Fastest-growing counties in South Dakota

Written by:
July 1, 2022
Seabear70// Wikimedia

Fastest-growing counties in South Dakota

Why do people move from one county or region to another? The usual suspects are jobs, family, significant others, and overall cost of living, but there are other elements at play. For those with children, moving within close proximity of a highly rated school district is a key contributing factor. For younger adults just starting out, living someplace with a vibrant social scene might be a top priority. And for those whose careers have wound down after a lifetime of work, finding retirement-friendly communities is the goal—communities deemed to be safe, offer accessibility to medical resources and leisure activities in equal measure, and be affordable for those on a limited income.

This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive list. People’s reasons for choosing to live where they do are as diverse as people themselves.

As far as why certain counties across the U.S. have experienced growth, relocation is not the sole, or even primary, reason why. While more than 1,800 counties saw population gains in 2021, approximately 73% of all U.S. counties saw what the U.S. Census Bureau characterizes as a natural decrease. This was a significant jump from 2020, when 55.5% of countries experienced such a decrease. According to the Bureau, natural decrease is the simple result of “when there are more deaths than births in a population over a given time period.” In 2021, the conflation of fewer births with an aging population that was also absorbing a higher-than-usual mortality rate due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to this “increased decrease.”

Nonetheless, as stated 1,800 counties nationwide have grown larger over the last year, and a sizable percentage of them are in South Dakota. Stacker compiled a list of the fastest-growing counties in South Dakota using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the highest population growth from 2010 to 2020, based on the U.S. Decennial Census.

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Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota // Wikimedia Commons

#50. Walworth County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -123
--- #1,657 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -2.3%
--- #47 among counties in South Dakota, #1,887 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 5,315
--- #33 largest county in South Dakota, #2,794 largest county nationwide
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Wacekj // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Fall River County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -121
--- #1,654 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.7%
--- #44 among counties in South Dakota, #1,789 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 6,973
--- #26 largest county in South Dakota, #2,661 largest county nationwide
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Jimmy Emerson, DVM // Flickr

#48. Miner County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -91
--- #1,622 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -3.8%
--- #52 among counties in South Dakota, #2,133 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,298
--- #56 largest county in South Dakota, #3,017 largest county nationwide
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USDA // Wikimedia Commons

#47. Campbell County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -89
--- #1,615 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -6.1%
--- #56 among counties in South Dakota, #2,477 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 1,377
--- #63 largest county in South Dakota, #3,088 largest county nationwide
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Magicpiano // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Jones County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -89
--- #1,615 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -8.8%
--- #62 among counties in South Dakota, #2,774 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 917
--- #66 largest county in South Dakota, #3,109 largest county nationwide

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J. Stephen Conn // Flickr

#45. Edmunds County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -85
--- #1,609 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -2.1%
--- #46 among counties in South Dakota, #1,870 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 3,986
--- #40 largest county in South Dakota, #2,889 largest county nationwide
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JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#44. Deuel County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -69
--- #1,586 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.6%
--- #43 among counties in South Dakota, #1,764 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 4,295
--- #38 largest county in South Dakota, #2,864 largest county nationwide
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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Bon Homme County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -67
--- #1,583 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.9%
--- #37 among counties in South Dakota, #1,647 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 7,003
--- #25 largest county in South Dakota, #2,660 largest county nationwide
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#42. Haakon County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -65
--- #1,580 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -3.4%
--- #50 among counties in South Dakota, #2,053 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 1,872
--- #60 largest county in South Dakota, #3,052 largest county nationwide
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Runner1928 // Wikimedia Commons

#41. Dewey County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -62
--- #1,578 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.2%
--- #40 among counties in South Dakota, #1,683 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 5,239
--- #35 largest county in South Dakota, #2,803 largest county nationwide

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JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Spink County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -54
--- #1,563 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.8%
--- #36 among counties in South Dakota, #1,620 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 6,361
--- #27 largest county in South Dakota, #2,710 largest county nationwide
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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#39. Bennett County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -50
--- #1,559 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.5%
--- #42 among counties in South Dakota, #1,738 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 3,381
--- #45 largest county in South Dakota, #2,933 largest county nationwide
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Jon Roanhaus // Wikimedia Commons

