South Dakota legislators hear about population trends

PIERRE, S.D. (SDBA) — Some South Dakota population trends are increasing while others are decreasing.
That’s according to state demographer and South Dakota State University Professor Weiwei Zhang, who testified before the South Dakota Legislature’s House State Affairs Committee Wednesday.
On the one hand, some South Dakota counties have seen considerable growth, including Minnehaha, Lincoln, and Meade Counties.
Sioux Falls and Rapid City are growing, with Sioux Falls outpacing Rapid City’s growth.
On the other hand, the state birth rate is down, the fertility rate is down, and the mortality rate is up.
Zhang says South Dakota is at its population replacement of 2.1 children per family, higher than the national rate of 1.7 to 1.8 children per family.
Even with the declining birthrate, she says South and North Dakota lead the nation in fertility rate.
The state’s life expectancy rate, Zhang said, has decreased by about one year to 76.7 from 78.9. That is due to COVID-19.
Zhang also expects a decrease in school-aged children after a decade or so of rising K-12 enrollments.