State of Montana
ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Derived from the Latin word meaning "mountainous."
NICKNAME: The Treasure State.
ENTERED UNION: 8 November 1889 (41st).
SONG: "Montana;" "Montana Melody."
MOTTO: Oro y Plata (Gold and silver).
FLAG: A blue field, fringed in gold on the top and bottom borders, surrounds the center portion of the offical seal, with "Montana" in gold letters above the coat of arms.
OFFICIAL SEAL: In the lower center are a plow and a miner's pick and shovel; mountains appear above them on the left, the Great Falls of the Missouri River on the right, and the state motto on a banner below. The words "The Great Seal of the State of Montana" surround the whole.
BIRD: Western meadowlark.
FISH: Black-spotted (cutthroat) trout.
TREE: Ponderosa pine.
GEM: Yogo sapphire and Montana agate.
LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Presidents' Day, 3rd Monday in February; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October; State Election Day, 1st Tuesday after the 1st Monday in November in even-numbered years; Veterans' Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; Christmas Day, 25 December.
TIME: 5 AM MST = noon GMT.
LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
Located in the northwestern United States, Montana is the largest of the 8 Rocky Mountain states and ranks fourth in size among the 50 states.
The total area of Montana is 147,046 sq mi (380,849 sq km), of which land takes up 145,388 sq mi (376,555 sq km) and inland water 1,658 sq mi (4,294 sq km). The state's maximum e-w extension is 570 mi (917 km); its extreme n-s distance is 315 mi (507 km).
Montana is bordered on the n by the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan; on the e by North Dakota and South Dakota; on the s by Wyoming and Idaho; and on the w by Idaho. The total boundary length of Montana is 1,947 mi (3,133 km). The state's geographic center is in Fergus County, 12 mi (19 km) w of Lewistown. Nearly 30% of the state's land belongs to the federal government.
Montana, as mountainous in parts as its name implies, has an approximate mean elevation of 3,400 ft (1,037 m). The Rocky Mountains cover the western two-fifths of the state, with the Bitterroot Range along the Idaho border; the high, gently rolling Great Plains occupy most of central and eastern Montana. The highest point in the state is Granite Peak, at an elevation of 12,799 ft (3,904 m), located in south-central Montana, near the Wyoming border. The lowest point, at 1,800 ft (549 m), is in the northwest, where the Kootenai River leaves the state at the Idaho border. The Continental Divide passes in a jagged pattern through the western part of the state, from the Lewis to the Bitterroot ranges.
Ft. Peck Reservoir is Montana's largest body of inland water, covering 375 sq mi (971 sq km); Flathead Lake is the largest natural lake. The state's most important rivers are the Missouri, rising in southwest Montana and Red Rock Creek and flowing north and then east across the state, and the Yellowstone, which crosses southeastern Montana to join the Missouri in North Dakota near the Montana border. Located in Glacier National Park is the Triple Divide, from which Montana waters begin their journey to the Arctic and Pacific oceans and the Gulf of Mexico. The total length of the Missouri River is 2,540 mi (4,088 km); it is the longest river in the country.
The Continental Divide separates the state into two distinct climatic regions: the west generally has a milder climate than the east, where winters can be especially harsh. Montana's maximum daytime temperature averages 27°f (−2°c) in January and 85°f (29°c) in July. Great Falls has an average temperature of 45°f (7°c), ranging from 21°f (−6°c) in January to 69°f (21°c) in July. The all-time low temperature in the state, −70°f (−57°c), registered at Rogers Pass on 20 January 1954, is the lowest ever recorded in the conterminous US; the all-time high, 117°f (47°c), was set at Medicine Lake on 5 July 1937. During the winter, Chinook winds from the eastern Rocky Mountains can bring rapid temperature increases of 40-50°f within a few minutes. Great Falls receives an average annual precipitation of 15.3 in (38 cm), but much of north-central Montana is arid. About 59.1 in (150 cm) of snow descends on Great Falls each year.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Montana has three major life zones: subalpine, montane, and plains. The subalpine region, in the northern Rocky Mountains, is rich in wild flowers during a short midsummer growing season. The montane flora consists largely of coniferous forests, principally alpine fir, and a variety of shrubs. The plains are characterized by an abundance of grasses, cacti, and sagebrush species. Three plant species were threatened as of April 2006: Ute ladies'-tresses, Spalding's catchfly, and water howellia.
Game animals of the state include elk, moose, white-tailed and mule deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat. Notable among the amphibians is the axolotl; rattlesnakes and other reptiles occur in most of the state. Eleven species of animals (vertebrates and invertebrates) were listed as threatened or endangered in 2006 by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, including the grizzly bear, black-footed ferret, Eskimo curlew, two species of sturgeon, gray wolf, and whooping crane.
Montana's major environmental concerns are management of mineral and water resources and reclamation of strip-mined land. The 1973 Montana Resource Indemnity Trust Act, by 1975 amendment, imposes a coal severance tax of 30% on the contract sales price, with the proceeds placed in a permanent tax trust fund. This tax, in conjunction with the Montana Environmental Policy Act (1971) and the Major Facilities Siting Act (1973) reflects the determination of Montanans to protect the beauty of the Big Sky Country while maintaining economic momentum. The Water Quality Bureau of the Montana Department of Health and Environmental Sciences is responsible for managing the small number of state wetlands. In 2005, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $50,000 for wetland protection projects.
In 2003, 45.2 million lb of toxic chemicals were released in the state. In 2003, Montana had 71 hazardous waste sites listed in the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) database, 14 of which were on the National Priorities List as of 2006. In 2005, the EPA spent over $26.4 million through the Superfund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. The same year, the state received a federal EPA grant of $10 million for projects to establish and maintain safe drinking water supplies.
Montana ranked 44th in population in the United States, with an estimated total of 935,670 in 2005, an increase of 3.7% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, Montana's population grew from 799,065 to 902,195, an increase of 12.9%. The population is projected to reach 999,489 by 2015 and 1.03 million by 2025. The population density in 2004 was 6.4 persons per sq mi, the third-lowest in the country (after Alaska and Wyoming). In 2004, the median age of all Montana residents was 39.6. In the same year, 22.5% of the populace was under the age of 18 while 13.7% was age 65 or older.
In 2004, the largest metropolitan area was Billings, with an estimated population of 144,472. The Missoula metropolitan area had an estimated population of 99,018 and the Great Falls area had a population of about 79,849.
According to the 2000 census, there were approximately 56,068 American Indians in Montana, of whom the Blackfeet and Crow are the most numerous. The Blackfeet and Crow reservations had populations of, respectively, 10,100 and 6,894 in 2000. In 2004, 6.4% of the population was American Indian.
The foreign born, numbering 16,396, made up 1.8% of Montana's 2000 Census population, a decrease of 24% since 1980. Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Mexico were the leading places of origin. As of 2000, the black and Asian populations were just 2.692 and 4,691, respectively. In 2000, 18,081 residents were Hispanic or Latino, representing 2% of the total population. In 2004, 0.4% of the population was black, 0.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 2.4% Hispanic or Latino. That year, 1.5% of the population reported origin of two or more races.
English in Montana fuses Northern and Midland features, the Northern proportion declining from east to west. Topography has given new meaning to basin, hollow, meadow, and park as kinds of clear spaces in the mountains.
In 2000, the number of Montanans who spoke only English at was 803,031, representing about 95% of the resident population five years of age or older. There was no change in the overall percentage of English speakers from 1990 to 2000.
The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "Other Native North American languages" includes Apache, Cherokee, Choctaw, Dakota, Keres, Pima, and Yupik. The category "Scandinavian languages" includes Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish. The category "Other Slavic languages" includes Czech, Slovak, and Ukrainian.
|Population 5 years and over||847,362||100.0|
|Speak only English||803,031||94.8|
|Speak a language other than English||44,331||5.2|
|Speak a language other than English||44,331||5.2|
|Spanish or Spanish Creole||12,953||1.5|
|Other Native North American languages||9,234||1.1|
|French (incl. Patois, Cajun)||3,298||0.4|
|Other Slavic languages||570||0.1|
In 2000, there was a nearly equal number of Protestants versus Catholics within the state. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest single Christian denomination with about 103,351 adherents in 2004. Leading Protestant denominations (with 2000 data) were the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 50,287; the United Methodist Church, 17,993; Assemblies of God, 16,385; the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, 15,441; and the Southern Baptist Convention, 15,318. In 2006, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints (Mormons) reported a statewide membership of 13,384 in 116 congregations; there is a Mormon temple in Billings (est. 1999). There were about 850 Jews and 614 Muslims in the state in 2000.
Though relatively small in terms of membership, several religious groups within the state experienced significant growth throughout 1990–2000. Friends-USA (Quakers) reported a membership growth from 77 in 1990 to 160 in 2000. The Free Lutheran Congregations grew from 75 members to 427 members and the Salvation Army reported a total of 1,414 members in 2000, up from 551 in 1990. About 493,703 people (55% of the population) did not report affiliation with any religious organization in 2000.
Montana's first railroad, the Utah and Northern, entered the state in 1880. Today, Montana is served by two Class I railroads (the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, and the Union Pacific), plus two regional railroads, and two local railroads, operating on 3,291 rail mi (5,298 km) of track. As of 2006, Amtrak operated one long-distance route (Chicago-Seattle/Portland) through the state, which served 12 stations.
Because of its large size, small population, and difficult terrain, Montana was slow to develop a highway system. In 2004, the state had 69,452 mi (111,817 km) of public roads, streets, and highways. There were around 1.031 million registered motor vehicles in that same year, including some 427,000 automobiles, approximately 555,000 trucks of all types, and some 1,000 buses. There were 712,880 licensed drivers in 2004.
In 2005, Montana had a total of 276 public and private-use aviation-related facilities. This included 241 airports, 31 heliports, 2 STOLports (Short Take-Off and Landing), and two seaplane bases. The state's leading airport is at Billings. In 2004, Billings-Logan International airport had 395,086 passenger enplanements.
Much of Montana's prehistory has only recently been unearthed. The abundance of fossils of large and small dinosaurs, marine reptiles, miniature horses, and giant cave bears indicates that, from 100 million to 60 million years ago, the region had a tropical climate. Beginning some 2 million years ago, however, dramatic temperature changes profoundly altered what we now call Montana. At four different times, great sheets of glacial ice moved south through Canada to cover much of the north. The last glacial retreat, about 10,000 years ago, did much to carve the state's present topographic feature. Montana's first humans probably came from across the Bering Strait; their fragmentary remains indicate a presence dating between 10,000 and 4000 bc.
The Indians encountered by Montana's first white explorers—probably French traders and trappers from Canada—arrived from the east during the 17th and 18th centuries, pushed westward into Montana by the pressure of European colonization. In January 1743, two traders, Louis-Joseph and Francois Vérendrye, crossed the Dakota plains and saw before them what they called the "shining mountains," the eastern flank of the northern Rockies. However, it was not until 1803 that the written history of Montana begins. In that year, the Louisiana Purchase gave the United States most of Montana, and the Lewis and Clark expedition, dispatched by President Thomas Jefferson in 1804 to explore the upper reaches of the Missouri River, added the rest. On 25 April 1805, accompanied by a French trapper named Toussaint Charbonneau and his Shoshoni wife, Sacagawea, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark reached the mouth of the Yellowstone River near the present-day boundary with North Dakota. Shortly thereafter, the first American trappers, traders, and settlers entered Montana.
