Montana is a large state boasting 145,552.43 square miles of Big Sky Country. Montana’s household and personal incomes tend to lag behind those of many other states. Montana has fewer than one million people living in it, and its poverty rate is slightly higher than that of the country as a whole.
Montana is one of the most sparsely populated states in the country. According to the Census Bureau, it had an estimated population of 974,989 in 2009, a relatively small contribution to the estimated 307,006,550 for the entire United States in that year. Still, this was an estimated population increase of 8.1 percent from April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009. The estimated percentage of those under the age of 18 was 22.5 percent, and those over 65 was 14.6 percent in 2009. Half of the state’s population in 2009 was estimated to be female.
Montana had an estimated 358,667 households in 2009. The total number of estimated households in the U.S. was 105,480,101. The average size of a household in Montana was 2.45 in 2009, compared to 2.59 per household for the entire United States.
A 2009 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau puts the percentage of Montana residents ages 25 and older who have graduated high school at 87.2 percent. This is compared to the national high school graduation percentage of those aged 25 or older of 80.4 percent. The percentage of the population that has earned a bachelor’s degree or higher aged 25 or over in Montana is 24.4 percent, which is the same as the nationwide average.
The median household income for Montana in 2008 was $43,948, lower than the $52,029 for the entire United States. Per capita personal income in Montana was $34,622, according to the Montana Census and Economic Information Center. This ranked Montana 39th in the United States for per capita personal income.
The percentage of people in Montana below the poverty rate in 2008 was 14.1 percent. This is compared to 13.2 percent for the entire country. In 2008, Montana had the 17th highest poverty rate in the U.S. About 19.2 percent of the children lived in poverty in Montana, compared to 18.2 percent across the country. Much of the poverty is concentrated on Native American Reservations. For example, the Blackfeet Reservation had a poverty rate of 33.8 percent in 2000. The percentage of school-age children who were eligible for free and reduced lunch on reservation schools was 81.6 in 2010, according to a 2010 study by Montana State University.
Leyla Norman has been a writer since 2008 and is a certified English as a second language teacher. She also has a master's degree in development studies and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.