South Dakota
Overview
 
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region
Midwestern United States
The Midwestern United States is one of the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the United States Census Bureau, providing an official definition of the American Midwest....

 of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux
Sioux
The Sioux are Native American and First Nations people in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or any of the nation's many language dialects...

 American Indian
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory
Dakota Territory
The Territory of Dakota was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 2, 1861, until November 2, 1889, when the final extent of the reduced territory was split and admitted to the Union as the states of North and South Dakota.The Dakota Territory consisted of...

, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of 77116 square miles (199,729.5 km²) and an estimated population of just over 800,000. Pierre
Pierre, South Dakota
Pierre is the capital of the U.S. state of South Dakota and the county seat of Hughes County. The population was 13,646 at the 2010 census, making it the second least populous state capital after Montpelier, Vermont...

 is the state capital and Sioux Falls, with a population of nearly 160,000, is South Dakota's largest city.

South Dakota is bordered by the states of North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

, Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

, Nebraska
Nebraska
Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

, Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

, and Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

.
Encyclopedia
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region
Midwestern United States
The Midwestern United States is one of the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the United States Census Bureau, providing an official definition of the American Midwest....

 of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux
Sioux
The Sioux are Native American and First Nations people in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or any of the nation's many language dialects...

 American Indian
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory
Dakota Territory
The Territory of Dakota was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 2, 1861, until November 2, 1889, when the final extent of the reduced territory was split and admitted to the Union as the states of North and South Dakota.The Dakota Territory consisted of...

, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of 77116 square miles (199,729.5 km²) and an estimated population of just over 800,000. Pierre
Pierre, South Dakota
Pierre is the capital of the U.S. state of South Dakota and the county seat of Hughes County. The population was 13,646 at the 2010 census, making it the second least populous state capital after Montpelier, Vermont...

 is the state capital and Sioux Falls, with a population of nearly 160,000, is South Dakota's largest city.

South Dakota is bordered by the states of North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

, Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

, Nebraska
Nebraska
Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

, Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

, and Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

. The state is bisected by the Missouri River
Missouri River
The Missouri River flows through the central United States, and is a tributary of the Mississippi River. It is the longest river in North America and drains the third largest area, though only the thirteenth largest by discharge. The Missouri's watershed encompasses most of the American Great...

, dividing South Dakota into two geographically and socially distinct halves, known to residents as "East River
East River (South Dakota)
The East River portion of South Dakota refers to the section of the state lying east of the Missouri River. Geographical distinctions between the eastern and western sections of the state were reinforced by distinct patterns of European settlement and Native American resettlement during the 19th...

" and "West River
West River (South Dakota)
West River is the portion of the state of South Dakota located west of the Missouri River with well over one-half of the land area and between one-quarter and one-third of the population of the state. Usually pronounced "Wes-triver" by locals, it contrasts with "East River."The contrast between...

". Eastern South Dakota is home to most of the state's population, and fertile soil in this area is used to grow a variety of crops. West of the Missouri, ranch
Ranch
A ranch is an area of landscape, including various structures, given primarily to the practice of ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat or wool. The word most often applies to livestock-raising operations in the western United States and Canada, though...

ing is the predominant agricultural activity, and the economy is more dependent on tourism and defense spending. The Black Hills
Black Hills
The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, USA. Set off from the main body of the Rocky Mountains, the region is something of a geological anomaly—accurately described as an "island of...

, a group of low pine-covered mountains, is located in the southwest part of the state. The Black Hills are sacred to the Sioux. Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota, in the United States...

, a major tourist destination, is located there. Other attractions in the southwest include Badlands
Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park, in southwest South Dakota, United States preserves of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires blended with the largest protected mixed grass prairie in the United States....

 and Wind Cave
Wind Cave National Park
Wind Cave National Park is a United States national park north of the town of Hot Springs in western South Dakota. Established in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, it was the seventh U.S. National Park and the first cave to be designated a national park anywhere in the world. The cave is...

 national parks, Custer State Park
Custer State Park
Custer State Park is a state park and wildlife reserve in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota, USA. The park is South Dakota's largest and first state park, named after Lt...

, the Crazy Horse Memorial
Crazy Horse Memorial
The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain monument complex that is under construction on privately held land in the Black Hills, in Custer County, South Dakota. It represents Crazy Horse, an Oglala Lakota warrior, riding a horse and pointing into the distance. The memorial was commissioned by Lakota...

, and historic Deadwood
Deadwood, South Dakota
Deadwood is a city in South Dakota, United States, and the county seat of Lawrence County. It is named for the dead trees found in its gulch. The population was 1,270 according to a 2010 census...

. South Dakota experiences a temperate continental climate
Continental climate
Continental climate is a climate characterized by important annual variation in temperature due to the lack of significant bodies of water nearby...

, with four distinct seasons and precipitation ranging from moderate in the east to semi-arid in the west. The ecology of the state features species typical of a North American grassland
Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

 biome.

Humans have inhabited the area for several millennia, with the Sioux becoming dominant by the early 19th century. In the late 19th century, European-American settlement intensified after a gold rush
Black Hills Gold Rush
The Black Hills Gold Rush took place in Dakota Territory in the United States. It began in 1874 following the Custer Expedition and reached a peak in 1876-77.Rumors and poorly documented reports of gold in the Black Hills go back to the early 19th century...

 in the Black Hills and the construction of railroads from the east. Encroaching miners and settlers caused conflict that triggered a number of Indian Wars
Indian Wars
American Indian Wars is the name used in the United States to describe a series of conflicts between American settlers or the federal government and the native peoples of North America before and after the American Revolutionary War. The wars resulted from the arrival of European colonizers who...

, ending with the Wounded Knee Massacre
Wounded Knee Massacre
The Wounded Knee Massacre happened on December 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, USA. On the day before, a detachment of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment commanded by Major Samuel M...

 in 1890. Key events in the 20th century included the Dust Bowl
Dust Bowl
The Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936...

 and Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, increased federal spending during the 1940s and 50s for agriculture and defense, and an industrialization of agriculture which has much reduced family farming. While several Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 senators
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 have represented South Dakota for multiple terms at the federal level, the state government is largely dominated by the Republican Party
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

, whose nominees have carried South Dakota in each of the most recent eleven presidential elections
United States presidential election
Elections for President and Vice President of the United States are indirect elections in which voters cast ballots for a slate of electors of the U.S. Electoral College, who in turn directly elect the President and Vice President...

. Historically dominated by an agricultural economy and a rural lifestyle, South Dakota has recently sought to diversify its economy to attract and retain residents. It is still largely rural and has the fifth-lowest population density among U.S. states. South Dakota's history and rural character still strongly influence the culture of the state.

Geography

South Dakota is situated in the north-central United States, and is considered a part of the Midwest by the U.S. Census Bureau; it is also part of the Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

 region. The culture, economy, and geography of western South Dakota have more in common with the West
Western United States
.The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West or simply "the West," traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. Because the U.S. expanded westward after its founding, the meaning of the West has evolved over time...

 than the Midwest. South Dakota has a total land area of 77121 square miles (199,742.5 km²), making the state the 17th largest in the Union. Harney Peak
Harney Peak
Harney Peak is the highest natural point in South Dakota. Harney Peak is located within the Black Elk Wilderness area, in southern Pennington County, within Black Hills National Forest...

, with an elevation of 7242 ft (2,207.4 m), is the state's highest point, while the shoreline of Big Stone Lake
Big Stone Lake
Big Stone Lake is a long, narrow freshwater lake and reservoir forming the border between western Minnesota and northeastern South Dakota in the USA. The lake covers 12,610 acres of surface area, stretching 26 miles from end to end and averaging around 1 mile wide, and at an elevation of 965...

 is the lowest, with an elevation of 966 ft (294.4 m). South Dakota is bordered to the north by North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

; to the south by Nebraska
Nebraska
Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

; to the east by Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

 and Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

; and to the west by Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

 and Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

. The geographical center of the U.S. is 17 miles (27.4 km) west of Castle Rock in Butte County
Butte County, South Dakota
As of the census of 2000, there were 9,094 people, 3,516 households, and 2,468 families residing in the county. The population density was 4 people per square mile . There were 4,059 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile...

. The North American continental pole of inaccessibility is located between Allen
Allen, South Dakota
Allen is a census-designated place in Bennett County, South Dakota. As of the 2010 census, the CDP had a population of 420. It is considered the poorest place in the United States...

 and Kyle
Kyle, South Dakota
Kyle is a census-designated place in Shannon County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 846 at the 2010 census...

, 1024 mi (1,648 km) from the nearest coastline.

The Missouri River
Missouri River
The Missouri River flows through the central United States, and is a tributary of the Mississippi River. It is the longest river in North America and drains the third largest area, though only the thirteenth largest by discharge. The Missouri's watershed encompasses most of the American Great...

 is the largest and longest river in the state. Other major South Dakota rivers include the Cheyenne
Cheyenne River
The Cheyenne River is a tributary of the Missouri River in the U.S. states of Wyoming and South Dakota. It is approximately 295 mi long and drains an area of...

, James
James River (Dakotas)
The James River is a tributary of the Missouri River, approximately 710 mi long, draning an area of in the U.S. states of North Dakota and South Dakota...

, Big Sioux
Big Sioux River
The Big Sioux River is a tributary of the Missouri River, long, in eastern South Dakota and northwestern Iowa in the United States. The United States Board on Geographic Names settled on "Big Sioux River" as the stream's name in 1961....

, and White
White River (South Dakota)
The White River is a Missouri River tributary that flows through the U.S. states of Nebraska and South Dakota. The name stems from the water's white-gray color, a function of eroded sand, clay, and volcanic ash carried by the river...

 Rivers. Eastern South Dakota has many natural lakes, mostly created by periods of glaciation. Additionally, dams on the Missouri River create four large reservoirs: Lake Oahe
Oahe Dam
The Oahe Dam is a large dam along the Missouri River, just north of Pierre, South Dakota in the United States. It creates Lake Oahe, the fourth largest artificial reservoir in the United States, which stretches up the course of the Missouri to Bismarck, North Dakota. The dam's powerplant provides...

, Lake Sharpe
Lake Sharpe
Lake Sharpe is a large reservoir behind Big Bend Dam on the Missouri River in central South Dakota, USA. The lake has an area of and a maximum depth of . Lake Sharpe is approximately long, with a shoreline of ....

, Lake Francis Case
Lake Francis Case
Lake Francis Case is a large reservoir behind Fort Randall Dam on the Missouri River in south-central South Dakota, USA. The lake has an area of and a maximum depth of . Lake Francis Case has a length of approximately and has a shoreline of . The reservoir is named for former South Dakota Senator...

, and Lewis and Clark Lake
Lewis and Clark Lake
Lewis and Clark Lake is an impoundment on the Missouri River above Gavins Point Dam, near Yankton, South Dakota. It is located on the border of South Dakota and Nebraska. The reservoir is approximately long, with a surface area of 31,000 acres ; it has a maximum depth of . It is the smallest of...

.

Regions and geology

South Dakota can generally be divided into three regions: eastern South Dakota, western South Dakota, and the Black Hills
Black Hills
The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, USA. Set off from the main body of the Rocky Mountains, the region is something of a geological anomaly—accurately described as an "island of...

. The Missouri River serves as a boundary in terms of geographic, social, and political differences between eastern and western South Dakota, and the geography of the Black Hills differs from its surroundings to such an extent that it can be considered separate from the rest of western South Dakota. South Dakotans also at times combine the Black Hills with the rest of western South Dakota, and refer to the two resulting regions, divided by the Missouri, as West River
West River (South Dakota)
West River is the portion of the state of South Dakota located west of the Missouri River with well over one-half of the land area and between one-quarter and one-third of the population of the state. Usually pronounced "Wes-triver" by locals, it contrasts with "East River."The contrast between...

 and East River
East River (South Dakota)
The East River portion of South Dakota refers to the section of the state lying east of the Missouri River. Geographical distinctions between the eastern and western sections of the state were reinforced by distinct patterns of European settlement and Native American resettlement during the 19th...

.

Eastern South Dakota generally features higher precipitation and lower topography than the western part of the state. Smaller geographic regions of this area include the Coteau des Prairies
Coteau des Prairies
The Coteau des Prairies is a plateau approximately 200 miles in length and 100 miles in width , rising from the prairie flatlands in eastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, and northwestern Iowa in the United States...

, the Dissected Till Plains
Dissected Till Plains
The Dissected Till Plains are physiographic sections of the Central Lowlands province, which in turn is part of the Interior Plains physiographic division of the United States, located in southern and western Iowa, northeastern Kansas, the southwestern corner of Minnesota, northern Missouri,...

, and the James River Valley. The Coteau des Prairies is a plateau bordered on the east by the Minnesota River
Minnesota River
The Minnesota River is a tributary of the Mississippi River, approximately 332 miles long, in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It drains a watershed of nearly , in Minnesota and about in South Dakota and Iowa....

 Valley and on the west by the James River Basin. Further to the west, the James River Basin is mostly low, flat, highly eroded land, following the flow of the James River
James River (Dakotas)
The James River is a tributary of the Missouri River, approximately 710 mi long, draning an area of in the U.S. states of North Dakota and South Dakota...

 through South Dakota from north to south. The Dissected Till Plains, an area of rolling hills and fertile soil that covers much of Iowa and Nebraska, also extends into the southeastern corner of South Dakota. Layers deposited during the Pleistocene
Pleistocene
The Pleistocene is the epoch from 2,588,000 to 11,700 years BP that spans the world's recent period of repeated glaciations. The name pleistocene is derived from the Greek and ....

 epoch, starting around two million years ago, cover most of eastern South Dakota. These are the youngest rock and sediment layers in the state, and are the product of several successive periods of glaciation
Glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

 which deposited a large amount of rocks and soil, known as till
Till
thumb|right|Closeup of glacial till. Note that the larger grains in the till are completely surrounded by the matrix of finer material , and this characteristic, known as matrix support, is diagnostic of till....

, over the area.
The Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

 cover most of the western two-thirds of South Dakota. West of the Missouri River the landscape becomes more arid and rugged, consisting of rolling hills, plains, ravines, and steep flat-topped hills called butte
Butte
A butte is a conspicuous isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top; it is smaller than mesas, plateaus, and table landform tables. In some regions, such as the north central and northwestern United States, the word is used for any hill...

s. In the south, east of the Black Hills, lie the South Dakota Badlands
Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park, in southwest South Dakota, United States preserves of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires blended with the largest protected mixed grass prairie in the United States....

. Erosion from the Black Hills, marine skeletons which fell to the bottom of a large shallow sea that once covered the area and volcanic material all contribute to the geology of this area.

The Black Hills are in the southwestern part of South Dakota and extend into Wyoming. This range of low mountains covers 6000 sq mi (15,539.9 km²) with peaks that rise from 2,000 to 4,000 feet (600 to 1,200 m) above their bases. The Black Hills are the location of Harney Peak
Harney Peak
Harney Peak is the highest natural point in South Dakota. Harney Peak is located within the Black Elk Wilderness area, in southern Pennington County, within Black Hills National Forest...

 (7,242 ft or 2,207 m above sea level), the highest point in South Dakota and also the highest point in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

. Two billion-year-old Precambrian
Precambrian
The Precambrian is the name which describes the large span of time in Earth's history before the current Phanerozoic Eon, and is a Supereon divided into several eons of the geologic time scale...

 formations, the oldest rocks in the state, form the central core of the Black Hills. Formations from the Paleozoic Era form the outer ring of the Black Hills; these were created between roughly 540 and 250 million years ago. This area features rocks such as limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 which were deposited here when the area formed the shoreline of an ancient inland sea.

Ecology

Much of South Dakota, not including the Black Hills, is dominated by a temperate grasslands biome
Biome
Biomes are climatically and geographically defined as similar climatic conditions on the Earth, such as communities of plants, animals, and soil organisms, and are often referred to as ecosystems. Some parts of the earth have more or less the same kind of abiotic and biotic factors spread over a...

. Although grasses and crops cover most of this region, deciduous
Deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

 trees such as cottonwoods, elms, and willow
Willow
Willows, sallows, and osiers form the genus Salix, around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere...

s are common near rivers and in shelter belts.
Mammals in this area include bison
American Bison
The American bison , also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds...

, deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

, pronghorn
Pronghorn
The pronghorn is a species of artiodactyl mammal endemic to interior western and central North America. Though not an antelope, it is often known colloquially in North America as the prong buck, pronghorn antelope, or simply antelope, as it closely resembles the true antelopes of the Old World and...

, coyotes, and prairie dog
Prairie dog
Prairie dogs are burrowing rodents native to the grasslands of North America. There are five different species of prairie dogs: black-tailed, white-tailed, Gunnison's, Utah and Mexican prairie dogs. They are a type of ground squirrel, found in the United States, Canada and Mexico...

s. The state bird, the ring-necked pheasant
Common Pheasant
The Common Pheasant , is a bird in the pheasant family . It is native to Georgia and has been widely introduced elsewhere as a game bird. In parts of its range, namely in places where none of its relatives occur such as in Europe , it is simply known as the "pheasant"...

, has adapted well to the area after being introduced from China, and growing populations of bald eagle
Bald Eagle
The Bald Eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. It is the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle...

s are spread throughout the state, especially near the Missouri River. Rivers and lakes of the grasslands support populations of walleye
Walleye
Walleye is a freshwater perciform fish native to most of Canada and to the northern United States. It is a North American close relative of the European pikeperch...

, carp
Carp
Carp are various species of oily freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae, a very large group of fish native to Europe and Asia. The cypriniformes are traditionally grouped with the Characiformes, Siluriformes and Gymnotiformes to create the superorder Ostariophysi, since these groups have certain...

, pike, bass
Bass (fish)
Bass is a name shared by many different species of popular gamefish. The term encompasses both freshwater and marine species. All belong to the large order Perciformes, or perch-like fishes, and in fact the word bass comes from Middle English bars, meaning "perch."-Types of basses:*The temperate...

, and other species. The Missouri River also contains the pre-historic paddlefish
American Paddlefish
The American paddlefish, Polyodon spathula, also called the Mississippi paddlefish or spoonbill, is a paddlefish living in slow-flowing waters of the Mississippi River drainage system. It appears to have been extirpated from Lake Erie and its tributaries. They are closely related to the sturgeons...

.

Because of higher elevation and precipitation, the Black Hills ecology differs significantly from that of the plains. The mountains are thickly blanketed by various types of pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

s, including ponderosa
Ponderosa Pine
Pinus ponderosa, commonly known as the Ponderosa Pine, Bull Pine, Blackjack Pine, or Western Yellow Pine, is a widespread and variable pine native to western North America. It was first described by David Douglas in 1826, from eastern Washington near present-day Spokane...

 and lodgepole
Lodgepole Pine
Lodgepole Pine, Pinus contorta, also known as Shore Pine, is a common tree in western North America. Like all pines, it is evergreen.-Subspecies:...

 pines, as well as spruces. Black Hills mammals include deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

, elk (wapiti)
Elk
The Elk is the large deer, also called Cervus canadensis or wapiti, of North America and eastern Asia.Elk may also refer to:Other antlered mammals:...

, bighorn sheep
Bighorn Sheep
The bighorn sheep is a species of sheep in North America named for its large horns. These horns can weigh up to , while the sheep themselves weigh up to . Recent genetic testing indicates that there are three distinct subspecies of Ovis canadensis, one of which is endangered: Ovis canadensis sierrae...

, mountain goat
Mountain goat
The Mountain Goat , also known as the Rocky Mountain Goat, is a large-hoofed mammal found only in North America. Despite its vernacular name, it is not a member of Capra, the genus of true goats...

s, and mountain lions, while the streams and lakes contain several species of trout
Trout
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

.

Climate

South Dakota has a continental climate
Continental climate
Continental climate is a climate characterized by important annual variation in temperature due to the lack of significant bodies of water nearby...

 with four distinct seasons, ranging from cold, dry winters to hot and semi-humid summers. During the summers, the average high temperature throughout the state is often close to 90 °F (32 °C), although it cools to near 60 °F (15 °C) at night. It is not unusual for South Dakota to have severe hot, dry spells in the summer with the temperature climbing above 100 °F (38 °C) several times every year. Winters are cold with January high temperatures averaging below freezing and low temperatures averaging below 10 °F (- 12 °C) in most of the state. The highest recorded temperature is 120 °F (48.9 °C) at Usta on July 15, 2006 and the lowest recorded temperature is -58 F at McIntosh
McIntosh, South Dakota
McIntosh is a city in and the county seat of Corson County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 173 at the 2010 census.-Geography:McIntosh is located at ....

 on February 17, 1936.

Average annual precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

 in South Dakota ranges from semi-arid conditions in the northwestern part of the state (around 15 inches, or 381 mm) to semi-humid around the southeast portion of the state (around 25 inches, or 635 mm), although a small area centered on Lead
Lead, South Dakota
Lead is a city in Lawrence County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 3,124 at the 2010 census. Lead is located in western South Dakota, in the Black Hills near the Wyoming state line.-History:...

 in the Black Hills has the highest precipitation at nearly 30 inches (762 mm) a year.

South Dakota summers bring frequent, sometimes severe, thunderstorms with high winds, thunder, and hail. The eastern part of the state is often considered part of Tornado Alley
Tornado Alley
Tornado Alley is a colloquial and popular media term that most often refers to the area of the United States where tornadoes are most frequent. Although an official location is not defined, the area between the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian Mountains is usually associated with it.The areas...

, and South Dakota experiences an average of 30 tornadoes each year. Severe weather in the form of blizzard
Blizzard
A blizzard is a severe snowstorm characterized by strong winds. By definition, the difference between blizzard and a snowstorm is the strength of the wind. To be a blizzard, a snow storm must have winds in excess of with blowing or drifting snow which reduces visibility to 400 meters or ¼ mile or...

s and ice storm
Ice storm
An ice storm is a type of winter storm characterized by freezing rain, also known as a glaze event or in some parts of the United States as a silver thaw. The U.S. National Weather Service defines an ice storm as a storm which results in the accumulation of at least of ice on exposed surfaces...

s occur often during winter.
Monthly normal high and low temperatures for various South Dakota cities in degrees Fahrenheit (and Celsius)
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Aberdeen 21/1 (−6/-17) 28/9 (−2/-13) 40/21 (4/-6) 57/33 (14/1) 70/46 (21/8) 79/55 (26/13) 85/60 (29/16) 84/57 (29/14) 73/46 (23/8) 59/34 (15/1) 39/20 (4/-7) 26/6 (−3/-14)
Rapid City 34/11 (1/-12) 39/16 (4/-9) 47/23 (8/-5) 57/32 (13/0) 67/43 (19/6) 77/52 (25/11) 86/58 (30/14) 86/57 (30/14) 75/46 (24/8) 62/35 (17/2) 45/22 (7/-6) 36/13 (2/-11)
Sioux Falls 25/3 (−4/-16) 32/10 (0/-12) 44/21 (7/-6) 59/32 (15/0) 71/45 (22/7) 81/54 (27/12) 86/60 (30/16) 83/58 (28/14) 74/48 (23/9) 61/35 (16/2) 42/21 (6/-6) 29/8 (−2/-13)
'

National Parks and Monuments

South Dakota contains several sites that are administered by the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

.
Two national parks have been established in South Dakota, both located in the southwestern part of the state. Wind Cave National Park
Wind Cave National Park
Wind Cave National Park is a United States national park north of the town of Hot Springs in western South Dakota. Established in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, it was the seventh U.S. National Park and the first cave to be designated a national park anywhere in the world. The cave is...