The fur trade dominated Montana's economy until 1858, when gold was discovered near the present community of Drummond. By mid-1862, a rush of miners from the gold fields of California, Nevada, Colorado, and Idaho had descended on the state. The temporary gold boom brought not only the state's first substantial white population but also an increased demand for government. In 1863, the eastern and western sectors of Montana were joined as part of Idaho Territory, which, in turn, was divided along the Bitterroot Mountains to form the present boundary between the two states. On 26 May 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Organic Act, which created Montana Territory.
The territorial period was one of rapid and profound change. By the time Montana became a state on 8 November 1889, the remnants of Montana's Indian culture had been largely confined to federal reservations. A key event in this transformation was the Battle of the Little Big Horn River on 25 June 1876, when Lieutenant Colonel George Custer and his 7th US Cavalry regiment of fewer than 700 men were overwhelmed as they attacked an encampment of 15,000 Sioux and Northern Cheyenne led by Crazy Horse and Chief Gall. The following year, after a four-month running battle that traversed most of the state of Montana, Chief Joseph of the Nez Percé tribe surrendered to federal forces, signaling the end of organized Indian resistance.
As the Indian threat subsided, stockmen wasted little time in putting the seemingly limitless open range to use. By 1866, Nelson Story had driven the first longhorns up from Texas, and by the mid-1870s, sheep had also made a significant appearance on the open range. In 1886, at the peak of the open-range boom, approximately 664,000 head of cattle and nearly a million sheep grazed Montana's rangeland. Disaster struck during the "hard winter" of 1886/87, however, when perhaps as many as 362,000 head of cattle starved trying to find the scant forage covered by snow and ice. That winter marked the end of a cattle frontier based on the "free grass" of the open range and taught the stockmen the value of a secure winter feed supply.
Construction of Montana's railroad system between 1880 and 1909 breathed new life into mining as well as the livestock industry. Moreover, the railroads created a new network of market centers at Great Falls, Billings, Bozeman, Missoula, and Havre. By 1890, the Butte copper pits were producing more than 40% of the nation's copper requirements. The struggle to gain financial control of the enormous mineral wealth of Butte Hill led to the "War of the Copper Kings," in which the Amalgamated Copper Co., in conjunction with Standard Oil gave up its copper holdings. The new company, Anaconda Copper Mining, virtually controlled the press, politics, and governmental processes of Montana until changes in the structure of the international copper market and the diversification of Montana's economy in the 1940s and 1950s reduced the company's power. Anaconda Copper was absorbed by the Atlantic Richfield Co. in 1976, and the name was changed to Anaconda Minerals in 1982.
The railroads also brought an invasion of agricultural homesteaders. Montana's population surged from 243,329 in 1900 to 548,889 by 1920, while the number of farms and ranches increased form 13,000 to 57,000. Drought and a sharp drop in wheat prices after World War I brought an end to the homestead boom. By 1926, half of Montana's commercial banks had failed. Conditions worsened with the drought and depression of the early 1930s, until the New Deal—enormously popular in Montana—helped revive farming and silver mining and financed irrigation and other public works projects.
The decades after World War II saw moderate growth in Montana's population, economy, and social services. Although manufacturing developed slowly, the state's fossil fuels industry grew rapidly during the national energy crisis of the 1970s. However, production of coal, crude oil, and natural gas leveled off after the crisis and even declined in the early 1980s.
In 1983 the Anaconda Copper Mining Company shut down its mining operations in Butte. Farm income also suffered in the 1980s as a result of falling prices, drought, and insect damage. Growth in manufacturing and construction and recovery in the agricultural sector, improved Montana's economy in the 1990s. However, even in the midst of a sustained economic boom, the state had the eighth highest unemployment rate in the nation, 5.2% as of 1999. Other indicators also showed the state was not benefiting from the sustained national economic expansion of recent years. Montana faced a $230 million budget deficit in 2003, but lawmakers were able to balance the budget with a series of program reductions, new taxes, and budget transfers. Montana's unemployment rate in September 2005 was 4.5%, below the national average of 5.1%. However, in 2004 the poverty rate was 14.3% (measured as a three-year average estimate from 2002–04) above the national average of 12.7%.
Tourism, air quality, and wildlife in parts of Montana were affected by the 1988 forest fires that burned for almost three months in Yellowstone National Park. Some Montana residents had to be evacuated from their homes. The state was among those afflicted by raging wildfires the summer of 2000, the worst fire season in more than a decade. In the summer of 2002, wildfires burned over 7.1 million acres of public and private land in the United States, most of it in the west. By August 2003, 36 wildfires had destroyed over 400,000 acres in Montana, equivalent to half the state of Rhode Island. Both Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks had to close sections of the parks due to fires.
In 1992 Montana's delegation to the US House of Representatives was reduced from two members to one, based on the results of the 1990 Census. The state remains one of the least populated in the nation, with an estimated 902,195 residents in 2000—or about six people per square mile. In 2004, there were an estimated 926,865 residents in Montana.
In November 2004, Brian Schweitzer was elected the state's first Democratic governor since 1988.
Montana's original constitution, dating from 1889, was substantially revised by a 1972 constitutional convention, effective 1 July 1973. Under the present document, which had been amended 30 times by January 2005, the state legislature consists of 50 senators, elected to staggered four-year terms, and 99 representatives, who serve for two years. Legislators must be at least 18 years old and have lived in the state for a year and in their district for six months prior to election. In 2004 legislators received $78.60 per diem during regular sessions. Sessions are held only in odd-numbered years, beginning the first Monday of January and lasting no more than 90 legislative days. An amendment passed by voters in 2002 requires the governor to give advance notice of special sessions, which have no time limit and may be called by petition of a majority in each house.
The only elected officers of the executive branch are the governor and lieutenant governor (who run jointly), secretary of state, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, and auditor; each serves a four-year term. Without exception, the governor is limited to serving eight out of every 16 years. A candidate for governor must be at least 25 years old and a citizen and resident of both the United States and Montana. As of December 2004, the governor's salary was $93,089.
To become law, a bill must pass both houses by a simple majority and be signed by the governor, remain unsigned for 10 days (25 days if the legislature adjourns), or be passed over the governor's veto by a two-thirds vote of the members present in both houses. The state constitution may be amended by constitutional convention, by legislative referendum (a two-thirds vote of both houses), or by voter initiative (10% of qualified electors, as determined by number of votes cast for governor at the last election). To be adopted, each proposed amendment must be ratified at the next general election.
To vote in Montana, one must be a US citizen, at least 18 years old, and a state and county resident for 30 days prior to election day. Restrictions apply to convicted felons and those declared of unsound mind.
Since statehood, Democrats generally dominated in contests for the US House and Senate, and Republicans in elections for state and local offices and in national presidential campaigns (except during the New Deal years). Although the erosion of Montana's rural population since the 1920s diluted the Republicans' agrarian base, the party has gained increasing financial and organizational backing from corporate interests, particularly from the mining and energy-related industries.
The strength of the Democratic Party, on the other hand, lies in the strong union movement centered in Butte and its surrounding counties, augmented by smaller family farms throughout the state. Urbanization also benefited the Democrats. Montanans voted overwhelmingly for Republican President Ronald Reagan in November 1984 and for Republican George Bush in 1988, but Democrat Bill Clinton carried the state in 1992. However, in 1996 Clinton lost the state to Republican Bob Dole. In 2000, Republican George W. Bush won an overwhelming victory over Democrat Al Gore, 58% to 34%. Green Party candidate Ralph Nader won 6% of the vote. In 2004, Bush again won a decisive victory over Democratic challenger John Kerry, 59% to 39%. In 2004 there were 638,000 registered voters; there is no party registration in the state. The state had three electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election.
|Montana Presidential Vote by Major Political Parties, 1948–2004|
|YEAR||ELECTORAL VOTE||MONTANA WINNER||DEMOCRAT||REPUBLICAN|
|*Won US presidential election.|
|**IND. candidate Ross Perot received 107,225 votes in 1992 and 55,229 votes in 1996.|
|2000||3||*Bush, G. W. (R)||137,126||240,178|
|2004||3||*Bush, G. W. (R)||173,710||266,063|
Montana Governor Marc Racicot, Republican, was elected in 1992 and reelected in 1996. Republican Judy Martz was elected Montana's first female governor in 2000. In 2004, Democrat Brian Schweitzer won the governorship, becoming the first Democrat since 1988 to win the office. Republican Conrad Burns was elected to the Senate in 1988 and reelected in 1994 and 2000, and Democrat Max Baucus won reelection in 2002. The state's sole seat in the US House was retained by a Republican in the 2004 election. In mid-2005, there were 23 Republicans and 27 Democrats in the state Senate. The state House was split, with 50 seats held by Republicans and 50 by Democrats.
As of 2005, Montana had 56 counties, 129 municipalities, 592 special districts, and 453 public school districts. Typical elected county officials are three county commissioners (or a city manager), attorney, sheriff, clerk and recorder, school superintendent, treasurer, assessor, and coroner. Unified city-county governments include Anaconda-Deer Lodge and Butte-Silver Bow.
In 2005, local government accounted for about 35,946 full-time (or equivalent) employment positions.
To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in Montana operates under state statute; the emergency management director is designated as the state homeland security advisor.
The Citizens' Advocate Office, established in 1973, serves as a clearinghouse for problems, complaints, and questions concerning state government. The commissioner of higher education administers the state university system, while the superintendent of public instruction is responsible for the public schools. The Department of Transportation is the main transportation agency. Health and welfare programs are the province of the Department of Public Health and Human Services. Other departments deal with agriculture, commerce, justice, labor and industry, livestock, and natural resources and conservation.
Montana's highest court, the Montana Supreme Court, consists of a chief justice and six associate justices. District courts are the courts of general jurisdiction. Justice of the peace courts are essentially county courts whose jurisdiction is limited to minor civil cases, misdemeanors, and traffic violations. Montana has seven supreme court justices elected on nonpartisan ballots for eight-year terms and 37 district court judges elected for six years.
As of 31 December 2004, a total of 3,877 prisoners were held in Montana's state and federal prisons, an increase from 3,620 of 7.1% from the previous year. As of year-end 2004, a total of 473 inmates were female, up from 419 or 12.9% from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), Montana had an incarceration rate of 416 per 100,000 population in 2004.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Montana in 2004, had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 293.8 reported incidents per 100,000 population, or a total of 2,723 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 27,215 reported incidents or 2,936.2 reported incidents per 100,000 people. Montana has a death penalty, of which lethal injection is the sole method of execution. From 1976 through 5 May 2006, the state has executed only two persons. The most recent execution was carried out in February 1998. As of 1 January 2006, Montana had four inmates on death row.
In 2003, Montana spent $37,553,219 on homeland security, an average of $37 per state resident.
