of limitations on product liabilityin this case, six yearsa measure cited as further proof of the state's attempt to create an atmosphere conducive to manufacturing.


The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 7.3 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate in 2003 was 14.4 per 1,000 population. The abortion rate stood at 5.5 per 1,000 women in 2000. In 2003, about 78.4% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester. In 2004, approximately 86% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three.

The crude death rate in 2003 was 9.3 deaths per 1,000 population. As of 2002, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were: heart disease, 254.5; cancer, 205.2; cerebrovascular diseases, 68.1; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 50.3; and diabetes, 25.6. The mortality rate from HIV infection was unavailable that year. In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 1.6 per 100,000 population, which was one of the lowest in the country. In 2002, about 58.2% of the population was considered overweight or obese. As of 2004, about 20.3% of state residents were smokers.

In 2003, South Dakota had 50 community hospitals with about 4,400 beds. There were about 103,000 patient admissions that year and 1,5 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 2,700 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $747. Also in 2003, there were about 113 certified nursing facilities in the state with 7,364 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 92.4%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 72.1% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year. South Dakota had 217 physicians per 100,000 resident population in 2004 and 1,165 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there were a total of 345 dentists in the state.

About 16% of state residents were enrolled in Medicaid programs in 2003; 16% were enrolled in Medicare programs in 2004. Approximately 12% of the state population was uninsured in 2004. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $772,000.


In 2004, about 10,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $205. In fiscal year 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 56,095 persons (22,483 households); the average monthly benefit was about $91.33 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was about $61.4 million.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reauthorized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. In 2004, the state TANF program had 6,000 recipients; state and federal expenditures on this TANF program totaled $19 million in fiscal year 2003.

In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 139,770 South Dakota residents. This number included 90,220 retired workers, 15,560 widows and widowers, 13,960 disabled workers, 9,820 spouses, and 10,210 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 18% of the total state population and 96.5% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $878; widows and widowers, $859; disabled workers, $835; and spouses, $441. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $421 per month; children of deceased workers, $567; and children of disabled workers, $254. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments in December 2004 went to 12,469 South Dakota residents, averaging $353 a month. An additional $190,000 of state-administered supplemental payments were distributed to 3,641 residents.


In 2004, there were an estimated 342,620 housing units, of which 300,629 were occupied; 69.1% were owner-occupied. About 65.7% of all units were single-family, detached homes. Utility gas was the most common energy source for heating. It was estimated that 12,506 units lacked telephone service, 1,386 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 1,550 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household had 2.47 members.

In 2004, 5,800 new privately owned housing units were authorized for construction. The median home value was $95,523. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $952. Renters paid a median of $493 per month. In September 2005, the state received grants of 680,000 from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for rural housing and economic development programs. For 2006, HUD allocated to the state over $6.6 million in community development block grants.


As of 2004, 87.5% of South Dakotans 25 years of age or older were high school graduates, and 25.5% had four or more years of college.

The total enrollment for fall 2002 in South Dakota's public schools stood at 128,000. Of these, 87,000 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 41,000 attended high school. Approximately 84.9% of the students were white, 1.5% were black, 1.8% were Hispanic, 1% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 10.7% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 126,000 in fall 2003 but expected to be 123,000 by fall 2014, a decline of 3.6% during the period 200214. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $1 billion. There were 10,817 students enrolled in 95 private schools in fall 2003. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005, eighth graders in South Dakota scored 287 out of 500 in mathematics compared with the national average of 278.

As of fall 2002, there were 47,751 students enrolled in college or graduate school; minority students comprised 10.2% of total postsecondary enrollment. In 2005 South Dakota had 26 degree-granting institutions. There are eight state-supported colleges and universities, of which the largest are the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University. The South Dakota School of the Deaf as well as the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired are also state-supported. In addition, the state has 12 private institutions of higher education.


The South Dakota Arts Council, located at Pierre, and the South Dakota Humanities Council, at Brookings, aid and coordinate arts and humanities activities throughout the state. In 2005, the South Dakota Arts Council and other South Dakota arts organizations received six grants totaling $665,800 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). In 2005, the National Endowment for the Humanities contributed $507,560 for four state projects. The state and various private sources also provided funding for the council's activities.

Artworks and handicrafts are displayed at the Dacotah Prairie Museum (Aberdeen), South Dakota Art Museum (Brookings), Sioux Indian Museum (Rapid City), Cultural Heritage Center (Pierre), and W. H. Over Museum (Vermillion). The state has nine tribal governments that present annual cultural arts events or powwows.

Symphony orchestras include the South Dakota Symphony in Sioux Falls and the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra in Rapid City. The Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society sponsors an annual festival, JazzFest. The annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant in DeSmet includes outdoor performances as well as activities to recreate pioneer history.


In 2001, South Dakota had 126 public library systems, with a total of 145 libraries, of which there were 19 branches. For that same year, the systems had a combined total of 2,835,000 volumes of book and serial publications, and a total circulation of 4,773,000. The system also had 77,000 audio and 71,000 video items, 5,000 electronic format items (CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and disks), and seven bookmobiles. Leading collections, each with more than 100,000 volumes, were those of South Dakota State University (Brookings), Northern State College and Alexander Mitchell Library (Aberdeen), Augustana College (Sioux Falls), the University of South Dakota (Vermillion), the South Dakota State Library (Pierre), and the Sioux Falls and Rapid City public libraries. In 2001, operating income for the state's public library system totaled $14,988,000 and included $167,000 from federal sources, and $13,825,000 from local sources.

South Dakota has 81 museums and historic sites, including the Cultural Heritage Museum (Pierre), Siouxland Heritage Museums and Delbridge Museum of Natural History (Sioux Falls), and the Shrine to Music Museum (Vermillion). Badlands National Park and Wind Cave National Park also display interesting exhibits.


In 2004, 93.6% of South Dakota's occupied housing units had telephones. In addition, by June of that same year there were 382,906 mobile wireless telephone subscribers. In 2003, 62.1% of South Dakota households had a computer and 53.6% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 61,856 high-speed lines in South Dakota, 51,283 residential and 10,573 for business. There were 65 major radio stations (21 AM, 44 FM) and 16 major television stations in 2005. Some 8,919 Internet domain names were registered in the state as of 2000.


In 2002, South Dakota had six morning newspapers, five evening papers, and four Sunday papers. Leading newspapers included the Rapid City Journal, mornings 29,696, Sundays 34,222; and the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, mornings 53,395, Sundays 75,014.


