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Mellette County, South Dakota facts for kids

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Mellette County
Map of South Dakota highlighting Mellette County
Location within the U.S. state of South Dakota
Map of the United States highlighting South Dakota
South Dakota's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  South Dakota
Founded 1909 (created)
1911 (organized)
Named for Arthur C. Mellette
Seat White River
Largest city White River
Area
 • Total 1,311 sq mi (3,400 km2)
 • Land 1,307 sq mi (3,390 km2)
 • Water 3.6 sq mi (9 km2)  0.3%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 1,918
 • Estimate 
(2021)
1,908 Decrease
 • Density 1.4630/sq mi (0.5649/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district At-large

Mellette County is a county in the U.S. state of South Dakota. As of the 2020 census, the population was 1,918. Its county seat is White River. The county was created in 1909, and was organized in 1911. It was named for Arthur C. Mellette, the last Governor of the Dakota Territory and the first Governor of the state of South Dakota.

Historically territory of the Sioux/Lakota peoples, 33.35 percent of the county's land is trust land associated with the Rosebud Indian Reservation in the neighboring county to the south. According to the 2000 United States Census, 52.2% of the population is Native American, mostly the federally recognized Sicangu Oyate (Upper Brulé Sioux) and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, a branch of the Lakota people.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,311 square miles (3,400 km2), of which 1,307 square miles (3,390 km2) is land and 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2) (0.3%) is water.

Major highways

  • US 83.svg U.S. Highway 83
  • SD 44.svg South Dakota Highway 44
  • SD 53.svg South Dakota Highway 53
  • SD 63.svg South Dakota Highway 63

Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 1,700
1920 3,850 126.5%
1930 5,293 37.5%
1940 4,107 −22.4%
1950 3,046 −25.8%
1960 2,664 −12.5%
1970 2,420 −9.2%
1980 2,249 −7.1%
1990 2,137 −5.0%
2000 2,083 −2.5%
2010 2,048 −1.7%
2020 1,918 −6.3%
2021 (est.) 1,908 −6.8%
US Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 2,048 people, 693 households, and 493 families in the county. The population density was 1.6 inhabitants per square mile (0.62/km2). There were 838 housing units at an average density of 0.6 per square mile (0.23/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 54.1% American Indian, 39.7% white, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% black or African American, 0.2% from other races, and 5.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 25.6% were German, 8.4% were Irish, 6.1% were English, and 0.6% were American.

Of the 693 households, 41.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.3% were married couples living together, 19.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 28.9% were non-families, and 24.7% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.88 and the average family size was 3.38. The median age was 34.2 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $34,055 and the median income for a family was $35,781. Males had a median income of $31,625 versus $30,956 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,971. About 23.4% of families and 27.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.5% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.

Communities

City

  • White River (county seat)

Town

Census-designated place

Townships

The county is divided into sixteen townships:

  • Bad Nation
  • Blackpipe
  • Butte
  • Cody
  • Fairview
  • Mosher
  • New Surprise Valley
  • Norris
  • Prospect
  • Red Fish
  • Ring Thunder
  • Riverside
  • Rocky Ford
  • Rosebud
  • Running Bird
  • Surprise Valley

Unorganized territories

The county contains two areas of unorganized territory: Cedarbutte and Central Mellette.

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