South Dakota Geography and Society

South Dakota Geography and Society

According to Abbreviationfinder, South Dakota (officially, and in English, State of South Dakota) is one of the 50 states of the United States of America. The name of the state comes from the American Lakota and Dakota (Sioux) tribes. On November 2, 1889, South Dakota became the 39th American state. Its capital is Pierre.


South Dakota, a state located in the northwestern part of the central United States; It limits to the north with the state of North Dakota, to the east with Minnesota and Iowa, to the south with Nebraska and to the west with Wyoming and Montana. The Missouri River forms part of its southeastern border.


South Dakota has an area of ​​199,732 km². Its altitude ranges from 294 m at Big Stone Lake in the northeast to 2,207 m at Harney Peak in the Black Hills.

The eastern third of South Dakota is part of the Central Lowlands of the United States Midwest. Between the James and Big Sioux rivers lies a higher area, whose dark, fertile soils make this area the most productive agricultural region in the state..

Mountains and elevations

The central lowlands give way in the west to an escarpment, from which the Great Plains region extends, covering all of central and western South Dakota. At the western end of the state are the Black Hills and, around their granite core, there are steep mountains formed by sedimentary rocks arranged in slopes


The Missouri River is the main tributary of the Mississippi River. It is approximately 4,130 km long, is the longest river in the United States and drains a 1,371,000 km² basin, approximately one sixth of the North American subcontinent. The James and Big Sioux Rivers irrigate the eastern area, located south of the Missouri River, except for the most northeastern section of the state, which is drained by the Red and Minnesota Rivers.


According to, the largest cities in the state are Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Aberdeen, Watertown, and Brookings.

Climate and Precipitation

In South Dakota the continental climate predominates. Average annual rainfall reaches 635 mm in the southeast and drops to 368 mm in the northwest.


When the first settlers arrived in South Dakota, most of the region was covered by grasslands. Today the forest occupies only 3% of the lands of the state, and the dominant species are pines, firs and junipers.


A century ago, large herds of bison grazed on the vast grasslands of South Dakota; currently there are only a few protected herds living in Custer State Park. White-tailed deer, also known as Virginia deer, proliferate in the Black Hills, and antelope and deer can be seen west of the Missouri River. Common small mammals include coyotes, badgers, bobcats, raccoons, prairie dogs, and American hares.

Social development


According to the 2006 census, South Dakota had 781,919 residents, with 88.7% white. In Dakota live 62,283 descendants of indigenous people, of which the Sioux are the largest group. 6.8% of the population of South Dakota are under 5 years of age, 26.8% represent those who are less 18 years of age, and 14.3% are 65 years of age or older. Females make up approximately 50.4% of the state’s population, and 49.6% comprise males.


Executive power in South Dakota rests with a governor, popularly elected for a four-year term and who cannot govern for more than two consecutive terms. South Dakota elects two senators and one representative to the United States Congress. The state of South Dakota has three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. The current governor is Mike Rounds.

Members of the Senate and House

There are currently 35 members of the State Senate and 70 members of the House of Representatives. The state is made up of 35 legislative districts. Voters elect 1 senator and 2 representatives from each district. The legislative branch meets once a year on the second Tuesday in January, and also when the governor calls a special session.

Supreme court

State Supreme Court it is the highest court in South Dakota and the court of final appeal for state actions. The Chief Justice and four justices comprise the South Dakota Supreme Court. South Dakota is divided into seven judicial circuits. There are 39 circuit judges serving on all seven circuits. Circuit courts are the state the trial courts of general jurisdiction. There are 12 full-time and 3 part-time magistrate judges on the seven circuits. Circuit Magistrates Courts assist in the removal in misdemeanor courts of minor criminal and civil cases. These courts of limited jurisdiction make the judicial system more accessible to the public, providing a means of court in direct contact for the average citizen.


South Dakota’s first public libraries were founded during the 1880s. Currently, the state has 126 different public library systems, moving an average of 8 books per capita annually. The first institution of higher education founded in the state was Yankton College, founded in 1881, and closed in 1984. Currently, the state has 27 higher education institutions, of which 14 are public and 13 are private. Of these institutions, 10 are universities and 17 are colleges. The largest university in the state is South Dakota State University.

South Dakota Geography and Society

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