, established in 1903 in the Black Hills, contains an extensive cave network as well as a large herd of bison
American Bison
The American bison , also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds...

. Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park, in southwest South Dakota, United States preserves of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires blended with the largest protected mixed grass prairie in the United States....

 was created in 1978. The park features an eroded, brightly-colored landscape surrounded by semi-arid
Semi-arid
A semi-arid climate or steppe climate describes climatic regions that receive precipitation below potential evapotranspiration, but not extremely...

 grasslands. Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota, in the United States...

 National Memorial in the Black Hills was established in 1925. The sculpture of four U.S. Presidents was carved into the mountainside by sculptor Gutzon Borglum
Gutzon Borglum
Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum was an American artist and sculptor famous for creating the monumental presidents' heads at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, the famous carving on Stone Mountain near Atlanta, as well as other public works of art.- Background :The son of Mormon Danish immigrants, Gutzon...

. Other areas managed by the National Park Service include Jewel Cave National Monument
Jewel Cave National Monument
Jewel Cave National Monument contains Jewel Cave, currently the second longest cave in the world, with just over of mapped passageways. It is located approximately west of the town of Custer in South Dakota's Black Hills...

 near Custer
Custer, South Dakota
Custer is a city in Custer County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 2,067 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Custer County.-History:...

, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is a route across the United States commemorating the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 to 1806. It is part of the National Trails System of the United States...

, the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site was established in 1999 to illustrate the history and significance of the Cold War, the arms race, and intercontinental ballistic missile development. This National Historic Site preserves the last remaining Minuteman II ICBM system in the United States...

, which features a decommissioned nuclear missile silo and a separate missile control area located several miles away, and the Missouri National Recreational River
Missouri National Recreational River
The Missouri National Recreational River is located on the border between Nebraska and South Dakota. The designation was first applied in 1978 to a 59-mile section of the Missouri River between Gavins Point Dam and Ponca State Park. In 1991, an additional 39-mile section between Fort Randall Dam...

. The Crazy Horse Memorial
Crazy Horse Memorial
The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain monument complex that is under construction on privately held land in the Black Hills, in Custer County, South Dakota. It represents Crazy Horse, an Oglala Lakota warrior, riding a horse and pointing into the distance. The memorial was commissioned by Lakota...

 is a large mountainside sculpture near Mt. Rushmore that is being constructed with private funds.

History

Humans have lived in what is today South Dakota for at least several thousand years. The first inhabitants were Paleoindian hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

s, and disappeared from the area around 5000 BC. Between 500 AD and 800 AD, a semi-nomadic people known as the Mound Builders lived in central and eastern South Dakota. In the 14th century, the Crow Creek Massacre
Crow Creek massacre
The Crow Creek massacre occurred around 1325 between Indian groups in the South Dakota area. Crow Creek Site, the site of the massacre near Chamberlain, is an archaeological site and a U.S. National Historic Landmark. Located at co-ordinates 43°58′48″N 99°19′54″W. It is thought that either Middle...

 occurred, in which several hundred men, women, and children were killed near the Missouri River. By 1500 the Arikara
Arikara
Arikara are a group of Native Americans in North Dakota...

 (or Ree) had settled in much of the Missouri River valley. European contact with the area began in 1743, when the LaVerendrye
Louis-Joseph Gaultier de La Vérendrye
Louis-Joseph Gaultier de La Vérendrye was a French Canadian fur trader and explorer who took part in extending these activities westerly from the Great Lakes during the eighteenth century, an enterprise for which he and other members of his family were largely responsible...

 brothers explored the region. The LaVerendrye group buried a plate near the site of modern day Pierre, claiming the region for France as part of greater Louisiana
Louisiana (New France)
Louisiana or French Louisiana was an administrative district of New France. Under French control from 1682–1763 and 1800–03, the area was named in honor of Louis XIV, by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle...

. By the early 19th century, the Sioux
Sioux
The Sioux are Native American and First Nations people in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or any of the nation's many language dialects...

 had largely replaced the Arikara as the dominant group in the area.

In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory
Louisiana Territory
The Territory of Louisiana or Louisiana Territory was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 4, 1805 until June 4, 1812, when it was renamed to Missouri Territory...

, an area that included most of South Dakota, from Napoleon Bonaparte, and President Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 organized a group commonly referred to as the "Lewis and Clark Expedition
Lewis and Clark Expedition
The Lewis and Clark Expedition, or ″Corps of Discovery Expedition" was the first transcontinental expedition to the Pacific Coast by the United States. Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson and led by two Virginia-born veterans of Indian wars in the Ohio Valley, Meriwether Lewis and William...

" to explore the newly-acquired region. In 1817, an American fur trading post was set up at present-day Fort Pierre, beginning continuous American settlement of the area. In 1855, the U.S. Army bought Fort Pierre but abandoned it the following year in favor of Fort Randall to the south. Settlement by Americans and Europeans was by this time increasing rapidly, and in 1858 the Yankton Sioux signed the 1858 Treaty, ceding most of present-day eastern South Dakota to the United States.
Land speculators founded two of eastern South Dakota's largest present-day cities: Sioux Falls in 1856 and Yankton
Yankton, South Dakota
Yankton is a city in, and the county seat of, Yankton County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 14,454 at the 2010 census. Yankton was the original capital of Dakota Territory. It is named for the Yankton tribe of Nakota Native Americans...

 in 1859. In 1861, the Dakota Territory
Dakota Territory
The Territory of Dakota was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 2, 1861, until November 2, 1889, when the final extent of the reduced territory was split and admitted to the Union as the states of North and South Dakota.The Dakota Territory consisted of...

 was established by the United States government (this initially included North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

, South Dakota, and parts of Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

 and Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

). Settlement of the area, mostly by people from the eastern United States as well as western and northern Europe, increased rapidly, especially after the completion of an eastern railway link to Yankton in 1873. In 1874 gold was discovered in the Black Hills
Black Hills
The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, USA. Set off from the main body of the Rocky Mountains, the region is something of a geological anomaly—accurately described as an "island of...

 during a military expedition led by George A. Custer and miners and explorers began illegally entering land promised to the Lakota.

Custer's expedition took place despite the fact that the US had granted the entire western half of present-day South Dakota (West River
West River (South Dakota)
West River is the portion of the state of South Dakota located west of the Missouri River with well over one-half of the land area and between one-quarter and one-third of the population of the state. Usually pronounced "Wes-triver" by locals, it contrasts with "East River."The contrast between...

) to the Sioux in 1868 by the Treaty of Laramie
Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868)
The Treaty of Fort Laramie was an agreement between the United States and the Oglala, Miniconjou, and Brulé bands of Lakota people, Yanktonai Dakota, and Arapaho Nation signed in 1868 at Fort Laramie in the Wyoming Territory, guaranteeing to the Lakota ownership of the Black Hills, and further...

 as part of the Great Sioux Reservation
Great Sioux reservation
The Great Sioux Reservation was established in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, and includes all of modern western South Dakota and modern Boyd County, Nebraska...

. The Sioux declined to grant mining rights or land in the Black Hills, and war broke out after the U.S. failed to stop white miners and settlers from entering the region. Eventually the US defeated the Sioux and broke up the Great Sioux Reservation into five reservations, settling the Lakota in those areas. (In 1980, the US Supreme Court and Congress ordered payment to the Lakota for the illegal seizure of the Black Hills. The case remains unsettled, as the Lakota refuse to accept the money and instead insist on the return of the land.) A growing population caused Dakota Territory to be divided in half and President Benjamin Harrison
Benjamin Harrison
Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States . Harrison, a grandson of President William Henry Harrison, was born in North Bend, Ohio, and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana at age 21, eventually becoming a prominent politician there...

 signed proclamations formally admitting both South Dakota and North Dakota to the union on November 2, 1889. Harrison had the papers shuffled to obscure which one was signed first and the order went unrecorded.

On December 29, 1890, the Wounded Knee Massacre
Wounded Knee Massacre
The Wounded Knee Massacre happened on December 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, USA. On the day before, a detachment of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment commanded by Major Samuel M...

 occurred on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is an Oglala Sioux Native American reservation located in the U.S. state of South Dakota. Originally included within the territory of the Great Sioux Reservation, Pine Ridge was established in 1889 in the southwest corner of South Dakota on the Nebraska border...

. Commonly cited as the last major armed conflict between the United States and the Lakota Sioux Nation, the massacre resulted in the deaths of at least 146 Sioux, many of them women and children. 31 U.S. soldiers were also killed in the conflict.

During the 1930s, several economic and climatic conditions combined with disastrous results for South Dakota. A lack of rainfall, extremely high temperatures and inappropriate cultivation techniques produced what was known as the Dust Bowl
Dust Bowl
The Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936...

 in South Dakota and several other plains states. Fertile topsoil
Topsoil
Topsoil is the upper, outermost layer of soil, usually the top to . It has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms and is where most of the Earth's biological soil activity occurs.-Importance:...

 was blown away in massive dust storms, and several harvests were completely ruined. The experiences of the Dust Bowl, coupled with local bank foreclosure
Foreclosure
Foreclosure is the legal process by which a mortgage lender , or other lien holder, obtains a termination of a mortgage borrower 's equitable right of redemption, either by court order or by operation of law...

s and the general economic effects of the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, resulted in many South Dakotans leaving the state. The population of South Dakota declined by more than 7% between 1930 and 1940.

Economic stability returned with the U.S. entry into World War II in 1941, when demand for the state's agricultural and industrial products grew as the nation mobilized for war. In 1944, the Pick-Sloan Plan was passed as part of the Flood Control Act of 1944
Flood Control Act of 1944
The Pick-Sloan Flood Control Act of 1944 , enacted in the 2nd session of the 78th Congress, is U.S. legislation that authorized the construction of numerous dams and modifications to previously existing dams, as well as levees across the United States...

 by the U.S. Congress, resulting in the construction of six large dams on the Missouri River, four of which are at least partially located in South Dakota. Flood control, hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

, and recreational opportunities such as boating and fishing are provided by the dams and their reservoirs.

In recent decades, South Dakota has transformed from a state dominated by agriculture to one with a more diversified economy. The tourism industry has grown considerably since the completion of the interstate system in the 1960s, with the Black Hills becoming more important as a destination. The financial service industry began to grow in the state as well, with Citibank
Citibank
Citibank, a major international bank, is the consumer banking arm of financial services giant Citigroup. Citibank was founded in 1812 as the City Bank of New York, later First National City Bank of New York...

 moving its credit card operations from New York to Sioux Falls in 1981, a move that has since been followed by several other financial companies. South Dakota was the first state to eliminate caps on interest rates. In 2007, the site of the recently closed Homestake gold mine
Homestake Mine (South Dakota)
The Homestake Mine was a deep underground gold mine located in Lead, South Dakota. Until it closed in 2002 it was the largest and deepest gold mine in North America, producing more than 40 million ounces of gold. The Homestake Mine is famous in scientific circles for being the site at which the...

 near Lead
Lead, South Dakota
Lead is a city in Lawrence County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 3,124 at the 2010 census. Lead is located in western South Dakota, in the Black Hills near the Wyoming state line.-History:...

 was chosen as the location of a new underground research facility. Despite a growing state population and recent economic development, many rural areas have been struggling over the past 50 years with locally declining populations and the emigration of educated young adults to larger South Dakota cities, such as Rapid City or Sioux Falls, or to other states. Mechanization and consolidation of agriculture has contributed greatly to the declining number of smaller family farms and the resulting economic and demographic challenges facing rural towns.

