Poverty rates in the Sioux Falls metropolitan area have been on a steady rise over the past three years, according to an analysis by the South Dakota Dashboard. Recently released data from the U.S. Census shows that the poverty rate rose from 9.0 percent in 2013 to 11.5 percent in 2015, leaving an estimated 28,285 people living below the poverty line.
A weak economy might be partly to blame. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported this week that growth in the Sioux Falls metro area economy was tepid at best in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, the economy bounced back and grew by 2.2 percent, but that growth came at the expense of a decline in the manufacturing sector.
Comparatively, the Rapid City metropolitan area—comprised of Pennington, Meade, and Custer counties—has witnessed a decline in the poverty rate in recent years from 14.5 percent in 2013 to 11.9 percent in 2014 and just 10.5 percent in 2015.
Overall, post-recession poverty rates have hit a three year low of 13.7 percent in the Rushmore State. While the national average has decreased from 15.5 percent in 2014 to 14.7 percent in 2015, South Dakota's poverty rate has remained below the national average except in 2009 when both rates were 14.3 percent.
South Dakota ranks 24th nationally for poverty rates and has ranked 6th in the region for the past two years. Regionally, Minnesota posted the lowest rate, 10.2 percent, while Montana had the highest, 14.6 percent. Only two states (Nebraska and Mississippi) did not show a decrease in poverty rates from 2014. Nationally, New Hampshire posted the lowest rate, 8.2 percent, compared to No. 50 Mississippi with 22.0 percent.
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Gender also impacts poverty rates. Women have consistently been more at risk to live in poverty than men in South Dakota and the gap seems to be increasing. The female poverty rate remained unchanged at 15.4 percent in 2015, which is higher than pre-recession levels. The male poverty rate, however, decreased almost 1 percent from 2014 to 12.1 percent in 2015. The current rate is on par with male pre-recession poverty rates, excluding an abnormally low spike of 11.0 percent in 2008.