#38. McPherson County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -48
--- #1,553 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -2.0%
--- #45 among counties in South Dakota, #1,835 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,411
--- #54 largest county in South Dakota, #3,007 largest county nationwide
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Rolf Blauert Dk4hb // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Lyman County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -37
--- #1,538 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.0%
--- #38 among counties in South Dakota, #1,652 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 3,718
--- #43 largest county in South Dakota, #2,906 largest county nationwide
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J. Stephen Conn // Flickr

#36. Sanborn County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -25
--- #1,519 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.1%
--- #39 among counties in South Dakota, #1,660 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,330
--- #55 largest county in South Dakota, #3,013 largest county nationwide

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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Tripp County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -20
--- #1,514 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.4%
--- #35 among counties in South Dakota, #1,555 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 5,624
--- #31 largest county in South Dakota, #2,769 largest county nationwide
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Amphibol // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Brule County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -8
--- #1,499 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.2%
--- #34 among counties in South Dakota, #1,514 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 5,247
--- #34 largest county in South Dakota, #2,801 largest county nationwide
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#33. Stanley County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +14
--- #1,472 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.5%
--- #33 among counties in South Dakota, #1,418 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,980
--- #47 largest county in South Dakota, #2,959 largest county nationwide
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Harry Weddington, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Buffalo County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +36
--- #1,448 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.9%
--- #24 among counties in South Dakota, #1,203 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 1,948
--- #58 largest county in South Dakota, #3,045 largest county nationwide
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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Aurora County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +37
--- #1,446 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.4%
--- #25 among counties in South Dakota, #1,271 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,747
--- #51 largest county in South Dakota, #2,980 largest county nationwide

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Jon Roanhaus // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Kingsbury County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +39
--- #1,442 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.8%
--- #31 among counties in South Dakota, #1,367 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 5,187
--- #36 largest county in South Dakota, #2,812 largest county nationwide
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Justinebelden // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Harding County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +56
--- #1,423 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.5%
--- #13 among counties in South Dakota, #881 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 1,311
--- #64 largest county in South Dakota, #3,091 largest county nationwide
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Runner1928 // Wikimedia Commons

#28. McCook County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +64
--- #1,416 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.1%
--- #30 among counties in South Dakota, #1,319 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 5,682
--- #30 largest county in South Dakota, #2,762 largest county nationwide
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JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Sully County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +73
--- #1,411 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.3%
--- #11 among counties in South Dakota, #789 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 1,446
--- #62 largest county in South Dakota, #3,079 largest county nationwide
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Sdgjake // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Hutchinson County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +84
--- #1,407 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.1%
--- #29 among counties in South Dakota, #1,317 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 7,427
--- #24 largest county in South Dakota, #2,627 largest county nationwide

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#25. Oglala Lakota County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +86
--- #1,406 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +0.6%
--- #32 among counties in South Dakota, #1,390 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 13,672
--- #15 largest county in South Dakota, #2,176 largest county nationwide
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puroticorico // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Custer County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +102
--- #1,392 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.2%
--- #28 among counties in South Dakota, #1,299 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 8,318
--- #22 largest county in South Dakota, #2,554 largest county nationwide
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Jon Roanhaus // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Hanson County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +130
--- #1,371 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.9%
--- #19 among counties in South Dakota, #939 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 3,461
--- #44 largest county in South Dakota, #2,924 largest county nationwide
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Betsy Armour // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Roberts County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +131
--- #1,370 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.3%
--- #27 among counties in South Dakota, #1,287 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 10,280
--- #17 largest county in South Dakota, #2,392 largest county nationwide
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JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Butte County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +133
--- #1,369 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +1.3%
--- #26 among counties in South Dakota, #1,283 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 10,243
--- #18 largest county in South Dakota, #2,395 largest county nationwide

