Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

Rapid City is a retail trade center for the Black Hills region.
Rapid City is a retail trade center for the Black Hills region.
Black Hill Knowledge Network photo/Chelsea Gortmaker

Rapid City - Work & Economy

Rapid City had a median household income of $46,966 in 2015, ranking 12th of the 27 most populous cities in South Dakota. The top five industries by number of employees in Rapid City, according to U.S. Census data, are administrative, sales, food & serving, management and construction. For an in-depth economic profile of Pennington County, visit the South Dakota Governor's Office of Economic Development. The Rapid City Chamber of Commerce has aggregated data links related to the Rapid City economyRapid City Economic Development also provides market data on the local economy.

City Profiles

The South Dakota Dashboard offers city profiles for South Dakota cities with populations of 1,000 and greater using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Find total population, racial breakdown, gender breakdown, poverty rates, disability rates, home ownership rates, housing cost burden data, median income, median age and more for Rapid City on the South Dakota Dashboard.

Gross Sales Revenue

Pennington County ranked 2nd in South Dakota for gross sales revenue in 2016, generating $6,551,735,881 as reported by the South Dakota Department of Revenue. Highest grossing sectors included Retail Trade ($3.11 billion), Services ($2.17 billion), and Transportation and Public Utilities ($430.0 million). Taxable sales in Pennington County exceeded $2.9 billion in 2016, according to the South Dakota Department of Revenue.

Employment

The top five industries by number of employees in Rapid City, according to U.S. Census data, are administrative, sales, food & serving, management and construction. Of Rapid City’s adult population of 56,250, 35,585 were working in 2015. According to recent data from the 2015 American Community Survey, the employment rate for Rapid City in 2015 was 63.3 percent, while the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent.

For more details and an overview of the economy in the Rapid City Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Pennington and Meade counties, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For an in-depth economic profile of Pennington County, visit the South Dakota Governor's Office of Economic Development. The Rapid City Chamber of Commerce has aggregated data links related to the Rapid City economyRapid City Economic Development also provides market data on the local economy.

Income & Wages

The Rapid City Median Household Income for those 65+ was $37,259 in 2015, lower than the county median of $39,667  and national median of $39,186, but higher than the South Dakota median of $39,808. Rapid City had a median household income of $46,966 in 201, ranking 12th of the 27 most populous cities in South Dakota.

10,463 people live in Poverty in Rapid City, approximately 15.2 percent of the total population. This is higher than the county rate of 12.2 and state rate of 13.7, and the national rate of 14.7 percent.

8,949 of Rapid City’s total households, or 31.9 percent, pay 30 percent or more of their income on monthly housing costs, also known as Housing Cost Burden. Pennington County ranks 61st of the 66 counties in South Dakota in this category. This is higher than South Dakota’s Housing Cost Burden at 24.5 percent and Pennington County’s rate of 29.6, but lower than the national rate of 33.3 percent.

Agriculture & Resources

Despite the growth of the urban population around Rapid City, agriculture continues to play an important role in Pennington County's economy. 

There were 599 farms in Pennington County totaling 1,074,103 acres according to the 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture Census. The average farm or ranch was 1,793 acres. The number of farms engaged in cattle production was 325. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of farms devoted to agriculture decreased by 9 percent. The market value of agricultural products sold in the county rose 17 percent, to $65,746,000 from $56,038,000 in 2007. Livestock accounted for 55 percent of all sales. 76 percent of farmland was devoted to pasture in Pennington County. The amount of government payments farms received totaled $2,942,000, down by 10 percent since 2007. The average principal operator of a farm was 59 years old and was most likely male and white. 19 Native Americans and 74 women were principal operators of farms. Pennington County was ranked 8th for winter wheat production in the state and 13th for horse and pony production.

For more information on agriculture in Pennington County, see the county profile at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's website. Explore more information at agcensus.gov and Rural Life and Census Data at SDSU, Brookings, SD. 

Environment & Conservation

Located in Rapid City, the Pennington County Conservation District was established in 1940 and serves a large portion of Western South Dakota. The current district covers 980,425 acres, including federal land and townships located within the district boundaries.

Housing

Rapid city ranks 16th of the 27 most populous cities in South Dakota for homeownership, with 59.9 percent of homes owner occupied. This is lower than the county rate of 67.0 percent, state rate of 68.2 percent, and national rate of 63.0 percent.

8,949 of Rapid City’s total households, or 31.9 percent, pay 30 percent or more of their income on monthly housing costs, also known as Housing Cost Burden. Pennington County ranks 61st of the 66 counties in South Dakota in this category. This is higher than South Dakota’s Housing Cost Burden at 24.5 percent and Pennington County’s rate of 29.6, but lower than the national rate of 33.3 percent

Transportation

Rapid Transit System: The Rapid Transit System has been providing residents and visitors with safe and reliable public transportation in Rapid City for more than 30 years. Rapid Transit System offers affordable fares and convenient routes to get you to your destination in a safe, efficient manner. Services include RapidRide, Dial-A-Ride, and the City View Trolley.

Rapid City Regional Airport: The Rapid City Regional Airport serves as the primary airport for a broad area that includes most of western South Dakota, as well as parts of Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Rapid City airport ranked 156th among the nation's airports with 264,170 passenger "enplanements" in 2015. This volume represented a 0.92 percent decrease from 2014. The airport employs 24 permanent employees and has budgeted an estimated $5 million for  Operations & Maintenance and $7,795,056 for Capital Improvements.

Tourism

Pennington County ranks 1st of 66 counties in South Dakota for real taxable tourism sales, with $ 227,262,434. That amount represented 27.4 percent of the state’s total. To see where other counties rank, see our chart on the South Dakota Dashboard.

Two of the top five leading industries in Rapid City are Retail Trade and Accommodations & Food Service, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, as tourism and services make up a large part of the Rapid City and Pennington County economies. Due to its being the “Gateway to the Black Hills,”  and its vicinity to a number of historic and tourist sights, Rapid City sees a large number of tourists annually.

More Information

For more data on the economies of South Dakota and the Black Hills, please check out our interactive graphs and charts at the South Dakota Dashboard.

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525 University Loop, Suite 202
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 716-0058   [email protected]