- As of July 1, 2015, the Census estimates there were 858,469 South Dakotans.
- Worldwide, one out of about 8,500 people is a South Dakotan.
- South Dakota is one of only six states with fewer than a million people.
- We are the fifth-least populous state.
- Delaware has more people (about 946K); North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming have fewer.
- The Census estimates we’ve netted 44,278 new South Dakotans in the last five years.
- That’s a 5.44% increase over five years, or a 1.06% annual rate.
- At that rate, South Dakota’s population would double in 65 years.
- Since 2010, South Dakota has posted the 12th fastest population growth rate.
- We beat Minnesota, which ranked 28th with a 0.69% annual growth rate (but added 4.2 times as many people as South Dakota).
- North Dakota grew the fastest, followed by D.C., Texas, and Colorado.
- West Virginia is the only state that lost population; Vermont, Maine, Illinois, and Rhode Island grew most slowly.
- 58% of our net population growth came was “natural”—i.e., the number of births over deaths.
- 18% of our population growth was folks coming from other countries.
- 23% of our population growth was folks coming from other states.
- Minnesota actually lost more people to other states than they gained. But Minnesotans made lots of babies and attracted lots more international immigration.
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Your Department of Labor and Regulation tweets a cute infographic showing the South Dakota equivalent average wages for Santa’s helpers at the North Pole. Naturally, such South Dakota data get me thinking about how those wages would stack up against national wages.
The DLR uses a mishmash of 2014 and 2015 data. Let’s keep things clean and look just at May 2014 data for the jobs included in the DLR chart. (May 2014 appears to be the most recent wage data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.) Below is a table showing average hourly wages for every occupational category listed in the DLR Holiday 2015 infographic for which BLS offers both national and South Dakota data:
Occupation South Dakota National SD/US Chief Executives $86.22 $86.88 99.24% Commercial and Industrial Designers 18.59 32.23 57.68% Industrial Production Managers 43.82 48.87 89.67% Human Resources Managers 45.26 54.88 82.47% Correspondence Clerks 13.66 17.42 78.42% Customer Service Representatives 13.22 16.29 81.15% Data Entry Keyers 11.58 14.48 79.97% Transportation, Storage and Distribution Managers 42.41 44.80 94.67% Atmospheric and Space Scientists 40.02 42.35 94.50% Couriers and Messengers 12.18 13.63 89.36% Food Scientists and Technologists 26.45 32.15 82.27% Public Address System and Other Announcers 11.42 18.20 62.75% General and Operations Managers 54.12 56.35 96.04% Interior Designers 24.31 26.37 92.19% Chefs and Head Cooks 18.74 22.06 84.95% Bakers 11.10 12.28 90.39% Dietitians and Nutritionists 25.21 27.62 91.27% Public Relations Specialists 22.05 30.79 71.61% Meeting, Convention and Event Planners 15.61 24.48 63.77% Veterinarians 41.98 47.23 88.88% Mental Health Counselors 20.82 21.15 98.44% Musicians and Singers 12.95 32.49 39.86% Supervisors/Mgrs. of Production and Operating Workers 26.47 28.39 93.24% Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers and Weighers 16.06 18.46 87.00% Air Traffic Controllers 37.81 57.11 66.21% Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians 26.88 28.29 95.02% Supervisors/Mgrs. of Food Prep. and Serving Workers 15.13 15.58 97.11% Training and Development Specialists 22.30 29.58 75.39% Supervisors/Mgrs. of Landscaping, Lawn Service and Groundskeeping Workers 22.35 22.13 100.99% Team Assemblers 12.51 14.78 84.64% Helpers, Production Workers 13.20 12.31 107.23% Stock Clerks and Order Fillers 10.85 12.20 88.93% Packers and Packagers, Hand 10.59 11.08 95.58% Counter and Rental Clerks 11.56 13.25 87.25% Shipping, Receiving and Traffic Clerks 14.23 15.27 93.19% Food Batchmakers 12.87 13.84 92.99% Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Concession and Coffee Shop 8.96 9.53 94.02% Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers 11.46 12.85 89.18% Farmworkers, Farm and Ranch Animals 12.32 12.10 101.82%
Now we see why more musicians don’t hang around South Dakota.
Only three jobs out of these 38—landscaping/groundskeeping supervisors, farmworkers, and production workers—manage to offer average wages that beat the national average for their occupation. Five jobs—air traffic controllers, event planners, announcers, commercial and industrial designers, and musicians—earn less than 70% of the national average.