In 2006, there were over 1,345 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 828 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious organizations. There are several organizations focusing on the local and national interests of Native Americans. These include the Association of Community Tribal Schools, the Association on American Indian Affairs, and the Lakota Student Alliance. The South Dakota State Historical Society and the South Dakota Arts Council are located in Pierre. There are a number of municipal and county historical societies and art councils as well. The USA Deaf Sports Federation is based in Sioux Falls. Environmental groups include the Keep South Dakota Green Association and the South Dakota Wildlife Federation. The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, a nationwide service organization, is based in Sioux Falls.


Tourism is the state's largest industry. Travelers spent an estimated $809 million in South Dakota in 2005, a 7.6% increase over 2004. The travel industry accounted for an estimated 33,100 jobs across the state that year.

Most of the state's tourist attractions lie west of the Missouri River, especially in the Black Hills region. Mt. Rushmore National Memorial consists of the heads of four US presidentsGeorge Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Rooseveltcarved in granite in the mountainside. Wind Cave National Park and Jewel Cave National Monument are also in the Black Hills region. Just to the east is Badlands National Monument, consisting of fossil beds and eroded cliffs almost bare of vegetation. Visitors can also tour the childhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the popular Little House on the Prairie series, dig for dinosaurs in the Oligocene fossil beds, follow the Lewis and Clark trail, and visit more than 100 museums and cultural centers.


There are no major professional sports teams in South Dakota. However, the Sioux Falls Canaries are a minor league baseball club that plays in the American Association. Sioux Falls also is home to a minor league hockey team. The University of South Dakota Coyotes and the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State both compete in the North Central Conference. Skiing and hiking are popular in the Black Hills. Other annual sporting events include the Black Hills Motorcycle Classic in Sturgis and many rodeos, including the Days of '76 in Deadwood. Former Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills and Football Hall of Famer Norm van Brocklin are among those athletes born in South Dakota.


The only South Dakotan to win high elective office was Hubert H. Humphrey (191178), a native of Wallace who, after rising to power in Minnesota Democratic politics, served as US senator for 16 years before becoming vice president under Lyndon Johnson (196569).

Other outstanding federal officeholders from South Dakota were Newton Edmunds (18191908), second governor of the Dakota Territory; Charles Henry Burke (b.New York, 18611944), who as commissioner of Indian affairs improved education and health care for Native Americans; and Vermillion-born Peter Norbeck (18701936), a Progressive Republican leader, first while governor (191721) and then as US senator until his death. The son of a German-American father and a Brulé Indian mother, Benjamin Reifel (19061990) was the first American Indian elected to Congress from South Dakota; he later served as the last US commissioner of Indian affairs. George McGovern (b.1922) served in the US Senate from 1963 through 1980; an early opponent of the war in Viet Nam, he ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic presidential nominee in 1972.

Associated with South Dakota are several distinguished Indian leaders. Among them were Red Cloud (b.Nebraska 18221909), an Oglala warrior; Spotted Tail (b.Wyoming, 1833?1881), the Brulé chief who was a commanding figure on the Rosebud Reservation; Sitting Bull (183490), a Hunkpapa Sioux most famous as the main leader of the Indian army that crushed George Custer's Seventh US Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Big Horn (1876) in Montana; and Crazy Horse (1849?1877), an Oglala chief who also fought at Little Big Horn.

Ernest Orlando Lawrence (190158), the state's only Nobel Prize winner, received the physics award in 1939 for the invention of the cyclotron. The business leader with the greatest personal influence on South Dakota's history was Pierre Chouteau Jr. (b.Missouri, 17891865), a fur trader after whom the state capital is named.

South Dakota artists include George Catlin (b.Pennsylvania, 17961872), Karl Bodmer (180993), Harvey Dunn (18841952), and Oscar Howe (191583). Gutzon Borglum (b.Idaho, 18711941) carved the faces on Mt. Rushmore. The state's two leading writers are Ole Edvart Rõlvaag (b.Norway, 18761931), author of Giants in the Earth and other novels, and Frederick Manfred (b.Iowa, 191294), a Minnesota resident who served as writer-in-residence at the University of South Dakota and has used the state as a setting for many of his novels.


Amerson, Robert. From the Hidewood: Memories of a Dakota Neighborhood. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1996.

Council of State Governments. The Book of the States, 2006 Edition. Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 2006.

Fiffer, Steve. Tyrannosaurus Sue: The Extraordinary Saga of the Largest, Most Fought Over T. Rex Ever Found. New York: W. H. Freeman, 2000.

Hasselstrom, Linda M. Feels Like Far: A Rancher's Life on the Great Plains. New York: Lyons Press, 1999.

Nelson, Paula. The Prairie Winnows Out Its Own: The West River Country of South Dakota in the Years of Depression and Dust. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1996.

Preston, Thomas. Great Plains: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Vol. 4 in The Double Eagle Guide to 1,000 Great Western Recreation Destinations. Billings, Mont.: Discovery Publications, 2003.

Rees, Amanda (ed.). The Great Plains Region. Vol. 1 in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2004.

Robertson, Paul. The Power of the Land: Identity, Ethnicity, and Class among the Oglala Lakota. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Schell, Herbert Samuel. History of South Dakota. 4th ed. Pierre: South Dakota State Historical Society Press, 2004.

Thompson, Harry F. (gen. ed.). A New South Dakota History. Sioux Falls, S.Dak.: Center for Western Studies/Augustana College, 2005.

US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. South Dakota, 2000. Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics: 2000 Census of Population and Housing. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 2003.

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South Dakota


SOUTH DAKOTA entered the union during 2 November 1889 as the fortieth state, and ranks sixteenth in size among the fifty states. Approximately 77,047 square

miles of land form a rectangle that tilts from northwest to southeast and contains elevations above sea level between 1,100 feet in the southeast corner and 7,242 in the Black Hills at Harney Peak, the highest elevation in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. A varied terrain contains the geographical center of North America—located near the middle of the state, close to Pierre—and the only true continental divide. From the northeast corner, water flows through the Red River to Hudson's Bay, and down the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers to the Gulf of Mexico.

