Buffalo County, South Dakota

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Buffalo County
Fort Thompson Big Bend Dam.
Fort Thompson Big Bend Dam.
Map of South Dakota highlighting Buffalo County
Location within the U.S. state of South Dakota
Map of the United States highlighting South Dakota
South Dakota's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 44°05′N 99°12′W / 44.08°N 99.2°W / 44.08; -99.2
Country United States
State South Dakota
Founded1864 (created)
1871 (organized)
Named forAmerican buffalo
SeatGann Valley
Largest communityFort Thompson
Area
 • Total488 sq mi (1,260 km2)
 • Land471 sq mi (1,220 km2)
 • Water16 sq mi (40 km2)  3.4%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total1,948
 • Estimate 
(2021)
1,923 Decrease
 • Density4.0/sq mi (1.5/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional districtAt-large

Buffalo County is a county in the U.S. state of South Dakota. As of the 2020 census, the population was 1,948.[1] Its county seat is Gann Valley[2] which, at 14 people, is the least populous county seat in the United States. The county was created in 1864, and was organized in 1871[3] as part of the Dakota Territory.

In 2010, the center of population of South Dakota was located in eastern Buffalo County.[4] The Crow Creek Indian Reservation, inhabited by the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, makes up the majority of Buffalo County.

According to the 2013 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates of the US Census Bureau, about 41% of county residents live in poverty, making it the fifth-poorest county in South Dakota. This is a far higher poverty rate than the national poverty rate of 15.8%. Median household income in 2013 was $21,572, making it the lowest-earning county in South Dakota and the United States.[5]

In March 2019, the county unemployment rate was 3.9%; its ten-year peaks occurred in December 2006 (18.1%) and December 2009 (17.2%).[6] As of 2002, many homes lack kitchens and indoor plumbing.[7]

Geography[edit]

The Missouri River flows southerly along the county's western boundary. The county terrain consists of semi-arid rolling hills, generally sloping to the south and east. Some area is devoted to agriculture. The south and west parts of the county are drained by Crow Creek, which discharges into the river at the county's SW corner. The county has a total area of 488 square miles (1,260 km2), of which 471 square miles (1,220 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (3.4%) is water.[8]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Protected Areas[edit]

  • Pease State Game Production Area

Lakes[edit]

History[edit]

As first organized, the county occupied an extensive area, bounded on the north by Canada, southwest and west by the Missouri River, having Montana for a part of its northwest boundary, and comprising a large portion of the "Plateau du Coteau du Missouri", and a part of the Miniwakan or Devil's Lake.[9] Thus, its original boundary also contained a portion of the future North Dakota, which became a separate unit when the Dakota Territory was admitted into the Union in 1889 as two separate states.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870246
188063−74.4%
18909931,476.2%
19001,79080.3%
19101,589−11.2%
19201,7157.9%
19301,93112.6%
19401,853−4.0%
19501,615−12.8%
19601,547−4.2%
19701,73912.4%
19801,7953.2%
19901,759−2.0%
20002,03215.5%
20101,912−5.9%
20201,9481.9%
2021 (est.)1,923[10]−1.3%
US Decennial Census[11]
1790-1960[12] 1900-1990[13]
1990-2000[14] 2010-2020[1]

As of the 2010 United States census, there were 1,912 people, 532 households, and 407 families in the county.[15] The population density was 4.1 inhabitants per square mile (1.6/km2). There were 609 housing units at an average density of 1.3 per square mile (0.50/km2).[16] The racial makeup of the county was 84.0% Native American, 14.8% white, 0.2% black or African American, 0.1% Asian, 0.0% from other races, and 0.9% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.8% of the population.[15] In terms of ancestry, 5.6% were German, and 0.0% were American.[17]

Of the 532 households, 55.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.1% were married couples living together, 33.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 23.5% were non-families, and 19.0% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 3.59 and the average family size was 4.06. The median age was 25.0 years.[15]

The median income for a household in the county was $27,926 and the median income for a family was $28,333. Males had a median income of $38,920 versus $18,542 for females. The per capita income for the county was $11,410. About 44.4% of families and 49.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 58.2% of those under age 18 and 36.3% of those age 65 or over.[18]

Communities[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Township[edit]

  • Elvira

Politics[edit]

In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the votes in Buffalo County due to support from Native Americans. Democratic Party nominees have won every presidential election since 1956 except the 1980 and 1984 elections, which Ronald Reagan won.

