SD Board of Regents
306 East Capitol Ave
Suite 200
Pierre, SD 57501
605 773 3455

SDBOR State Attainment Dashboard


Researchers have long demonstrated a strong positive relationship – both at the individual level and in aggregate – between educational attainment and a variety of social and economic indicators.  And as macro economies have become increasingly knowledge-based and globalized in recent decades, states now are more reliant than ever on the availability of well-educated workers.  A highly skilled workforce, then, is now understood to be an essential precondition for sustainable development in an increasingly complex, innovation-driven economy.

In this context, many states have undertaken initiatives aimed at boosting rates of educational attainment within their borders.  Most states have adopted formal attainment targets that provide points of shared focus for the many stakeholders engaged in these efforts.  In South Dakota, the Board of Regents has embraced this charge by adopting – in collaboration with strategic partners across the state – a statewide attainment goal of 65 percent of South Dakota citizens, ages 25-34, holding a postsecondary credential by 2025.  South Dakota's success in realizing this goal likely will shape the state's economic profile for decades to come.

To foster the ongoing analysis of state-level attainment outcomes, the SDBOR State Attainment Dashboard provides interactive data on statewide attainment indicators for all US states.  Using data from the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS), this tool allows for the detailed comparison of state-level attainment rates, both now and over time.

Several key observations can be made from South Dakota's most recent attainment data:

  • The good news: South Dakota's "associate degree or higher" attainment rate for 25-34 year-olds has been trending upward and currently stands at 45.3 percent, which ranks 23rd highest in the nation, and ranks 1st highest among all states at or below South Dakota's current per capita income level.
  • The bad news: South Dakota's attainment gap (attainment by persons of color minus attainment by whites) ranks 50th in the nation with respect to "associate degree or higher" attainment.  In other words, no other state in the nation shows greater racial disparity in educational attainment than South Dakota.



Source: US Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) 1-Year Estimates


  • The American Community Survey PUMS data displayed in this tool are based on self-reported survey responses, and thus are subject to the same sources of sampling and nonsampling error associated with any form of survey research. Accordingly, figures derived from these data should be understood as estimates, not hard counts.
  • The American Community Survey contains no enumeration of respondents holding a postsecondary credential below an associate degree.  Consequently, lower-level credentials, such as certificates, microcredentials, apprenticeships, or other postsecondary experiences that fall below an associate degree will not be captured in any of the attainment measures shown in this data tool.
  • For all attainment measures, data are shown for the working-age population (ages 25-64) only.