The most distinctive natural feature is the Missouri River, which forms the southeastern boundary and dissects the state. South Dakotans created the term "West River" (meaning west of the river) to identify an area—comprising about three-fifths of the land—from which five principal streams drain into the Missouri River from the west. The term "East River" is used to identify the other two-fifths, from which two principal streams drain into the Missouri near the state's southeastern corner. In West River, rough and porous land with annual rainfall as low as fourteen inches has supported mainly livestock, mineral, and tourist industries. In East River, glacial chernozem soils with annual rainfall as great as twenty-six inches have supported subsistence farming, cash crop production, and livestock feeding industries.

The fertile Missouri River valley sustained a succession of five Native American cultures over nearly 14,000 years before it attracted the first non-Indian settlers as a "Steamboat Society" during the fur trade era. Beginning in the 1860s, white homesteaders and gold seekers used the river for transportation, and settled as rapidly as modern Sioux tribes ceded acreage to the U.S. Government.

The population that gathered over the next sixty years was as varied as the terrain. Thirteen of fourteen ancestral tribes of Sioux formed nine modern reservation societies that gained recognition by the U.S. Government as "domestic dependent nations." Due to the Sioux's gradual relinquishment of land over more than half a century, South Dakota's first generation of immigrants included representations from most European nations. Immigration records reveal that they included—in order of diminishing numbers—Norwegians, Germans (including Polish), Russians (including Germans from Russia and Finns), Swedes, Danes, Anglo Canadians, Dutch, English and Welsh, Irish, Austrians and Czechs (including Bohemians, Moravians, and Slovakians), Scots, Swiss, and French Canadians. Briefly, Chinese worked in the Black Hills, while both African and Jewish Americans founded agricultural colonies, bringing the total number of enclaves to thirty-six.

Ethnic variety spawned diversity in religious persuasion: the state was home to Lutheran, Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Congregational, Mennonite, Hutterite, Dutch Reformed, Baptist, Methodist, and Jewish denominations, as well as practitioners of traditional Native American religions. Despite the efforts of Christian missionaries, the tribes preserved the traditional belief system of the Sacred Pipe, and added to it the practices of the Native American (Peyote) Church. Within ten years of statehood, immigrant South Dakotans supported sixteen higher educational institutions and a greater number of academies—an array of choices that encouraged the preservation of cultural variety. When the immigrant population peaked in 1930, there existed no "typical South Dakotans."

Rugged terrain, inhospitable climatic conditions, and economic colonialism have restricted population growth. At the founding of Dakota Territory in 1861, more than 20,000 Sioux and approximately 1,000 non-Indians lived in what is now South Dakota. The white citizen population grew to about 348,600 by the time of statehood and by 1930 it had, through gradual increase, become the major part of a total population of 692,849 (a total that, because of the National Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, included Indians). Severe conditions during the Great Depression and the demands of World War II lowered the population to approximately 590,000 by 1945. Following this, a gradual increase brought the census total to 754,844 by the year 2000, at which time at least 10 percent of the population was Native American. A majority of the population was rural until 1960, after which South Dakotans became urban residents by ever-increasing numbers.

In the imaginations of European imperialists, four flags were successively a loft over South Dakota before its purchase by the United States as the center of Upper Louisiana Territory: the flags of Hapsburg Spain, which controlled the territory from 1494 to 1702; Bourbon France, the dominant power from 1702 to 1762; Bourbon Spain, which reasserted Spanish dominion from 1762 to 1800; and Napoleonic France, briefly ascendant from 1800 to 1803. After Congress acquired the Louisiana Territory in 1803, present-day South Dakota divided politically as well as geographically at the Missouri River into its West River and East River components, each independent of the other and marginally attached to surrounding territorial governments. In the absence of effective territorial administration, federal officials created the Upper Missouri Indian Agency jurisdiction, which remained in place from 1819 to 1868. The Fur Trade Act of 1824 delegated powers to the official in charge that were equivalent to those of a territorial governor. This desultory administration seemed adequate because the only outside economic interest affecting the region was the fur trade, which from 1827 to the end of the 1850s was mainly dominated by St. Louis magnate Pierre Chouteau Jr.

During the years 1858 to 1868, the Upper Missouri Indian Agency collapsed into several smaller Indian agency jurisdictions. The 1861 founding of its replacement, Dakota Territory, created to serve no more than 1,000 citizens, occurred due to an extraordinary combination of circumstances. Extralegal "squatter governments" devised by speculators from Dubuque and St. Paul had started a political movement at present-day Sioux Falls, and began agitating for the creation of a new territory. At the same time, the prospect of secession by southern states after the 1860 presidential election removed an obstacle to political change. Lame duck Democrats in Congress and defeated president James Buchanan claimed a final legacy by extending legal authority to create territorial governments.

Even after the founding of Dakota Territory, political machinations continued. The new town of Yankton on the Missouri River became the territorial capital not only because of its access to steamboat transportation, but also because it was the preference of John B. S. Todd, the cousin of Abraham Lincoln's wife and the first U.S. Delegate to Congress. President Lincoln personally approved the appointments of "Indian Ring" leaders, who collaborated to steal Yankton Sioux tribal assets: these included William Jayne, Lincoln's personal physician, who became governor; and Walter Burleigh and his father-in-law Andrew Faulk, who had stumped western Pennsylvania for Republican votes before Lincoln's election and were now named U.S. Indian Agent and Licensed Trader on the new Yankton Sioux Reservation. Jayne left the territory in 1863 following his defeat by Todd in the second congressional election of 1862. After investigators representing the U.S. Senate exposed fraud and dissolved the Indian Ring, Burleigh twice won election as U.S. Delegate to Congress and Faulk gained appointment as territorial governor. Their escape from retribution set the tone for territorial governance. In 1883, after the seventh territorial governor, Nehemiah Ordway, met his match in Delegate to Congress Richard Pettigrew, the territorial capital was moved to Bismarck (in present North Dakota) to buttress Ordway's fading political career and enhance his personal economic opportunities.

Largely because Governor Ordway's choice of Bismarck had been based on narrow self-interest, in 1889—after statehood was finally achieved—South Dakotans selected a new capital: Pierre (named after Pierre Chouteau Jr., and his principal trading post, but pronounced "peer"). Its selection not only circumvented competition from population centers at Yankton, Sioux Falls, and Rapid City, but also placed the new political headquarters near the center of the state, within 200 miles of most citizens. Moreover, Pierre was located on a central commercial avenue opened during territorial years by the Dakota Central Railroad across East River, and by the Fort Pierre-to-Deadwood Wagon Road in West River.

