Rural South Dakota Shrinking

In an era of declining rural populations and ever-increasing suburban and urban development, the rural population of South Dakota is gradually shrinking.

For the past several decades, the rural population of the United States has been on the decline. The gradual growth of cities and suburban communities has increasingly siphoned off rural residents.

While predominantly urban states/regions have naturally seen a drop in their rural population, even predominantly rural states like South Dakota have seen a dip in rural communities.

One of the major causes of the rural decline is the changing nature of American agriculture. With fewer and fewer small farmers dominating farm production (and with more and more production concentrated in the hands of major agribusinesses) there is less need for rural workers and less opportunity for employment.

“There are fewer and fewer farms out there, and there are fewer people needed to work them. The days of having a little farm on every quarter section are long gone,” said sociology and rural researcher Michael McCurry.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer