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Facts about South Dakota

History | Symbols | Interesting Facts | Famous People

Statehood:  November 2, 1889, the 40th state

Capital:  Pierre

Total Area:  17th among states, 199,905 sq km (77,184 sq mi)

Water Area:  3,173 sq km (1,225 sq mi)

Highest Point:  Harney Peak, 2,207 m (7,242 ft)

Total Population:  46th among states
2010 census -  814,180

Population Density in 2010:  10.7 people per sq mi

Distribution in 2000: 50.3% Urban, 49.7% Rural

Gross State Product - $39.9 billion (2010)
Personal income per Capita - $36,935 (2009)

Largest cities in 2010: 
Sioux Falls:  153,888
Rapid City:  67,956
Aberdeen:  24,992

  • More than 90 percent of South Dakota's land area was classified as farmland in the mid-1990s.

  • The famous Black Hills Passion Play is held annually in a natural amphitheater near Spearfish.

  • A gigantic sculpture of Crazy Horse, the famous Sioux chief, is being carved in the Black Hills. The project, begun in 1948, remains uncompleted.

  • Lead is home to The Homestake Mine, the largest gold mine in the United States.  It opened in 1876, making it the oldest continually operating gold mine in the world.  It produces about 15% of the nation’s gold and still has huge reserves.

  • Evan’s Plunge, the world’s largest natural indoor warm-water pool, is located in Hot Springs.

  • The Badlands of South Dakota, a region of barren ravines and cliffs, were created by volcanic action as well as by wind and water erosion.

  • The largest buffalo herd in the U.S. lives at the Standing Butte Ranch near Pierre.

  • The geographic center of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, is located in South Dakota, 17 miles west of Castle Rock.

  • The Black Hills are the highest mountains east of the Rockies.

  • The Spirit Mound near Vermillion served as a vantage point for Lewis and Clark as they viewed the Prairie Plains.

  • The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs has 100 Columbian and Woolly Mammoth fossils buried there.

  • Some of the logs in Petrified Wood Park in Lemmon weigh more than 10,000 pounds. Others contain the fossilized remains of snakes and early marine life.

  • Sitting Bull's grave sits on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River near Mobridge. It wasn't always there. In 1953 under the cover of darkness, a group of South Dakotans snuck into North Dakota, exhumed his bones (with his relatives' permission) and reburied them in their rightful home.