Mash these 38 jobs together, and South Dakota average wages are 86% of the national average. South Dakota’s cost of living in Q2 2014 was 100.8% of the national average. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development contends (per data updated September 2015) that South Dakota’s cost of living index is 87.6% of the national average. Current C2ER survey data says our Q3 2015 cost of living was 106.3% of the U.S. COL.
Governing looks at Census data on county industry reliance and population changes and finds some correlations that indicate challenges for economic growth in South Dakota.
Counties relying heavily on retirement and recreation are showing faster population growth than the national average:
Counties with heavy government employment surged a bit above the average during the recession but have retreated since:
Counties relying on manufacturing have underperformed the average population growth since the recession:
And counties relying on agriculture are losing population:
According to the 2015 Census county typology data, 41 of South Dakota’s counties are farming dependent, meaning they derive 25% of their earnings or 16% of their employment from farming. Nine counties are tagged federal/state government-dependent, meaning they rely on federal and state jobs for 14% of their earnings or 9% of their employment. Two counties—Brookings and Jerauld—are tagged manufacturing dependent, meaning thye rely on manufacturing for 23% of their earnings or 16% of their employment.
The Black Hills Pioneer posts a list of the ten best counties in South Dakota for incoming investment, based on an index created by New York-based Smart Asset that calculates “equally weighted categories of GDP growth, business growth, new building permits and municipal bonds per capita”:
The Spearfish paper got its numbers from the Black Hills Knowledge Network, which offers detailed investment numbers for every county in this November 19 article. Hanson County’s top ranking came not from Stace Nelson adding a second pig to the farm but from leading the state “for the amount of municipal bonds taken out per capita in the last five years — $107,876.”
Custer County had the highest rate of building permits, 24.9 per 1,000 homes. Mellette had the strongest business growth, 17.4%. Minnehaha had the highest GDP growth, $665 million, but notice that Smart Asset switches here from a percentage measure to raw dollars. Smart Asset does not give figures on per-capita GDP growth, which might better illustrate which counties have some secret economic development sauce. If you’re looking for per capita income, the best counties in South Dakota are Union, Lincoln, Miner, Stanley, and Hughes, the only five South Dakota counties that rank in the top 10% of counties for per-capita income nationwide.
The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teachers and Students offers a couple of helpful charts to illustrate the hole we’ve dug for our state funding of K-12 education:
The first chart shows that since FY1996, back around the time we changed the K-12 funding formula, we’ve increased state aid to education 149%. Mash all of the general fund items listed above together, and you’ll see that we’ve increased overall state spending by 143%. So we have increased out support for K-12 at slightly better than our overall budget growth, and we’ve continued to spend more on K-12 than on any other budget category.
That said, we’ve found the political will to increase funding for three other budget areas at even faster rates. Over the last twenty years, we’ve boosted Medicaid 279%, public protection by 176%, and social services by 172%.
The Blue Ribboneers phrase the differential oddly, as if it just happened:
Over the past 20 years, the state has had to face a variety of budgetary issues. State funding for K-12 schools has increased 149% over that period. That number could have been larger, but the increase in the state Medicaid budget of 279% over that same period has limited the revenue available for all other priorities, including education.
Because of the twenty year growth trend in Medicaid, the share of the State’s General Fund budget has decreased even though the amount of money given to schools through the per student allocation has increased [Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teachers and Students, final report, 2015.11.11, pp. 9–10].
Medicaid doesn’t just come and eat up revenue on its own. Medicaid, like funding for K-12, college, and cops, is a budget choice made by legislators, like those on the Blue Ribbon panel, and the Governor who convened this panel. Medicaid didn’t limit the revenue available; legislators and the Governor did.
Hold that while we look at the next chart, showing that even as the dollar figure we put toward K-12 funding went up, K-12 education’s share of the state budget has dwindled back to the pre-formula-reform lows of the mid-1990s:
Governor Bill Janklow and the mid-1990s K-12 formula reform apparently boosted K-12 funding to 39% of the state general fund. Governors Mike Rounds and Dennis Daugaard let that share (i.e., indicator of the priority we place on K-12 education) slide back to 29%.
