North Dakota vs. South Dakota (Comparison)

The Dakota Territory was once led by a communist group, sharing the exact geographical location. In North Dakota, you have to be in Fargo or Bismarck if you want to avoid its rural parts. In the same way, aside from Rapid City or Sioux Falls, the rest are rural places in South Dakota.

Both are lovely tourist spots for those who enjoy farming and ranching. However, during winter, North Dakota experiences most snow and cold because it’s more in the northern part.

Nevertheless, people call them the Dakotas, like they were never divided. You’ll definitely wonder why they got separated when they share some things.

Let’s find out their other differences and similarities by reading further.

Why Do We Need Two Dakotas?

The Republican Party favored the Dakota Territory so much that on Nov. 2, 1889, its separation was officially signed by former President Benjamin Harrison. In doing this, there would be two extra Senators from their party.

In history, Dakota Territory was formed in 1861. This territory includes what we now think of as North Dakota and South Dakota.

According to the video below, trade routes and population size were factors that triggered the division of Dakota territory:

Apparently, these two were divided by a railroad!

South Dakota always had a higher population than North Dakota in terms of population size. Therefore, South Dakota territory met the population requirement needed to join as a U.S. state. But over the years, North Dakota eventually had enough people to become a state.

Before, the capital was too far for South Dakota, and its separation benefited the masses because diving it into two states would mean there would be two capitals. And the access to every capital would be nearer to the residents than having only one.

After years of fighting over the location of the capital, the Dakota Territory was split and divided into North and South in 1889.

What Is It Like to Live in North Dakota?

North Dakota lies in the upper Midwest region of the United States. It borders Canada to the North and is located in the center of the North American continent.

It’s also known as the Flickertail State. This is because of the many flickertail ground squirrels that live in the central part of the state. It lies in the U.S. region, known as the Great Plains.

North Dakota is considered a great place to live and raise a family by many. Due to its quality of life, it has been ranked number one among all states. If you visit North Dakota, you’ll always be greeted by friendly neighbors and many welcoming communities.

It’s considered the 42nd most prosperous state in the United States of America. It has a per capita income of 17,769 dollars. This state is known for its Badlands, which are now part of the 70,000 acres of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

A fun fact about North Dakota is that it leads the nation in producing spring wheat, dry edible peas, beans, honey, and granola. It’s considered the number one producer of love in the country.

Here’s a list of a few more interesting facts about North Dakota:

  • Less Populated!
    Even though it’s big, it has a smaller population size.
  • Statehood
    North Dakota was granted statehood in 1889. Because it comes before South alphabetically, its statehood was published first.
  • Teddy Roosevelt Park
    It’s the home of Theodore Roosevelt National Park that’s dedicated to the former president who spent a significant amount of time in this state.
  • Snow Angel world record
    North Dakota broke the Guinness World Record for making the Most Snow Angels simultaneously in one place.

What is it Like to Live in South Dakota?

South Dakota is considered a part of the Midwest by the U.S. Census Bureau and is also a part of the Great Plains. This makes it an expansive and sparsely populated Midwestern U.S. state.

South Dakota’s unspoiled natural beauty and vibrant cultural scene are so good. It’s known to have a strong economy and growing career opportunities for people, which is why many consider shifting here.

South Dakota offers so much more than just experiencing the greatness of Mount Rushmore. In fact, there are many more reasons why relocating to South Dakota is considered a smart move.

The name of this state is dedicated to Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. It’s home to Mount Rushmore and the Badlands. Moreover, South Dakota is known for its tourism and agriculture.

Some interesting facts and things you’ll enjoy in South Dakota are:

  • Sioux Falls – Living here would make you witness South Dakota’s largest city.
  • Sea Experience – South Dakota is known for having more shorelines than Florida.
  • Camping is an excellent activity in this state.
  • The Horse Mountain Carving – It’s the home of one of the giant sculptures in the world.
Mountain with 4 faces in Sout Dakota.
Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

Is South Dakota a Good Place to Live?

Yes, it’s considered a fantastic place to live. It doesn’t collect state income tax, and living here would mean many perks for small-scale businesses. It also has a very low population density, so there’s no overcrowding in places.

Moreover, it’s considered one of the happiest states in the country. This state has a continental climate with four seasons. You’ll get to enjoy all the seasons from cold, dry winters to warm and humid summers.

Additionally, living in South Dakota is less expensive than in any other state in the United States. Compared to all other states, it has the sixth-lowest overall cost of living. This is what makes shifting to South Dakota worth it!

Which City Has the Best Weather in South Dakota?

Rapid City it is! Because it has a warmer annual temperature than other locations. During some of the warmest months, from July and August, the weather ranges from a high of 84.7°F to a low of 63.3°F.

Apart from that. this city is also considered one of the best because it has 3% fewer days of snow and 50% fewer days of rain.

The summer in the city is enjoyable, and the temperatures aren’t extremely hot or cold. Its semi-humid feel makes it suitable to be outdoors.

However, it’s also a city that is affected by severe weather. Usually, it’s either a blizzard or tornadoes in a few cases. It has an average of 17 blizzards in a year. The good thing is that this number is still 60% lower than other cities in South Dakota.

How is North Dakota Different from South Dakota?

In terms of weather, South Dakota is more tolerable. They used to call themselves the “sunshine state,” but now they’re considered the Mount Rushmore state.

As South Dakota has this monumental mount, North Dakota is known for its bustling oil industry. This gives people additional jobs, which makes their families pretty happy.

In addition, North Dakota is known for its sizeable seasonal population change. People usually come here in the summer to work. But after working for about 6 to 9 months, they leave to avoid the harsh winters.

While it’s also cold in South Dakota, it’s much warmer because it’s located in the South. Therefore, the total population in both states varies significantly during the entire year, depending on the season.

A resident of South Dakota who works for a company based in North Dakota notes a significant difference between the two states when it comes to income tax. As South Dakota doesn’t have a state income tax, he gets to keep extra money every week in his paycheck. Whereas, in North Dakota, he’d have to pay his tax from his earnings.

Another difference is that more North Dakotans emigrate to Canada as it borders it than South Dakotans. Due to this reason, many refer to North Dakota as “Canada’s Mexico.”

Common things Between the Two States

Apart from their name, they both are about the same size in terms of land area. The population is also the same, but South Dakota is a bit bigger. However, the population of North Dakota isn’t really far behind as it keeps on increasing at a faster rate.

South Dakota and North Dakota share the Missouri River and the Great Plains and have Badlands west of Missouri. Furthermore, they both are primarily rooted in agriculture. And almost all of their residents are in the young category.

The Great Plains.
The Great Plains.

Is South Dakota or North Dakota Better?

They have their own uniqueness. One can have a great time in North Dakota exploring national parks and other various attractions. On the other hand, South Dakota boasts a lower crime rate and is considered cheaper in terms of goods.

The South is a relatively inexpensive state to live in. One can have a semi mediocre job and still live comfortably, unlike in North Dakota.

According to a few people who have visited both states, South Dakota is considered more hospitable. While North Dakota has welcoming people too some believe that relationships are more likable and meaningful in South Dakota than in the North.

Moreover, the no income tax is a plus point for South Dakota. It’s also easier to travel to and from South Dakota than from North Dakota.

Personally, South Dakota has also considered a better state than the North because it’s usually less cold at times here than in the North. If you’re planning a visit, summertime is the best to be in South Dakota!

Here’s a table summarizing significant facts about the two states:

North Dakota South Dakota
Population of 780,000Population of 890,000
One national park: Theodore Roosevelt National ParkTwo national parks: Badlands National Park and
Wind Cave National Park
The largest city is FargoSioux Falls is its largest city
The capital city is Bismarck Capital is Pierre
As you can see, South Dakota is better because it has some of America’s most famous landmarks like Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, their differences range from weather, personalities, and economics. Aside from that, there aren’t many dissimilarities. But indeed, the income tax matter is one big difference that anyone will notice.

While North Dakota has an exceptional running oil industry and agriculture, its harsh winters and tax are the biggest turn-off. But if you enjoy thunderstorms while chatting with the whole fam, it might be the place.

On the other hand, South Dakota is loved more for its agriculture and tourism. They also have a more delightful summertime!

Although these two states don’t have any misunderstandings compared to their history, they don’t have any problem with being different states. And I guess this shows how friendly the residents are!

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