Climate change could be an economic wash in South Dakota. So says this county-by-county map that Governing compiles from a June Science article on the costs of climate change.
South Dakota lies right on a continental transition point where the benefits of warmer weather—better crop production, fewer people dying from cold—outweigh the costs. Head south and down from the mountains, and climate change is more likely a net negative to farming, outdoor labor productivity, and energy costs.
The counties poised to make out best in a warmer world are Lawrence in the northern Black Hills (2.4% better GDP) and McPherson on the north central prairie (2.3% better GDP). Ziebach in West River could take the worst hit (3.4% worse GDP). Douglas (down 2.4%) and other southeast counties also drop more than others in South Dakota.
According to this climate change analysis, most of West River would see increases in average crop yields, while most of East River would see decreases. Energy expenditures would increase on both sides of the river. Mortality rates would decrease in nearly every county (the exceptions I find are Tripp, Charles Mix, Hutchinson, Douglas, and Hanson), but crime increases everywhere as the number of cold days decreases.
South Dakota is happily removed from any foreseeable coastal damage. The study does not assume mass migration from the coastal and southern areas where climate change would do the greatest economic harm, so it is possible that the study underestimates the possible economic benefits of folks flooded and steamed out of their homes coming to South Dakota to live and work… and we all know how good immigration is for South Dakota’s economy!