Nothing says we had to spend 279% more on Medicaid over the last two decades, no more than anything says Governor Daugaard has to expand Medicaid now under the Affordable Care Act (well, other than human decency… but hey! we’re talking budget, not morality). We could easily have prioritized K-12 by $75 million more while increasing Medicaid, public protection, and social services not quite as much:
Budget Area FY1996 FY2016 Wishful 2016 Actual Increase Wishful Increase K-12 State Aid $165,964,789 $413,815,266 $488,815,266 149.34% 194.53% Medicaid $98,777,558 $374,243,418 $333,974,181 278.87% 238.11% Higher Ed $112,815,061 $220,805,692 $220,805,692 95.72% 95.72% Social Services $65,867,900 $179,073,062 $159,804,492 171.87% 142.61% Protect Public $52,061,094 $143,698,373 $128,236,180 176.02% 146.32% Rest of State Govt $93,127,409 $101,471,274 $101,471,274 8.96% 8.96% Total $588,613,811 $1,433,107,085 $1,433,107,085 143.47% 143.47%
$75 million in adjusted budget priorities, spread out over twenty years, would have produced the revenue necessary to support $8,000 more in teacher pay while still supporting above-average growth in Medicaid spending and growth in social services and public protection even with the overall growth in state spending.
None of this historical perspective on budget choices argues that we shouldn’t make the hard choices necessary now to pay our teachers regionally competitive wages. If anything, this historical perspective makes the case for action now all the more compelling. Failure to prioritize K-12 education in the past has dug us into a big teacher shortage hole. Failure to reprioritize K-12 education now will only dig that hole deeper.
Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute offers some national teacher job numbers that show that public layoffs in response to the recession have left the U.S. with just about 5% fewer public education jobs than we should have to maintain the staff–student ratio we had seven years ago.
South Dakota’s teacher pool is also falling behind increasing student enrollment. Consider our student enrollment and teaching staff numbers statewide, as presented to the Blue Ribbon K-12 panel by the Department of Education last month:
School Year K-12 Enrollment Certified Instructional Staff Student-Teacher Ratio 2005 121,327 8,851 13.7 2006 120,682 9,065 13.3 2007 120,277 8,934 13.5 2008 121,089 8,958 13.5 2009 121,015 9,003 13.4 2010 122,055 9,101 13.4 2011 123629 9,159 13.5 2012 124739 8,941 14.0 2013 126759 9,039 14.0 2014 128294 9,208 13.9 2015 129,772 9,362 13.9 2016 131,515 9,394 14.0 2017 133,572 9,541 14.0 2018 135,457 9,676 14.0 2019 137,447 9,818 14.0
[2015 estimated; 2016–2019 projected]
Prior to the Daugaard austerity, South Dakota’s teacher–student ratio was hovering around 13.5. Governor Daugaard’s FY2012 budget cuts led to the loss of over 200 full-time equivalents in K-12 teaching. Factor in increased enrollment in FY2012, and Daugaard’s cuts caused the teacher–student ratio to jump to 14.0. The DOE projects that just maintaining that new normal (remember, Governor Daugaard likes what he’s done to K-12 education and wants things to stay that way) would require South Dakota to increase its K-12 teaching corps by 4.9%, 456 new teachers, from last year’s total by FY2019.
But if we wanted to get back to the more manageable 13.5 teacher–student ratio to which Governor Rounds led us, we would need 365 teachers on top of that increase, 820 new teachers total, a workforce increase of 8.8%
Remember, every additional certified teacher in your school is an additional caring adult who can help your kids figure out algebra or belt sanders or their college plans. Providing our kids the best educational opportunities means undoing Governor Daugaard’s damage and recruiting those teachers.
You know you’re the best blog in South Dakota, don’t you?
I’m paraphrasing, just a little, but honest to Gaia, a person I’d never met face to face walked up to me on the street here in Aberdeen the other day and, after some conversation, offered just that assessment of Dakota Free Press. That satisfied reader requested that I put “South Dakota’s #1 Political Web Site” across the top of my blog, as does the long-time pretender to that title, Republican press release outlet Dakota War College.
My satisfied reader, a South Dakotan well-versed in South Dakota law and politics, reads both blogs each day. Dakota War College used to provide that reader more satisfaction, but now scrolling through the verbatim press releases from elected Republicans to find the occasional original scraps wears that reader out. The blogosphere, my satisfied reader agrees, exists to add value to South Dakota news with local analysis, commentary, research, original reporting, and a little verve and humor. I feel comfortable asserting that Dakota Free Press offers more of all those things than Dakota War College.
My reader’s compliment and my preceding statement are open to subjective re-evaluation and counterexamples. I welcome readers’ efforts in that regard.
