Beyond the Badlands: Delving Into South Dakota's Frontier Counties

The American frontier still exists. And nope, I'm not talking about Alaska or the moon. The frontier still exists in South Dakota. Where we have several counties that are categorized as "Frontier Counties."

There isn't really a definitive definition of what makes a county a 'Frontier County." Basically, it's a remote area with few people.

The National Center For Frontier Communities defines a 'Frontier County' like this:

  • Population density of between 12 and 20 persons per square mile
  • Distance to a service/market between 30 and 90 miles
  • Travel time to service/market between 30 and 90 minutes

Personally, I can't imagine living an hour away from a Walmart, but I can see the appeal of living where there are so few people. Maybe Amazon is the bridge for me to finally abandon the world and hide out on the plains.

We found 13 counties in South Dakota that broadly meet the criteria as a 'Frontier County.' Most are west-river or in the central part of the state.

Gallery Credit: Ben Kuhns

Hot 104.7 - KKLS-FM logo
Get our free mobile app

The 10 Largest Occupations in South Dakota

Where do people in South Dakota work?

If you were a South Dakotan a hundred years ago, chances are you had a job related to farming or ranching. If you weren't doing the farming, you were selling things to the farmers, fixing things for the farmers, or buying things from the farmers.

In the 2020s, things are very different.

Most of us in the SD work in health care or the service industry in one way or another. In fact, there are more nurses in South Dakota than the entire population of the state capital, Pierre.

Today far more people work at a store or restaurant than have probably ever even been on a farm. Time passes and things change, always. Fifty years from now who knows what jobs South Dakotans will be doing

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the top 10 largest occupations in South Dakota (as of 2022).

Gallery Credit: Ben Kuhns

Possible Nuclear Missile Attack Targets in and Close To South Dakota

There are about 12,500 nuclear warheads in the world today. Most of them belong to the United States and Russia. Since their invention, the two nations have picked targets in each other's countries.

Part of the joy of living in the middle of the content in places like North and South Dakota, Nebraska, or Wyoming is the wide-open spaces. Lots of nothing. All that wide open space is also a perfect place to keep a bunch of nuclear missiles.

America's nuclear deterrent lives in many places; the air, under the oceans in submarines, and in thousands of nuclear-tipped missiles buried under the plaines of the midwest. Plus there are some pretty important Air Force bases in the area.

The collection of bases and all those missile silos, unfortunately, makes this part of the world a big, fat, target.

So what would happen if the worst comes to worst? Which cities in our part of the world would most likely be nuclear bomb targets?

Gallery Credit: Ben Davis


More From Hot 104.7 - KKLS-FM