Demographics


Population

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2009, South Dakota has an estimated population of 812,383, an increase of 57,548, or 7.6%, since the year 2000. 7.3% of South Dakota's population was reported as under 5, 24.7% under 18, and 14.4% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 50.2% of the population. As of the 2000 census, South Dakota ranked fifth-lowest in the nation in both population and population density.
The center of population
Center of population
In demographics, the center of population of a region is a geographical point that describes a centerpoint of the region's population...

 of South Dakota is located in Buffalo County, in the unincorporated county seat of Gannvalley
Gann Valley, South Dakota
Gann Valley is an unincorporated community in and the county seat of Buffalo County, South Dakota, United States. The town had a population of 14 as of the 2010 census, and has been assigned the ZIP code of 57341. The center of population of South Dakota is located in Gann Valley. Gann Valley...

.

Race and ethnicity

At the 2010 Census, 84.7% of the population was non-Hispanic White, 8.5% non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.2% non-Hispanic Black or African American, 0.9% non-Hispanic Asian, 0.1% from some other race (non-Hispanic) and 1.8% of two or more races (non-Hispanic). 2.7% of South Dakota's population was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (they may be of any race).

The five largest ancestry groups in South Dakota are German (40.7%), Norwegian (15.3%), Irish
Irish American
Irish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau...

 (10.4%), Native American (8.3%), and English (7.1%). German Americans are the largest ancestry group in most parts of the state, especially in East River
East River
The East River is a tidal strait in New York City. It connects Upper New York Bay on its south end to Long Island Sound on its north end. It separates Long Island from the island of Manhattan and the Bronx on the North American mainland...

 (east of the Missouri River), although there are also large Scandinavian-descended populations in some counties. South Dakota has the nation's largest population of Hutterites, a communal Anabaptist
Anabaptist
Anabaptists are Protestant Christians of the Radical Reformation of 16th-century Europe, and their direct descendants, particularly the Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites....

 group which emigrated from Europe in 1874.
American Indians
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

, largely Lakota, Dakota
Dakota
- Ethnology and linguistics :* Sioux sub-tribes:**Eastern Dakota**Western Dakota* Dakota language, either of two regional varieties of the Sioux language- Geography :United States*North Dakota, a state*South Dakota, a state* Dakota, Illinois, a village...

, and Nakota
Nakota
The term Nakota is the endonym used by the native peoples of North America who usually go by the name of Assiniboine , in the United States, and of Stoney, in Canada....

 (Sioux) are predominant in several counties and comprise 20 per cent of the population in West River
West River
-Rivers:Canada*West River in Antigonish County, Nova Scotia*West River in Pictou County, Nova Scotia*West River in Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia...

. There are seven large Indian reservations in the state, but this area is diminished from the Great Sioux Reservation
Great Sioux reservation
The Great Sioux Reservation was established in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, and includes all of modern western South Dakota and modern Boyd County, Nebraska...

 of West River, which the US government had once allocated to the Sioux. South Dakota has the third-highest proportion of Native Americans of any state, behind Alaska and New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

. Five of the state's counties are wholly within Indian reservation
Indian reservation
An American Indian reservation is an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs...

s. Living standards on many South Dakota reservations are often far below the national average; Ziebach County
Ziebach County, South Dakota
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,519 people, 741 households, and 594 families residing in the county. The population density was 1.3 people per square mile . There were 879 housing units at an average density of 0.4 per square mile...

 ranked as the poorest county in the nation in 2009. The unemployment rate in Fort Thompson
Fort Thompson, South Dakota
Fort Thompson is a census-designated place in Buffalo County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 1,282 at the 2010 census, making it the largest settlement on the Crow Creek Reservation.-Geography:...

, on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation, is 70%, and 21% of households lack plumbing or basic kitchen appliances. A 1995 study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that 58% of homes on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is an Oglala Sioux Native American reservation located in the U.S. state of South Dakota. Originally included within the territory of the Great Sioux Reservation, Pine Ridge was established in 1889 in the southwest corner of South Dakota on the Nebraska border...

 did not have a telephone.

English is specified by law as the "common language" of the state. As of the 2000 census, 1.90% of the population aged 5 or older speak German at home, while 1.51% speak Lakota
Lakota language
Lakota is a Siouan language spoken by the Lakota people of the Sioux tribes. While generally taught and considered by speakers as a separate language, Lakota is mutually understandable with the other two languages , and is considered by most linguists one of the three major varieties of the Sioux...

 or Dakota
Dakota language
Dakota is a Siouan language spoken by the Dakota people of the Sioux tribes. Dakota is closely related to and mutually intelligible with the Lakota language.-Dialects:...

, and 1.43% Spanish.

Growth and rural flight

South Dakota, in common with other Great Plains states, has been experiencing a falling population in many rural areas over the last several decades, a phenomenon known as "rural flight
Rural flight
Rural flight is a term used to describe the migratory patterns of peoples from rural areas into urban areas.In modern times, it often occurs in a region following the industrialization of agriculture when fewer people are needed to bring the same amount of agricultural output to market and related...

" as family farming has decreased. This trend has continued in recent years, with 30 of South Dakota's counties losing population between the 1990 and the 2000 census. During that time, nine counties experienced a population loss of greater than 10%, with Harding County
Harding County, South Dakota
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,353 people, 525 households, and 352 families residing in the county. The population density was 0.5 people per square mile . There were 804 housing units at an average density of 0.3 per square mile...

, in the northwest corner of the state, losing nearly 19% of its population. Low birth rates and a lack of younger immigration has caused the median age of many of these counties to increase. In 24 counties, at least 20% of the population is over the age of 65, compared with a national rate of 12.8%.

The effect of rural flight has not been spread evenly through South Dakota, however. Although most rural counties and small towns have lost population, the Sioux Falls area, the larger counties along Interstate 29
Interstate 29 in South Dakota
In the U.S. state of South Dakota, Interstate 29 traverses on the eastern side of the state, bypassing through Sioux Falls, the state's largest city.-Route description:...

, the Black Hills, and many Indian reservations have all gained population. Lincoln County
Lincoln County, South Dakota
As of the census of 2000, there were 24,131 people, 8,782 households, and 6,665 families residing in the county. The population density was 42 people per square mile . There were 9,131 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile...

 near Sioux Falls is the ninth-fastest growing county (by percentage) in the United States. The growth in these areas has compensated for losses in the rest of the state, and South Dakota's total population continues to increase steadily, albeit at a slower rate than the national average.

Religion

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 181,434 members; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a mainline Protestant denomination headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA officially came into existence on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three churches. As of December 31, 2009, it had 4,543,037 baptized members, with 2,527,941 of them...

 (ELCA) with 121,871 members; and the United Methodist Church
United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church is a Methodist Christian denomination which is both mainline Protestant and evangelical. Founded in 1968 by the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley...

 (UMC) with 37,280 members. (Both the ELCA and UMC are specific denominations within the broader terms 'Lutheran' and 'Methodist', respectively.)
The results of a 2001 survey, in which South Dakotans were asked to identify their religion, include:
  • Protestant (61%)
    • Lutheran (27%)
    • Methodist (13%)
    • Baptist
      Baptist
      Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

       (4%)
    • Presbyterian (4%)
    • Other Protestant (6%)
    • Non-denominational Christian (7%)
  • Roman Catholic (25%)
  • Not religious (8%)
  • Other religions (3%)
  • Refused to answer (2%)

Economy

The current-dollar gross state product
Gross state product
Gross state product is a measurement of the economic output of a state or province...

 of South Dakota was US$39.8 billion as of 2010, the fifth smallest total state output in the US. The per capita personal income was $38,865 in 2010, ranked 25th in the U.S., and 12.5% of the population was below the poverty line in 2008.
CNBC's list of "Top States for Business for 2010" has recognized South Dakota as the seventh best state in the nation. In July 2011, the state's unemployment rate was 4.7%.

The service industry is the largest economic contributor in South Dakota. This sector includes the retail, finance, and health care industries. Citibank
Citibank
Citibank, a major international bank, is the consumer banking arm of financial services giant Citigroup. Citibank was founded in 1812 as the City Bank of New York, later First National City Bank of New York...

, which was the largest bank holding company in the United States at one time, established national banking operations in South Dakota in 1981 to take advantage of favorable banking regulations. Government spending is another important segment of the state's economy, providing over ten percent of the gross state product. Ellsworth Air Force Base
Ellsworth Air Force Base
Ellsworth Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located approximately northeast of Rapid City, South Dakota just north of Box Elder, South Dakota....

, near Rapid City, is the second-largest single employer in the state.

Agriculture has historically been a key component of the South Dakota economy. Although other industries have expanded rapidly in recent decades, agricultural production is still very important to the state's economy, especially in rural areas. The five most valuable agricultural products in South Dakota are cattle, corn (maize)
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, soybeans, wheat, and hogs
Pig
A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates. Pigs include the domestic pig, its ancestor the wild boar, and several other wild relatives...

. Agriculture-related industries such as meat packing and ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

 production also have a considerable economic impact on the state. South Dakota is the sixth leading ethanol-producing state in the nation.

Another important sector in South Dakota's economy is tourism. Many travel to view the attractions of the state, particularly those in the Black Hills region, such as historic Deadwood
Deadwood, South Dakota
Deadwood is a city in South Dakota, United States, and the county seat of Lawrence County. It is named for the dead trees found in its gulch. The population was 1,270 according to a 2010 census...

, Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota, in the United States...

, and the nearby state and national parks. One of the largest tourist events in the state is the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an American motorcycle rally held annually in Sturgis, South Dakota, usually the first full week of August.-History:...

. The five-day event drew over 450,000 attendants in 2006; significant considering the state has a population of only 790,000. In 2006, tourism provided an estimated 33,000 jobs in the state and contributed over two billion dollars to the economy of South Dakota.

State taxes

As of 2005, South Dakota has the lowest per capita total state tax rate in the United States. The state does not levy personal or corporate income tax
Income tax
An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individuals or businesses . Various income tax systems exist, with varying degrees of tax incidence. Income taxation can be progressive, proportional, or regressive. When the tax is levied on the income of companies, it is often called a corporate...

es, inheritance tax
Inheritance tax
An inheritance tax or estate tax is a levy paid by a person who inherits money or property or a tax on the estate of a person who has died...

es, or taxes on intangible personal property
Personal property
Personal property, roughly speaking, is private property that is moveable, as opposed to real property or real estate. In the common law systems personal property may also be called chattels or personalty. In the civil law systems personal property is often called movable property or movables - any...