Statehood had been so long in coming mainly because of resistance by the Sioux, who refused to relinquish land and bested non-Indian forces during several confrontations outside the borders of Dakota Territory. In two months during the Minnesota Sioux War of 1862, eastern Sioux killed nearly 600 and drove 2,500 whites into flight. At the Grattan Affair in Nebraska (1854), the Fetterman Massacre in Wyoming (1866), and the Battle of the Little Big Horn in Montana (1876), western and middle Sioux claimed decisive victories. Then, whether it was an accident or an ambush by U.S. Army troops, the tragedy at Wounded Knee in South Dakota (1890) broke the will of the Sioux to resist. Their previous victories were fruitful, however: the tribes retained more than 10 percent of their ancestral land, compared to an average 3.5 percent for thirty-seven Great Plains tribes overall. In South Dakota, the Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Cheyenne River, Standing Rock (partly in North Dakota), Lower Brule, and Crow Creek reservations alone contained 12,681,911 acres in 1889 when Congress defined their boundaries (within which tribal groups later sold land, though by 1950 they still retained ownership of 6,114,502 acres). On these reservations, plus those occupied by Yanktons, Sissetons and Wahpetons, and Flandreau Santees in East River, there remained ample space for the survival of tribalism and traditional cultures.

Statehood for South Dakota—achieved through an omnibus act of 1889 that also created North Dakota, Montana, and Washington—was a product of sterling performances by able politicians who made up for the likes of Jayne, Burleigh, Faulk, and Ordway. General William Henry Harrison Beadle accommodated immigrants by organizing an effective survey of rough terrain, then inspired resistance to real estate prospectors (who hoped to purchase federally donated school lands at bargain basement prices) in order to ensure land-sale proceeds sufficient to establish a suitable elementary educational system. Congregational minister Joseph Ward organized a political caucus in Yankton that unified territorial politicians during a succession of constitutional conventions. The leader of this group of politicians, Arthur Mellette, became the primary architect of the constitution and, for his efforts, gained recognition as both the last territorial governor and the first governor of the state of South Dakota. The constitution gave expression to Mellette's suspicions about politicians, with salutary consequences. It preserved a school-land fund under Beadle's plan to accept no less than $10 per acre, and placed a limit of $100,000 on state indebtedness. At times the latter feature stifled the growth of infrastructure, but it also kept South Dakota free from debt, except on one occasion. Fiscal conservatism fostered a tradition among legislators of carrying surplus funds in the state treasury, and relying on U.S. senators for maximum congressional assistance. The most telling evidence of this tradition came in 2000, when the state received federally funded programs worth $1.7 billion more than South Dakotans had paid in federal taxes that year.

Because of the constitutional restriction on indebtedness, inhospitable natural conditions, and economic colonialism, South Dakotans learned to elect tight-fisted officials to state and local government, but to send liberal spenders to the U.S. Senate. For service within the state, South Dakotans have elected only four Democrats to the office of governor, and have on only two occasions allowed Democrats to control the state legislature. To improve efficiency as well as performance, voters in the 1970s supported referendums that facilitated the consolidation of 160 overlapping state agencies into 16 executive departments and streamlined the judicial system. As far as service in Washington, D.C., was concerned, the long line of fundraisers elected to the U.S. Senate included Richard Pettigrew, Peter Norbeck, William McMaster, Francis Case, Karl Mundt, George McGovern, James Abouresk, and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle—all of them charged with the responsibility to bring maximum benefit to a state with limited economic prospects.

South Dakota's economic mainstays have been farming and ranching, which during the banner year of 1991 together contributed $13.2 billion to the economy, enhanced by $436 million in federal subsidies. The livestock industry had taken root before statehood because of insatiable markets that existed in Indian agency jurisdictions, where tribal funds were used to pay market prices for enough livestock to provide about eight pounds of fresh meat per month for more than 20,000 tribal members. Both Indian agencies and U.S. Army installations consumed hay, grain, fruits, and vegetables; contracted for transportation services; and provided part-time jobs for settlers. Because of reliable markets and steady employment through territorial times, farming and ranching fast became the main feature in South Dakota's economic life.

Next in importance has been tourism, which originated when passengers boarded Pierre Chouteau's steamboat Yellowstone in 1831 for a ride up the Missouri River. Their primary interests included catching glimpses of Native Americans, exposure to unsullied frontier terrain, and escape from the monotony of workaday life—touristic interests that have never changed. Railroads replaced steamboats by the outset of the twentieth century, and automobiles and buses replaced rail cars for tourist travel during the 1920s. South Dakotans secured federal funds to install five bridges across the Missouri River during the years 1924–1927 at a cost of$3.1 million, and matched federal funds to build networks of roads during the years 1919–1941 at a cost of$60.4 million. After World War II this transportation system was refined by the completion of 680 miles of freeways running south to north and east to west, at the advantageous funding ratio of 9 to 1. The completion of four earthen dams across the Missouri by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the years 1954–1966 not only stabilized connections between East River and West River, but also added tourist facilities with hunting and fishing opportunities at four large reservoirs behind the dams.

Although Native Americans and untarnished landscapes remained favorite features for tourists, with federal assistance South Dakotans added many other attractions. U.S. Park Service personnel manage the magnificent Badlands and the majestic Mount Rushmore, each of which attracts several million visitors every year. State employees accommodate tourists at serene lodging places named Sylvan Lake and the Game Lodge. Every year Rapid City houses as many as 15,000 in hotels and motels. Local entrepreneurs lure visitors: in East River, Mitchell—with its nineteenth century agricultural exhibition hall, the Corn Palace—is the main destination, while in West River attractions include a snake pit, the Homes take Gold Mine (closed in the year 2000), and exhilarating climbs on Harney Peak and Bear Butte. Since 1935 residents of Sturgis have attracted motorcycle riders to an annual rally that lasts for a week at a cost that sustains the economy of the city the year round. Scenic roads embellished by "pig-tail bridges" slow Black Hills traffic prior to entry into Custer State Park, which contains a herd of buffalo along with countless other species.

A shift in population from farms and ranches to urban centers since the 1960s has required the addition of new industries, though these have not been allowed to encroach on agribusiness or blemish landscapes that sustain tourism. One has been banking, which took off following a 1980 application by representatives from the credit card division of Citibank, which established bank office facilities in Sioux Falls. For banks, the state's special attractions already included the absence of corporate or personal income taxation—and after 1980 a new law promised a guarantee of freedom from legal constraint on usury rates. South Dakotans, as victims of bankers who charged interest rates as high as 24 percent in territorial times, had gradually reduced the usury limit to 8 percent during the Great Depression and had sustained it at that level until the year 1970. Subsequently, however, due to an inflationary economy, state legislators raised the rate to 12 percent and, in 1980, with House Bill 1046 they proposed to eliminate the usury rate altogether to enhance credit opportunities.