In 2004, there were 3,789 active-duty military personnel and 1,274 civilian personnel stationed in Montana. The principal military facility in Montana is Malmstrom Air Force Base (Great Falls), a Strategic Air Command facility. Total defense contracts in 2004 amounted to $206.8 million, and total Defense Department payroll outlays were $403 million.
An estimated 102,605 veterans of US military service were living in Montana in 2003. Of these, 13,746 served in World War II; 11,049 in the Korean conflict; 33,814 during the Vietnam era; and 14,703 in the Gulf War. For the fiscal year 2004, total Veterans Affairs expenditures in Montana exceeded to $291 million.
As of 31 October 2004, the Montana Highway Patrol employed 206 full-time sworn officers.
Montana's first great migratory wave brought Indians from the east during the l7th and 18th centuries. The gold rush of the 1860s and a land boom between 1900 and 1920 resulted in surges of white settlement. The economically troubled 1920s and 1930s produced a severe wave of out-migration that continued through the 1960s. The trend reversed between 1970 and 1980, however, when Montana's net gain from migration was 16,000; from 1980 to 1989, the state had a net loss of 43,000 residents from migration. Between 1990 and 1998, Montana had net gains of 48,000 in domestic migration and 3,000 in international migration. In 1998, the state admitted 299 foreign immigrants. Between 1990 and 1998, the state's overall population increased 10.2%. In the period 2000–05, net international migration was 2,141 and net internal migration was 18,933, for a net gain of 21,074 people.
Among the interstate agreements in which Montana participates are the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact, Western Interstate Corrections Compact, Western Interstate Energy Compact, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Interstate Compact for Juveniles, Northwest Power and Conservation Council (with Idaho, Oregon, and Washington), and Yellowstone River Compact (with North Dakota and Wyoming). Federal grants to the state and local governments in fiscal year 2005 totaled $1.263 billion, an estimated $1.269 billion in fiscal year 2006, and an estimated $1.289 billion in fiscal year 2007.
Resource industries—agriculture, mining, lumbering—traditionally dominated Montana's economy, although they have declined during the past decade. A lawsuit with the federal government over the federal lands which supplied much of the state's timber placed the timber industry's future in question, as did the selling by Champion International of its two mills and of its timber lands. While Stimson Lumber purchased the mills from Champion, it rehired only two-thirds of the employees. The mining industry in western Montana was hurt by low international price levels. The closure of Troy Mine, which produced silver, lead and zinc, resulted in the idling of 300 workers. Employment in the services industries overtook manufacturing and mining during the 1990s. Diversification into business, engineering, health, and tourism services has stimulated the economy. Annual growth rates averaged 4.67% from 1998 to 2000, and the state economy was little affected by the national recession and slowdown in 2001, posting a growth rate of 4.3%. In November 2002, Montana's nonagricultural employment was up 1.1% above the year before, above the national rate. Employment increased in construction, financial and general services, and fell slightly in the manufacturing and transportation and utilities sectors. The announced closing of Stimson Lumber in Libby is expected to cost 300 mill jobs, and another 410 related jobs. Montana's farm sector, contributing directly less than 3% to gross state product, has been severely stressed by a four-year drought. Wheat crop yields in 2002 were the lowest since 1988. Government subsidy payments to Montana farmers, the fourth highest in the country, amounted to 157% of their net income (that is, net income would have been negative without the subsidies).
Montana's gross state product (GSP) in 2004 was $27.482 billion, of which the real estate sector accounted for the largest share at $3.229 billion or 11.7% of GSP, followed by healthcare and social assistance, at $2.491 billion (9% of GSP), and construction, at $1.627 billion (5.9% of GSP). In that same year, there were an estimated 106,789 small businesses in Montana. Of the 34,570 businesses that had employees, an estimated total of 33,801 or 97.8% were small companies. An estimated 4,588 new businesses were established in the state in 2004, up 0.9% from the year before. Business terminations that same year came to 4,896, up 4.6% from 2003. There were 109 business bankruptcies in 2004, up 11.2% from the previous year. In 2005, the state's personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate was 471 filings per 100,000 people, ranking Montana as the 32nd highest in the nation.
In 2005 Montana had a gross state product (GSP) of $30 billion which accounted for 0.2% of the nation's gross domestic product and placed the state at number 48 in highest GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 Montana had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $27,657. This ranked 42nd in the United States and was 84% of the national average of $33,050. The 1994–2004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 4.5%. Montana had a total personal income (TPI) of $25,635,394,000, which ranked 46th in the United States and reflected an increase of 6.7% from 2003. The 1994–2004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 5.2%. Earnings of persons employed in Montana increased from $17,162,093,000 in 2003 to $18,423,659,000 in 2004, an increase of 7.4%. The 2003–04 national change was 6.3%.
The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 2002 to 2004 in 2004 dollars was $35,201, compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 14.3% of the population was below the poverty line, as compared to 12.4% nationwide.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006 the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in Montana numbered 502,800 with approximately 18,300 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 3.6%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 428,600. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in Montana was 8.7% in May 1983. The historical low was 3.4% in March 2006. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 6.9% of the labor force was employed in construction; 4.5% in manufacturing; 4.5% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 5% in financial activities; 8.4% in professional and business services; 13% in leisure and hospitality services; and 20.2% in government. Data were unavailable for education and healthcare services.
The US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2005, a total of 42,000 of Montana's 391,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. This represented 10.7% of those so employed, down from 11.7% in 2004, and below the national average of 12%. Overall in 2005, a total of 48,000 workers (12.2%) in Montana were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation. Montana is one of 28 states that does not have a right-to-work law.
As of 1 March 2006, Montana had a two-tiered state-mandated minimum wage rate. Businesses with gross annual sales of $110,000 or less were subject to a $4.00 per hour rate. All others were subject to a $5.15 per hour rate. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 47.6% of the employed civilian labor force.
Montana's farms numbered 28,000 in 2004, with average acreage of 2,146 (869 hectares). Farm income totaled nearly $2.38 billion in 2005. In 2004, Montana was the nation's third-leading wheat producer, with an output of 173.2 million bu, valued at $612 million. Other major crops were barley (third in the United States) with 48.9 million bu, valued at $139.6 million; sugar beets (sixth) with 1.1 million bu, valued at $56.2 million; and hay with 4.7 million tons, valued at $362.1 million.
In 2005, Montana's farms and ranches had around 2.4 million cattle and calves, valued at $2.5 million. There were an estimated 165,000 hogs and pigs, valued at $18.2 million in 2004. During 2003, Montana farmers produced around 24.6 million lb (11.2 million kg) of sheep and lambs that grossed $22.6 million in income.
Montana's designated fishing streams offer some 10,000 mi (16,000 km) of good to excellent freshwater fishing. In 2004, the state issued 379,252 sport fishing licenses.
Montana is home to the Creston and Ennis National Fish Hatcheries as well as the Bozeman Fish Technology Center and the Bozeman Fish Health Center. Creston specializes in rainbow trout, westslope cutthroat trout, kokanee salmon, and bull trout. Ennis works as part of the National Broodstock Program, producing about 20 million rainbow trout eggs annually for research facilities, universities and federal, state and tribal hatcheries in 23 states.
As of 2004, 23,500,000 acres (9,510,000 hectares) in Montana were classified as forestland. There were 11 national forests, comprising 16,932,447 acres (6,852,561 hectares) in 2005. The lumbering industry produced 1.09 billion board feet in 2004.
According to preliminary data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the estimated value of nonfuel mineral production by Montana in 2003 was $492 million, an increase from 2002 of about 4%. The USGS data ranked Montana 26th among the 50 states by the total value of its nonfuel mineral production, accounting for over 1% of total US output.
According to the preliminary data for 2003, metallic minerals accounted for almost 63% of Montana's nonfuel mineral production, by value. Higher average prices and a two-fold increase in production, made gold the state's top nonfuel mineral by value, overtaking palladium. Following gold were platinum, construction sand and gravel, cement (portland and masonry), and bentonite. Montana in that same year was the only state to have primary platinum and palladium mine production and ranked fourth in the output of gold, according to the preliminary data. In 2003 Montana was first in the production of talc, second in bentonite, fourth in zinc and lead, and seventh in silver. The state was also ranked eighth in the production of gemstones (by value).
Preliminary data for 2003, showed palladium output at 14,600 kg, with a value of $98.3 million, while platinum output that year totaled 4,100 kg, with a value of $86.5 million. Construction sand and gravel production in 2003 totaled 18 million metric tons, with a value of $81.9 million, while bentonite clay output totaled 181,000 metric tons, with a value of $14.9 million. Crushed stone output in that same year stood at 2.5 million metric tons, with a valued of $10.8 million.
Montana was also a producer of dimension stone in 2003.
ENERGY AND POWER
As of 2003, Montana had 44 electrical power service providers, of which one was publicly owned and 30 were cooperatives. Of the remainder, five were investor owned, three were federally operated, four were generation-only suppliers and one was a delivery-only provider. As of that same year there were 518,380 retail customers. Of that total, 325,008 received their power from investor-owned service providers. Cooperatives accounted for 172,439 customers, while publicly owned providers had 923 customers. There were 18,652 federal customers and there were 1,358 generation-only customers. There was no data on the number of delivery-only customers.
Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 5.210 million kW, with total production that same year at 26.268 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, 22.9% came from electric utilities, with the remainder (77.1%) coming from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 17.048 billion kWh (64.9%), came from coal-fired plants, with hydroelectric plants in second place at 8.701 billion kWh (33.1%) and petroleum fueled plants in third at 402.164 million kWh (1.5%). Other renewable power sources accounted for 0.3% of all power generated, with natural gas fueled plants and those using other types of gases at 0.1% each.
As of 2004, Montana had proven crude oil reserves of 364 million barrels, or 1% of all proven US reserves, while output that same year averaged 68,000 barrels per day. Including federal offshore domains, the state that year ranked tenth (ninth excluding federal offshore) in proven reserves and 11th (10th excluding federal offshore) in production among the 31 producing states. In 2004 Montana had 3,627 producing oil wells, accounting for 1% of US production. As of 2005, the state's four refineries had a combined crude oil distillation capacity of 181,200 barrels per day.
In 2004, Montana had 4,971 producing natural gas and gas condensate wells. In that same year, marketed gas production (all gas produced excluding gas used for repressuring, vented and flared, and nonhydrocarbon gases removed) totaled 96.762 billion cu ft (2.74 billion cu m). As of 31 December 2004, proven reserves of dry or consumer-grade natural gas totaled 995 billion cu ft (28.2 billion cu m).
In 2004, Montana had six producing coal mines, five surface operations and one underground. Coal production that year totaled 39,989,000 short tons, up from 36,994,000 short tons in 2003. Of the total produced in 2004, the surface mines accounted for 39,831,000 short tons. Recoverable coal reserves in 2004 totaled 1.14 billion short tons. One short ton equals 2,000 lb (0.907 metric tons).
According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, Montana's manufacturing sector covered some six product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $6.468 billion. Of that total, wood product manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $960.445 million. It was followed by food manufacturing at $666.718 million; nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing at $216.365 million; and fabricated metal product manufacturing at $196.782 billion.