. The state sales tax
Sales tax
A sales tax is a tax, usually paid by the consumer at the point of purchase, itemized separately from the base price, for certain goods and services. The tax amount is usually calculated by applying a percentage rate to the taxable price of a sale....

 rate is 4 percent. Various localities have local levies so that in some areas the rate is 6 percent. The state sales tax does not apply to sales to Indians
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 on Indian reservation
Indian reservation
An American Indian reservation is an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs...

s, but many reservations have a compact with the state. Businesses on the reservation collect the tax and the state refunds to the Indian Tribes the percentage of sales tax collections relating to the ratio of Indian population to total population in the county or area affected. Ad valorem
Ad valorem tax
An ad valorem tax is a tax based on the value of real estate or personal property. It is more common than a specific duty, a tax based on the quantity of an item, such as cents per kilogram, regardless of price....

 property tax
Property tax
A property tax is an ad valorem levy on the value of property that the owner is required to pay. The tax is levied by the governing authority of the jurisdiction in which the property is located; it may be paid to a national government, a federated state or a municipality...

es are local taxes and are a large source of funding for school systems, counties, municipalities and other local government units. The South Dakota Special Tax Division
South Dakota Special Tax Division
The Department of Liquor Control is a South Dakota state government agency which is responsible for licensing certain operations and for collecting certain state taxes...

 regulates some taxes including cigarette and alcohol related taxes.

Transportation

South Dakota has 83,609 miles of highways, roads, and streets, along with 679 miles of interstate highways. Two major interstates pass through South Dakota: Interstate 90
Interstate 90 in South Dakota
In the U.S. state of South Dakota, Interstate 90 traverses east–west through the southern half of the state.-Route description:Interstate 90 enters South Dakota in Lawrence County as a four lane divided highway. It enters concurrently with U.S. Route 14, and passes through the town of...

, which runs east and west through the southern half of the state; and Interstate 29
Interstate 29 in South Dakota
In the U.S. state of South Dakota, Interstate 29 traverses on the eastern side of the state, bypassing through Sioux Falls, the state's largest city.-Route description:...

, running north and south in the eastern portion of the state. The I-29 corridor features generally higher rates of population and economic growth than areas in eastern South Dakota that are further from the interstate. Also located in the state are the shorter interstates 190
Interstate 190 (South Dakota)
Interstate 190 is an auxiliary Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of South Dakota. The route runs for about two miles south, connecting I-90 to downtown Rapid City. The entire length overlaps U.S. Route 16. It is the westernmost auxiliary route of Interstate 90, approximately 1150 miles east...

, a spur
Spur route
A spur route is a short road forming a branch from a longer, more important route . A bypass or beltway is never considered a true spur route as it typically reconnects with the major road...

 into central Rapid City, and 229
Interstate 229 (South Dakota)
Interstate 229 in South Dakota runs just more than ten miles mostly within the city limits of Sioux Falls, the largest city in the state. It runs from Interstate 29 to Interstate 90...

, a loop
Loop route
A loop route is a highway or other major road that extends out from a typically longer, more important parents road to enter and circle a large city. A loop can function as a bypass for through traffic and also to service outlying suburbs....

 around eastern and southern Sioux Falls. Several major U.S. highways pass through the state. U.S. routes 12
U.S. Route 12
U.S. Route 12 or US 12 is an east–west United States highway, running from Grays Harbor on the Pacific Ocean, in the state of Washington, to downtown Detroit, for almost . As a thoroughfare, it has mostly been supplanted by I-90 and I-94, but remains an important road for local travel.The...

, 14
U.S. Route 14
U.S. Route 14 , an east–west route, is one of the original United States highways of 1926. It currently has a length of 1,398 miles , but it had a peak length of 1,429 miles . For much of its length, it runs roughly parallel to Interstate 90.As of 2004, the highway's eastern terminus is in...

, 16
U.S. Route 16
U.S. Route 16 is an east–west United States Highway between Rapid City, South Dakota and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming....

, 18
U.S. Route 18
U.S. Route 18 is an east–west U.S. highway in the Midwestern United States. The western terminus is in Orin, Wyoming at an interchange with Interstate 25. Its eastern terminus of US 18 is in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, US 18 runs concurrent with other U.S...

, and 212
U.S. Route 212
U.S. Route 212 is a spur of U.S. Route 12. Though it currently never intersects U.S. 12, it once had an eastern terminus at U.S. 12 in St. Paul, Minnesota. It runs for 949 miles from Minnesota Highway 62 at Edina, Minnesota to Yellowstone National Park.U.S. 212 passes through the states of...

 travel east and west, while U.S. routes 81
U.S. Route 81
U.S. Route 81 is one of the many United States Numbered Highways established in 1926 by the US Department of Agriculture Bureau of Public Roads....

, 83
U.S. Route 83
U.S. Route 83 is one of the longest north–south U.S. Highways in the United States, at . Only four other north–south routes are longer: U.S. Routes 1, 41, 59 and 87. The highway's northern terminus is north of Westhope, North Dakota, at the Canadian border, where it continues as...

, 85
U.S. Route 85
U.S. Route 85 is a north–south United States highway that runs for in the Mountain - Northern Plains states of the United States. The southern terminus of the route is at the United States-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, connecting with Mexican Federal Highway 45...

 and 281
U.S. Route 281
U.S. Route 281 is a north–south United States highway. At 1,872 miles long it is the longest continuous three-digit U.S. Route....

 run north and south. South Dakota and Montana
Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

 are the only states sharing a land border which is not traversed by a paved road.

South Dakota contains two National Scenic Byway
National Scenic Byway
A National Scenic Byway is a road recognized by the United States Department of Transportation for its archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and/or scenic qualities. The program was established by Congress in 1991 to preserve and protect the nation's scenic but often...

s. The Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway
Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway
The Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway is a National Scenic Byway in the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota, USA. It is a loop which is composed of portions of U.S. Route 16A, South Dakota Highway 244, South Dakota Highway 87, and South Dakota Highway 89. Parts of the byway enter Black Hills...

 is located in the Black Hills, while the Native American Scenic Byway runs along the Missouri River in the north-central part of the state. Other scenic byways include the Badlands Loop Scenic Byway, the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, and the Wildlife Loop Road Scenic Byway.

Railroads have played an important role in South Dakota transportation since the mid-19th century. Some 4420 miles (7,113.3 km) of railroad track were built in South Dakota during the late 19th century and early 20th century, but only 1839 miles (2,959.6 km) are active. BNSF Railway
BNSF Railway
The BNSF Railway is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. It is one of seven North American Class I railroads and the second largest freight railroad network in North America, second only to the Union Pacific Railroad, its primary...

 is currently the largest railroad in South Dakota; the Dakota, Minnesota, and Eastern Railroad is the state's other major carrier. Rail transportation in the state is confined only to freight, however, as South Dakota is one of the few states without any Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 service.

South Dakota's largest commercial airports in terms of passenger traffic are the Sioux Falls Regional Airport
Sioux Falls Regional Airport
Sioux Falls Regional Airport , also known as Joe Foss Field, is a joint civil and military use airport located three nautical miles northwest of the central business district of Sioux Falls, a city in Minnehaha County, South Dakota, United States...

 and Rapid City Regional Airport
Rapid City Regional Airport
Rapid City Regional Airport is a city-owned, public-use airport located eight nautical miles southeast of the central business district of Rapid City, in Pennington County, South Dakota, United States.- Facilities and aircraft :...

. Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, and Allegiant Airlines, as well as commuter airlines using the brand affiliation with major airlines serve the two largest airports. Several other cities in the state also have commercial air service, some of which is subsidized by the Essential Air Service
Essential Air Service
Essential Air Service is a U.S. government program enacted to guarantee that small communities in the United States, which, prior to deregulation, were served by certificated airlines, maintained commercial service. Its aim is to maintain a minimal level of scheduled air service to these...

 program.

Government and politics

Government

Like that of other U.S. states, the structure of the government of South Dakota follows the same separation of powers
Separation of powers
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

 as federal government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

, with executive, legislative
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

, and judicial
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 branches. The structure of the state government is laid out in the Constitution of South Dakota, the highest law in the state. The constitution may be amended either by a majority vote of both houses of the legislature, or by voter initiative.

The Governor of South Dakota
Governor of South Dakota
The Governor of South Dakota is the head of the executive branch of the government of South Dakota. They are elected to a four year term on even years when there is no Presidential election. The current governor is Dennis Daugaard, a Republican elected in 2010....

 occupies the executive branch of the state government. The current governor is Dennis Daugaard, a Republican from Garretson
Garretson, South Dakota
Garretson is a city in Minnehaha County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 1,166 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Garretson is located at ....

. The state constitution gives the governor the power to either sign into law or veto bills passed by the state legislature, to serve as commander-in-chief of the South Dakota National Guard
South Dakota National Guard
The South Dakota National Guard is part of the South Dakota Department of Military & Veterans Affairs.It consists of the:*South Dakota Army National Guard ** Joint Forces Headquarters** 196th Maneuver Enhanced Brigade** 196th Regional Training Battalion...

, to appoint a cabinet, and to commute criminal sentences or to pardon those convicted of crimes. The governor serves for a four-year term, and may not serve more than two consecutive terms.

The state legislature
South Dakota Legislature
The South Dakota State Legislature is the legislative branch of the government of South Dakota. It is a bicameral legislative body, consisting of the South Dakota Senate, which has 35 members, and the South Dakota House of Representatives, which has 70 members...

 is made up of two bodies, the Senate, which has 35 members, and the House of Representatives
South Dakota House of Representatives
The South Dakota House of Representatives is the lower house of the South Dakota State Legislature. It is made up of 70 members, two from each legislative district...

, with 70 members. South Dakota is divided into 35 legislative districts, with voters electing two representatives and one senator per district. The legislature meets for an annual session which begins on the second Tuesday in January and lasts for 30 days; it also meets if a special session is called by the governor.

The judicial branch is made up of several levels. The state supreme court
South Dakota Supreme Court
The South Dakota Supreme Court is the highest court in the state of South Dakota. It is composed of a chief justice and four associate justices appointed by governor and selected from five different appointment districts. Justices face a nonpolitical retention election three years after appointment...

, with four justices and a chief justice, is the highest court in the state. Below the supreme court are the circuit courts; 38 circuit judges serve in seven judicial circuits in the state. Below the circuit courts are the magistrate courts
Limited jurisdiction
Limited jurisdiction, or special jurisdiction, is the courts' jurisdiction only on certain types of cases such as bankruptcy, family matters, etc....

, which deal with more minor criminal and civil actions.

Federal representation

South Dakota is represented at the federal level by Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Tim Johnson, Senator John Thune
John Thune
John Randolph Thune is the junior U.S. Senator from South Dakota and a member of the Republican Party. He previously served as a U.S. Representative for .-Early Life, Education:...

, and Representative
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 Kristi Noem
Kristi Noem
Kristi Lynn Arnold Noem is the U.S. Representative for , serving since January 2011. She is a member of the Republican Party and has been elected to the Republican Leadership for the 112th Congress as one of its two freshman representatives...

. Johnson is a Democrat and Thune and Noem are Republicans. South Dakota is one of seven states with only one seat in the US House of Representatives. American Indians have been becoming more active in state and county electoral politics. In the 2002 election, American Indian voting carried Tim Johnson as the Democratic candidate by a narrow margin.

In US presidential elections, South Dakota is allotted 3 of 538 votes in the Electoral College
United States Electoral College
The Electoral College consists of the electors appointed by each state who formally elect the President and Vice President of the United States. Since 1964, there have been 538 electors in each presidential election...

. Like most states, South Dakota's electoral votes are granted in a winner-take-all system.

