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South Dakota leads nation in Native American poverty rate

South Dakota leads nation in Native American poverty rate

  • Updated

SIOUX FALLS | New Census numbers show that South Dakota leads the nation in the percentage of Native Americans living below the poverty line.

Five years' worth of data from The American Community Survey on poverty shows that more than 48 percent of the state's 65,000 Native Americans live below the poverty threshold. In 2013, the federal poverty guideline is an annual income of $11,170 for one person.

In Rapid City, the state's second-largest city, more than 50 percent of the Native American population lives below poverty.

State demographer Mike McCurry says he is not surprised by the numbers. He says most of the state's poverty is concentrated on the state's nine Indian reservations, and many Native Americans leave and head to Rapid City or Denver in hopes of finding jobs.

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