Harding County, South Dakota

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Harding County
Golden Valley Norwegian Lutheran Church in Ralph, South Dakota.
Map of South Dakota highlighting Harding 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: 45°35′N 103°30′W / 45.59°N 103.5°W / 45.59; -103.5
Country United States
State South Dakota
Founded1881 (created)
1898 (dissolved)
1908 (re-created w revised shape)
1909 (organized)
Named forJ. A. Harding
SeatBuffalo
Largest townBuffalo
Area
 • Total2,678 sq mi (6,940 km2)
 • Land2,671 sq mi (6,920 km2)
 • Water6.5 sq mi (17 km2)  0.2%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total1,311
 • Estimate 
(2021)
1,327 Increase
 • Density0.49/sq mi (0.19/km2)
Time zoneUTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional districtAt-large
Websitewww.hardingcountysd.com

Harding County is a county in the U.S. state of South Dakota. As of the 2020 census, the population was 1,311,[1] making it the third-least populous county in South Dakota. Its county seat is Buffalo.[2]

Harding County was established as a county in the Dakota Territory on 5 March 1881, but was not organized at that time. Its name recognized J. A. Harding, who had been Speaker of the House of Dakota Territory.[3] Its boundaries were altered in 1883, in 1889, and in 1894. On 8 November 1898, Harding County was dissolved and its territory assigned to Butte County. However, on 3 November 1908, it was again created (with altered boundaries) from Butte County's area, and on 17 February 1909 its governing organization was completed.[4]

Custer National Forest has its South Dakota portion in Harding County, and South Dakota State University operates the Antelope Range and Livestock Research Station about 14 miles (23 km) east of Buffalo.

Geography[edit]

Harding County lies at the northwest corner of South Dakota. Its western boundary line abuts the east boundary line of the state of Montana, and its north boundary line abuts the south boundary line of the state of North Dakota.[5] Its terrain consists of high hills, generally sloping to the east. Its highest point is a ridge that runs northwest to southeast near the county's southwest corner, at 3,366' (1026m) ASL.[6]

Harding County has a total area of 2,678 square miles (6,940 km2), of which 2,671 square miles (6,920 km2) is land and 6.5 square miles (17 km2) (0.2%) is water.[7] It is the fourth-largest county in South Dakota by area.

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Protected areas[5][edit]

  • Custer National Forest (partial)
  • Gardner Lake State Game Production Area
  • Mallula State Game Production Area
  • State Experiment Farm and Antelope Reserve

Lakes[5][edit]

  • Lake Gardner - it is 203 acres in surface area and is approximately 14 feet deep at its deepest point. Channel Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Walleye, Yellow Bullhead, and Yellow Perch inhabit the lake.
  • Leger Dam
  • Rabbit Creek Dam - this lake has a surface area of 17 acres and is inhabited by a variety of warm water fish including Largemouth Bass.
  • Vessey Dam - Eight acres in size, this lake is stocked with rainbow trout.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
19104,228
19203,953−6.5%
19303,589−9.2%
19403,010−16.1%
19502,289−24.0%
19602,3713.6%
19701,855−21.8%
19801,700−8.4%
19901,669−1.8%
20001,353−18.9%
20101,255−7.2%
20201,3114.5%
2021 (est.)1,327[8]1.2%
US Decennial Census[9]
1790-1960[10] 1900-1990[11]
1990-2000[12] 2010-2020[1]

2000 census[edit]

As of the 2000 United States Census,[13] there were 1,353 people, 525 households, and 352 families in the county. The population density was 0.5 people per square mile (0.2/km2). There were 804 housing units at an average density of 0.3 per square mile (0.1/km2). The racial makeup of the county, as defined by the US Census was 97.63% White, 0.30% Black or African American, 0.74% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.37% from other races, and 0.37% from two or more races. 1.63% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 25.9% were of German, 24.3% Norwegian, 12.8% American, 7.1% Irish and 6.6% English ancestry.

There were 525 households, out of which 35.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.5% were married couples living together, 5.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.19.