Politics

Presidential elections results
Year Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

2008 54.30% 203,019 45.70% 170,886
2004 59.91% 232,584 38.44% 149,244
2000 60.3% 190,700 37.56% 118,804
1996 46.49% 150,543 43.03% 139,333
1992 40.66% 136,718 37.14% 124,888
1988 52.85% 165,415 46.51% 145,560
1984 63.0% 200,267 36.53% 116,113

South Dakota politics are generally dominated by the Republican Party
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

. The state has not supported a Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 presidential candidate since 1964—even George McGovern
George McGovern
George Stanley McGovern is an historian, author, and former U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the Democratic Party nominee in the 1972 presidential election....

, the Democratic nominee in 1972 and a native South Dakotan, did not carry the state. Additionally, a Democrat has not won the governorship since 1978. As of 2006, Republicans hold a 10% voter registration advantage over Democrats and hold majorities in both the state House of Representatives and Senate.

Despite the state's general Republican and conservative leanings, Democrats have found success in various state-wide elections, most notably in those involving South Dakota's congressional representatives in Washington. In 2002, increasing political participation by Native Americans helped organize support for Democratic Senator Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson
Timothy Peter "Tim" Johnson is the senior U.S. Senator from South Dakota, serving since 1997. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He previously served as the U.S...

, who won re-election by 532 votes. Until his electoral defeat in 2004, Senator Tom Daschle
Tom Daschle
Thomas Andrew "Tom" Daschle is a former U.S. Senator from South Dakota and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader. He is a member of the Democratic Party....

 was the Senate minority leader
Minority leader
In U.S. politics, the minority leader is the floor leader of the second largest caucus in a legislative body. Given the two-party nature of the U.S. system, the minority leader is almost inevitably either a Republican or a Democrat, with their counterpart being of the opposite party. The position...

 (and briefly its majority leader
Majority leader
In U.S. politics, the majority floor leader is a partisan position in a legislative body.In the federal Congress, the role differs slightly in the two houses. In the House of Representatives, which chooses its own presiding officer, the leader of the majority party is elected the Speaker of the...

 during Democratic control of the Senate in 2001–02).

Contemporary political issues in South Dakota include the costs and benefits of the state lottery
South Dakota Lottery
The South Dakota Lottery is run by the government of South Dakota. It is a member of the Multi-State Lottery Association . The Lottery is headquartered in Pierre; it is a self-funded endeavor...

, South Dakota's relatively low rankings in education spending (particularly teacher pay), and recent legislative and electoral attempts to ban abortion in the state. In 2010, Republican Dennis Daugaard defeated Democrat Scott Heidepriem
Scott Heidepriem
Scott Heidepriem is a Democratic member of the South Dakota Senate, representing the 13th district since 2007. He was the 2010 Democratic nominee for Governor of South Dakota.-Personal life:...

 for governor, and Republican Kristi Noem
Kristi Noem
Kristi Lynn Arnold Noem is the U.S. Representative for , serving since January 2011. She is a member of the Republican Party and has been elected to the Republican Leadership for the 112th Congress as one of its two freshman representatives...

 defeated incumbent Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin for South Dakota's at-large seat in the US House of Representatives.

Culture

Much of South Dakota's culture reflects the state's American Indian, rural, Western, and European roots. A number of annual events celebrating the state's ethnic and historical heritage take place around the state, such as Days of '76 in Deadwood
Deadwood, South Dakota
Deadwood is a city in South Dakota, United States, and the county seat of Lawrence County. It is named for the dead trees found in its gulch. The population was 1,270 according to a 2010 census...

, Czech Days in Tabor
Tabor, South Dakota
Tabor is a town in Bon Homme County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 423 at the 2010 census.-History:The first Czech immigrants started arriving in Dakota Territory in 1868, and settled west of Yankton. These poor people from Bohemia came to America with hope of improving their...

, and the annual St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo festivities in Sioux Falls. Many pow wow
Pow woW
Pow woW is French musical group. Their biggest hit was "Le Chat" in 1992. Their next single was the French version of song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", titled "Le lion est mort ce soir".- Albums :* Regagner les plaines...

s are held yearly throughout the state, and Custer State Park's
Custer State Park
Custer State Park is a state park and wildlife reserve in the Black Hills of southwestern South Dakota, USA. The park is South Dakota's largest and first state park, named after Lt...

 Buffalo Roundup, in which volunteers on horseback gather the park's herd of around 1,500 bison
American Bison
The American bison , also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds...

, is a popular annual event.

Laura Ingalls Wilder
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder was an American author who wrote the Little House series of books based on her childhood in a pioneer family...

, whose semi-autobiographical books center around her experiences as a child and young adult on the frontier, is one of South Dakota's best-known writers. She used her experiences growing up on a homestead near De Smet
De Smet, South Dakota
-External links:* * * * *...

 as the basis for four of her novels: By the Shores of Silver Lake
By the Shores of Silver Lake
By the Shores of Silver Lake, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, was first published in 1939 and is the fifth of nine books written in her Little House on the Prairie series, also known as "The Laura Years." The book begins when Laura is twelve years old and the family moves to what will become De Smet,...

, The Long Winter
The Long Winter (novel)
The Long Winter is a Newbery Honor novel by Laura Ingalls Wilder, first published in 1940. The story is set in South Dakota during the severe winter of 1880-1881, when Laura turned fourteen...

, Little Town on the Prairie
Little Town on the Prairie
Little Town on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, was first published in 1941 and is the seventh of nine books written in her Little House series, also known as "The Laura Years." The book is set in De Smet, South Dakota...

, These Happy Golden Years
These Happy Golden Years
These Happy Golden Years, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, was published in 1943 and is the eighth of nine books written in her Little House series, also known as The Laura Years. This book is based on Laura's adolescence near De Smet, South Dakota, in the late 19th century, and focuses on Laura's short...

, and The First Four Years
The First Four Years (novel)
The First Four Years is a book written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and found in the belongings of Rose Wilder Lane by Roger Lea MacBride, Rose's heir, upon Rose's death in 1968...

. Wilder's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane
Rose Wilder Lane
Rose Wilder Lane was an American journalist, travel writer, novelist, and political theorist...

, a well-known writer in her own right, was born near De Smet in 1886. Another literary figure from the state is Black Elk
Black Elk
Heȟáka Sápa was a famous Wičháša Wakȟáŋ of the Oglala Lakota . He was Heyoka and a second cousin of Crazy Horse.-Life:...

, whose narration of the Indian Wars
Indian Wars
American Indian Wars is the name used in the United States to describe a series of conflicts between American settlers or the federal government and the native peoples of North America before and after the American Revolutionary War. The wars resulted from the arrival of European colonizers who...

 and Ghost Dance
Ghost Dance
The Ghost Dance was a new religious movement which was incorporated into numerous Native American belief systems. The traditional ritual used in the Ghost Dance, the circle dance, has been used by many Native Americans since prehistoric times...

 movement and thoughts on Native American religion forms the basis of the book Black Elk Speaks
Black Elk Speaks
Black Elk Speaks is a 1932 book by John G. Neihardt, an American poet and writer, who relates the story and spirituality of Black Elk, an Oglala Sioux medicine man or shaman. It was based on conversations by Black Elk with the author and translated from Lakota into English by Black Elk's son, Ben...

. The award-winning children's book author and illustrator Paul Goble
Paul Goble
Paul Goble is an award-winning author and illustrator of children's books, mostly Native American stories. Goble has received a number of honors for his books including the prestigious Caldecott Medal.- Biography :...

 has been based in the Black Hills since 1977.

South Dakota has also produced several notable artists. Harvey Dunn
Harvey Dunn
Harvey Thomas Dunn was an American painter. He is best known for his prairie-intimate masterpiece, The Prairie is My Garden. In this painting, a mother and her son and daughter are out gathering flowers from the quintessential prairie of the Great Plains.-Early life:Dunn was born on a homestead...

 grew up on a homestead near Manchester
Manchester, South Dakota
Manchester was a small unincorporated community in Kingsbury County in the east-central part of the U.S. state of South Dakota. On June 24, 2003, the town was completely annihilated by a large F4-rated tornado, and has since become a ghost town.-History:...

 in the late 19th century. While most of his career was spent as an illustrator, Dunn's most famous works, showing various scenes of frontier life, were completed near the end of his career. Oscar Howe
Oscar Howe
Oscar Howe was an American artist from South Dakota, who became well known for his casein paintings.-Early life and education:...

 was born on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation and won fame for his watercolor paintings. Howe was one of the first Native American painters to produce works heavily influenced by abstraction
Abstraction
Abstraction is a process by which higher concepts are derived from the usage and classification of literal concepts, first principles, or other methods....

, as opposed to ones relying on traditional styles. Terry Redlin
Terry Redlin
Terry Avon Redlin is an American artist popular for painting outdoor themes and wildlife, often pictured in twilight, as widely collected as prints. For eight consecutive years, 1991 through 1998, Redlin was named America's Most Popular Artist in annual gallery surveys conducted by U.S...

, originally from Watertown
Watertown, South Dakota
Watertown is a city in and the county seat of Codington County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 21,482 at the 2010 census. It is also the principal city of the Watertown Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Codington and Hamlin counties...

, is an accomplished painter of rural and wildlife scenes. Many of Redlin's works are on display at the Redlin Art Center
Redlin Art Center
The Redlin Art Center is an art gallery located in Watertown, South Dakota where over 150 of artist Terry Redlin's original paintings are displayed. The center was opened on June 6, 1997 and has welcomed over two million visitors. This brick building was designed by Terry Redlin's son, Charles...

 in Watertown.

Cities and towns

Sioux Falls
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Sioux Falls is the largest city in the U.S. state of South Dakota. Sioux Falls is the county seat of Minnehaha County, and also extends into Lincoln County to the south...

 is the largest city in South Dakota, with an estimated 2009 population of 158,008,
and a metropolitan area population of 238,122.
The city, founded in 1856, is located in the southeast corner of the state. Retail, finance, and healthcare have assumed greater importance in Sioux Falls, where the economy was originally centered on agri-business and quarrying.

Rapid City
Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City is the second-largest city in the U.S. state of South Dakota, and the county seat of Pennington County. Named after Rapid Creek on which the city is established, it is set against the eastern slope of the Black Hills mountain range. The population was 67,956 as of the 2010 Census. Rapid...

, with a 2009 estimated population of 67,107, and a metropolitan area population of 124,766, is the second-largest city in the state. It is located on the eastern edge of the Black Hills, and was founded in 1876. Rapid City's economy is largely based on tourism and defense spending, because of the close proximity of many tourist attractions in the Black Hills
Black Hills
The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, USA. Set off from the main body of the Rocky Mountains, the region is something of a geological anomaly—accurately described as an "island of...

 and Ellsworth Air Force Base
Ellsworth Air Force Base
Ellsworth Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located approximately northeast of Rapid City, South Dakota just north of Box Elder, South Dakota....

.

Aberdeen
Aberdeen, South Dakota
Aberdeen is a city in and the county seat of Brown County, South Dakota, United States, about 125 mi northeast of Pierre. Settled in 1880, it was incorporated in 1882. The city population was 26,091 at the 2010 census. The American News is the local newspaper...

 is the third largest city in South Dakota, with an estimated population of 24,992, and a micropolitan area population of 39,139. Located in the northeast corner of the state, it was founded in 1881 during the expansion of the Milwaukee Railroad.

The next seven largest cities in the state, in order of descending 2009 population, are Watertown
Watertown, South Dakota
Watertown is a city in and the county seat of Codington County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 21,482 at the 2010 census. It is also the principal city of the Watertown Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Codington and Hamlin counties...

