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South Dakota top

South Dakota

The US state of South Dakota is located within the Midwestern region of the country. The name "Dakota" was derived from the Dakota and Lakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Prior to becoming a state on the 2nd of November, the year 1889, South Dakota were part of Dakota Territory. The state of South Dakota has a projected population of a little over 800,000 and an area of 77,116 square miles or 199,730 km2. The state capital is Pierre and Sioux Falls, with a population of just about 160,000, is South Dakota's largest city.

The state of South Dakota is bordered by the states of North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana and Wyoming. The state is bisected by the Missouri River, dividing South Dakota into two socially and geographically distinct halves, known to inhabitants as "East River" and "West River". Eastern South Dakota is home to most of the state's residents, and fertile soil within this particular area is used to grow various crops. West of the Missouri, the main agricultural activity is ranching, and the economy is more dependent on defense spending and tourism. The Black Hills, a group of low pine-covered mountains, is situated in the southwest area of South Dakota. The Black Hills are sacred to the Sioux. A major tourist destination, Mount Rushmore, is located there. Other attractions in the southwest include Wind Cave and Badlands national parks, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, and historic Deadwood. The state of South Dakota experiences a temperate continental weather condition, with four distinct seasons and precipitation ranging from moderate in the east to semi-arid in the west. The ecology of South Dakota features species typical of a North American grassland biome.

The current-dollar gross state product of South Dakota was $39.8 billion as of 2010, the fifth smallest total state output in the United States. The per capita personal income was $38,865 during the year 2010, ranked 25th within the U.S., and 12.5% of the population was below the poverty line during the year 2008.

The largest economic driver in the state of South Dakota is the service business, comprising the areas of health care, retail and finance businesses. Citibank, which was the largest bank holding company within the nation at one time, established national banking operations within the state of South Dakota during 1981 to take advantage of favorable banking regulations. Government spending is another essential segment of the economy of the state, providing over 10 percent of the gross state product. Ellsworth Air Force Base, near Rapid City, is the second-biggest single employer within South Dakota.

Agriculture has historically been a key component of the economy of South Dakota. Although other businesses have expanded rapidly during recent decades, agricultural production is still very vital to the state's economy, specially in rural areas. The five most beneficial agricultural products in the state of South Dakota are soybeans, cattle, corn, hogs and wheat. Agriculture-related businesses such as ethanol production and meat packing also have a significant economic impact on the state of South Dakota. The state of South Dakota is the sixth leading ethanol-producing state within the United States.