United States presidential election results for Buffalo County, South Dakota[23]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 183 33.33% 352 64.12% 14 2.55%
2016 171 34.90% 296 60.41% 23 4.69%
2012 166 25.90% 472 73.63% 3 0.47%
2008 156 25.20% 454 73.34% 9 1.45%
2004 223 26.52% 603 71.70% 15 1.78%
2000 140 34.31% 256 62.75% 12 2.94%
1996 134 20.94% 465 72.66% 41 6.41%
1992 137 27.62% 282 56.85% 77 15.52%
1988 151 30.82% 334 68.16% 5 1.02%
1984 253 51.21% 236 47.77% 5 1.01%
1980 272 59.65% 147 32.24% 37 8.11%
1976 194 44.70% 240 55.30% 0 0.00%
1972 221 44.47% 275 55.33% 1 0.20%
1968 261 47.11% 265 47.83% 28 5.05%
1964 278 35.69% 501 64.31% 0 0.00%
1960 294 46.82% 334 53.18% 0 0.00%
1956 314 49.68% 318 50.32% 0 0.00%
1952 413 61.46% 259 38.54% 0 0.00%
1948 313 48.01% 334 51.23% 5 0.77%
1944 324 56.45% 250 43.55% 0 0.00%
1940 491 55.42% 395 44.58% 0 0.00%
1936 368 46.29% 410 51.57% 17 2.14%
1932 270 29.64% 634 69.59% 7 0.77%
1928 405 51.01% 387 48.74% 2 0.25%
1924 309 41.53% 225 30.24% 210 28.23%
1920 200 59.70% 101 30.15% 34 10.15%
1916 80 30.19% 182 68.68% 3 1.13%
1912 0 0.00% 105 53.85% 90 46.15%
1908 105 58.99% 69 38.76% 4 2.25%
1904 118 60.51% 43 22.05% 34 17.44%
1900 87 46.28% 100 53.19% 1 0.53%
1896 68 46.26% 79 53.74% 0 0.00%
1892 78 50.65% 13 8.44% 63 40.91%

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • "Buffalo County". South Dakota Magazine. Part of a series on South Dakota counties.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "2020 Census Results". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 14, 2021.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Dakota Territory, South Dakota, and North Dakota: Individual County Chronologies". Dakota Territory Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2006. Archived from the original on April 2, 2018. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  4. ^ "Centers of Population by State: 2010". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 3, 2014. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  5. ^ 2013 Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, Interactive SAIPE Data and Mapping Tool, Bureau of the Census.
  6. ^ Unemployment Rate in Buffalo County, SD, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  7. ^ Cara Hetland, South Dakota has nation's poorest county, Minnesota Public Radio (October 1, 2002).
  8. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". US Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  9. ^ One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainRipley, George; Dana, Charles A., eds. (1879). "Buffalo. III. A S. E. county of Dakota" . The American Cyclopædia.
  10. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Counties: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021". Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  11. ^ "US Decennial Census". US Census Bureau. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  12. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  13. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". US Census Bureau. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  14. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). US Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  15. ^ a b c "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  16. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  17. ^ "Selected Social Characteristics in the US – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  18. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  19. ^ Crow Creek SD Google Maps (accessed 31 January 2019)
  20. ^ North Buffalo SD Google Maps (accessed 31 January 2019)
  21. ^ Shelby SD Google Maps (accessed 31 January 2019)
  22. ^ Southeast Buffalo SD Google Maps (accessed 31 January 2019)
  23. ^ Leip, David. "Atlas of US Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 13, 2018.

Coordinates: 44°05′N 99°12′W / 44.08°N 99.20°W / 44.08; -99.20