People have loved Montana for a long time. Centuries before the white man arrived, indigenous people were raising their families in the harsh winters and hot summers of what would eventually become the 41st state. Early fur trappers and traders were drawn to Big Sky Country, followed by the gold rush, settlers, trains, and the land grab of the early 1900s. Most new arrivals came to seek fortune or a new life in the wild, wild west.

Downtown Bozeman, Montana
Townsquare Media

Back then, they came West for money. Now, you'd better bring your money.

Most of the early arrivals to Montana didn't come out West to live the #vanlife or for the skiing, fly fishing, and perfect Instagram backdrops. They didn't come out west to live the easy life or work-from-home, or because they were "just ready for a change." Most came for job opportunities and the dream of a new life. A dream that came with tons of hard work, in an unforgiving environment that often led to an early coffin. In 1900, you were lucky to live past 50.

18,078 people moved to the Treasure State in one year.

An infographic shared by Montana Public Radio (above) notes that Montana was one of just seven states to experience population growth of more than 1% in 2021. In fact, Montana's population grew 1.6% from July 2020 - July 2021. Our population climbed by 18,078 people in one year.

That doesn't really sound like a lot, but if you spread those new arrivals across all 56 Montana counties, there would be 354.4 new arrivals in every county. Unnoticeable in Gallatin, Yellowstone, or Flathead County, but you would certainly notice over 300 new residents in places like Petroleum of Treasure County.

bpperry, GettyStock/ThinkStock

Other Western US States saw big gains in population too.

With the exception of Deleware and South Carolina, the only other states to experience population growth over 1% are all in the western United States, with Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and Texas showing big growth. Will people stop flocking to Montana? Probably not. Despite the old saying, "Montana is full, GO HOME!", they keep coming.  It's hard to blame them.

H/T Montana Public Radio

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