 (20,350), Brookings
Brookings, South Dakota
Brookings is a city in Brookings County, South Dakota, United States. Brookings is the fourth largest city in South Dakota, with a population of 22,056 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Brookings County, and home to South Dakota State University, the largest institution of higher...

 (20,184), Mitchell
Mitchell, South Dakota
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 14,558 people, 6,121 households, and 3,599 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,475.7 people per square mile . There were 6,555 housing units at an average density of 664.4 per square mile...

 (14,747), Pierre
Pierre, South Dakota
Pierre is the capital of the U.S. state of South Dakota and the county seat of Hughes County. The population was 13,646 at the 2010 census, making it the second least populous state capital after Montpelier, Vermont...

 (14,072), Yankton
Yankton, South Dakota
Yankton is a city in, and the county seat of, Yankton County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 14,454 at the 2010 census. Yankton was the original capital of Dakota Territory. It is named for the Yankton tribe of Nakota Native Americans...

 (13,866), Huron
Huron, South Dakota
Huron is a city in Beadle County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 12,592 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Beadle County. Huron was the home of now-defunct Huron University since 1897. Huron is also the home of the South Dakota State Fair...

 (11,281), and Vermillion
Vermillion, South Dakota
Vermillion is a city in and the county seat of Clay County, in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of South Dakota, and the tenth largest city in the state. According to the 2010 Census, the population was 10,571. Vermillion lies atop a bluff near the Missouri River.The area has been home to...

 (10,417). Pierre is the state capital, and Brookings and Vermillion are the locations of the state's two largest universities. Of the ten largest cities in the state, only Rapid City is located west of the Missouri River
Missouri River
The Missouri River flows through the central United States, and is a tributary of the Mississippi River. It is the longest river in North America and drains the third largest area, though only the thirteenth largest by discharge. The Missouri's watershed encompasses most of the American Great...

.

Media

South Dakota's first newspaper, the Dakota Democrat, began publishing in Yankton
Yankton, South Dakota
Yankton is a city in, and the county seat of, Yankton County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 14,454 at the 2010 census. Yankton was the original capital of Dakota Territory. It is named for the Yankton tribe of Nakota Native Americans...

 in 1858. Today, the largest newspaper in the state is the Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Argus Leader
See also List of newspapers in South DakotaThe Argus Leader is the daily newspaper of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It is South Dakota's largest newspaper by circulation.-Description:...

, with a Sunday circulation of 63,701 and a weekday circulation of 44,334. The Rapid City Journal
Rapid City Journal
The Rapid City Journal is the daily newspaper of Rapid City, South Dakota.See also List of newspapers in South Dakota-External links:*...

, with a Sunday circulation of 32,638 and a weekday circulation of 27,827, is South Dakota's second largest newspaper. The next four largest newspapers in the state are the Aberdeen
Aberdeen, South Dakota
Aberdeen is a city in and the county seat of Brown County, South Dakota, United States, about 125 mi northeast of Pierre. Settled in 1880, it was incorporated in 1882. The city population was 26,091 at the 2010 census. The American News is the local newspaper...

 American News
American News
The American News is a newspaper in Aberdeen, South Dakota, published by Schurz Communications of South Bend, Indiana.The Aberdeen News was founded as a weekly in 1885 by C.W. Starling and Paul Ware. Soon after, the Ordway Tribune, which had a power press, was moved to Aberdeen and combined with...

, the Watertown Public Opinion
Watertown Public Opinion
The Watertown Public Opinion is a six-day daily newspaper published in Watertown, South Dakota, USA, serving eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota...

, the Huron Plainsman
Huron Plainsman
The Daily Plainsman, also referred to as the Plainsman, is a newspaper in Huron, South Dakota, United States. The paper is owned by the News Media Corporation. It started operation in 1886 and is still in production today.- External links :...

, and the Brookings Register
Brookings Register
The Brookings Register is a newspaper of South Dakota. The newspaper's offices are in Brookings, South Dakota.The newspaper is used for public notices including those published for the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission....

. In 1981, Tim Giago
Tim Giago
Tim Giago, also known as Nanwica Kciji , is an American Oglala Lakota journalist and publisher. In 1981, he founded the Lakota Times at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where he was born and grew up. It was the first independently owned Native American newspaper in the United States. In 1991...

 founded the Lakota Times as a newspaper for the local American Indian community on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is an Oglala Sioux Native American reservation located in the U.S. state of South Dakota. Originally included within the territory of the Great Sioux Reservation, Pine Ridge was established in 1889 in the southwest corner of South Dakota on the Nebraska border...

. The newspaper, now published in New York and known as Indian Country Today
Indian Country Today
Indian Country Today Media Network is a weekly U.S. newsmagazine that is the primary national news source for Natives, American Indians, and Tribes in the U.S. and Alaska. The ICT Media Network revealed their new online multi-media news platform in January 2011; it is a daily, hourly, or "as news...

, is currently available in every state in the country. The Sioux City Journal
Sioux City Journal
The Sioux City Journal is the daily newspaper of Sioux City, Iowa. The publication covers western Iowa and portions of Nebraska and South Dakota.It is owned by Lee Enterprises Inc....

 also covers parts of South Dakota.

There are currently nine television stations broadcasting in South Dakota; South Dakota Public Television broadcasts from a number of locations around the state, while the other stations broadcast from either Sioux Falls or Rapid City. The two largest television media market
Media market
A media market, broadcast market, media region, designated market area , Television Market Area , or simply market is a region where the population can receive the same television and radio station offerings, and may also include other types of media including newspapers and Internet content...

s in South Dakota are Sioux Falls-Mitchell, with a viewership of 246,020, and Rapid City, with a viewership of 91,070. The two markets rank as 114th and 177th largest in the United States, respectively. The first television station in the state, KELO-TV
KELO-TV
KELO is the CBS affiliate television station in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, broadcasting on digital channel 11. South Dakotans pronounce its call letters as a homonym of "hello"...

, began airing in Sioux Falls in 1953. Among KELO's early programs was Captain 11
Captain 11
Captain 11 was a popular after-school children's program for over 40 years on KELO-TV, broadcast on channel 11 from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Station weatherman Dave Dedrick donned a yellow-trimmed blue pilot uniform with hat and daily became the jolly host of the show...

, an afternoon children's program. Captain 11 ran from 1955 until 1996, making it the longest continuously running children's television program in the nation.

A number of South Dakotans are famous for their work in the fields of television and publishing. Former NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 Nightly News anchor and author Tom Brokaw
Tom Brokaw
Thomas John "Tom" Brokaw is an American television journalist and author best known as the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004. He is the author of The Greatest Generation and other books and the recipient of numerous awards and honors...

 is from Webster
Webster, South Dakota
Webster is a city in and the county seat of Day County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 1,886 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Webster is located at .According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , all of it land....

 and Yankton, USA Today
USA Today
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it previously held since 2003...

founder Al Neuharth is from Eureka
Eureka, South Dakota
Eureka is a city in McPherson County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 868 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Eureka is located at ....

 and Alpena
Alpena, South Dakota
Alpena is a town in Jerauld County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 286 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Alpena is located at .According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of , all of it land....

, gameshow host Bob Barker
Bob Barker
Robert William "Bob" Barker is a former American television game show host. He is best known for hosting CBS's The Price Is Right from 1972 to 2007, making it the longest-running daytime game show in North American television history, and for hosting Truth or Consequences from 1956 to 1975.Born...

 spent much of his childhood in Mission
Mission, South Dakota
Mission is a city in Todd County, South Dakota, United States, and the Rosebud Indian Reservation. The population was 1,182 at the 2010 census....

, and entertainment news hosts Pat O'Brien
Pat O'Brien (television)
Pat O'Brien is currently a radio host with Fox Sports Radio as well as an author. He is best known for his time as a sportscaster with CBS Sports and as anchor/host of Access Hollywood and The Insider .O'Brien covered five Olympic Games, two for CBS...

 and Mary Hart are both from Sioux Falls.

Education

As of 2006, South Dakota has a total primary and secondary school enrollment of 136,872, with 120,278 of these students being educated in the public school system. There are 703 public schools in 168 school districts, giving South Dakota the highest number of schools per capita in the United States. The current high school graduation rate is 89.9%, and the average ACT
ACT (examination)
The ACT is a standardized test for high school achievement and college admissions in the United States produced by ACT, Inc. It was first administered in November 1959 by Everett Franklin Lindquist as a competitor to the College Board's Scholastic Aptitude Test, now the SAT Reasoning Test...

 score is 21.8, slightly above the national average of 21.1. 84.6% of the adult population has earned at least a high school diploma, and 21.5% has earned a bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 or higher. South Dakota's 2008 average public school teacher salary of $36,674, compared to a national average of $52,308, was the lowest in the nation.

The South Dakota Board of Regents
South Dakota Board of Regents
The South Dakota Board of Regents governs South Dakota's six public universities: Black Hills State University, Dakota State University, Northern State University, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, South Dakota State University, and the University of South Dakota...

, whose members are appointed by the governor, controls the six public universities in the state. South Dakota State University
South Dakota State University
South Dakota State University is the largest university in the U.S. state of South Dakota, located in Brookings. A public land-grant university and sun grant college, founded under the provisions of the 1862 Morrill Act, SDSU offers programs of study required by, or harmonious to, this Act...

 (SDSU), in Brookings
Brookings, South Dakota
Brookings is a city in Brookings County, South Dakota, United States. Brookings is the fourth largest city in South Dakota, with a population of 22,056 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Brookings County, and home to South Dakota State University, the largest institution of higher...

, is the largest university in the state, with an enrollment of 12,376. The University of South Dakota
University of South Dakota
The University of South Dakota ', the state’s oldest university, was founded in 1862 and classes began in 1882. Located in Vermillion, South Dakota, United States, USD is home to South Dakota's only medical school and law school. USD is governed by the South Dakota Board of Regents, and its current...

 (USD), in Vermillion
Vermillion, South Dakota
Vermillion is a city in and the county seat of Clay County, in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of South Dakota, and the tenth largest city in the state. According to the 2010 Census, the population was 10,571. Vermillion lies atop a bluff near the Missouri River.The area has been home to...

, is the state's oldest university, and has South Dakota's only law school and medical school. South Dakota also has several private universities, the largest of which is Augustana College
Augustana College (South Dakota)
Augustana College is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States. The campus makes the school the largest private university in South Dakota...

 in Sioux Falls.

Organized sports

Because of its low population, South Dakota does not host any major league professional sports franchises. The state does have a number of minor league teams, all of which play in either Sioux Falls or Rapid City. Sioux Falls is currently home to four teams: the Sioux Falls Fighting Pheasants (a baseball team formerly known as the Canaries), the Sioux Falls Skyforce
Sioux Falls Skyforce
The Sioux Falls Skyforce is a professional basketball team that plays in the NBA Development League. They are based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States. The team plays at the Sioux Falls Arena. The Skyforce began in the CBA in 1989...

 (basketball), the Sioux Falls Stampede
Sioux Falls Stampede
The Sioux Falls Stampede is a Tier 1 junior ice hockey team playing in the West Division of the United States Hockey League . Based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the Stampede plays its home games at the Sioux Falls Arena....

 (hockey
Hockey
Hockey is a family of sports in which two teams play against each other by trying to maneuver a ball or a puck into the opponent's goal using a hockey stick.-Etymology:...

), and the Sioux Falls Storm
Sioux Falls Storm
The Sioux Falls Storm are a professional indoor football team. They are a member of the Indoor Football League. They play their home games at Sioux Falls Arena...

