Cities on the Rise in South Dakota

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Pierre, South Dakota. Capital City.

The Great Recession might officially be over, but the shifting economic landscape has created an uneven recovery for most of America.

To find the cities and communities that are growing the fastest and why, NerdWallet crunched the data to determine the top “cities on the rise” in states across America. Our analysis factors in growth in working-age population, employment and income from 2009 to 2012 to create a composite growth metric.

When we analyzed the numbers for South Dakota, certain trends became apparent. Here’s what our top places had in common:

  • South Dakota’s southeast is prospering. Sioux Falls, the state’s largest city, has helped fuel growth in the southeast, home of five of our top 10 places.
  • Income is rising. The average three-year income growth rate for top 10 cities was 19%, one of the highest in the nation.
  • Small cities are strong. Unlike other states, South Dakota’s small cities were the stars in our study — only two of the top 10 cities had populations that topped 10,000 residents.

South Dakota’s economic rise began in the 1980s when Citibank moved its headquarters to Sioux Falls. Among other reasons, the financial giant was attracted to the state because it doesn’t have corporate or personal income taxes.

Citibank’s move was the first in a series by other companies, and by 2013, financial services had become a dominant industry that accounts for 15.9% of the state’s gross domestic product. Although Sioux Falls, home of major companies such as Capital One and 1st Financial Bank, remains the state’s financial services capital, growth has spread to several of our top cities, including Beresford and Lennox.

Agriculture is still a strong economic driver here, with 10.3% of the state’s GDP in 2013 connected to the industry. The most recent census ranks the state 12th in the nation for sales of agricultural products, which include dried grains, cattle and pork. Many people in South Dakota live in rural communities, and cities, such as Chamberlain and Sisseton, are thriving because of their strong agricultural economies.

South Dakota is also successfully diversifying its economy. The state’s manufacturing and health care industries, lead by 3M and Avera, continue to grow. North Sioux City boasts an Interbake Foods baking facility for cookie distributor, and Yankton finds many employment opportunities at Avera Scared Heart Hospital.

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The state’s continued growth is closely linked to opportunities for its young workers. The financial services industry, where employees find hands-on business experience once available only in large cities, is a major reason South Dakota is seeing some success in keeping its young workforce. The state also has a number of higher education options — ranging from Mount Mary College in Yankton to Black Hills State University in Spearfish.

Here’s our list of the top 20 cities and places on the rise in South Dakota. Take a look at our methodology to see how we calculated U.S. Census data to find our top cities. Share your thoughts in the comments section, and tell us why you think your city deserved (or didn’t deserve) a spot on our list.

City Working-age population in 2012 Working-age population growth 2009-2012 Employment in 2012 Employment growth 2009-2012 Median income in 2012 Median income growth 2009-2012 Overall growth score
1 North Sioux City 1,983 -0.15% 70.9 -1.39% 44,215 33.79% 56.46
2 Pine Ridge CDP 2,290 1.69% 43.7 13.51% 31,341 8.73% 52.33
3 Box Elder 5,866 124.49% 54.8 -17.72% 31,406 14.57% 50.99
4 Beresford 1,603 4.77% 67.5 -3.30% 40,958 28.12% 50.90
5 Spearfish 8,958 8.49% 63.5 2.92% 34,991 17.99% 50.09
6 Pierre 10,922 -0.53% 71.4 -1.11% 40,568 22.09% 47.14
7 Sisseton 1,838 -0.27% 60.3 5.42% 32,536 7.31% 42.10
8 Yankton 11,842 3.24% 60.1 1.18% 36,859 11.02% 41.39
9 Dell Rapids 2,838 22.01% 70.6 2.77% 37,845 3.15% 40.81
10 Winner 2,318 7.17% 67.5 -0.74% 31,836 11.34% 40.47
11 Lennox 1,634 -25.86% 67 0.15% 37,643 18.77% 40.15
12 Aberdeen 20,694 2.20% 68.4 0.00% 36,025 11.21% 40.05
13 Mobridge 2,683 2.99% 57.9 1.58% 29,280 8.10% 39.37
14 Hartford 1,848 25.46% 73.2 -3.17% 40,615 7.64% 38.90
15 Chamberlain 2,214 21.38% 63.8 -16.05% 34,269 25.17% 38.55
16 Colonial Pine Hills CDP 2,089 -5.60% 73.1 11.09% 52,076 -3.44% 38.21
17 Blackhawk CDP 2,213 28.51% 73 -4.82% 36,076 8.03% 38.14
18 Rapid City 53,555 6.57% 62.4 -2.19% 36,322 10.47% 38.07
19 Elk Point 1,531 12.91% 60.7 -14.27% 42,528 24.24% 37.82
20 Madison 5,329 -0.41% 63.3 5.15% 31,642 1.98% 37.43

Methodology
The overall score for each city was derived from these measures:
1. Population growth from 2009 to 2012 made up 33.3% of the total score. Data for the working-age population (16+) comes from the 2012 U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year estimate for all places in the state, Table DP03.
2. Employment growth from 2009 to 2012 made up 33.3% of the total score. Data for the percent of employed residents comes from the 2012 U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year estimate for all places in the state, Table DP03.
3. Income growth from 2009 to 2012 made up 33.3% of the total score. Data for the median earnings for workers comes from the 2012 U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year estimate for all places in the state, Table DP03.

We evaluated 41 cities and communities in South Dakota with populations of 2,000 or more.