Income & Wages
Personal Income Growth in Rapid City Metro Area Strong in 2011
Personal incomes in the Rapid City metropolitan area increased 7.2 percent in 2011 to an aggregate total of nearly $5.3 billion. This growth rate represented a slight drop from 2010's 7.4 percent growth, but still exceeded the 5.2 percent average of the nation's metropolitan areas by a substantial margin. It was also good enough to rank Rapid City 83rd among the nation's 366 metropolitan areas in personal income growth. On a per-capita basis, personal income grew by 5.9 percent to $41,286. To access the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis full release from November, 2012, click on the file attachment at the bottom of this page.
Income Differences Sharpest in Metro Area
Median household income differences are greatest in the Rapid City metropolitan area, compared to more rural parts of the Black Hills. As depicted in this interactive map, data from the 2010 U.S. Census reveals that the region's highest income tracts are on the south and western sides of the Rapid City metro area. The lowest income areas are to the north and east of downtown and on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. This data aligns with national studies of income inequality that show that income differences are highest in urban areas.
Personal Income and Government Benefits in the Black Hills
Across the United States, Americans derived 17.6 percent of their personal income from government benefits including Social Security, veteran’s benefits, food stamps, unemployment insurance, Medicare and more. In the Black Hills, as well as the rest of the country, this reliance on the government for personal income has grown over the last three decades. Using data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the New York Times provides an interactive, county-by-county map to show this change over time.
For Black Hills counties, the percent of personal income derived from government benefits (not including agricultural subsidies, student loans or other transfers), was:
Source: NY Times, "The Geography of Government Benefits" - www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/02/12/us/entitlement-map.html?ref=us
Meade County Leads Region in Per Capita Income
Personal incomes in the Black Hills region are not as high as for the state or the nation. Among the seven counties, the average per capita income was $32,314 in 2010 (the most recent year for which statistics are available). This was well below the national and state averages of $39,937 and $39,519 respectively.
Within the region, there are significant differences. Meade County led the region with per capita income of $36,796, while per capita incomes in Shannon County were among the lowest in the country at $20,514. Incomes in the two counties that comprise the Rapid City metropolitan area averaged $37,744 per capita. In the more rural counties, incomes averaged $32,907 (excluding Shannon County) or $29,846 (including Shannon County).
Over a ten-year period, however, incomes in the rural counties have been increasing faster (averaging 5.3 percent without Shannon County and 5.1 percent with Shannon County) than in the metropolitan area, which has an average annual growth rate of 5.0 percent.
For access to the 2010 data posted by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce click here.
Chart - Average Weekly Wages By County in South Dakota, Second Quarter 2011
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, updated January 31, 2012. (http://www.bls.gov/ro5/qcewsd.htm)