South Dakota is in the Midwestern region of the United States. It covers an area of approximately 77,116 square miles and has a population of around 913,797 people as of 2023. North Dakota borders the state to the north, Minnesota to the east, Iowa to the southeast, Nebraska to the south, Wyoming to the west, and Montana to the northwest.
South Dakota is known for its diverse geography, which includes rolling prairies, rugged badlands, towering mountains, and winding rivers. The Black Hills, with elevations of 2,000-4,000ft, stretches across its border into Wyoming. Located in the southern Pennington County, in the Black Elk Wilderness Area is Black Elk Peak (Harney Peak) – the state’s highest point, which rises to an elevation of 7,244ft. The eastern part of the state is characterized by fertile farmland and gently sloped hills.
Moving westward into South Dakota brings one into more arid terrain with vast stretches of grasslands known as "the Great Plains." This area has some of America's most productive agricultural lands, with wheat being one of its major crops. The western half of South Dakota contains numerous mountain ranges like Black Hills National Forest, which cover about 1.2 million acres, with granite peaks rising to over 7,000 feet above sea level.
The Badlands National Park, located in southwestern South Dakota, features stunning canyons carved out by water erosion over millions of years with colorful rock formations creating a unique landscape that attracts tourists from around the world.
The state’s most important river is the Missouri River. It is the longest river in the United States flowing over 2,500 miles (4,023km). The Missouri River rises in southern Montana in the Rocky Mountains, first flowing in the north and then generally southeast across the center of the United States, draining into the Mississippi River, just to the north of St. Louis, Missouri.
Other significant rivers of the state include the Cheyenne, James, Moreau, Red, and White. The most significant lake is Lake Oahe, one of five major lakes created on the Missouri River by the U.S. government to eliminate the annual flooding of the river lowlands. The state’s lowest point is situated along the Minnesota border, in the Big Stone Lake, at an elevation of 966ft.
Due to its varied topography ranging from plains to mountains, South Dakota experiences different climate zones depending on where you are. The eastern part has a humid continental climate, while areas towards the west have a semi-arid steppe climate due to less rainfall.
The State of South Dakota is divided into 66 counties. In alphabetical order, these counties are: Aurora, Beadle, Bennett, Bon Homme, Brookings, Brown, Brule, Buffalo, Butte, Campbell, Charles Mix, Clark, Clay, Codington, Corson, Custer, Davison, Day, Deuel, Dewey, Douglas, Edmunds, Fall River, Faulk, Grant, Gregory, Haakon, Hamlin, Hand, Hanson, Harding, Hughes, Hutchinson, Hyde, Jackson, Jerauld, Jones, Kingsbury, Lake, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lyman, Marshall, McCook, McPherson, Meade, Mellette, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Pennington, Perkins, Potter, Roberts, Sanborn, Shannon, Spink, Stanley, Sully, Todd, Tripp, Turner, Union, Walworth, Yankton, and Ziebach.
With an area of 199,730 sq. km, South Dakota is the 17th largest and the 5th least populous state in the USA. Located in the central part of the state, on the eastern banks of the Missouri River is Pierre – the capital city of South Dakota. It is also the 2nd-least populated state capital in the United States. The city of Pierre also serves as a major trading hub in the region and its economy is supported by government services, agriculture, tourism, and recreational services. Situated in the extreme eastern part of the state is Sioux Falls – the largest city of South Dakota. The city’s diversified and robust economy is based on its healthcare, financial services, and retail trade industries.
The State of South Dakota is located in the north-central (Midwest) region of the United States. The landlocked state of South Dakota is bordered by the states of Wyoming in the west; by Montana in the northwest; by North Dakota in the north; by Minnesota in the east; by Iowa in the southeast and by Nebraska in the south.
Regional Maps: Map of North America
|Legal Name||State of South Dakota|
|ISO 3166 Code||US-SD|
This page was last updated on March 2, 2023