In 2004, a total of 17,311 people in Montana were employed in the state's manufacturing sector, according to the ASM. Of that total, 12,709 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the wood product manufacturing industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees, with 4,109 (3,568 actual production workers). It was followed by food manufacturing, with 2,464 employees (1,547 actual production workers); miscellaneous manufacturing, with 1,447 (976 actual production workers); and nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing, with 1,405 (1,093 actual production workers).
ASM data for 2004 showed that Montana's manufacturing sector paid $664.859 million in wages. Of that amount, the wood product manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $147.640 million. It was followed by food manufacturing at $81.157 million; fabricated metal product manufacturing at $48.872 million; machinery manufacturing at $48.438 million; and miscellaneous manufacturing at $44.878 million.
According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, Montana's wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $7.2 billion from 1,485 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 839 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 571 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 75 establishments. Sales by durable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $2.4 billion, while wholesalers of nondurable goods saw sales of $3.9 billion. Electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry had sales of $833.7 million.
In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, Montana was listed as having 5,145 retail establishments with sales of $10.1 billion. The leading types of retail businesses by number of establishments were: motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers (743); miscellaneous store retailers (679); building material/garden equipment and supplies dealers (612); gasoline stations (597); and food and beverage stores (496). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers accounted for the largest share of retail sales at $2.7 billion, followed by general merchandise stores at $1.6 billion; food and beverage stores at $1.3 billion; and gasoline stations at $1.2 billion. A total of 52,891 people were employed by the retail sector in Montana that year.
Montana's foreign exports in 2005 totaled $710 million, second to last in the nation above only Wyoming.
Montana's consumer protection laws are administered by the state's Department of Justice's Office of Consumer Protection. The office enforces Montana's consumer protection laws and regulations relating to telemarketing, the sales and repair of automobiles and trucks, credit management services, deceptive and misleading advertising, door-to-door sales, gasoline pricing, online commerce, and unfair business acts under the state's Telemarketing Registration and Fraud Act, the New Vehicle Warranty Act, the Consumer Protection Act, the Personal Solicitation Sales Act, and the Unfair Trade Practices Act.
When dealing with consumer protection issues, the state's attorney general (who heads the state's Department of Justice) is extremely limited in terms of what it is authorized to do, and can only exercise its authority regarding consumer protection in cooperation with the state's Department of Administration. The attorney general cannot initiate civil or criminal proceedings; represent the state before state and federal regulatory agencies; administer consumer protection and education programs; handle formal consumer complaints; or exercise subpoena powers. In antitrust actions, the attorney general can only act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own and initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts. It cannot initiate criminal proceedings or represent counties, cities and other governmental entities in recovering civil damages under state or federal law.
The offices of the state's Department of Justice's Office of Consumer Protection are located in the state capital, Helena.
As of June 2005, Montana had 82 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, plus 12 state-chartered and 56 federally chartered credit unions (CUs). Excluding the CUs, the Billings market area accounted for the largest portion of the state's bank deposits at $1.966 billion and was second in the number of financial institutions at 12 in 2004, while the Missoula market area that same year, ranked first in the number of institutions, with 13 and was second in bank deposits at $1.278 billion. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for 14.3% of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $2.511 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 85.7% or $15.090 billion in assets held.
As of fourth quarter 2005, median percentage of past-due/non-accrual loans to total loans stood at 1.99%, down from 2.21% in 2004 and 2.26% in 2003. The median net interest margin (the difference between the lower rates given to savers and the higher rates charged on loans) was 4.95% in fourth quarter 2005, up from 4.63% in 2004 and 4.57% in 2003.
Regulation of Montana's state-chartered banks, savings and loans, credit unions, trust companies, consumer finance and escrow companies, deferred deposit loan companies, title loan lenders, mortgage brokers and loan originators, is the responsibility of the state's Division of Banking and Financial Institutions.
In 2004 there were 373,000 individual life insurance policies in force with a total value of about $35.9 billion; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was about $50 billion. The average coverage amount is $96,300 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled $127.7 million.
As of 2003, there were four property and casualty and three life and health insurance companies domiciled in the state. Direct premiums for property and casualty insurance totaled $1.4 billion in 2004. That year, there were 3,364 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of $413 million.
In 2004, 45% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 8% held individual policies, and 26% were covered under Medicare and Medicaid; 19% of residents were uninsured. Montana ties with four other states as having the fourth-highest percentage of uninsured residents in the nation. In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged at 14% for single coverage and 28% for family coverage. The state does not offer a health benefits expansion program in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.
In 2003, there were 696,263 auto insurance policies in effect for private passenger cars. Required minimum coverage includes bodily injury liability of up to $25,000 per individual and $50,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $10,000. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was $674.22.
There are no securities exchanges in Montana. In 2005, there were 390 personal financial advisers employed in the state and 390 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. In 2004, there were at least 11 publicly traded companies within the state, with at least 2 companies listed on the NASDAQ (Semitool, Inc. and United Financial Corp.) and at least 1 listed on the NYSE (Touch America Holdings).
The Montana state budget is prepared biennially by the Office of Budget and Program Planning and submitted by the governor to the legislature for amendment and approval. The fiscal year runs from 1 July to 30 June. Effective fiscal year 1995, certain public school revenues were to be deposited in a general fund, increasing general fund revenues and public school appropriations.
Fiscal year 2006 general funds were estimated at $1.8 billion for resources and $1.6 billion for expenditures. In fiscal year 2004, federal government grants to Montana were nearly $2 billion
In the fiscal year 2007 federal budget, Montana was slated to receive: $15.5 million in State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funds to help the state provide health coverage to low-income, uninsured children who do not qualify for Medicaid. This funding is a 23% increase over fiscal year 2006; and $6.6 million for the HOME Investment Partnership Program to help Montana fund a wide range of activities that build, buy, or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership, or provide direct rental assistance to low-income people. This funding was an 11% increase over fiscal year 2006.
In 2005, Montana collected $1,788 million in tax revenues or $1,910 per capita, which placed it 35th among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Property taxes accounted for 10.4% of the total, selective sales taxes 25.5%, individual income taxes 39.9%, corporate income taxes 5.5%, and other taxes 18.8%.
As of 1 January 2006, Montana had seven individual income tax brackets ranging from 1.0% to 6.9%. The state taxes corporations at a flat rate of 6.75%.
In 2004, state and local property taxes amounted to $958,779,000 or $1034 per capita. The per capita amount ranks the state 20th nationally. Local governments collected $774,842,000 of the total and the state government $183,937,000.
Montana taxes gasoline at 27 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.
According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, Montana citizens received $1.58 in federal spending.
The Economic Development Advisory Council of the state's Department of Commerce offers a variety of programs aimed at improving and enhancing Montana's economic and business climate. Working closely with other state agencies and federal and private programs, the department's aim is to assist start-up and existing businesses with the technical and financial assistance necessary for their success. Relationships with local development groups, chambers of commerce, and similar organizations help Montana communities develop their full potential. Montana microbusiness companies with fewer than 10 full-time equivalent employees and annual gross revenues under $500,000 can receive loans of up to $35,000. Other qualifying businesses can borrow under several other state and federal development loan programs. The Economic Development Advisory Council's trade program assists businesses in pursuing domestic and worldwide trade. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program and the State Data Center program both operate statewide networks of service centers.
|Montana—State Government Finances|
|(Dollar amounts in thousands. Per capita amounts in dollars.)|
|Abbreviations and symbols: - zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable.|
|source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.|
|Individual income tax||605,582||653.27|
|Corporate income tax||67,723||73.06|
|Miscellaneous general revenue||421,067||454.23|
|Liquor store revenue||49,524||53.42|
|Insurance trust revenue||1,156,856||1,247.96|
|Insurance benefits and repayments||528,430||570.04|
|Assistance and subsidies||85,160||91.87|
|Interest on debt||123,448||133.17|
|Exhibit: Salaries and wages||708,831||764.65|
|General expenditures, by function:|
|Parks and recreation||14,523||15.67|
|Interest on general debt||123,448||133.17|
|Other and unallocable||363,748||392.39|
|Liquor store expenditure||42,690||46.05|
|Insurance trust expenditure||528,430||570.04|
|Debt at end of fiscal year||3,048,862||3,288.96|
|Cash and security holdings||11,724,183||12,647.45|
The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 6.7 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate in 2003 was 12.4 per 1,000 population. The abortion rate stood at 13.5 per 1,000 women in 2000. In 2003, about 84.4% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester. In 2004, approximately 78% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three.
The crude death rate in 2003 was 9.2 deaths per 1,000 population. As of 2002, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were: heart disease, 213.8; cancer, 210.1; cerebrovascular diseases, 70.3; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 63.3; and diabetes, 23.1. The accidental death rate of 57.6 per 100,000 was one of the highest in the nation. The mortality rate from HIV infection was not available. In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 0.8 per 100,000 population, the lowest rate in the country. In 2002, about 54.1% of the population was considered overweight or obese. As of 2004, about 20.3% of state residents were smokers.
In 2003, Montana had 53 community hospitals with about 4,300 beds. There were about 107,000 patient admissions that year and 2.7 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 2,900 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $733. Also in 2003, there were about 101 certified nursing facilities in the state with 7,489 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 76.6%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 65.9% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year. Montana had 224 physicians per 100,000 resident population in 2004 and 800 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there was a total of 513 dentists in the state.
About 26% of state residents were enrolled in Medicaid programs and Medicare programs in 2004. Approximately 19% of the state population was uninsured in 2004. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $941,000.
Montana played an important role in the development of social welfare. It was one of the first states to experiment with workers' compensation, enacting a compulsory compensation law in 1915. Eight years later, Montana and Nevada became the first states to provide for old age pensions.
In 2004, about 22,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $197. In fiscal year 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 80,870 persons (34,573 households); the average monthly benefit was about $91.95 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was about $89.2 million.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reauthorized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. Montana's TANF program is called Families Achieving Independence in Montana (FAIM). In 2004, the state program had 14,000 recipients; state and federal expenditures on this TANF program totaled $35 million in fiscal year 2003.
In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 165,910 Montana residents. This number included 106,970 retired workers, 16,770 widows and widowers, 19,070 disabled workers, 10,780 spouses, and 12,320 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 17.9% of the total state population and 93.9% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $916; widows and widowers, $883; disabled workers, $863; and spouses, $459. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $430 per month; children of deceased workers, $605; and children of disabled workers, $249. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments in December 2004 went to 14,558 Montana residents, averaging $377 a month.
In 2004, Montana had an estimated 423,262 housing units, of which 368,530 were occupied; 68.5% were owner-occupied. About 69.8% of all units were single-family, detached homes; about 12.8% were mobile homes. Utility gas and electricity were the most common energy sources for heating. It was estimated that 18,156 units lacked telephone service, 1,780 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 2,143 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household had 2.45 members.
In 2004, 5,000 new privately owned units were authorized for construction. The median home value was $119,319. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $974. Renters paid a median of $520 per month. In September 2005, the state received grants of $1.15 million from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for rural housing and economic development programs. For 2006, HUD allocated to the state over $6.8 million in community development block grants.
In 2004, 91.9% of Montana residents age 25 and older were high school graduates, far above the national average of 84%. Some 25.5% had obtained a bachelor's degree or higher, slightly below the national average of 26%.
