Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



Rapid changes have occurred in the Great Plains over the years. At the turn of the century, the small towns that dotted the country-side served as full-service centers for the surrounding territory. They provided all the necessary marketing facilities and consumer goods as well as acting as centers for social functions. In the intervening years, some of these centers have increased tremendously in size while others have ceased to grow or have, in fact, declined. The profound economic and technological advances in farming, marketing, transportation, and merchandising have affected the number, size, functions, and viability of the cities and towns. As a result, leaders throughout South Dakota are concerned about the changes and what further changes can be expected. The complete realm of economic and social life has been influenced by these changes. Local governments, businesses, education, churches, health care, transportation, and farm life have all been put under increased pressure. Many communities are in economic and population decline while others grow, some very rapidly. These phenomena are observable in South Dakota in varying degrees. This research was oriented to answering the question: Can these differential rates of growth be explained by economic activities and geographical factors?

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Cities and towns -- South Dakota
Retail trade -- South Dakota




South Dakota State University