Lincoln County, West River counties see post-Covid population surges
Pandemic, government decisions accelerated migration trends
Lincoln County’s population surged by 9 percent in the two years following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, while West River counties also saw significant population gains.
Custer County’s population grew by 8 percent while Fall River and Lawrence counties grew by 6 percent. Overall, the state’s population increased by 3 percent.
The data released by the U.S. Census Bureau offer the clearest window into migration patterns following the Covid outbreak. After the Trump administration advised states to take social distancing actions, governors issued orders closing businesses and requiring people to stay home. Even beaches and playgrounds in some states were closed.
By any measure, South Dakota remained the most open state in the country during the spring and summer of 2020. While many states kept schools closed in the fall of 2020, South Dakota reopened schools.