Rural South Dakota sees flat, declining population

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DE SMET, S.D. (AP) — U.S. Census Bureau data findings show more than 160 rural communities in South Dakota had either flat or flagging populations between 2010 and 2017.

The Argus Leader reports that the data released last month include more than half of the incorporated municipalities in the state. Rural counties in the middle of South Dakota experienced some of the largest population declines during the seven-year period.

Hyde County experienced the biggest population loss with a 7 percent decrease.

Jessica Schad researches rural population patterns at South Dakota State University. She says the state’s patterns match the rest of the United States.

Schad says jobs and housing are often major barriers for rural communities to reverse population declines.

Counties showing significant growth are located near a large metro area or a major university.