North Dakota and South Dakota Compared

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Mr. Beat compares and contrasts North Dakota and South Dakota, two Upper Midwestern American states that folks often mix up.
#southdakota #northdakota #geography

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Produced by Matt Beat. All images/video by Matt Beat, found in the public domain, or used under fair use guidelines. Music: "Bodélé Depression (Mega-Chad Mix)" by Jesse Gallagher

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Photo/video credits (Creative Commons):
Aerotography Arizona
NDSUExtension
Roderick Eime
Richie Diesterheft
National Park Service
Martin Kraft
Stefan Fussan
Carrie Scarr
Jim Bowen
Public.Resource.Org
Navin75
Ratsbew
NDSU Center for Writers
Bobak Ha'Eri
Parkerdr
JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD
University of South Dakota

The Dakotas
South Dakota and North Dakota, two northern plains states in these United States, but they are not as plain as you might assume.

Once part of the mighty Dakota Territory, one of the last areas of the country Americans settled, they split up, and today there is a mild rivalry between the two. People get them mixed up, although in this video I’m going to explain how they are quite different, despite sharing part of a name.

But first, what do they have in common? Well, other than being irregularly-shaped rectangles.

Both are about the same size, although South Dakota is a bit bigger. There’s also not a big difference between the population of the two states, although South Dakota has more people. Historically, their populations have rarely been far apart, with North Dakota’s population even surpassing South Dakota’s a few times. Currently, North Dakota is growing at a faster rate. Both don’t have a metro area that even gets near half a million people, which is why Minneapolis-St. Paul is pretty influential over both.

Both states are considered part of the Midwest. Most of the two states are made up of mostly prairie, part of what’s known as The Great Plains. Both have mostly continental climates, and generally the further west you go in each state, the drier it gets. For example, the annual precipitation in Fargo, North Dakota is 22.6 inches, while it’s 14.4 inches out west in Williston. It’s 26.3 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, while it’s 16.3 out west in Rapid City.

While both have four seasons, both have fairly mild summers and long, extremely cold winters. North Dakota does get a little colder in the winter being further north.

The Missouri River is the major river that runs through both states. Both are about as far from the ocean as you can get.

West of the Missouri River in both states, the land becomes much more rugged, with badlands and buttes. Both are mostly rural states with lots of agriculture.

Residents of both states are younger, on average, than most of the country. (36.8 SD, 35 ND). Residents of both also tend to be Christian. 77% in North Dakota and 79% in South Dakota identify as such. And most residents in both are of European descent. The largest ethnic minority in both states today is American Indian.

Both states lean conservative politically, and reliably have voted for the Republican Party since the 1960s.

So how about those differences?

The poverty rate is lower in North Dakota (10.3%-13%). However, crime is a little lower in South Dakota. More North Dakota residents have college degrees. And the cost of living is generally higher in North Dakota.

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