The total enrollment for fall 2002 in Montana's public schools stood at 150,000. Of these, 101,000 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 49,000 attended high school. Approximately 85.1% of the students were white, 0.7% were black, 2.1% were Hispanic, 1% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 11% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 147,000 fall 2003 and expected to reach 141,000 by fall 2014, a decline of 5.9% during the period 2002 to 2014. In fall 2003 there were 8,924 students enrolled in 104 private schools. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $1.2 billion. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005, eighth graders in Montana scored 286 out of 500 in mathematics compared with the national average of 278.
As of fall 2002, there were 45,111 students enrolled in college or graduate school; minority students comprised 11.7% of total postsecondary enrollment. In 2005 Montana had 23 degree-granting institutions. The University of Montana has campuses at Mis-soula, Montana Tech, and Western Montana College. Montana State University encompasses the Bozeman, Billings, and Northern campuses.
The Montana Arts Council was established in 1967 to promote and expand the significance of arts and culture in the lives of Montanans. In 2005, the Montana Arts Council and other Montana arts organizations received 12 grants totaling $812,900 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The Council has also received funding from state and private sources.
The Montana Committee for the Humanities (MCH) was founded in 1972. In 2000, the MCH sponsored its first annual Montana Festival of the Book in downtown Missoula, bringing together writers, readers, and entertainers from across the state. In 2005, the National Endowment for the Humanities contributed $662,437 to 11 state programs.
The C. M. Russell Museum in Great Falls honors the work of Charles Russell, whose mural Lewis and Clark Meeting the Flat-head Indians adorns the capitol in Helena. Other fine art museums include the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Yellowstone Art Center at Billings, and the Missoula Art Museum. The Missoula Art Museum emphasizes artwork relevant to the American West culture, especially contemporary pieces by Montana artists. Orchestras are based in Billings and Bozeman and the Equinox Theater Company is also a popular attraction in Bozeman.
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
In 2001, Montana had 79 public library systems, with a total of 107 libraries, of which there were 28 branches. The combined book and serial publication stock of all Montana public libraries that same year was 2,625,000 volumes, and their combined total circulation was 4,812,000. The system also had 62,000 audio and video items, each, and 3,000 electronic format items (CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and disks), and four bookmobiles. Distinguished collections include: those of the University of Montana (Missoula), with over 850,000 volumes; Montana State University (Bozeman), 597,609; and the Montana State Library and Montana Historical Society Library, both in Helena. In fiscal year 2001, operating income for the state's public library system was $15,425,000, including $49,000 in federal grants and $344,000 in state grants.
Among the state's 74 museums are the Montana Historical Society Museum, Helena; World Museum of Mining, Butte; Western Heritage Center, Billings; and Museum of the Plains Indian, Browning. National historic sites include Big Hole and Little Big Horn battlefields and the Grant-Kohrs Ranch at Deer Lodge, west of Helena.
In 2004, 93.5% of the state's households had telephone service. In addition, by December 2003 there were 373,947 mobile wireless telephone subscribers. In 2003, 59.5% of Montana households had a computer and 50.4% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 90,563 high-speed lines in Montana, 79,658 residential and 10,905 for business. There were 43 major commercial radio stations (14 AM, 29 FM) in 2005, and 16 major television stations. A total of 15,300 Internet domain names were registered in Montana in 2000.
As of 2005, Montana had eight morning dailies, three evening dailies, and seven Sunday newspapers. The leading papers were the Billings Gazette (47,105 mornings, 52,434 Sundays), Great Falls Tribune (33,434 mornings, 36,763 Sundays), and the Missoulian (30,466 mornings, 34,855 Sundays).
In 2006, there were over 1,495 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 1,075 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious organizations. National professional and business organizations and associations based in Montana include the American Indian Business Leaders and the American Simmental Association.
Regional arts, history, and culture are represented in part through the Boone and Crockett Club, the Butte Jazz Society, the Custer Battlefield Historical and Museum Association, and the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. Conservation and outdoors recreation organizations include the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, the National Forest Foundation, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Our Montana (Billings), and the Great Bear Foundation (Missoula). The national Adventure Cycling Association is based in Missoula.
The Indian Law Resource Center, founded in 1978 and based in Helena, serves as a legal, environmental, and human rights organization promoting the welfare of Indian tribes and other indigenous peoples in North America.
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
Many tourists seek out the former gold rush camps, ghost towns, and dude ranches. Scenic wonders include all of Glacier National Park, covering 1,013,595 acres (410,202 hectares), which is the US portion of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park; part of Yellowstone National Park, which also extends into Idaho and Wyoming; and Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. Bozeman, the gateway to Yellowstone Park also is a research area for dinosaurs. The Museum of the Rockies sponsors a dig in Choteau near Glacier National Park.
Montana is home to several Indian tribes; the Crow, the Sioux, and the Plains Indians reside here. Montana is the site of Custer's Last Stand, the Battle of Little Bighorn. There is a national monument to Custer there. Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is one of the largest outdoor recreation area in the United States. Glacier County has the Ninepipes Museum and the Flathead Indian Reservation. The Rocky Mountain Elk Wildlife Foundation is the newest of the conservation education facilities. In June 2005, Montana opened the Northeastern Plains Birding Trail. This trail links 12 birding sites and is populated by large numbers of migratory birds.
In 2002, some 10 million nonresident travelers spent $1.8 billion on visits to the state. The tourist industry sponsors over 33,500 jobs. Tourism promotion and development were funded primarily through a 4% lodging tax, which generated $11 million per year. Tourism payroll generated $358 million in tax revenue. Montana was observing the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition during 2003–06, with festivities scheduled throughout the state.
There are no major professional sports teams in Montana, although there are minor league baseball teams in Billings, Great Falls, Helena, and Missoula. The University of Montana Grizzlies and Montana State University Bobcats both compete in the Big Sky Conference. Skiing is a very popular sport. The state has world-class ski resorts in Big Sky. Other annual sporting events include the Seeley-Lincoln 100/200 Dog Sled Race between Seely Lake and Lincoln in January and many rodeos statewide.
Prominent national officeholders from Montana include US Senator Thomas Walsh (b.Wisconsin, 1859–1933), who directed the investigation that uncovered the Teapot Dome scandal; Jeannette Rankin (1880–1973),the first woman member of Congress and the only US representative to vote against American participation in both world wars; Burton K. Wheeler (b.Massachusetts, 1882–1975), US senator from 1923 to 1947 and one of the most powerful politicians in Montana history; and Michael Joseph "Mike" Mansfield (b.New York, 1903–2001), who held the office of majority leader of the US Senate longer than anyone else.
Chief Joseph (b.Oregon, 1840?–1904), a Nez Percé Indian, repeatedly outwitted the US Army during the late 1870s; Crazy Horse (1849?–77) led a Sioux-Cheyenne army in battle at Little Big Horn. The town of Bozeman is named for explorer and prospector John M. Bozeman (b.Georgia, 1835–67).
Creative artists from Montana include Alfred Bertram Guthrie Jr. (b.Indiana, 1901–91), author of The Big Sky and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Way West; Dorothy Johnson (b.Iowa, 1905–84), whose stories have been made into such notable Western movies as The Hanging Tree, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and A Man Called Horse; and Charles Russell (b.Missouri, 1864–1926), Montana's foremost painter and sculptor. Hollywood stars Gary Cooper (Frank James Cooper, 1901–61) and Myrna Loy (1905–93) were born in Helena. Newscaster Chet Huntley (1911–74) was born in Cardwell.
Council of State Governments. The Book of the States, 2006 Edition. Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 2006.
Elison, Larry M. The Montana State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001.
Howard, Joseph Kinsey. Montana, High, Wide, and Handsome. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003.
Malone, Michael P., and Richard B. Roeder. Montana: A History of Two Centuries. Rev. ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1991.
Parzybok, Tye W. Weather Extremes in the West. Missoula, Mont.: Mountain Press, 2005.
Preston, Thomas. Rocky Mountains: Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, 2nd ed. Vol. 3 of The Double Eagle Guide to 1,000 Great Western Recreation Destinations. Billings, Mont.: Discovery Publications, 2003.
Rowles, Genevieve (ed.). Adventure Guide to Montana. Edison, N.J.: Hunter, 2000.
Sateren, Shelley Swanson. Montana Facts and Symbols. Mankato, Minn.: Hilltop Books, 2000.
Small, Lawrence F. (ed.). Religion in Montana: Pathways to the Present. Billings, Mont.: Rocky Mountain College, 1992.
US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. Montana, 2000. Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics: 2000 Census of Population and Housing. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 2003.
Wright, John B. Montana Ghost Dance: Essays on Land and Life. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998.
Wyckoff, William. On the Road Again: Montana's Changing Landscape. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2006.
COPYRIGHT 2007 Cengage Learning
MONTANA. A land of contrast, Montana's 147,138 square miles contain both vast prairies and towering heights (including the 12,799-foot Granite Peak, the state's highest elevation). Much of the history of the state, which is poor in water but rich in natural resources, has been connected to the extractive industries and the problem of aridity.
More than twelve thousand years ago, small bands of hunters and gatherers lived in present-day Montana in the northern Rocky Mountain foothills and in the Great Plains that lie east of the Continental Divide. The region was part of the Louisiana Purchase when the Lewis and Clark Expedition crossed it in 1805, following the Missouri River to its headwaters and later exploring the Marias and Yellowstone Rivers. The expedition spent one quarter of its journey within the state's current borders. In the Rocky Mountains, the expedition met probable descendants of Montana's early inhabitants as well as some of the area's more recent Native immigrants. Native cultures changed in the eighteenth century because of two major stimuli: the introduction of horses (brought or traded north by southwestern Indians who had obtained them from the Spanish) and guns (brought or traded west and south by eastern tribes who acquired them from British and French fur traders). European settlements to the east also indirectly affected the region's peoples as displaced eastern tribes pushed west. The resultant competition for rich hunting grounds, cultural factors (such as the honor accorded successful warriors), and the desire for the guns and horses owned by competing tribes combined to produce a period of intense intertribal warfare that lasted well into the nineteenth century.
The Fur Trade
Fur traders likely entered Montana before the arrival of Lewis and Clark, but competition for fur heightened after that expedition. In 1807, the St. Louis–based trader Manuel Lisa built a trading post at the confluence of the Big-horn and Yellowstone Rivers, the first permanent building constructed in Montana. A year later, the Canadian North West Company established a trading post near present-day Libby, Montana. The race for fur was on.
The fur trade was the dominant European industry in the region from 1807 through the 1850s and radically transformed tribal life. Tribes such as the Crows and the Blackfeet joined a global market economy as they began to hunt for furs—first beaver and then buffalo—to trade with the Europeans. The fur economy created new routes to status within the tribes and transformed internal tribal politics. Exposure to diseases such as smallpox, to which Native Americans had little immunity, decimated many bands; for example, an estimated 50 percent of the Blackfeet died in an 1837 epidemic. In addition, the trade brought easy access to liquor, which quickly became a destructive force.