While House Bill 1046 awaited the governor's signature, Citicorp, the second largest bank in the world (and Citibank's parent company), faced a dilemma due to the inflationary economy and a legal restriction in New York that held interest rates on credit balances above $500 at 12 percent. Its managers selected South Dakota as the new location for Citibank's back offices in preference to four other states that allowed interest rate charges at 22 percent or greater. After South Dakota's governor signed House Bill 1046, Citibank brought 2,500 jobs to the Sioux Falls business community. Soon other lending institutions relocated to gain the same benefits at urban locations across the state.

More advantageous even than banking to urban economies has been spectacular growth in the health care industry—rendered secure by Medicare/Medicaid support, state employee medical benefits, and private insurance. Its evolution was typical for states in the West. Pioneering country doctors founded makeshift hospitals while officials opened a two-year Medical School at the University of South Dakota (1907) and appointed a State Board of Nursing (1917). Scientific advancements during World War II brought improvements in patient care. The Medical School expanded to offer a four-year degree program (1975). Following national trends, three health management organizations (HMOs) with sprawling networks of hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes came into place. In East River, Sioux Falls became the center of both the Avera managed care and the Sioux Valley Hospital systems. In West River, Rapid City became the center of the Rapid City Regional Hospital network. Although alternative treatment remained available at independent medical and chiropractic clinics, most South Dakotans became customers of the three HMO networks, which could offer easy referral to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Another flourishing urban industry has been education. After state-mandated consolidation during the 1960s, rural elementary schools nearly disappeared. The academic year 1999–2000 opened with the operation of 176 public school district K-12 systems, 26 Alternative Education units, 46 private or parochial academies, 12 public and private colleges and universities, and a suitable array of public and private vocational training institutions. Tradition, ethnic variety, and the realities of urban economics all sustain resistance to change in this complex, costly system.

An additional factor in creating economic stability has been improving living conditions and broadening business opportunities for nine federally recognized Indian tribes on as many reservations. The key to this economic success has been the U.S. government's carrying out of trust responsibilities established by treaties and statutes during the nineteenth century in return for Indian land. One such responsibility was health care, which for Sioux people began with the federal employment of two physicians during the 1840s. The Snyder Act of 1921 and the Indian Health Care Development Act of 1976 stabilized and enlarged this benefit. In 1997, at an annual operational cost of nearly $2 million, U.S. Indian Health Service personnel operated five hospitals and numerous clinics in South Dakota to provide free health care for tribal members. Another responsibility was the provision of housing, which began in the nineteenth century and was formalized by the federal Housing Act of 1937. On the basis of several additional acts, Congress spent at least $30 million a year on South Dakota reservations throughout the final years of the twentieth century.

The freedom from taxation on Indian land under federal trust, or on business profits generated on that land, has led to success in many tribal enterprises, including high-stakes casinos—established on all but one reservation in the state under terms in the National Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. The Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 invited tribes to contract for congressional funds to carry out trust responsibilities previously realized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other federal agencies. In 1998, the Yankton Sioux tribe (the tribe is about average size—some 7,500 enrolled, half in residence) managed more than $2 million in its business budget (these funds derive from both federal contributions and profits from tribal enterprises), and members have enjoyed congressionally mandated "Indian preference" (affirmative action) regarding all jobs funded by Congress or the tribe for the benefit of Indians. Newly flourishing tribal economies sustain not only enrolled members, but also surrounding non-Indian towns, communities, and infrastructures.

The American Indian Renaissance of the 1970s, which brought cultural traditions from the underground into open use, has affected the economy by making Native American culture a star feature of tourism. This economic mainstay flourishes due to demands for facilities to accommodate visiting scholars and journalists, professional conventions, and Indian arts and crafts displays, as well as recreational travel. For economic as well as cultural reasons, both tribal and non-Indian ethnic heritages are preserved in archives and explained at the Augustana College Center for Western Studies in Sioux Falls, and at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.


Cash, Joseph H., and Herbert T. Hoover, eds. To Be an Indian: An Oral History. 2d ed. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1995. The original edition appeared in 1971. Contains excerpts from reminiscences by tribal elders.

Hoover, Herbert T. The Yankton Sioux. New York: Chelsea House, 1988. The only volume that traces the entire history of a tribe in South Dakota. (Video production available.)

Hoover, Herbert T., and Carol Goss Hoover. Sioux Country: A History of Indian-White Relations. Sioux Falls, S.D.: Augustana College Center for Western Studies, 2000. Contains profiles for the histories of seventeen modern tribes on the northern Great Plains.

Hoover, Herbert T., and Karen P. Zimmerman. South Dakota History: An Annotated Bibliography and The Sioux and Other Native American Cultures of the Dakotas. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993. Two substantial volumes contain a common index.

Hoover, Herbert T., and Larry J. Zimmerman. South Dakota Leaders: From Pierre Chouteau, Jr., to Oscar Howe. Lanham, Md.: University Publishing Associates; Vermillion: University of South Dakota Press, 1989. Contains biographies of more than fifty individuals who have affected the history of the state.

Schell, Herbert S. History of South Dakota. 3d ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1975. The best single volume on the subject emphasizes political and economic histories.

Herbert T.Hoover

See alsoSioux Wars ; Wounded Knee Massacre .

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South Dakota

South Dakota (dəkō´tə), state in the N central United States. It is bordered by North Dakota (N), Minnesota and Iowa (E), Nebraska (S), and Wyoming and Montana (W).

Facts and Figures

Area, 77,047 sq mi (199,552 sq km). Pop. (2010) 814,180, a 7.9% increase since the 2000 census. Capital, Pierre. Largest city, Sioux Falls. Statehood, Nov. 2, 1889 (40th state), simultaneously with North Dakota. Highest pt., Harney Peak, 7,242 ft (2,209 m); lowest pt., Big Stone Lake, 962 ft (293 m). Nicknames, Rushmore State; Coyote State. Motto, Under God the People Rule. State bird, ring-necked pheasant. State flower, pasqueflower. State tree, Black Hills spruce. Abbr., S.Dak.; SD


South Dakota shows some of the earliest geologic history of the continent in the rock formations of the ancient Black Hills and in the Badlands. In the area between the White River and the south fork of the Cheyenne, the Badlands display in their deeply eroded clay gullies not only colorful, fantastic shapes, but also a wealth of easily accessible marine and land fossils (the Badlands National Monument preserves the area for its startling scenery and geologic interest). From east to west the state rises some 6,000 ft (1,829 m) to Harney Peak (7,242 ft/2,207 m) in the Black Hills, highest point in the United States E of the Rockies.

