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Spearfish, South Dakota

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Census Data for Spearfish ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2019 and it gave Spearfish a population of 11,792 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, which gave Spearfish a population of 10,494 people.

The city of Spearfish is located in Lawrence County. The 2010 Census gave Lawrence County; a population of 24,097 people. This means that Spearfish had 43.55% of the county's total population, making it Lawrence's most populous community.

At the same time, South Dakota had a population of 814,180 people, meaning that Spearfish had 1.29% of the total population of South Dakota - making it the state's 13th most populous community.

Area ...

The 2010 Census shows that the sampling area for Spearfish has a total area of 16.34 square miles [42.3 km²]. Of this total, only a minor amount of the area is covered by water.

Lawrence County has a land area of 800 square miles [2,072.1 km²]. At 16.34 square miles [42.3 km²], Spearfish has 2.04% of the county's total land area.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Spearfish, they draw a boundary around the area in which they are going to conduct their count - this defines the sampling area (usually a polygon). The shape of the sampling area can be quite complex and it's important to keep in mind that the boundaries of the sampling area may or may not match the recognized boundaries of the city.
    • Things like population, area and housing for Spearfish reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Spearfish might be different, it's best to check with the U.S. Census Bureau to resolve any difference between the two.
    • Not only does the sampling area define boundaries, it also has a GPS location (latitude & longitude) that indicates a point within the sampling area (usually the center of the polygon, known as the centroid). At the time of the 2010 Census, the sampling area was located at:
    • Lat:   44° 29' 30"   (or 44.49°)
    • Lon:   -103° 49' 8"   (or -103.82°)
    • More information on this topic and the changes between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census can be found in the section for our Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Spearfish had 5,045 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 10,494 people, this averages 2.08 people per Housing Unit.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • The 2010 Census shows Spearfish had a land area of 16.34 square miles [42.3 km²]. This translates to 308.7 Housing Units per square mile [119.2 housing units/km²].
    • From the Census of 2000: Spearfish had 3,904 Housing Units, a population of 8,606 people and a land area of 6.11 square miles [15.8 km²]. This gives a density of 2.2 people per Housing Unit and 639 Housing Units per square mile [246.8 housing units/km²].
    • Note: Repeating the caution above (under Population Density), be aware that when comparing Housing Units between the 2010 and the 2000 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Spearfish and you need to be careful when comparing values between the censuses. More information about the changes can be found in the section called Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Lawrence County ...

Spearfish is located in Lawrence County<4>.

The county had a population of 24,097 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 10,494 people, Spearfish represented 43.55% of the county's total.

In addition, where the city of Spearfish has a population density of 642 people per square mile [248 people/km²], Lawrence County averages 30.12 people per square mile [11.63 people/km²].

For more information, please visit our Census Page for Lawrence County.

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Spearfish, they start by specifying the boundaries of the area to be counted. This area (or sampling area) is a polygon and its shape can be quite complex - it may or may not match the geographical boundaries of Spearfish. It's important to note that from one Census to the next, the shape and location of the polygon can change.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • Although we don't have specific information about the shape of the polygon for Spearfish or how it changed has over time, there is some information that can give us some hints. For example, since the shape of the sampling area is directly related to the shape of the polygon, any change to area probably indicates a new shape for the polygon.
    • If you need precision or details about the methodology of the Census, you should visit the U.S. Census Bureau for a definitive answer.

Location ...

While generally coinciding with the GPS location (latitude/longitude) of Spearfish, the latitude and longitude given by the Census Bureau actually indicates the GPS location of the polygon for Spearfish.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:
    • Lat:   44.491838°   (or 44°29'30" N)
    • Lon:   -103.819032°   (or -103°49'8" W)
    • For the 2000 Census, the location given was:
    • Lat:   44.489803°   (or 44°29'23" N)
    • Lon:   -103.852585°   (or -103°51'9" W)
    • The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 8,757 feet to the east<5> of the location that was used in the 2000 Census.
    • The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) have assigned a unique GNIS identifier (#1267588) to Spearfish. This identifier also marks a GPS point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Spearfish. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:
    • Lat:   44.488873°   (or 44°29'19" N)
    • Lon:   -103.847703°   (or -103°50'51" W)
    • The GPS location given for the 2010 Census lies 7,534 feet to the east<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Spearfish. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Spearfish.

Miscellaneous Information for Spearfish ...

The Federal government has assigned various identifying codes to each community, county and state. At one time or another, the US Census Bureau has used one (or more) of the following identifiers when referring to either Lawrence County or the city of Spearfish:

  • The GNIS Codes ...
    • The current system of identification is called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The following GNIS codes relate to Spearfish:
    • GNIS ID for Spearfish: 1267588
    • GNIS ID for Lawrence County: 1266996
    • GNIS ID for State of South Dakota: 1785534
  • Misc. Census Codes ...
    • Spearfish is located in Census Region #2 (the Midwest Region) and Division #4 (the West North-Central Division).

For more information about the various Federal identification codes, please visit our Misc Page for Spearfish.

Other Roadside Stops ...

Visit our Community Index for South Dakota

About Lawrence County

About South Dakota

Off-the-Road Links ...

The official website for Spearfish:

The official website for Lawrence County:

The official website for State of South Dakota:

The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau

The official website of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN)

The official website of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Footnotes ...

<1>Every year, the US Census Bureau creates a population estimate for the preceeding year. Keep in mind that this value is an estimate and not an actual count. The most recent Census estimate is for the year 2019.
<2>Every 10 years (eg- 1990, 2000, 2010), the US Census Bureau conducts a Constitutionally-mandated count (or enumeration) of people living within the United States. This count is called a Decennial Census. The last Decennial Census was the 2010 Census, with the next one planned for 2020.
<3>A Housing Unit is a broad term for those places where people live (whether occupied or temporarily vacant), such as a house, an apartment, a mobile home, or an area that is considered as a separate living quarter. Separate living quarters (consisting of one or more rooms) are considered to be those places where people live, sleep and eat separately from others and that have access to the outside (either directly or by a shared hallway).
<4>If you're interested in how the shape of South Dakota's counties, including Lawrence, have changed over time, we recommend the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.
<5>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the 2010 Census location is 274 degrees and a distance of 8,757 feet.
<6>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the GNIS point is 278 degrees and a distance of 7,534 feet.






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This page was last modified: 18 Apr 2022