Although the fur trade had a tremendous impact on Native Americans, it brought relatively few non-Indians to the region. Administratively, the eastern two-thirds of Montana was part of Missouri Territory until 1821, Indian Country until 1854, and Nebraska Territory until 1861, but in fact, there was little government presence with the exception of occasional road building and military expeditions.
The Mining Frontier
White settlement began in earnest following the discovery of gold in 1862 in present southwest Montana at Bannack, now a state park. An 1863 strike in Alder Gulch produced an estimated $35 million in gold during the first five years of mining. Gold fever brought approximately ten thousand people to the region by 1865, many of them from the goldfields of Idaho and California. Booming population expansion created the need for additional governmental services; to provide them, the federal government carved Idaho Territory from the Washington, Nebraska, and Dakota territories in 1863. Continuing growth led to the organization of Montana Territory on 26 May 1864, with first Bannack and then Virginia City as its capital. Other gold strikes followed, including in 1864 a major discovery in Last Chance Gulch (later called Helena), which became Montana's third territorial capital in 1875.
Although the image of the lone prospector dominates the myth of western mining, industrialized mining arrived early on the scene. Hydraulic mining, which used water from high-pressure hoses to wash away whole stream banks, and floating dredges, which mined the bottom of the rivers, required heavy capital investment and caused substantial environmental damage. Even more labor and capital intensive was quartz-lode mining, with its enormous stamp mills, smelters, and other expensive equipment.
In the 1870s, silver replaced gold as Montana's principle source of mineral wealth. The state became the nation's second largest producer of silver by 1883. Silver mining suffered a serious blow during the panic of 1893, however, when President Grover Cleveland ended mandatory government purchases of silver. Thereafter, copper dominated Montana's mining economy.
Mining wealth encouraged railroad construction, which in turn made possible larger mining operations. In 1881 the Union Pacific entered Butte (the heart of Montana's copper enterprises). The Northern Pacific crossed Montana in 1883; the Great Northern connected Butte to St. Paul in 1889. The Milwaukee Road, a relative late-comer, completed its line through Montana in 1909.
As railroads raced across the Plains and miners and the merchants who "mined the miners" poured into Montana Territory, tribal peoples found themselves under increasing pressure. Racism abounded and food was increasingly scarce, as the availability of game (particularly buffalo) declined due to overhunting, competition with horses and cattle for grazing land, and the introduction of exotic bovine diseases. Although the tribes most often negotiated political solutions, two legendary acts of Indian resistance to white incursion occurred in Montana Territory during the 1870s: the Great Sioux War of 1876– 1877, which included the most famous battle in the Indian wars, the Battle of the Little Bighorn; and the Nez Perce War of 1877.
Neither resistance nor negotiation worked particularly well. Montana's Indian tribes lost most of their lands—including much of the territory guaranteed by early treaties as permanent reserves. For example, an 1855 treaty recognized the Blackfeet's claim to two-thirds of eastern Montana (although the tribe, in turn, agreed to allow whites to live in and cross their territory). A series of subsequent treaties and executive orders reduced their reservation to a fraction of its former size. And when the buffalo approached extinction in the 1880s, starvation was the result. According to the historian John Ewers, an estimated one-sixth to one-fourth of the Piegan Blackfeet died of hunger in 1883–1884.
Another blow to Montana's Indians was the 1887 Dawes General Allotment Act, which opened reservation lands to white settlement after "allotting" 160-acre parcels to Indian heads of households. Applied unevenly and at various times, the policy of allotment affected each tribe differently. On the Flathead Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana, for example, the sale of "excess" land to non-Indians during the homestead boom of the 1910s left members of the Salish and Kootenai tribes owning less than half of the land on their reservation. In 2000, enrolled tribal members made up only 26 percent of the reservation's population.
Indians, primarily from ten tribes (Assiniboine, Blackfeet, Chippewa, Cree, Crow, Gros Ventre, Kootenai, Lakota or Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Salish), were the state's largest minority in 2000, at 7.3 percent of the population. Many lived on one of Montana's seven Indian reservations (Blackfeet, Crow, Flathead, Fort Belknap, Fort Peck, Northern Cheyenne, and Rocky Boy's), though tribal members also live in Missoula, Great Falls, Billings, and other Montana communities.
The Cattle Boom and Sheep Industry
Territory opened by the removal of Indians to reservations included rich grazing land. Large, corporate ranches—financed mainly by wealthy speculators—brought longhorns from Texas to feed on the area's expansive grasslands in the 1880s, supplementing older cattle operations established primarily by former prospectors. According to one source, at the peak of the open-range boom in 1886, approximately 664,000 cattle and 986,000 sheep grazed on Montana rangelands.
The legendary days of the open range—commemorated by Montana's "cowboy artist" Charles M. Russell—suffered a blow during 1886–1887, when summer drought and a long, cold winter struck the overcrowded range to cause the death of approximately 60 percent of Montana's cattle. Cattle remained an important industry, but increasingly ranchers began to grow hay to see their animals through the winters. The homesteading boom decreased the availability of open range, but the 1934 Taylor Grazing Act provided a boon to ranchers hard hit by the depression by allowing livestock to graze on public land.
Less celebrated than the cattle industry, the sheep industry in Montana also thrived and then declined. In 1900, Montana's six million sheep made it the biggest wool-producing state in the union. Eventually, however, foreign competition, the popularity of synthetic fibers, and an end to wool subsidies caused the number of sheep in Montana to drop from 5.7 million head in 1903 to 370,000 head in January 2000.
The Rise of Copper
Even at their height, the sheep and cattle industries could not rival the growth brought by copper. The discovery of rich veins of copper in Butte in the 1880s coincided with an expanding demand for the metal fueled by the electrical revolution and the growing need for copper wire. By 1889, Butte was the nation's largest copper producer and the biggest city between Minneapolis and Seattle. Perhaps the most ethnically diverse city in the intermountain west, Butte was known as the "Gibraltar of Unionism." The Western Federation of Miners, whose leaders later helped found the Industrial Workers of the World, was founded there in 1893. In 1912 even Butte's two chimneysweeps had their own union. Twenty-six miles west, Butte's sister town of Anaconda, founded by the Anaconda Copper Company in 1884, processed the ore wrested from the "richest hill on earth," while poisonous gases bellowing from its stacks killed crops, cattle, and forests for miles around.
Rivalry between two of Butte's "copper kings" profoundly effected statewide politics. Marcus Daly, owner of the Anaconda Company, successfully opposed copper magnate William Clark's 1888 run for territorial delegate and 1893 senate campaign, a race marked by massive corruption. Clark retaliated in 1894, successfully backing Helena as the permanent site of the state capital in opposition to Daly's choice of Anaconda.
Copper continued as a force in Montana politics after the state's copper mines and smelters were consolidated under the control of the directors of Standard Oil in 1899. The Company, as the conglomerate was often called, offered its most naked display of power in 1903 when it closed its operations and put 15,000 men out of work until the governor called a special session of the legislature to enact the legislation it demanded. In addition to its mining interest, the Company operated large logging operations to feed the mines' voracious appetite for lumber.
Even after it severed its ties to Standard Oil in 1915, the Company remained a political force. It controlled most of the state's major newspapers until 1959, and, some believed, many of the state's politicians. Unlike Clark and Daly, the directors of the Company in the teens actively opposed unionism. With the help of state and federal troops, which occupied Butte six times between 1914 and 1920, the Company completely crippled the miners' unions until a resurgence of labor activity during the 1930s.
Open-pit mining—initiated in the 1950s after the richest copper veins had played out—transformed Butte. While Butte shrank (open-pit mining employed fewer people than did traditional hardrock mining), the Company's Berkeley Pit grew, consuming entire neighborhoods. Low copper prices, declining concentrations of ore, reduced industrial use of copper, and increasing global competition led to the closure of the Anaconda smelter in 1980 and the shutdown of mining activity in Butte in 1983, leaving Butte and Anaconda economically and environmentally devastated. When mining resumed in the mid-1980s, it was as a small-scale, nonunion operation. In 2000, mining operations again ceased, due to high energy costs and low copper prices. The Butte and Anaconda region hosted the largest Superfund cleanup site in the United States, and jobs in reclamation were an important part of the area's sluggish economy.
The Homestead Era
With the homestead boom of 1909 to 1919, agriculture surpassed mining as the state's major source of income. The Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909 offered farmers 320 acres of free land. A second law passed in 1912 made it easier for homesteaders to "prove up." The railway companies, which foresaw a lucrative business in transporting crops to market and supplying settlers, conducted a massive advertising campaign and Montana quickly became "the most homesteaded state in the union." As the state's population ballooned from approximately 243,000 in 1900 to a high of approximately 770,000 in 1918, local governments multiplied, from sixteen counties at the time of statehood in 1889 to fifty-six by 1926.
Wartime inflation, resultant high prices, and relatively wet years through 1917 produced unprecedented prosperity for Montana's farmers. However, a six-year drought beginning in 1918 and the collapse of commodity prices in 1920 exposed the weakness of the homesteading economy. Montana's arid lands simply could not support small-scale farming. Between 1919 and 1925, more than half of Montana farmers lost their land and over 60,000 people left the state.
Wet weather after 1926 provided some help to those who stayed, but the agricultural depression of the 1920s grew into the Great Depression of the 1930s, when drought and falling prices again pushed farmers from the land. Nevertheless, agriculture—primarily wheat and beef—still dominates the landscape: Montana is second among states in the number of acres devoted to agriculture. However, as the depopulation of the eastern two-thirds of Montana attests, this increasingly industrialized enterprise requires fewer and fewer workers. In 2000, agriculture employed less than 6 percent of Montanans.
The Great Depression
The Great Depression hit Montana hard, as mining, smelting, and logging slowed to a halt. President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs provided welcome relief. The federal government sent over $523 million to Montana (approximately 27 percent in loans), making Montana the union's second most subsidized state. The money arrived through payments to farmers; construction projects such as the massive Fort Peck Dam, which in 1936 employed more than 10,000 people; rural electrification loans to farmers' cooperatives; and direct relief. Federal jobs programs, according to the historian Michael Malone, provided income to a quarter of Montana households by 1935.
The New Deal also brought a shift in federal Indian policy. After decades of trying to "assimilate" Native Americans, the federal government recognized the value of tribal sovereignty with the Wheeler-Howard Act, cosponsored by Montana senator Burton K. Wheeler. In addition, the New Deal brought employment and infrastructure improvements to Montana's reservations through the formation of the Indian Conservation Corps.
Post–World War II Montana
Commodity prices rose with the beginning of World War II, bringing economic recovery to Montana. The state, however, lost population as young men and women joined the armed forces or found work in the war industries on the West Coast. Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls—which employed approximately 4,000 people in 2001—was established during World War II, but the military-industrial complex had less impact on Montana's economy than it did on other western states.
The 1950s through the 1970s saw booms in petroleum, tourism, wood products, and coal industries. The oil industry—concentrated along the "hi-line" (Montana's northern tier) in the 1910s and 1920s—moved east with the discovery of the oil-rich Williston Basin. Three large refineries opened in Billings, which became the state's largest city by 1960. Jobs in government, tourism, and healthcare helped the city maintain this status despite the oil market crash in the 1980s.