Through the center of the state the Missouri River cuts a wide valley southward; other principal rivers include the James and the Big Sioux to the east, and the Cheyenne, the Belle Fourche, the Moreau, the Grand River, and the White River to the west. The whole of South Dakota has a continental climate; summer brings a succession of hot, cloudless days, and in winter blizzards sweep across bare hillsides, filling the coulees with deep snow. The average annual rainfall is low, and declines from east to west across the state, and in years of drought summer winds blow away acres of top soil in "black blizzards."

Among the state's attractions are Badlands and Wind Cave national parks, Jewel Cave National Monument, and the famous gigantic carvings of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial (see National Parks and Monuments, table). Pierre is the capital; the largest cities are Sioux Falls and Rapid City.


Almost one third of the region west of the Missouri River, a semiarid, treeless plain, belongs to Native Americans, most of whom live on reservations such as Cheyenne River, Pine Ridge, Rosebud, and Standing Rock. Much of the remaining area is occupied by large ranches; there cattle and sheep ranching provide the major source of income, with soybean and wheat farming second in the production of revenue. In the more productive region east of the Missouri, livestock and livestock products are the primary sources of income. Corn, soybeans, oats, and wheat are South Dakota's chief cash crops; sunflowers, sorghum, flaxseed, and barley are also grown. Although there is a certain amount of diversified industry, including electronics manufacturing, in Sioux Falls and Rapid City, meatpacking and food processing are by far the major industries of the state.

Gold is South Dakota's most important mineral, and the town of Lead in the Black Hills is the country's leading gold-mining center. Tourism, focusing especially on Mt. Rushmore and other Black Hills sites, and gambling are also major sources of income.

Government and Higher Education

South Dakota is governed under its 1889 constitution. The legislature consists of 35 senators and 70 representatives, all elected for two-year terms. The governor is elected for four years. William Janklow, a Republican who had previously held the office from 1979 to 1987, was elected governor in 1994 and reelected in 1998. He was succeeded by fellow Republican Mike Rounds, elected in 2002 and reelected four years later. In 2010 and 2014, Dennis Daugaard, also a Republican, was elected governor. The state sends one U.S. representative and two senators to the U.S. Congress and has three electoral votes.

Institutions of higher learning in South Dakota include Augustana College, at Sioux Falls; Northern State College, at Aberdeen; the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, at Rapid City; South Dakota State Univ., at Brookings; and the Univ. of South Dakota, at Vermillion.


Early Inhabitants, European Exploration, and Fur Trading

At the time of European exploration, South Dakota was inhabited by Native Americans of the agricultural Arikara and the nomadic Sioux (Dakota). By the 1830s the Sioux had driven the Arikara from the area. Part of the region that is now South Dakota was explored in the mid-18th cent. by sons of the sieur de la Vérendrye. The United States acquired the region as part of the Louisiana Purchase, and it was partially explored by Lewis and Clark in their Missouri River expedition of 1804–6. Later explorers became well acquainted with the warlike Sioux, who continued to dominate the region from the period of the fur trade until to the middle of the 19th cent. Individual traders from the time of Pierre Dorion in the late 18th cent. made the region their home, and the posts founded by Pierre Chouteau and the American Fur Company were the first bases for settlement. (Fort Pierre was established in 1817.)


It was not until land speculators and farmers moved westward from Minnesota and Iowa in the 1850s that any significant settlements developed in South Dakota. Two land companies were established at Sioux Falls in 1856, and in 1859 Yankton, Bon Homme, and Vermillion were laid out. A treaty with the Sioux opened the land between the Big Sioux and the Missouri, and in 1861 Dakota Territory was established, embracing not only present-day North and South Dakota but also E Wyoming and E Montana. Yankton was the capital. Settlers were discouraged by droughts, conflicts with the Native Americans, and plagues of locusts; however, by the time the railroad pushed to Yankton in 1872, the region had received the first of the European immigrants who later came in great numbers, contributing significant German, Scandinavian, and Russian elements to the Dakotas.

Gold Fever and the End of Sioux Resistance

Rumors of gold in the Black Hills, confirmed by a military expedition led by George A. Custer in 1874, excited national interest, and wealth seekers began to pour into the area. However, much of the Black Hills region had been granted (1868) to the Sioux by treaty, and when they refused to sell either mining rights or the reservation itself, warfare again broke out. The defeat (1876) of Custer and his men by Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and Gall in the battle of the Little Bighorn (in what is now Montana) did not prevent the whites from gradually acquiring more and more Native American land, including the gold-lined Black Hills.

The near extinction of the buffalo herds, Sitting Bull's death (1890) at the hands of army-trained Native American police, and the subsequent massacre of Big Foot's band at Wounded Knee Creek were among the factors leading to the permanent end of Native American resistance in South Dakota. Tribal organization was weakened by the Dawes Act of 1887. Although the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 attempted to restore tribal ownership of repurchased lands, younger generations have moved to the cities in increasing numbers. During the 1870s the gold fever mounted; Deadwood had its day of gaudy glory, Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane created frontier legends, and the town of Lead began its long, productive history.

The Dakota Land Boom, Statehood, and Agrarian Reform

Although gold did not make the fortune of South Dakota, it laid the foundation by stimulating cattle ranching—herds of cattle were first brought to the grasslands of W South Dakota partly to supply food for the miners. Settlement in the east also increased and the period from 1878 to 1886, following the resumption of railroad building after the financial depression earlier in the decade, was the time of the great Dakota land boom, when the region's population increased threefold.

Agitation for statehood developed; in 1888 the Republican party adopted the statehood movement as a campaign issue, and in 1889 Congress passed an enabling act. The Dakotas were separated; South Dakota became a state with Pierre as capital. Disasters, however, rocked its security. The unusually severe winter of 1886–87 had destroyed huge herds of cattle in the west, ruining the great bonanza ranches and promoting among the ranchers the trend—dominant ever since—of having smaller herds with provisions for winter shelter and feeding. Cattle grazed on public land and were rounded up only for branding and shipment to market.

