Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies


Students of demography have long been aware that populations change over time: they are dynamic. The determination and explanation of population change forms the central focus of population analysis, and the question arises as to what factors best explain observed variations in population changes occurring in South Dakota rural towns. Consequently, this study investigates the following problem. What is the association between selected demographic, geographic, economic, and social factors and the population changes that transpired from 1960 to 1970 in South Dakota incorporated places classified as rural in both 1960 and 1970? Specifically, the study attempts to determine: 1. What changes in population occurred from 1960 to 1970 in South Dakota small towns. 2. How these population changes varied by small town when controlled for selected variables. 3. What factors help explain the observed variations in population change reported for the towns under study. The possibility of a declining population concerns numerous groups. Local businessmen fear the loss of potential consumers, farmers fear the loss of marketing and trading facilities, and community leaders fear waning support or loyalty. Conventional agencies are faced with a declining tax base and continued expenditures for schools, roads, and other services: and the entire population of the community is threatened with the loss not only of individuals but also of facilities such as hospitals, churches, and schools.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Cities and towns -- South Dakota

Rural population -- South Dakota

South Dakota -- Economic conditions



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University