Bozeman Ranks Second as the Fastest Growing Small Town in America

According to the U.S. Census Bureau population estimates from 2014 to 2016, Bozeman, Montana was the second fastest growing micropolitan area in the country for the second year in a row, with a population growth rate of 3.6 percent.

While a micropolitan area is categorized by the Census Bureau as a county that “contains a core urban area with less than 50,000 people” (half of what is estimated for the Bozeman area), it also includes adjacent counties that have a high degree of social and economic integration with the core urban area. By definition, this means that the following estimates may include outlying areas where a large portion of residents commute from.

From 2014 to 2015, the population in the Bozeman area increased from 97,276 to 100,739 residents—a change of 3,463 residents. Over the same period, Williston, North Dakota far outpaced other areas in population growth, at 9.9 percent.

From 2015 to 2016, Bozeman grew at a slightly higher rate of 3.7 percent, ending 2016 at a population of 104,502—a change of 3,763 residents. This time, Heber, Utah took the lead at a growth rate of 4.5 percent, while Williston took a downward turn with a -3 percent growth rate.

Although we came in second for growth rate, Bozeman actually had the greatest population increase, and by a large margin. There weren’t many other areas that gained even a third in the number of new residents as Bozeman did. If it wasn’t for the smaller sizes of the other areas, each having a population around 35,000, we could have been in first.

What Does This Mean for Bozeman?

Well, for one, there’s certainly no sign of Bozeman slowing down.

According the latest economic report by the local nonprofit Prospera Business Network, non-labor income is “one of the largest and fastest growing sources of income in the West.” In 2015, non-labor income accounted for 36 percent of total personal income in Gallatin County, according to data collected by Headwaters Economics.

While retail, food, construction remains the three largest employers in Gallatin County, it’s no surprise that the high-tech sector is growing at such a rapid rate. Read our latest report on Montana’s high-tech sector to find out more.

Consequently, with so much growth and demand, the cost of living is on the rise. In April 2016, Bozeman’s estimated cost of living was 0.4 percent below the national average. However, both housing and health care costs were above average, by 6.6 and 3.9 percent respectively.

From 2014 to 2016, the median sale price for a home in Gallatin County was up 8 percent, now at $309,000.

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