James E. Pew

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology and Rural Studies


South Dakota was the second most rural state in the North Central Region in 1960 with 61 percent of the state’s population living in rural areas. Only North Dakota, with 65 percent rural population, surpassed South Dakota within the North Central Region. Throughout the United States, rural areas have been experiencing a definite loss of people through net out-migration. South Dakota was no exception. Even though the state gained 4 percent in population from 1950 to 1960, there was a total net out-.migration of slightly over 14 percent. There were 121, 736 more births than deaths in South Dakota between 1950 and 1960. This natural growth produced a potential population of 774,476 for 1960; yet only 680, 514 were living in the state in that year. Thus, the population grew only 27,774 instead of a possible 121,736. Out-migration accounted for this difference between the potential and the actual population increase. The estimated total net out-migration from South Dakota for the 1950-1960 decade numbered 94,279. A general principle in migration theory contends that migration tends to be selective in terms of age and sex. Findings from the study done by Riley and the author show that the young adult segment of the population experienced the highest rates of migration in South Dakota during the 1950-1960 decade. Young adults constituted approximately 38 percent of the total net out-migrants; however, this segment of the population constituted only 24 percent of the total population in 1950 and only 17 percent in 1960. A question, therefore, arises concerning the factors associated with this age-selective migration. In other words, what factors were associated with the net out-migration of young adults from South Dakota’s counties and economic areas during the decade 1950- 1960?

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Migration, Internal -- South Dakota




South Dakota State University