Tourism boomed in the prosperous postwar period, building on its earlier significance to the state (Yellow-stone National Park was established in 1872, Glacier National Park in 1910). In the 1950s, the timber industry, centered in the rich forests west of the Continental Divide, transformed into a genuine wood-products industry (manufacturing plywood, cardboard, and particle board), making it one of Montana's few value-added industries, albeit one with a large environmental cost. The construction of missile silos and dams and the infusion of highway money played a major role in the state's economy during the 1950s and 1960s. The 1970s energy crisis encouraged coal production in southeastern Montana, which claims 13 percent of the nation's coal reserves. In 1971, 7 million tons of coal were mined in Montana; by 1980, that figure had skyrocketed to 30 million, well over half of it from federally owned land.
The Role of the Federal Government
The federal government has always been important to Montana. Examples of early federal policies that have shaped Montana include Indian removal, railroad subsidies, an 1872 mining law (still in effect today, and the source of much controversy) that encourages the development of mineral resources, the homestead acts, timber sales at below-market value from the national forests, and the creation of national parks and wilderness areas. Despite the myth of the independent westerner and many Montanans' deep-seated distrust of "big government," the federal government remains crucial in shaping Montana's economy. In 1969, Montana received $1.88 from Washington ($1.59 in 2000) for every $1.00 its residents paid in taxes. Federal payments to farmers, for example, made up 22 percent of total agricultural receipts in 1999.
Remarkably corrupt and dominated by copper, Montana has displayed what many have deemed "political schizophrenia" through much of its history, sending conservatives to Helena and liberals to Washington. Many of Montana's representatives on the national level have become quite prominent: Senator Thomas Walsh, who led the investigation into the Teapot Dome scandal; Representative Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress; and Senator Mike Mansfield, the Senate's longest-ruling majority leader.
Since state senators were elected by county, rather than by population, rural Montana dominated the legislature through the 1960s, leading to charges of "one cow, one vote" and court-ordered reapportionment. A constitutional convention to revise the original 1889 state constitution followed. A remarkably progressive document, the 1972 constitution enshrined the rights to privacy and "a clean and healthful environment," and committed the state to the preservation of "the unique and distinct cultural heritage of American Indians."
At the end of the twentieth century, Montana's politics moved increasingly rightward, as evidenced by the election of the conservative senator Conrad Burns in 1988, and his reelections in 1994 and 2000. Another political trend was tribal governments' determination to assert sovereignty on the reservations and their increasing willingness to resort to the courts when necessary to accomplish it.
Facing a New Century
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Montana remained a low-population, high-acreage state, the most "non-metropolitan state in the nation," according to a 1999 study. The fourth largest state in the union, Montana ranks forty-fourth in population, with (according to the 2000 census) 902,195 residents. Energy deregulation, passed by the legislature in 1997, was followed by soaring energy prices and shutdowns in the wood-products, mining, and refining industries. Tourism—which barely trailed agriculture as the second largest segment of the economy—continued to grow in importance. Remaining dependent on the federal government, beset by frequent droughts, and prey to the cyclical nature of an economy based on natural resource extraction, the state—listed as forty-seventh in per capita income in 1999—faced an uncertain economic future.
Bennett, John W., and Seena B. Kohl. Settling the Canadian-American West, 1890–1915: Pioneer Adaptation and Community Building. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995.
Bryan, William L., Jr. Montana's Indians, Yesterday and Today. 2nd rev. ed. Helena, Mont.: American World and Geographic, 1996.
Dobb, Edwin. "Pennies from Hell: In Montana, the Bill for America's Copper Comes Due." Harper's 293 (October 1996): 39–54.
Greene, Jerome A. Nez Perce Summer, 1877: The U.S. Army and the Nee-Me-Poo Crisis. Helena: Montana Historical Society Press, 2000.
MacMillan, Donald. Smoke Wars: Anaconda Copper, Montana Air Pollution, and the Courts, 1890–1920. Helena: Montana Historical Society Press, 2000.
Malone, Michael P. Montana: A Contemporary Profile. Helena, Mont.: American World and Geographic, 1996.
Malone, Michael P., ed. Montana Century: 100 Years in Pictures and Words. Helena, Mont.: Falcon, 1999.
Malone, Michael P., Richard B. Roeder, and William L. Lang. Montana: A History of Two Centuries. Rev. ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1991.
Murphy, Mary. Mining Cultures: Men, Women, and Leisure in Butte, 1914–41. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997.
Rankin, Charles E., ed. Legacy: New Perspectives on the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Helena: Montana Historical Society Press, 1996.
See alsoAnaconda Copper ; Billings ; Buffalo ; Cattle ; Cheyenne ; Copper Industry ; Dawes General Allotment Act ; Fur Companies ; Fur Trade and Trapping ; Gold Mines and Mining ; Helena Mining Camp ; Homestead Movement ; Indian Removal ; Indian Territory ; Little Big-horn, Battle of ; Nez Perce War ; Sheep ; Silver Prospecting and Mining ; Yellowstone National Park ; andvol. 9:The Vigilantes of Montana .
COPYRIGHT 2003 The Gale Group Inc.
Montana (mŏntăn´ə), Rocky Mt. state in the NW United States. It is bounded by North Dakota and South Dakota (E), Wyoming (S), Idaho (W), and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan (N).
Facts and Figures
Area, 147,138 sq mi (381,087 sq km). Pop. (2010) 989,415, a 9.7% increase since the 2000 census. Capital, Helena. Largest city, Billings. Statehood, Nov. 8, 1889 (41st state). Highest pt., Granite Peak, 12,799 ft (3,904 m); lowest pt., Kootenai River, 1,800 ft (549 m). Nickname, Treasure State. Motto,Oro y Plata [Gold and Silver]. State bird, Western meadowlark. State flower, bitterroot. State tree, Ponderosa pine. Abbr., Mont.; MT
Life in Montana's mountainous western area differs greatly from that on its eastern plains. Across the eastern half of the state stretch broad sections of the Great Plains, drained by the Missouri River, which originates in SW Montana, and by its tributaries, the Milk, the Marias, the Sun, and especially the Yellowstone. Much of Montana's western boundary is marked by the crest of the lofty Bitterroot Range, part of the Rocky Mts., which dominate the western section of the state and along which runs the Continental Divide. Montana's very name is derived from the Spanish word montaña, meaning mountain country.
Much of the fourth largest U.S. state is still sparsely populated country dominated by spectacular nature. High granite peaks, forests, lakes, and such wonders as those of Glacier National Park attract many visitors to Montana. Other places of interest include Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Big Hole National Battlefield, and Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site (see National Parks and Monuments, table) and the National Bison Range, near Ravalli, where herds of buffalo may be seen. Strips of Yellowstone National Park, including the north and west entrances, are also in Montana, as are such Native American reservations as the Blackfoot, the Fort Belknap, the Fort Peck, and the Crow. Rushing mountain streams and numerous lakes bring fishing enthusiasts to the state, and the abundant wildlife—elk, deer, bear, moose, and waterfowl—attracts hunters. Mountain and ski resorts draw other vacationers. Helena is the capital, Billings and Great Falls the largest cities; other important cities include Missoula and Butte.
In and around Montana's mountainous western region are the large mineral deposits for which the state is famous—copper, silver, gold, platinum, zinc, lead, and manganese. The eastern part of the state is noted for its petroleum and natural gas, and there are also vast subbituminous coal deposits, worked largely at the most extensive U.S. open-pit mines. Montana also mines vermiculite, chromite, tungsten, molybdenum, and palladium. Leading industries manufacture forest products, processed foods, and refined petroleum.
In E Montana the high grass of the Great Plains once nourished herds of buffalo and later sustained the cattle and sheep of huge ranches; much of the high grass is now gone, but the cattle and sheep remain. Periodic drought and severe weather have turned some farming communities into ghost towns, but agriculture, with the aid of irrigation, still provides the largest share of Montana's income. Wheat is the most valuable farm item, with cattle also of primary importance. Other principal crops include barley, sugar beets, and hay.
Government and Higher Education
In 1973 a new constitution took effect, replacing the one adopted in 1889. The governor is elected for a term of four years and may be reelected. The legislative assembly is made up of a senate with 50 members and a house of representatives with 100 members. Montana is represented in the U.S. Congress by one representative and two senators, and the state has three electoral votes in presidential elections. Republican Marc Racicot, narrowly elected governor in 1992, was reelected in 1996. Judy Martz, a Republican and lieutenant governor under Racicot, was elected to succeed him in 2000, becoming the first woman to be elected to the post. In 2004 and 2008, Democrat Brian Schweitzer won the governorship; fellow Democrat Steve Bullock was elected to the office in 2012.
The Univ. of Montana, at Missoula, and Montana State Univ., at Bozeman, are the state's major institutions of higher learning. Both these systems also have other campuses.
Early Inhabitants, Fur Trading, and Gold
Native Americans known to have inhabited Montana at the time Europeans first explored it included the Blackfoot, the Sioux, the Shoshone, the Arapaho, the Kootenai, the Cheyenne, the Salish, and others. Exploration of the region began in earnest after most of Montana had passed to the United States under the Louisiana Purchase (1803). The Lewis and Clark expedition traveled westward across Montana in 1805, and François Antoine Laroque, along with his North West Company of Canada, explored the Yellowstone River after 1805.
The area's rivers were important avenues of travel for the native inhabitants as well as the early explorers of the country; the first trading post in Montana was established at the mouth of the Bighorn in 1807 by a trading expedition that Manuel Lisa led up the Missouri from St. Louis. For some years thereafter both Canadian and American fur traders continued to open up the territory. David Thompson of the North West Company built several trading posts in NW Montana between 1807 and 1812, and beaver in the mountain streams and lakes attracted adventurous trappers, the so-called mountain men. The American Fur Company, with its posts on the Missouri and the Yellowstone, dominated the later years of the region's fur trade, which diminished in the 1840s.
The U.S. claim to NW Montana, the area between the Rockies and the N Idaho border, was validated in the Oregon Treaty of 1846 with the British. Montana was then still a wilderness of forest and grass, with a few trading posts and some missions. Montana's first period of growth was the rapid, boisterous, and unstable expansion brought on by a gold rush. The discovery of gold, made initially in 1852, brought many people to mushrooming mining camps such as those at Bannack (1862) and Virginia City (1864). Crude shantytowns were built, complete with saloons and dance halls—ephemeral settlements as colorful as the earlier gold-rush camps in California and perhaps even more lawless.
Territorial Status, Sioux Resistance, and Statehood
Previously part of, successively, the territories of Oregon, Washington, Nebraska, Dakota, and Idaho, Montana itself became a territory in 1864. It was still a rough frontier, however, and the first governor, Sidney Edgerton, was driven out of the region; later Thomas Francis Meagher, appointed temporary governor, died mysteriously. After the Civil War the grasslands attracted ranchers, and in 1866 the first cattle were brought in from Texas over the Bozeman Trail, to the area east of the Bighorn Mts.
Yet it was not until after wars with the Sioux that ranching was safe. The Sioux did not tamely submit to having their lands taken from them; in 1876 at the battle of the Little Bighorn, they defeated Col. George A. Custer and his force in one of the greatest of Native American victories. The Sioux were eventually subdued, and the gallant attempt of Chief Joseph of the Nez Percé to lead his people into Canada to escape pursuing U.S. troops had its pitiful end in Montana.