The county population contained 32.5% under the age of 18, 4.4% from 18 to 24, 24.8% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 104.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.0 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $25,000, and the median income for a family was $31,667. Males had a median income of $25,556 versus $16,375 for females. The per capita income for the county was $12,794. About 19.40% of families and 21.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.80% of those under age 18 and 22.50% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census[edit]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 1,255 people, 539 households, and 348 families in the county.[14] The population density was 0.5 inhabitants per square mile (0.19/km2). There were 731 housing units at an average density of 0.27 per square mile (0.10/km2).[15] The racial makeup of the county was 95.9% white, 1.5% American Indian, 0.1% black or African American, 0.1% Asian, 0.7% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.6% of the population.[14] In terms of ancestry, 41.4% were Norwegian, 31.8% were German, 18.4% were Irish, 13.2% were English, and 2.6% were American.[16]

Of the 539 households, 26.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.5% were married couples living together, 4.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 35.4% were non-families, and 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.87. The median age was 43.3 years.[14]

The median income for a household in the county was $34,792 and the median income for a family was $46,111. Males had a median income of $38,929 versus $20,924 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,004. About 13.7% of families and 16.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.5% of those under age 18 and 16.9% of those age 65 or over.[17]

Politics[edit]

Harding is a heavily Republican county in Presidential and Congressional elections. The last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 46-state 1936 landslide. Jimmy Carter in 1976 almost carried the county, but since then the solitary Democrat to top 22 percent of Harding County's ballots has been Michael Dukakis in the drought-influenced 1988 election – and none of the last seven Democratic presidential candidates have topped so much as twenty percent. In 2008, Republican John McCain won 78% of the county's vote, while in 2012 Mitt Romney won 86% of the vote, and Donald Trump in 2016 won 90%, his strongest showing in South Dakota,[citation needed] with Hillary Clinton narrowly securing second place from Gary Johnson.

United States presidential election results for Harding County, South Dakota[18]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 748 92.00% 49 6.03% 16 1.97%
2016 695 90.26% 38 4.94% 37 4.81%
2012 638 86.33% 82 11.10% 19 2.57%
2008 575 78.34% 135 18.39% 24 3.27%
2004 704 86.38% 94 11.53% 17 2.09%
2000 650 88.92% 64 8.76% 17 2.33%
1996 537 68.41% 151 19.24% 97 12.36%
1992 515 58.46% 139 15.78% 227 25.77%
1988 633 70.33% 259 28.78% 8 0.89%
1984 723 79.28% 186 20.39% 3 0.33%
1980 727 74.64% 205 21.05% 42 4.31%
1976 470 49.74% 459 48.57% 16 1.69%
1972 637 71.57% 253 28.43% 0 0.00%
1968 564 63.02% 266 29.72% 65 7.26%
1964 489 50.10% 487 49.90% 0 0.00%
1960 676 63.89% 382 36.11% 0 0.00%
1956 650 63.35% 376 36.65% 0 0.00%
1952 809 73.35% 294 26.65% 0 0.00%
1948 529 50.87% 479 46.06% 32 3.08%
1944 552 52.82% 493 47.18% 0 0.00%
1940 755 52.98% 670 47.02% 0 0.00%
1936 524 37.92% 819 59.26% 39 2.82%
1932 625 43.28% 715 49.52% 104 7.20%
1928 1,032 72.78% 368 25.95% 18 1.27%
1924 702 62.07% 107 9.46% 322 28.47%
1920 648 58.43% 213 19.21% 248 22.36%
1916 520 41.57% 597 47.72% 134 10.71%
1912 0 0.00% 325 29.49% 777 70.51%

In the South Dakota Senate Harding is part of the 28th Senate district, which is held by Republican Betty Olson. In the State House Harding is part of district 28B, which is held by Republican J. Sam Marty.

Communities[edit]

Towns[edit]

Unincorporated communities[5][edit]

Ghost Towns[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "2020 Census Results". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 14, 2021.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Joseph Nathan Kane, The American Counties (4th Ed.), (The Scarecrow Press, 1983), pp. 148, 479
  4. ^ Individual County Chronologies/Harding County (Newberry Library) accessed February 3, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Harding County SD Google Maps (accessed 3 February 2019)
  6. ^ ""Find an Altitude" Google Maps (accessed February 3, 2019)". Archived from the original on May 21, 2019. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  7. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". US Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Counties: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021". Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  9. ^ "US Decennial Census". US Census Bureau. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  10. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  11. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". US Census Bureau. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  12. ^ "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 26, 2015.
  13. ^ "U.S. Census website". US Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  14. ^ 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 12, 2016.
  15. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  16. ^ "Selected Social Characteristics in the US – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  17. ^ "Selected Economic Characteristics – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  18. ^ Leip, David. "Atlas of US Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 13, 2018.

Coordinates: 45°35′N 103°30′W / 45.59°N 103.50°W / 45.59; -103.50