Recurrent droughts added to the difficulties of the farmers, who sought economic relief in the cooperative ventures of the Farmers' Alliance and political influence in the Populist party, which won a resounding victory in 1896. Initiative and referendum were adopted (1898; South Dakota was the first state to adopt them) and other progressive measures of the day were enacted. However, prosperity resumed, and with it South Dakota quickly returned to political conservatism and the Republican party.

Railroads, Droughts, and the Great Depression

The extension of railroads (particularly the Milwaukee, which was the only transcontinental line passing through South Dakota) encouraged further expansion of agriculture, but new droughts (especially that of 1910–11) brought a brief period of emigration. Many new farmsteads were abandoned, and a turn toward political radicalism developed. The Progressive party, led by Peter Norbeck (governor 1917–21) and operating as a branch of the Republican party, revived the attempts of Populist reform programs to regulate railroad rates and raise assessments of corporate property. The Progressives also entered into experiments in state ownership of business.

Prosperity-depression cycles again affected the state after the boom of World War I. The combination of droughts and the Great Depression brought widespread calamities in the late 1920s and early 30s, and the state's population declined by 50,000 between 1930 and 1940. Vigorous relief measures were instituted under the New Deal, and higher farm prices during World War II and the ensuing years brought a new era of hopefulness.

Postwar Changes

The 1950s began a period of Democratic strength in state politics. George McGovern was elected to the House of Representatives in 1956 and to the Senate in 1962, 1968, and 1974. In 1972 McGovern ran unsuccessfully for president. In 1973 the American Indian Movement led a 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee that included gun battles with federal marshals; the occupation was in part a protest over the issue of broken treaties.

In the postwar period the adoption of improved farming techniques resulted in a steady increase in agricultural and livestock production. This was accompanied, however, by the consolidation of small farms into large units and the displacement of many small farmers. Irrigation projects, extension of hydroelectric power, and protective measures against wind and water erosion have been implemented, avoiding the threat of new disasters. In 1981 a major New York bank relocated its credit-card operations to Sioux Falls, marking the beginning of the state's shift toward service, finance, and trade industries that, in turn, has resulted in significant economic growth. Some casino gambling was legalized in 1989 and tourism continues to be one of the state's top sources of income.


See H. S. Schell, South Dakota: Its Beginnings and Growth (1960) and History of South Dakota (3d ed. 1975); J. R. Milton, South Dakota (1977); F. M. Berg, South Dakota: Land of Shining Gold (1982).

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South Dakota


Pierre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 533

Rapid City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 543

Sioux Falls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 555

The State in Brief

Nickname: Coyote State; Mount Rushmore State

Motto: Under God the people rule

Flower: Pasque flower

Bird: Ringnecked pheasant

Area: 77,116 square miles (2000; U.S. rank: 17th)

Elevation: 966 feet to 7,242 feet above sea level

Climate: Continental, characterized by seasonal extremes of temperature as well as persistent winds, low humidity, and scant rainfall

Admitted to Union: November 2, 1889

Capital: Pierre

Head Official: Governor Mike Rounds (R) (until 2007)


1980: 691,000

1990: 696,004

2000: 754,844

2004 estimate: 770,883

Percent change, 19902000: 8.5%

U.S. rank in 2004: 46th

Percent of residents born in state: 68.1% (2000)

Density: 9.9 people per square mile (2000)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 17,342

Racial and Ethnic Characteristics (2000)

White: 669,404

Black or African American: 4,685

American Indian and Alaska Native: 62,283

Asian: 4,378

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 261

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 10,903

Other: 3,677

Age Characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 51,069

Population 5 to 19 years old: 176,412

Percent of population 65 years and over: 14.3%

Median age: 35.6 years (2000)

Vital Statistics

Total number of births (2003): 11,254

Total number of deaths (2003): 7,142 (infant deaths, 80)

AIDS cases reported through 2003: 105


Major industries: Finance, insurance, and real estate; agriculture; tourism; wholesale and retail trade; services

Unemployment rate: 3.7% (April 2005)

Per capita income: $28,299 (2003; U.S. rank: 38)

Median household income: $39,829 (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Percentage of persons below poverty level: 10.9% (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Income tax rate: None

Sales tax rate: 4.0%

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South Dakota

South Dakota State in the n central USA, on the Great Plains. The capital is Pierre; the largest cities are Sioux Falls and Rapid City. The land rises gradually from the e to the Black Hills (featuring Mount Rushmore) in the w and the Badlands in the sw, with the Missouri River bisecting the state. One fifth of the area w of the river is semi-arid plain, inhabited mainly by Native Americans, and the rest is divided into large cattle and sheep ranches. French trappers claimed the region for France in the 1740s, and the USA acquired part of the land in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Dakota Territory formed in 1861. In 1874, the discovery of gold in the Black Hills led to an increase in population, and the territory divided into the states of North and South Dakota, both of which joined the Union in 1889. Agriculture is important, with livestock rearing e of the Missouri; major crops include wheat, maize, oats, and soya beans. South Dakota is the largest producer of gold in the USA, but tin, beryllium, stone, sand, and gravel are also mined. Industries: meat packing, food processing. Area: 199,551sq km (77,047sq mi). Pop. (2000) 754,844.

Statehood :

November 2, 1889

Nickname :

The Sunshine State

State bird :

Ring-necked pheasant

State flower :

American pasqueflower

State tree :

Black Hills spruce

State motto :

Under God the people rule

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South Dakota


In 1742 the first explorers traveled the area that is present day South Dakota, opening up the Upper Missouri Valley to French traders who bartered with the Indians by offering them metal pots, pans and tools for animal furs.

In 1762 France gave Louisiana to Spain during the French and Indian War. But when France was defeated in 1763, Britain gained control of French lands in Canada and east of the Mississippi. Later, in 1800, French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte forced Spain to return the land of Louisiana to France. And in turn Napoleon sold the Louisiana land to the U.S. for $15 million in order to finance his wars in Europe. The U.S. benefited greatly in this deal because its territory was doubled in size.

The next year President Thomas Jefferson (18011809) sent Captain Meriwether Lewis and Lieutenant William Clark (leaders of the Lewis and Clark expedition) to explore the region. In 1817 fur trading had begun to take place on the Missouri River at "Fort Pierre."

