The word family means so many things to so many people.

It can be the source of our greatest joy and our biggest frustrations all at the same time.

Families also come in all kinds of different forms, but when it comes to the number of people in the average family, South Dakota has some of the smallest in America.

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Recently, 24/7 Wall St. looked at the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to determine where the smallest, and largest, families are in the United States.

What they uncovered was that the average family in the nation consisted of just 2.6 people.

In South Dakota, we're slightly below that, tied with West Virginia and Ohio at just under two-and-half people on average to a family. That's the seventh smallest in America.

The Mount Rushmore State is in the top half (22nd overall) among states that have households with one or more people under the age of 18 (29.4%).

STATES WITH SMALLEST AVERAGE FAMILY SIZE

  • Maine
    > Average household size: 2.28 (tie)
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 23.9% — the lowest
  • Vermont
    > Average household size: 2.28 (tie)
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 24.3% — 2nd lowest
  • North Dakota
    > Average household size: 2.28 (tie)
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 28.3% — 17th lowest
  • Montana
    > Average household size: 2.38 (tie)
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 25.2% — 3rd lowest
  • Wisconsin
    > Average household size: 2.38 (tie)
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 26.9% — 10th lowest
  • Iowa
    > Average household size: 2.38 (tie)
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 28.9% — 23rd lowest
  • West Virginia
    > Average household size: 2.40 (tie)
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 26.6% — 8th lowest
  • Ohio
    > Average household size: 2.40 (tie)
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 28.3% — 17th lowest
  • South Dakota
    > Average household size: 2.40 (tie)
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 29.4% — 22nd highest
  • Pennsylvania
    > Average household size: 2.42 (tie)
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 27.1% — 11th lowest

In terms of the largest average family size in America, only one state averages more than three people in a household - Utah. The Beehive State also has the highest percentage of households with one or more people under the age of 18 (39.5%).

STATES WITH LARGEST AVERAGE FAMILY SIZE

  • Utah
    > Average household size: 3.08
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 39.5% — the highest
  • Hawaii
    > Average household size: 2.95
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 28.9% — 23rd lowest
  • California
    > Average household size: 2.94
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 33.1% — 3rd highest
  • Texas
    > Average household size: 2.84
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 35.7% — 2nd highest
  • Alaska
    > Average household size: 2.79
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 33% — 4th highest
  • Georgia
    > Average household size: 2.69
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 32.1% — 6th highest
  • Idaho
    > Average household size: 2.68
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 32.2% — 5th highest
  • Arizona
    > Average household size: 2.67
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 29.4% — 22nd highest
  • Nevada
    > Average household size: 2.66 (tie)
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 29.5% — 20th highest
  • Florida
    > Average household size: 2.66 (tie)
    > Households with one or more people under 18 years: 25.8% — 4th lowest

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