But let’s look at some objective numbers. Dakota War College displays the WordPress Popular Posts widget in its left sidebar. It appears to list the most-viewed posts of the last 30 days, a timeframe I deduce from the oldest post on that list, the July 28 post on Steve Hildebrand’s press conference on payday lenders sabotaging his store as political retribution. Here are the top ten DWC posts from the last 30 days, per the screen cap I took around 16:30 CDT today:
I don’t display the same widget on Dakota Free Press, but I can dig into my WordPress Site Stats and show you the top ten posts by views for my last 30 days:
The most attention-getting post on Dakota Free Press in the last 30 days, the report on Governor Dennis Daugaard’s disappointing speech to gifted students at the Governor’s Camp, drew more than twice as many views as Dakota War College’s top ten posts combined.
DWC’s #10 post has 410 views. My stats show 42 DFP posts that have more than 410 views.
Anybody can write “I’m #1” on top of his website. But you don’t need to be told whose blog is the best political website in South Dakota. In the spirit of the true blog ethos, you’ll see for yourself. When you read good blogging, you’ll hit the Share buttons (beneath each DFP post!). You’ll ring the Tip Jar (near right sidebar—yes, I do welcome your contributions!). You’ll come back for more.
And if you see me around Aberdeen, or Sioux Falls (reporting this Saturday at SkepDakota!), or Harney Peak (really, this has happened), you’ll come up and tell me what you think of Dakota Free Press. I welcome your comments.
The South Dakota Department of Transportation has posted its traffic counts for vehicles entering Sturgis during the 75th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally which occupied the Black Hills last week. The numbers beat last year by 30%, but they did not set a record:
At 510,749, this year’s rally traffic was the highest in ten years. However, it did not exceed the historical record of 604,441 set during the 60th Rally in 2000, nor the 528,676 vehicle entries counted in 1990 during the 50th Rally.
So how do these traffic numbers translate into headcount? One would think that the vehicle count must include a lot of multi-passenger vehicles (including all those biker couples sharing a ride), so the multiplication factor is surely much larger than 1.0. But when I look at past rally stats posted on the official Sturgis website, I find from 2000 on, headcount exceeds the SDDOT traffic count by a lowly ratio of only 1.038. If that average ratio holds for this year, a traffic count of 510,749 would translate to a headcount of 530,000, less than the headcount Sturgis.com lists for the 60th Rally.
Governing crunches a whole lot of numbers from the IRS to determine where wealth moved in the United States from 2011 to 2012. The IRS data show the number of tax returns showing a change of address from one county to another from 2011 to 2012. The IRS also sums the total adjusted gross income (AGI, the amount you put on line 37 of your 1040 this year, gross income minus business losses, educator expenses, moving expenses, tuition and fees, and other pre-exemption/deduction adjustments) for in-migrants and out-migrants (shall we test your enunciation skills and say immigrants and emigrants?), from which Governing‘s Mike Maciag calculates a net migration AGI, the amount of new income brought by new households.
Here are the six South Dakota counties where Maciag finds the most movement in the IRS data:
County Total Net Migration AGI Total In-Migration AGI Total Outmigration AGI Net Change in # Returns Lincoln $96,177,000 $210,545,000 $114,368,000 884 Meade $34,593,000 $100,979,000 $66,386,000 367 Lawrence $5,471,000 $67,995,000 $62,524,000 62 Brown $5,285,000 $41,843,000 $36,558,000 227 Pennington -$5,022,000 $158,617,000 $163,639,000 126 Minnehaha -$39,516,000 $263,095,000 $302,611,000 228
In all six of these counties, more households moved in and filed federal income tax returns than moved away and filed from other counties. But in our two largest counties, Minnehaha and Pennington, a net influx of taxpayers did not lead to a net gain in income. The AGI of folks moving out of Pennington County was $5 million more than the AGI of those who moved in. That gap was even larger in Minnehaha County, almost $40 million.
Those counties’ immediate neighbors, Lincoln and Meade counties, saw net gains in AGI from migrants. The folks who moved to Meade County (and we’re likely talking the Black Hawk-Piedmont-Sturgis suburbiplex along I-90) brought in about $35 million more in income than folks took elsewhere in 2012. The folks who moved to Lincoln County (South Sioux Falls, Tea, Harrisburg…) brought in $96 million more than folks took out of the county.
How can Rapid City and Sioux Falls be gaining taxpayers but seeing a net loss in income from migration? I’ll speculate much of the difference comes from age. Young people head for the big cities, where they can find more jobs. Young people earn less money. Older workers accumulate promotions, raises, investment income, and new business ventures. They can afford to buy bigger houses out in South Dakota’s suburbs. They take their higher incomes up the road from Rapid or down the river from Sioux Falls.