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JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Potter County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +143
--- #1,362 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.1%
--- #10 among counties in South Dakota, #694 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 2,472
--- #52 largest county in South Dakota, #3,000 largest county nationwide
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JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Clark County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +146
--- #1,360 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.0%
--- #17 among counties in South Dakota, #932 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 3,837
--- #42 largest county in South Dakota, #2,899 largest county nationwide
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Jon Roanhaus // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Grant County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +200
--- #1,332 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.7%
--- #21 among counties in South Dakota, #1,092 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 7,556
--- #23 largest county in South Dakota, #2,614 largest county nationwide
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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Charles Mix County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +244
--- #1,304 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.7%
--- #22 among counties in South Dakota, #1,097 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 9,373
--- #19 largest county in South Dakota, #2,464 largest county nationwide
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JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Hamlin County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +261
--- #1,287 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.4%
--- #14 among counties in South Dakota, #883 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 6,164
--- #29 largest county in South Dakota, #2,724 largest county nationwide

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AlexiusHoratius // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Turner County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +326
--- #1,245 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.9%
--- #18 among counties in South Dakota, #938 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 8,673
--- #21 largest county in South Dakota, #2,515 largest county nationwide
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Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Davison County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +452
--- #1,168 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.3%
--- #23 among counties in South Dakota, #1,140 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 19,956
--- #10 largest county in South Dakota, #1,818 largest county nationwide
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#13. Hughes County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +743
--- #1,073 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.4%
--- #15 among counties in South Dakota, #887 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 17,765
--- #12 largest county in South Dakota, #1,932 largest county nationwide
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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Yankton County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +872
--- #1,035 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +3.9%
--- #20 among counties in South Dakota, #942 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 23,310
--- #9 largest county in South Dakota, #1,669 largest county nationwide
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#11. Codington County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,098
--- #975 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.0%
--- #16 among counties in South Dakota, #922 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 28,325
--- #7 largest county in South Dakota, #1,480 largest county nationwide

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User:Magicpiano // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Clay County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,103
--- #974 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.0%
--- #7 among counties in South Dakota, #570 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 14,967
--- #14 largest county in South Dakota, #2,088 largest county nationwide
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#9. Lawrence County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,671
--- #870 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.9%
--- #9 among counties in South Dakota, #638 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 25,768
--- #8 largest county in South Dakota, #1,568 largest county nationwide
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#8. Beadle County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,751
--- #853 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +10.1%
--- #5 among counties in South Dakota, #412 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 19,149
--- #11 largest county in South Dakota, #1,863 largest county nationwide
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Winkelvi // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Brown County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +1,770
--- #852 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.8%
--- #12 among counties in South Dakota, #842 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 38,301
--- #4 largest county in South Dakota, #1,217 largest county nationwide
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Jon Platek // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Brookings County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,410
--- #762 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +7.5%
--- #8 among counties in South Dakota, #595 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 34,375
--- #5 largest county in South Dakota, #1,317 largest county nationwide

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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Union County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,412
--- #761 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +16.8%
--- #3 among counties in South Dakota, #173 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 16,811
--- #13 largest county in South Dakota, #1,983 largest county nationwide
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Jim Roberts // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Meade County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +4,418
--- #597 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +17.4%
--- #2 among counties in South Dakota, #158 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 29,852
--- #6 largest county in South Dakota, #1,436 largest county nationwide
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tochichi//Wikicommons

#3. Pennington County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +8,274
--- #478 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +8.2%
--- #6 among counties in South Dakota, #551 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 109,222
--- #2 largest county in South Dakota, #560 largest county nationwide
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AlexiusHoratius // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Lincoln County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +20,333
--- #287 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +45.4%
--- #1 among counties in South Dakota, #9 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 65,161
--- #3 largest county in South Dakota, #827 largest county nationwide
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Seabear70// Wikimedia

#1. Minnehaha County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +27,746
--- #230 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +16.4%
--- #4 among counties in South Dakota, #184 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 197,214
--- #1 largest county in South Dakota, #344 largest county nationwide

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