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The Cities of Montana

I might have mentioned this before, but although Montana is the 4th largest state in the US, it ranks 43th in population, with only about a million people in the entire state. I’m not counting college students. If the college students are counted, the population is a few thousand higher.

With this background, I thought it might be of interest to show some pictures of the “cities” in Montana. This does a really good job of showing what it means to have a small population. The town I live in has about 800 people in it, and there are many towns that are smaller.

Since there are only a handful of population centers in the state, none of the “cities” have the towering skylines of Denver, New York City, or Seattle.

The state of Montana

This is a map of the state, which should give a better idea of where the "cities" mentioned are located. I continually put "city" in quotation marks because the largest has barely over 100,000 residents.

The largest “city” in Montana

This is Billings, Montana, the largest town in the state. The estimated population is 107.000. It doesn't look like much of a city, does it?

The main part of Billings

This is the other part of Billings, looking the other direction. It still doesn't look very big, and it isn't. The tallest buildings would normally not be considered to be skyscrapers in most cities. 

The second largest population center in Montana

This is Missoula, the second largest town with 79,000. This town is located about 75 miles from where I live and it is where most of the people in our town do the majority of their shopping. I prefer not to because the traffic is horrendous in Missoula.

Butte, Montana

This is Butte, another of the 'huge' towns in the state. It is quite a bit smaller than Missoula. Still, it gives a great idea of what big towns are like in this state. This image was taken today and I love how the rain clouds are captured.

Montana’s State Capital

This is Helena, Montana, our capital. There are around 30,000 people living here, which still makes it one of the biggest towns in Montana. Seriously, how many people really think of a town of 30,000 as a city? 

Hopefully, this puts things into perspective and explains why our town of 800 isn't especially small in Montana. Put in a different way, there is a person for every 7 square miles of Montana. That puts Montana's population density at 48th in the US.

What do you think?

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Written by Rex Trulove

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  1. It’s crazy that the population of Missoula is smaller than the population of some of the suburbs surrounding Chicago. Also, this post will be helpful since Gov. Bullock from Montana is one of the many Democrats who is running for President. A visual of the landscape gives me the idea that he is doing some major things in a state that is mostly conservative, which means that he could possibly make a run or be a viable VP option for the primary winner.

    • I suspect that if a good, strong Republican candidate ran against our governor, Bullock would be defeated. He isn’t very well liked by the people. One of our Senators, Tester, is also a Democrat and almost certainly would have been defeated in the mid-terms if it wasn’t for all the Pac and Super-Pac money the Democrats poured in to get him reelected. Tester got more money for reelection than ANY other Democrat Senator who was running in the US, yet he barely got reelected. Bullock’s days as a governor are most likely numbered.

      Missoula is also smaller than many of the suburbs of cities in California. Expanding that a little, both Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon have populations that are greater than the entire state of Montana. One of the reasons that tourism is such a huge draw and a major industry in Montana is because people love going to a place where there are so few people.

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