State economist on 2020 Census: ‘Strong population growth can be tied to a strong, healthy economy’

KELOLAND.com Original
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s steady population growth continues to spur more economic activity. 

That’s the key takeaway South Dakota’s state economist Derek Johnson had from Monday’s statewide population announced from the 2020 Census. Johnson, who works with the Bureau of Finance and Management said the census population doesn’t directly affect the state budget. 

“It does, however, have an effect on federal funding,” Johnson said in an email to KELOLAND News. “The census population and subsequent datasets that measure things such as income and poverty levels are used by many federal grant programs to apportion federal funding for states and local governments.”

South Dakota’s resident population was listed as 886,667 on April 1, 2020. The state had a growth rate of 8.9%, the highest since the 1930s and higher than the national average. 

“Strong population growth can be tied to a strong, healthy economy,” Johnson said. “Steady population growth leads to increased spending and economic activity, and generally more robust sales tax growth over the long term.”

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Sales tax makes up 62% of the state budget. In South Dakota, the Department of Revenue has reported sales tax revenue was up 16% in January 2021 over January 2020, while February 2021 was up 8% over Feb. 2020 and March 2021 was also up nearly 14% over March 2020. 

County-by-county Census data, used for redistricting by the state to redraw or “redistrict” legislative boundaries, is expected to be finished by September.

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