South Dakota, SD
South Dakota is the 17th largest state in the Union, although it is also the 5th least populated. Formed from the Dakota Territory alongside its sister state North Dakota, South Dakota is a prime agricultural state and hosts several large Indian Reservations. The discovery of gold in the mountainous Black Hills in 1874 led to a gold rush and population influx into the territory as well as the last great conflict between the United States and the Lakota Sioux.
Agriculture remains one of South Dakota’s primary industries. In recent years the service industry has surpassed it to become the largest single industry in South Dakota. Financial services and healthcare have all experienced dramatic growth in the last decade, due in part to the administrative demands created by the economic boom in neighboring North Dakota. The Federal Government, through the Armed Forces, is also among the top employers in South Dakota. Tourism is a major attraction in South Dakota, primarily in the mining towns of the Black Hills region as well as Mount Rushmore. South Dakota also hosts the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
South Dakota’s population is centered primarily in west in the Black Hills and in the southeast around the capital of Sioux Falls. Farmland, parks, and reservations constitute the vast majority of the state’s land.