 (arena football
Arena football
Arena football is a variety of gridiron football played by the Arena Football League . It is a proprietary game, the rights to which are owned by Gridiron Enterprises, and is played indoors on a smaller field than American or Canadian outdoor football, resulting in a faster and higher-scoring game....

). The Fighting Pheasants play at Sioux Falls Stadium
Sioux Falls Stadium
Sioux Falls Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It originally opened in 1941 and was renovated in 2000. It holds 4,500 people....

, while the others play at the Sioux Falls Arena
Sioux Falls Arena
The Sioux Falls Arena is an 7,500 seat multi-purpose arena, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The facility was originally built in 1961. It seats 6,113, for basketball games and 4,760, for indoor football and hockey....

. Rapid City has a hockey team named the Rapid City Rush
Rapid City Rush
The Rapid City Rush is an ice hockey team in the Central Hockey League. It plays in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The Rapid City Rush organization quickly became the premiere franschise in the CHL.-History:...

. The Rush began their inaugural season in 2008 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center
Rushmore Plaza Civic Center
The Rushmore Plaza Civic Center is a exhibition center, in Rapid City, South Dakota. It contains a 10,000 seat, multi-purpose arena. It was built in 1977 and the grand opening event was an Elvis Presley concert on June 21st....

.

Universities in South Dakota host a variety of sports programs. For many years, South Dakota was one of the only states in the country without a NCAA Division I football or basketball team. However, several years ago SDSU decided to move their teams from Division II to Division I, a move that has since been followed by the University of South Dakota
University of South Dakota
The University of South Dakota ', the state’s oldest university, was founded in 1862 and classes began in 1882. Located in Vermillion, South Dakota, United States, USD is home to South Dakota's only medical school and law school. USD is governed by the South Dakota Board of Regents, and its current...

. Other universities in the state compete at the NCAA's Division II or III levels, or in the NAIA
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics is an athletic association that organizes college and university-level athletic programs. Membership in the NAIA consists of smaller colleges and universities across the United States. The NAIA allows colleges and universities outside the USA...

.

Famous South Dakota athletes include Billy Mills
Billy Mills
William Mervin Mills or "Billy" Mills, also known as Makata Taka Hela , is the second Native American to win an Olympic gold medal....

, Mike Miller, Mark Ellis
Mark Ellis (baseball)
Mark William Ellis is an American professional baseball second baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball. He has played for the Oakland Athletics and Colorado Rockies.-Early career:...

, Becky Hammon
Becky Hammon
Rebecca Lynn "Becky" Hammon is a professional basketball player currently under contract with the San Antonio Silver Stars of the WNBA.-Early life:...

, Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar
Brock Edward Lesnar is an American mixed martial artist, actor and a former professional and amateur wrestler. He is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion and is ranked the No.5 Heavyweight in the world by Sherdog...

, and Adam Vinatieri
Adam Vinatieri
Adam Matthew Vinatieri is an American football placekicker currently playing for the Indianapolis Colts. He has played in six Super Bowls, four with the New England Patriots and two with the Colts, winning four. Vinatieri won a Super Bowl in 2006 with Indianapolis and won Super Bowls in 2001,...

. Mills is from the town of Pine Ridge
Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Pine Ridge is a census-designated place in and the most populous community of Shannon County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 3,308 at the 2010 census. It is the tribal headquarters of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.-History:By 2011, a gang culture...

 and competed at the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, becoming the only American to win a gold medal in the 10,000-meter event. Mike Miller of Mitchell
Mitchell, South Dakota
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 14,558 people, 6,121 households, and 3,599 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,475.7 people per square mile . There were 6,555 housing units at an average density of 664.4 per square mile...

 played at the University of Florida, leading them to the 2000 NCAA Championship game his sophomore year and won the 2001 NBA rookie of the year award. Mark Ellis
Mark Ellis (baseball)
Mark William Ellis is an American professional baseball second baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball. He has played for the Oakland Athletics and Colorado Rockies.-Early career:...

 of Rapid City played for the University of Florida and is currently a second baseman for the Colorado Rockies. Becky Hammon
Becky Hammon
Rebecca Lynn "Becky" Hammon is a professional basketball player currently under contract with the San Antonio Silver Stars of the WNBA.-Early life:...

 of Rapid City
Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City is the second-largest city in the U.S. state of South Dakota, and the county seat of Pennington County. Named after Rapid Creek on which the city is established, it is set against the eastern slope of the Black Hills mountain range. The population was 67,956 as of the 2010 Census. Rapid...

 plays for the WNBA's San Antonio Silver Stars
San Antonio Silver Stars
The San Antonio Silver Stars are a professional basketball team based in San Antonio, Texas, playing in the Western Conference in the Women's National Basketball Association . The team was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah before the league's inaugural 1997 season began; the team moved to San Antonio...

. Lesner, of Webster
Webster, South Dakota
Webster is a city in and the county seat of Day County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 1,886 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Webster is located at .According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , all of it land....

, is a former heavy-weight champion in the UFC and WWE. Vinatieri is an NFL
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

 placekicker
Placekicker
Placekicker, or simply kicker , is the title of the player in American and Canadian football who is responsible for the kicking duties of field goals, extra points...

 who grew up in Rapid City
Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City is the second-largest city in the U.S. state of South Dakota, and the county seat of Pennington County. Named after Rapid Creek on which the city is established, it is set against the eastern slope of the Black Hills mountain range. The population was 67,956 as of the 2010 Census. Rapid...

 and attended SDSU.

Recreation

Fishing and hunting are both popular outdoor activities in South Dakota. Fishing contributes over $170 million to South Dakota's economy, and hunting contributes over $190 million. In 2007, over 275,000 hunting licences and 175,000 fishing licences were sold in the state; around half of the hunting licences and over two-thirds of the fishing licences were purchased by South Dakotans. Popular species of game include pheasants
Common Pheasant
The Common Pheasant , is a bird in the pheasant family . It is native to Georgia and has been widely introduced elsewhere as a game bird. In parts of its range, namely in places where none of its relatives occur such as in Europe , it is simply known as the "pheasant"...

, white-tailed deer, mule deer
Mule Deer
The mule deer is a deer indigenous to western North America. The Mule Deer gets its name from its large mule-like ears. There are believed to be several subspecies, including the black-tailed deer...

, and turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

s, as well as waterfowl such as Canada geese
Canada Goose
The Canada Goose is a wild goose belonging to the genus Branta, which is native to arctic and temperate regions of North America, having a black head and neck, white patches on the face, and a brownish-gray body....

, snow geese, and mallards. Targets of anglers include walleye
Walleye
Walleye is a freshwater perciform fish native to most of Canada and to the northern United States. It is a North American close relative of the European pikeperch...

 in the eastern glacial lakes and Missouri River reservoirs, Chinook salmon
Chinook salmon
The Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, is the largest species in the pacific salmon family. Other commonly used names for the species include King salmon, Quinnat salmon, Spring salmon and Tyee salmon...

 in Lake Oahe
Lake Oahe
Lake Oahe is a large reservoir behind Oahe Dam on the Missouri River beginning in central South Dakota and continuing north into North Dakota in the United States. The lake has an area of and a maximum depth of . By volume, it is the fourth-largest reservoir in the US. Lake Oahe has a length of...

, and trout
Trout
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

 in the Black Hills.

Other sports, such as cycling and running, are also popular in the state. In 1991, the state opened the George S. Mickelson Trail
George S. Mickelson Trail
The George S. Mickelson Trail is a rail trail in the Black Hills region of South Dakota.The main trail route extends , from Edgemont to Deadwood, with approximately nine miles of additional branch trails, including a three mile paved link from Custer to the Custer State Park completed in 2007...

, a 109 miles (175.4 km) rail trail
Rail trail
A rail trail is the conversion of a disused railway easement into a multi-use path, typically for walking, cycling and sometimes horse riding. The characteristics of former tracks—flat, long, frequently running through historical areas—are appealing for various development. The term sometimes also...

 in the Black Hills. Besides being used by cyclists, the trail is also the site of a portion of the annual Mount Rushmore marathon; the marathon's entire course is at an elevation of over 4,000 feet (1,200 m). Other events in the state include the Tour de Kota, a 478 miles (769.3 km), six-day cycling event that covers much of eastern and central South Dakota, and the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an American motorcycle rally held annually in Sturgis, South Dakota, usually the first full week of August.-History:...

, which draws hundreds of thousands of participants from around the United States.

State symbols

Some of South Dakota's official state symbols include:
State bird: Ring-necked Pheasant
Common Pheasant
The Common Pheasant , is a bird in the pheasant family . It is native to Georgia and has been widely introduced elsewhere as a game bird. In parts of its range, namely in places where none of its relatives occur such as in Europe , it is simply known as the "pheasant"...

State flower: American Pasque flower
Pulsatilla patens
Pulsatilla patens is a species of flowering plant in the family Ranunculaceae, native to Europe, Russia, Mongolia, China, Canada and the United States...

State tree: Black Hills Spruce
Spruce
A spruce is a tree of the genus Picea , a genus of about 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees in the Family Pinaceae, found in the northern temperate and boreal regions of the earth. Spruces are large trees, from tall when mature, and can be distinguished by their whorled branches and conical...

State nicknames: Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota, in the United States...

 State (official), Coyote
Coyote
The coyote , also known as the American jackal or the prairie wolf, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States and Canada...

 state & Sunshine
Sunlight
Sunlight, in the broad sense, is the total frequency spectrum of electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun. On Earth, sunlight is filtered through the Earth's atmosphere, and solar radiation is obvious as daylight when the Sun is above the horizon.When the direct solar radiation is not blocked...

 state (both unofficial)
State motto: "Under God, the people rule"
State slogan: "Great Faces. Great Places."
State mineral: Rose quartz
Quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

State insect: Honey bee – Apis mellifera L.
State animal: Coyote
Coyote
The coyote , also known as the American jackal or the prairie wolf, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States and Canada...

State fish: Walleye
Walleye
Walleye is a freshwater perciform fish native to most of Canada and to the northern United States. It is a North American close relative of the European pikeperch...

State gemstone: Fairburn
Fairburn, South Dakota
Fairburn is a town in Custer County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 85 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Fairburn is located at ....

 agate
Agate
Agate is a microcrystalline variety of silica, chiefly chalcedony, characterised by its fineness of grain and brightness of color. Although agates may be found in various kinds of rock, they are classically associated with volcanic rocks and can be common in certain metamorphic rocks.-Etymology...

State song: "Hail, South Dakota!
Hail, South Dakota!
Hail! South Dakota! is the official state song of South Dakota, selected by popular vote. It was written and composed by DeeCort Hammitt .Hail! South Dakota! a great state of the land;...

"


See also

  • Black Hills
    Black Hills
    The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, USA. Set off from the main body of the Rocky Mountains, the region is something of a geological anomaly—accurately described as an "island of...

  • Great Plains
    Great Plains
    The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

  • List of National Register of Historic Places in South Dakota
  • List of people from South Dakota
  • List of places in South Dakota
  • Missouri River
    Missouri River
    The Missouri River flows through the central United States, and is a tributary of the Mississippi River. It is the longest river in North America and drains the third largest area, though only the thirteenth largest by discharge. The Missouri's watershed encompasses most of the American Great...

  • US state


Further reading

  • Lauck, Jon K. Prairie Republic: The Political Culture of Dakota Territory, 1879–1889 (University of Oklahoma Press; 2010) 281 pages
  • Wishart, David J. ed. Encyclopedia of the Great Plains, University of Nebraska Press, 2004, ISBN 0-8032-4787-7. complete text online; 900 pages of scholarly articles

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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