In the 1850s the fur trade was in decline. Fort Pierre was sold to the U.S. Army and soldiers took up the task of keeping peace between Indians and white settlers. Pierre would become the capital of South Dakota. Slowly over the years groups of Indians gave up their land and moved onto reservations. The land parcels they left behind were then purchased by land companies for farming, forestry, and building stone. These companies pressured the government to assign territorial status to the land, and in 1861 President James Buchanan (18571861) signed a bill which designated it as the Dakota Territory. The region included what is now North Dakota and South Dakota and most of the land in Montana and Wyoming.

During the 1860s and 1870s transportation networks opened up the Dakota Territory for additional markets making migration to the area much easier. Thus, when gold was discovered in Montana in the 1860s thousands of miners were able to travel from the east through Dakota. Federal money was also secured to begin building roads to Montana. When the Pacific Railroad to Sioux City, Iowa, was completed in 1868, farmers could transport wheat to eastern markets. Bridges were constructed over the Vermillion and James rivers which made it easier to reach the railroad at Sioux City. And when the Dakota Southern Railroad between Sioux City and Yankton opened in 1873 Yankton became an important stopover on the river which, in turn, helped attract more settlers to the area.

Immigrant farmersSwedish, Danish, and Czech entered the territory through Sioux City and settled in the territory to farm. These pioneers could purchase 160 acres for $1.25 per acre. The Homestead Act of 1862 allowed pioneers to claim the same amount of land for free if they worked the land for five years. (Farm crops often included corn, potatoes, onions, beets, beans, and other vegetables.) Life on the prairie was not easy for the pioneers; ever-present was the threat of blizzards in winter, fires in spring and fall, and drought in summer which could destroy homes, fields, and crops. Only the heartiest settlers could withstand the utter devastation possible in the difficult climate.

In 1874 gold was discovered in the Black Hills. However, the Sioux Indians considered the Black Hills sacred ground. (Although most of Native Americans lived on reservations some still roamed the area.) The U.S. government was aware of this Native American belief and agreed in the Laramie Treaty (1868) to protect the area. However, when news spread that gold was discovered more than 800 miners flocked to the area to mine for gold illegally. When the government tried to buy the Black Hills from the Sioux for $6 million they refused, and instead attacked mining camps over the next few years in what was known as the Sioux War of 1876. The Sioux eventually agreed to surrender the Black Hills and most of the Native Americans settled in reservations. Miners settled in the area. At the height of the gold rush in 1877 more than 25,000 people lived in the Black Hills. The towns they populated included restaurants, laundries, grocery stores, saloons, and gambling houses.

At the same time as the Black Hills gold rush, cattle ranchers began to establish themselves in the area. Texas longhorn steers were driven from Texas to the lush range surrounding the Black Hills and the popularity of sheep ranching also grew. In 1884 more than 800,000 head of cattle and 85,000 sheep grazed the land. Not only did people in the Black Hills region purchase meat for food but as additional railroads were built ranchers were able to transport cattle and sheep to eastern cities for slaughter. In 1885 amid this period of heightened settlement and economic activity, South Dakota and North Dakota were approved for statehood.

When World War I (19141918) started prices of crops and livestock increased while the demand for farm products rose. This helped to bolster South Dakota's economy. However, after the war ended the price for these items fell. Because farmers received less income they couldn't repay debts; many lost their farms, and left the state. Soon after, The Great Depression (19291939) devastated many South Dakotans who were already affected by the state's economic crisis. In addition the 1930s brought drought, grasshopper plagues, dust storms, and crop failures which lasted for nearly ten years. Assistance arrived when President Franklin D. Roosevelt's (19331945) New Deal put 25,000 men to work planting trees for windbreaks and building recreational facilities. The government gave South Dakota $35 million to build schools and other public buildings, bridges, and roads. The federal government also purchased cattle and sheep and taught farmers to grow drought-resistant grass.

The start of World War II (19391945) helped lift South Dakota out of the depression because meat, dairy and grain products were needed for the war effort. The Sioux Falls Air Force Training Base and the Ellsworth Air Base outside Rapid City were built and machine shops and foundries were constructed all over the state.

After the war incomes from farming were on the upswing again. Many who had lost their farms were able to buy them back. Between 1945 and 1966 the government developed and implemented a plan that improved the state's economy and made it less dependent on farming for income. To control flooding and irrigation, dams were built on the Cheyenne, Grand, and Moreu rivers and on Rapid Creek. The Missouri River also was dammed in four locations to provide electric power, flood control, and irrigation. The Oahe, Francis Case, Sharpe, and Lewis and Clark lakes were created by damming the Missouri River, also known as the "Great Lakes of South Dakota," they have become a tourist attraction.

Severe weather continued to affect the state's economy. In the blizzards of 1966 and 1975 several people died and thousands of cattle were killed. The Rapid City Canyon Lake Dam burst in 1972, flooding the city, killing 238 people, and causing $100 million worth of property damage. In 1988 a drought in the state caused millions of dollars in damage to the wheat, rye, and corn crops. The drought also caused the Black Hills National Forest to catch fire; a lightening strike set $4.4 million worth of timber ablaze.

During the 1980s Native American unemployment on reservations reached 80 percent due to cuts in federal spending. Also, farm incomes fell as prices for farm products decreased while mortgages rose causing many people to lose their farms. In response to public suffering the state government provided $40 million in 1987 for low-interest loans to help new and expanding businesses. The state supported specific industries including plastic products, electronic components, women's clothing, surgical instruments, and life insurance, hoping that this initiative would create jobs for both Native American and non-Native American residents as well as attract other businesses.

In the 1990s Citicorp, the largest bank-holding company in the United States, set up a credit card operation in Sioux Falls. In the early 1990s manufacturing also expanded up to 10 percent each year, and in 1994 the state produced record corn and soybean crops. Casino gambling also became an important source of revenue after it was legalized in the state in 1989.

In 1995 the median household income was $29,578 with 14.5 percent of all South Dakotans below the federal poverty level.

See also: Dry Farming, Native American Policy


Grabowski, John F. The Great Plains: Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1992.

Rezatto, Helen. The Making of the Two Dakotas. Lincoln, NE: Media Publishing, 1989.

Thompson, Kathleen. "South Dakota." Portrait of America. Austin TX: Steck-Vaughn Publishers, 1996.

Veglahn, Nancy. "South Dakota." States of the Nation, Dakota, SD: Wesleyan University, 1970.

Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States. Detroit: Gale Research, 1998, s.v. "South Dakota."

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S.Dak. • abbr. South Dakota.

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Coyote State

Coyote State an informal name for South Dakota.

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