North and South Dakota: Why Are There Two Dakotas?

Dakota was an organized state in the northern part of the U.S. in 1861. The Dakota territory included Wyoming, Montana, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Later, in 1889 the state was divided into two states, North Dakota and South Dakota. That’s why a lot of people are asking why are there two Dakotas, and I’m here to tell you why.

buildings in dakota


In 1874, when gold was discovered in the Black Hills, people started moving to Dakota; as a result, the population increased. The demand for facilities also increased, and more people were in the Southern part of Dakota. 

Why are there two Dakotas?

The key factors that play a vital role in the separation of the states are given below:

  • The central conflict started when the Yankton was rejected. Bismarck was made the state’s new capital.
  • The Trade routes were different because the state borders other territories.
  • The population of the southern part of Dakota increased rapidly from 10000 to 98000 quickly. 

Furthermore, the above reasons divided Dakota into two states named North Dakota and South Dakota in November 1889 under the Enabling Act. Thus, making them the 39th and 40th states of the U.S. 

Political Role In the formation of Two Dakotas

In every country, politics play a significant role in building any state. Politicians were behind the changing of the capital from Yankton to Bismarck. 

So, the politicians agreed to separate Dakota into two states as it would be a great advantage for their party, votes and more opportunities. 

Another speculation was that the republicans wanted two states to strengthen and support their majority in the party. 

So, due to the enormous political support, President Harrison signed the papers and declared the north and south Dakotas two separate states. 

Both Dakotas were admitted to the union, which took seven years to officially accept them as independent states of the U.S. 

Quick Statistics

Quick stats North Dakota  South Dakota 
Population 770,221 905,404
Median house income $ 65,315 $58,275
Median monthly Rent  $663 $750
Crime rate  3% 4%
Unemployment  2.1% 2.30%
Total area 183, 843 sq km. 199, 729 sq km.

Things to consider before moving to ND

 If you are moving to North Dakota, it will be a good choice, but you must know the following about ND:

  1. ND is a state of vast land prairies and grasses with famous badlands.
  1. The state is inexpensive and multiplying. 
  1. Living standards are low with less-income tax. 
  1. A vast number of recreational places for outdoor activities.
  1. There are no big cities in the state. 
  1. Less housing system in some of the cities of ND. 
  1. You have to face extreme weather, but you can also enjoy the seasonal activities.
  1. ND is the 19th largest state in the U.S.
  1. The state is rich in vibrant foods and high quality of living. 
  1. A safe place to live with the lowest crime rate. 
sunflower fields in dakota

Things to consider before moving to SD 

If you are wondering about residing in South Dakota and facing any difficulty in taking the right decision. We are here to tell you what you should know before moving to this garden state.

  1. SD is the 17th largest state in the U.S.
  1. You can enjoy all four seasons in this state.
  1. You can quickly start your own business as it is an excellent place for business start-ups. 
  1. SD is among one the best states in economies with zero personal tax. 
  1. The state is the fastest growing in the U.S. 
  1. You can have the best health care facilities in this state. 

Pros and Cons of Living in South Dakota


  • Low-tax state
  • Strong economy
  • Best educational institutes
  • Low crime rate
  • Large job markets
  • Low cost of living


  • Bad weather conditions.
  • Limited diversity

Pros and Cons of Living in North Dakota


  • Tax-friendly state. 
  •  Low cost of living
  • Affordable state
  • Less unemployment 
  • Huge vast spaces 


  • Extreme weather conditions
  • Less housing options
mountains in dakota


Do North and South Dakota hate each other?

The hatred between the two states is widespread worldwide, and the hostility between north and south Dakota is natural. 

There is also a little personality difference. The residents of South Dakota think the north is a barren wasteland full of prairie grass and cattle.

Is North Dakota an excellent place to live in?

Yes, North Dakota is a great place to live in. A peaceful and serene environment. ND is also ranked as the best-quality state to live in. 

If you want to enjoy the outdoor activities of summers and winters, which include fishing, 
hunting, skiing, and snowmobiling. You must move to North Dakota to enjoy life to its fullest. 

Which came first, North Dakota or South Dakota?

In 1889, President Harrison shuffled and signed the papers of both states. These came into being in the 39th and 40th states. But, it is still unknown which state came first.

Furthermore, North Dakota is considered the first to go into being traditional.

Is South Dakota worth living?

South Dakota is a perfect place to reside in.SD provides extensive facilities to its residents. South Dakota is the best place to fulfil your desires if you want to grow your business, study at a reputable institute, and have fun activities and adventures.  

SD is also ranked as the happiest state in the nation, with exceptional job opportunities and economies making the state worth living. 






The two Dakotas are the best-known states in the U.S. Both states have massive similarities. The remarkable history of Dakotas makes them quite interesting.

The above article provides information about the separation of the two states due to the few political conflicts and other factors. We hope you also got an idea about two Dakotas and their history. 

Last Updated on March 3, 2023

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