Aurora County courthouse in Plankinton
Location within the U.S. state of South Dakota
South Dakota's location within the U.S.
|Named for||Aurora, a Roman goddess|
|• Total||713 sq mi (1,850 km2)|
|• Land||708 sq mi (1,830 km2)|
|• Water||4.3 sq mi (11 km2) 0.6%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||3.8/sq mi (1.5/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
Aurora County is a county in the U.S. state of South Dakota. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 2,710. Its county seat is Plankinton. The county was created in 1879, and was organized in 1881.
Aurora County, named for Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn, was created by the Dakota Territory on 1 October 1879. It was organized on 29 August 1881, when three county commissioners were appointed. The county had been established from the combination of former counties Cragin and Wetmore, which had both been formed in 1873. The three county commissioners met on 29 August 1881, and named Plankinton the county seat, an act which was ratified by voters in November 1882. The northern portion of Aurora County was partitioned off on April 17, 1883, and established as Jerauld County.
The terrain of Aurora County consists of low rolling hills, partially devoted to agriculture. It is dotted with small lakes and ponds. The highest point is the upper west boundary line, and the terrain slopes east-northeastward; the lowest point is the county's NE corner at 1,325' (404m) ASL.
The county has a total area of 713 square miles (1,850 km2), of which 708 square miles (1,830 km2) is land and 4.3 square miles (11 km2) (0.6%) is water.
|US Decennial Census|
As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 3,058 people, 1,165 households, and 816 families in the county. The population density was 4 people per square mile (2/km²). There were 1,298 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 95.68% White, 0.29% Black or African American, 1.93% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 1.44% from other races, and 0.56% from two or more races. 2.09% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 48.0% were of German, 13.0% Dutch, 6.9% Norwegian, 6.6% English, 6.1% Irish and 5.8% United States or American ancestry.
There were 1,165 households out of which 29.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.30% were married couples living together, 5.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.90% were non-families. 28.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.02.
The county population contained 27.60% under the age of 18, 6.50% from 18 to 24, 22.10% from 25 to 44, 22.20% from 45 to 64, and 21.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 104.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $29,783, and the median income for a family was $37,227. Males had a median income of $25,786 versus $21,250 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,887. About 7.80% of families and 11.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.40% of those under age 18 and 12.00% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 2,710 people, 1,102 households, and 736 families residing in the county. The population density was 3.8 inhabitants per square mile (1.5/km2). There were 1,324 housing units at an average density of 1.9 per square mile (0.73/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 95.1% white, 1.5% American Indian, 0.7% Asian, 0.4% black or African American, 1.8% from other races, and 0.5% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 3.7% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 54.3% were German, 13.7% were Dutch, 11.8% were Norwegian, 8.7% were Irish, 7.2% were English, and 4.9% were American.
Of the 1,102 households, 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.5% were married couples living together, 5.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.2% were non-families, and 29.9% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.96. The median age was 43.2 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $45,230 and the median income for a family was $55,588. Males had a median income of $30,185 versus $27,206 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,291. About 4.5% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.4% of those under age 18 and 12.8% of those age 65 or over.
Aurora County at one time favoured the Democratic Party and was one of just 130 counties nationwide to be won by South Dakota favorite son George McGovern, who grew up in adjacent Davison County. However, with the “Reagan Revolution” of the 1980s it has gradually turned into a strongly Republican county. The last Democrat to win a majority in Aurora County was Michael Dukakis during the drought- and farm crisis-affected 1988 election, and although Bill Clinton won a plurality in 1992, the county has since become as solidly Republican as most rural white counties in the US due to perceived lack of economic opportunity and differences with the Democratic Party's liberal views on social issues. Both George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 as well as Donald Trump in 2016 beat the previous best GOP performance in Aurora County by substantial margins.