Great ranches spread out across the plains, and cow towns that were to grow into cities such as Billings and Missoula sprang up as the railroads were built in the West (c.1880–c.1910). Statehood was achieved in 1889, and the building of the railroads put an end to the era of the open range.
The Importance of Mining
Mining continued to dominate Montana's economy into the 20th cent. The discovery of silver at Butte (1875) was followed (c.1880) by discovery of copper at that same "richest hill on earth." The Amalgamated Copper Company (later renamed Anaconda Copper Mining Company) came to play a major role in Montana life. The titans of the mines, Marcus Daly and William A. Clark, contended bitterly for ownership of the mineral deposits and for political control, and their rivalry was fought out physically by the miners. F. Augustus Heinze also entered the scramble for copper riches, challenging the claims of Amalgamated Copper. Amalgamated prevailed and exercised enormous control over state affairs.
Struggles between the company and the workers led to strikes, disorder, and bloodshed, but also to the enactment of some early measures for social security, important because over the years the livelihood of mining town residents has depended on the fluctuating market price of copper. By the 1990s, however, mining was producing less than 10% of Montana's revenues, and such centers as Butte and Anaconda, where operations had shut down, had become shells of their former selves.
The Expansion of Agriculture
After the coming of the railroads, farmers arrived by the trainload to develop the lands of E Montana. They planted their fields in the second decade of the 20th cent. The initial bounteous wheat yield did not last long; the calamitous drought of 1919 and the consequent dust storms seared the fields, and in the 1920s the farms began to disappear as rapidly as they had been established.
When the Great Depression began in 1929, Montana was already accustomed to depression. In subsequent years vigorous measures were taken to aid agriculture in the state, and by the late 1940s federal dam and irrigation projects—on the Missouri, the Yellowstone, the Marias, the Sun, and elsewhere—opened many acres to cultivation. Some of the vast grazing lands were brought under planned use, and the development of hydroelectric power continued. Major multipurpose dams in Montana producing power include Fort Peck, Hungry Horse, and Canyon Ferry.
The demand for copper in World War II and the E Montana oil boom of the early 1950s stimulated the economy, but the state still faces high transportation costs, a worker shortage, and slowness in regulating resources. A gradual trend toward a more diversified economy has seen manufacturing grow in importance; tourism is also on the rise. Coal exploitation increased dramatically in the 1970s, somewhat offsetting the decline of metals mining. In 1997 legislation was passed that aimed to attract foreign money by making the state an offshore banking haven.
See M. P. Malone, The Montana Past (1969); K. R. Toole, Twentieth-Century Montana (1972); M. P. Malone and R. B. Roeder, Montana, a History of Two Centuries (1976); C. C. Spence, Montana: A History (1978); W. L. Lang and R. C. Myers, Montana, Our Land and People (1979); J. A. Alwin, Eastern Montana (1982).
Copyright The Columbia University Press
Billings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 339
Butte . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 349
Helena . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 361
The State in Brief
Nickname: Treasure State
Motto: Oro y plata (Gold and silver)
Bird: Western meadowlark
Area: 147,042 square miles (2000; U.S. rank: 4th)
Elevation: Ranges from 1,800 feet to 12,799 feet above sea level
Climate: Continental; heavy snows in the west, hot dry summers in the east
Admitted to Union: November 8, 1889
Head Official: Governor Brian Schweitzer (D) (until 2009)
2004 estimate: 926,865
Percent change, 1990–2000: 12.9%
U.S. rank in 2004: 44th
Percent of residents born in state: 56.1% (2000)
Density: 6.2 people per square mile (2000)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 31,948
Racial and Ethnic Characteristics (2000)
Black or African American: 2,692
American Indian and Alaska Native: 56,068
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 470
Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 18,081
Age Characteristics (2000)
Population under 5 years old: 54,869
Population 5 to 19 years old: 202,571
Percent of population 65 years and over: 13.4%
Median age: 37.5 years (2000)
Total number of births (2003): 11,421
Total number of deaths (2003): 8,280 (infant deaths, 79)
AIDS cases reported through 2003: 175
Major industries: Services, trade, government, agriculture
Unemployment rate: 4.5% (February 2005)
Per capita income: $25,775 (2003; U.S. rank: 45th)
Median household income: $34,375 (3-year average, 2001-2003)
Percentage of persons below poverty level: 14.6% (1999)
Income tax rate: Ranges from 2.0% to 11.0%
Sales tax rate: None
COPYRIGHT 2006 Thomson Gale
November 8, 1889
State bird :
State flower :
State tree :
State motto :
Gold and silver
© World Encyclopedia 2005, originally published by Oxford University Press 2005.
Nicknames for Montana reflect the wonder and significance of the state's natural resources—the basis for its growth and prosperity. Familiar references such as "Big Sky" and the "Treasure State" come from appreciation for the state's expansive views and rich supply of minerals.
It is thought that the first white explorers to Montana were French traders and trappers from Canada who migrated in the 1700s. In 1803 when President Thomas Jefferson (1801–1809) orchestrated the Louisiana Purchase, the deal included land west of the Mississippi River which includes land now known as Montana. Jefferson sent the Louis and Clark expedition to explore the new area and record their findings for the rest of the world.
In 1805 Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, along with French trapper Toussaint Charbonneau and his Shoshoni wife, Sacagawea, reached the Yellowstone River near the boundary of North Dakota. They traveled through present-day Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to the Pacific Ocean where they completed their mission. During the trip they encountered a handful of men who were hunting animals and trading furs with the Indians. Their expedition cleared the way for the first American trappers, traders, and settlers to find their way to Montana. In 1807 Manuel Lisa, a Spanish trader, formed the Missouri Fur Company and established the first trading post in Montana, and others rapidly followed. The Pacific Fur Company, the American Fur Company, and the Rocky Mountain Fur Company became important trading companies in the northwest.
The fur trade dominated Montana's economy until 1858, when gold was discovered in southwest Montana. By mid-1862, a rush of miners from the gold fields of California, Nevada, Colorado, and Idaho had migrated to the state. The biggest gold discovery was in Alder Gulch near Bannack in 1863. Miners flocked to the gulch, which led to the development of Virginia City and Nevada City. A contemporary newspaper wrote, "thousands of tenderfeet were wildly filing claims." Alder Gulch gave up $10 million worth of gold in one year. Other areas of Montana also proved to be rich in gold and with each gold discovery, a town instantly sprang up. The temporary gold boom brought the state's first substantial white population and an increased demand for government. Bandits robbed and killed miners on the roads. When Montana became a territory in 1864 the legislature was better able to govern the area.
As more settlers migrated westward, they occupied land previously owned by the Indians. Between 1863 and 1876 many battles, most notably the Battle of the Little Bighorn, or Custer's Last Stand, took place. The bloody battles eventually brought about the surrender of several Indian tribes who were subsequently confined to reservations.
In 1864, gold was discovered in the hills around Butte and by 1875 silver was discovered there as well. The Travona Silver Mine was soon opened and Butte became known as "Silver City" for the next 10 years. In 1881 one of the richest copper mines was discovered in the hills of Butte—the place became known as "the richest hill on earth." By the 1890s copper was the state's most important mineral and Butte became the industrial center of Montana.
By 1866 the first Long Horn cattle were brought to Montana from Texas and by the mid-1870s sheep also grazed the countryside. In 1886, approximately 664,000 head of cattle and nearly a million sheep grazed Montana's land. Between 1880 and 1909, the state prospered as construction of a railroad system helped open new markets for the livestock and mining industries. The railroads also allowed farmers to migrate to Montana. Between 1900 and 1920 the population grew from 243,329 to 548,889. In 1889, after several attempts, Montana's bid for statehood was approved by Congress.
Farmers from all over the country as well as Germany and Scandinavia migrated to Montana in the early 1900s planting flax, oats and wheat. Land claims grew from one million acres in 1909 to 93 million acres in 1922. Farmers were able to get good prices for their wheat until a drought ravaged Montana's farm country in 1917. Many could not sustain their farms and left the state for more hospitable soil. In 1920 thousands of grasshoppers descended on the land eating any seeds or grass that were left. Periods of drought and rain over the next 10 years forced the farmers to diversify their crops to suit the climate and use farm machines which helped turn a profit once again.
As the Great Depression (1929–1939) hit the United States the demand for minerals and agricultural products waned. By 1935 mines were closing and farmers were losing their land as one-fourth of Montana residents received financial assistance from the government. However, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal began to put people back to work in Montana constructing dams and roads and extending power lines.
With the start of World War II (1939–1945), Montana's economy began to thrive again as copper was in demand for use in weapons systems. The government bought wheat and beef from Montana's farmers and ranchers to provide rations for the troops. After the war, Montanans began to move from farms to cities as businesses grew. In the 1950s as well successful oil wells were developed in eastern Montana.
In the 1970s Montana's petroleum and natural gas were in great demand as a fuel shortage spread across the country. As energy companies started strip mining for coal, environmentalists took action. The Montana Strip Mine Reclamation Act and the Utility Siting Act were passed in 1973, increasing the tax on coal by 30 percent. Half the money was used to restore the land and community by building roads and schools and reviving areas devastated by mining.
In the 1980s the state's economy took a plunge. Copper prices dropped drastically, forcing many of Montana's copper mines to close. At the same time, falling oil prices meant less revenue from petroleum while a drought devastated the farming industry. As a result, Montanans began to leave the state looking elsewhere for better economic opportunities. Between 1985 and 1989, the population decreased by 20,000 people.
The 1990s saw an upswing in the demand for minerals and manufactured goods, which led to a turn around in the state's economy. In 1991 about 26 percent of Montanans worked for the government, the largest employer in the state. Petroleum accounted for half of the mining income as the oil, gas, and coal industries also experienced growth. Gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc were produced in Montana. Other goods such as aluminum, gemstones, phosphate, limestone, gypsum chromite, barite, clay, sand, and gravel also generate revenue for Montana. As well farmland covered about 25 percent of the state, and wheat—the biggest crop in Montana—was exported to other countries. Revenue from livestock accounted for two-fifths of Montana's farm income. In 1996 per capita personal income was $19,047 and in 1995, only about 15.3 percent of the population lived below the federal poverty level.
See also: Louis and Clark Expedition
Malone, Michael P., Richard B. Roeder, and William L. Lang. Montana: A History of Two Centuries. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1991.
Small, Lawrence F., ed. Religion in Montana: Pathways to the Present. Billings: Rocky Mountain College, 1992.
Thompson, Kathleen. "Montana." In Portrait of America. Steck-Vaughn Publishers, 1996.
Toole, Kenneth R. Montana: An Uncommon Land. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1984.
Worldbook Encyclopedia of the States. Detroit: Gale Research, 1998, s.v. "Montana."
COPYRIGHT 2000 The Gale Group Inc.
Mont. • abbr. Montana.
© The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English 2009, originally published by Oxford University Press 2009.
© Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes 2007, originally
published by Oxford University Press 2007.
• (or Montgom.) Montgomeryshire (former Welsh county)
© The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations 1998,
originally published by Oxford University Press