Rural Sociology Department
rural sociology, population shifts, population changes, census
Nearly 14% of all South Dakotans moved out of the state in the 60s. Although that is a big chunk of our population to lose, the bad news was expected; such high rates of out-migration have been recorded every decade since the 1940s. Nearly 200,000 people left the state from 1950 to 1970. The phenomenon is not peculiar to South Dakota. The exodus from the agricultural heartland of America has been relatively continuous over the past three decades. It has had serious consequences for the people left behind. Consequently, the good news of the 1970s was a surprise: From the 14% rate of the previous decade, out-migration dropped to only 4%. A net total of 92,560 people (13.6% of the total population) migrated out of the state in the 1960s. From 1970 to 1980, only 26,384 (4%) more people left the state than moved in. The major findings in this report are: 1. Migration levels fell sharply from the 1960s to the 1970s in South Dakota. 2. More counties recorded immigration in the 1970s than in the 1960s. 3. Fewer counties recorded high outmigration in the 1970s than in the 1960s (see Table 1). The slowdown in population loss did not happen uniformly across the state. Three fourths of the counties continued to record net out-migration, though only 12 counties had higher rates of out-migration in the 1970s than in the 1960s. In many cases, out-migration rates were cut in half.
Agricultural Experiment Station, South Dakota State University
Baer, L.; Satterlee, J. L.; and Goreham, G. A., "Is the Exodus Over? Update Series C229, No. 12" (1985). Agricultural Experiment Station Circulars. 240.