Maciag’s deeper data on each county show that growing South Dakota counties aren’t getting much migration boost from out of state. In Minnehaha, Lincoln, and Brown counties, the top six counties providing in-migrants are all in South Dakota. (Brown’s biggest draws: Edmunds, Minnehaha, Codington, Beadle, Spink, and Pennington). Pennington’s top five sources of in-migrants were all in South Dakota; #6 was Miami-Dade County in Florida. Lawrence County’s top four migrant sources were all in South Dakota; the next two were Campbell and Crook counties in Wyoming, straight west on I-90. Four of Meade’s top six migrant sources were South Dakota counties; it’s #4 was Clark County, Nevada (Vegas!), while it’s #6 was El Paso County, Colorado (Colorado Springs—all the fundagelicals coming to enjoy the End Times at Bear Butte?). The only other major in-migration from out-state in South Dakota’s ten largest counties appears in Yankton County, which swaps migrants with Nebraska’s adjacent Cedar County (Hartington) and gains a few more Nebraskans from Madison County (Norfolk).
There’s still plenty of cross-state migration. In our ten largest counties, only #10 Davison saw more people leave for other states than come from other states, and that margin was quite slim.
The IRS and Governing do not provide data on how many of those migrants are teachers. But I think we know which way that arrow points.
In raw dollars, South Dakota’s $8.50 an hour is the 11th-best in the nation. Nine states and D.C. guarantee a higher basic wage. No neighboring state has a higher minimum wage; Montana is closest, at $8.05, followed by Nebraska and Minnesota at $8.00.
But factor in regional price parities, the “differences in the price levels of goods and services across states and metropolitan areas” calculated by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and South Dakota is Number One! An hour’s work at the lowest rung in South Dakota earns $9.70 in real purchasing power. That’s 3.5% more purchasing power than an hour of grunt work in second-place Oregon, where the raw minimum wage is $9.25 and real purchasing power is $9.37. South Dakota’s adjusted minimum wage is 9.7% more powerful than Nebraska’s and 18.3% higher than Minnesota’s. Boo-yah!
We can only hope that our leadership in effective minimum wage purchasing power may create some pressure to raise the rest of our wages. Looking at all occupations, our raw wages stink: we rank 48th for median hourly wage, 50th for mean hourly wage, and 50th for mean annual wage (and Capital One is still leaving Sioux Falls, due to turnover and worker shortage? seriously?). Factor in regional price parities, and our rankings in those categories don’t budge out of the 40s (42nd, 47th, and 47th, respectively).
You can view every state’s minimum wage, median hourly wage, mean hourly wage, and mean annual wage on this spreadsheet. I use the current 2015 minimum wage data posted by Chokshi, the 2013 regional purchasing power data mapped by Cole and Drenkard, and the May 2014 wage estimates posted by the Bureau of Economic Analysis for each state (for example, for South Dakota here). That’s a mishmash of years; I invite readers to find and analyze a year-unified dataset.
Let’s look at specific numbers for the septa-state region:
State Minimum wage Adjusted minimum wage 1/RPP (real value of $1) Iowa $7.25 $8.03 $1.11 Minnesota $8.00 $8.20 $1.03 Montana $8.05 $8.53 $1.06 Nebraska $8.00 $8.84 $1.11 North Dakota $7.25 $7.93 $1.09 South Dakota $8.50 $9.70 $1.14 Wyoming $7.25 $7.57 $1.04 State Median Hourly Adjusted Median Hourly Mean Hourly Adjusted Mean Hourly Iowa $15.91 $17.62 $19.77 $21.90 Minnesota $18.30 $18.76 $23.23 $23.81 Montana $15.15 $16.05 $19.17 $20.31 Nebraska $15.66 $17.30 $19.75 $21.82 North Dakota $17.75 $19.41 $21.20 $23.19 South Dakota $14.36 $16.39 $17.93 $20.46 Wyoming $18.16 $18.96 $21.60 $22.55 State Mean Annual Adjusted Mean Annual Iowa $41,210 $45,644 Minnesota $48,310 $49,518 Montana $39,880 $42,258 Nebraska $41,080 $45,393 North Dakota $44,100 $48,236 South Dakota $37,300 $42,566 Wyoming $44,930 $46,913
South Dakota is leading the nation on the effective minimum wage. But on the real purchasing power of wages across the spectrum, we’re lagging all of our neighbors except for Montana.