6 states with best GDP growth since 2007

South Dakota
South Dakota © Jim Parkin/
  • 2007 GDP: $34.9 billion
  • 2011 GDP: $41.7 billion
  • Growth: 19.44 percent

Much like its neighbor to the south, South Dakota's economy is grown on the farm.

In the Mount Rushmore State, agriculture was the biggest part of the state's GDP growth since 2007.

"But that's probably not due to regular demand for food to eat," South Dakota State University economist Matthew Diersen says.

Diersen believes it's likely that a big part of the growth comes from corn becoming linked to fuel.

According to a 2010 report from the Department of Energy, South Dakota's corn and ethanol production was the fifth-largest in the country.

Besides food, health care has also been a driver for South Dakota's economy. Its health care system, which offers more hospital beds per capita than any other state, has been buoyed recently by a $400 million donation by United National Corp. CEO Thomas Denny Sanford.

Sectors contributing majority of growth:

  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting
  • Government
  • Health care and social assistance


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