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Pine Ridge Indian Reservation - Work & Economy Black Hill Knowledge Network photo/Chelsea Gortmaker

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation - Work & Economy


According to the American Community Survey 2012-2016 5-Year Estimates, 6,555 individuals over the age of 16 were in the labor force in the Pine Ridge Reservation. Of this population, 4,905 individuals were employed, indicating an unemployment rate of 25.2%. For information about the work and economy in Oglala Lakota County, which comprises a majority of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, visit its corresponding community profile page.  You can find additional employment estimates for the Pine Ridge Reservation from the U.S. Department of Interior.

The largest employment industry in the Pine Ridge Reservation is Educational Services, and Health Care and Social Assistance, with 1978 individuals employed in 2016, followed by Public Administration (724 individuals employed) and Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting and Mining (441 individuals employed).

The Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce, located in Kyle, works to support and encourage business to the community.

The chamber of commerce created an online mall that lists area businesses.

Income & Wages

The median household income for individuals over the age of 65 living in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation was $30,908 in 2016, less than both the South Dakota median of $54,467, and the United States median of $57,617.

In 2016, approximately 50.8% of Pine Ridge residents lived below the poverty level, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. By comparison, the poverty rate for South Dakota was 13.3% in 2016 and 14.0% across the nation.

Agriculture & Resources

There were 174 farms in Oglala Lakota County totaling 1,101,176 acres according to the 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture Census. The average farm or ranch was 6,329 acres. The number of farms engaged in cattle production was 123. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of farms devoted to agriculture decreased by 30 percent. The market value of agricultural products sold in the county rose 63 percent, to $32,288,000 from $19,803,000 in 2007. Livestock accounted for 73 percent of all sales. Eighty-seven percent of farmland was devoted to pasture in Oglala Lakota County. The amount of government payments farms received totaled $1,722,000, up by 44 percent since 2007. The average principal operator of a farm was 58 years old and was most likely male and Native American. Twenty six women were principal operators of farms. Oglala Lakota County was ranked 7th for horse and pony production in the state and 12th for bison production.

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




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