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Mapping Cross-Class Social Connectedness

By Martin W. Lewis | August 11, 2022 |

A much larger although less populous area of high socio-economic connectedness is found the north-center-west portion of the country, centered on the western Great Lakes, northern Great Plains, and northern Rockies regions. This is, contrastingly, a largely rural and mostly agricultural area, although it does contain a few major cities, including Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The Income of the One Percent Across the United States (and in Montana)

By Martin W. Lewis | August 10, 2022 |

Sioux Falls has emerged as an important financial hub, particularly for credit-card companies, owing largely to South Dakota’s relaxed usury laws. South Dakota’s extraordinarily relaxed residency and taxation laws help explain its other centers of wealth.

Economic Disparities in Montana (and the Rest of the United States)

By Martin W. Lewis | August 9, 2022 |

It is not surprising that Madison County in southwest Montana has a strikingly high GINI figure. This particularly scenic rural county has been attracting high-income earners for several decades, driving up housing prices and forcing many local people out of the market.

Demographic Patterns in Montana (and the Rest of the United States)

By Martin W. Lewis | August 8, 2022 |

This penultimate post on county-level maps of Montana and the rest of the United States examines some basic demographic patterns. We begin with sex ratio, as measured by males per females in the population. The national map shows some clear patterns, but they are not always easy to interpret. Sex ratios are high (more males than females) in the interior …

The Geography of Health and Longevity in Montana (and the Rest of the U.S.)

By Martin W. Lewis | August 7, 2022 |

Although life expectancy tends to correlate with income, the correlation collapses in many of these areas. Hidalgo County, Texas is over 91 percent Hispanic and has a per capita income of only was $12,130, making it “one of the poorest counties in the United States,” but it ranks in the highest category on this map.

The Geography of Education in Montana (and the Rest of the United States)

By Martin W. Lewis | August 6, 2022 |

What stands out is the high percentages of bachelor’s degrees in three different geographical categories: affluent urban and suburban countries, especially those associated with tech hubs; non-metropolitan countries with major universities (typified by adjoining Whitman County in eastern Washington and Latah County in northwestern Idaho); and affluent high-amenity rural counties in the West (typified by Pitkin County, Colorado).

The Geography of Religion in Montana (and the Rest of the US)

By Martin W. Lewis | August 5, 2022 |

The map of religious adherence in the United States defies some common perceptions. Membership in a religious organization, for example, is shown as higher rate in southern New England than in the eastern part of the so-called Bible Belt. The data used to make these maps, however, are not necessarily accurate, and they do not measure the intensity of religious …

Cannabis Legalization and the Electoral Geography of Montana

By Martin W. Lewis | August 3, 2022 |

Only two reliably Republican-voting states have fully legalized cannabis: Montana and Alaska.  It is not coincidental that both are in the West. Western conservatism leans in a more libertarian direction than Southern or Midwestern conservatism, with the important exception of the deeply religious LDS (Mormon) region centered on Utah and eastern Idaho.

The Geography of Drug Use in Montana – and in the Rest of the United States

By Martin W. Lewis | August 2, 2022 |

If there is a take-home message from these maps, it is that drug use tends to be higher in rural areas than in major metropolitan zones, particularly their suburban counties. This pattern is mostly clearly evident on the methamphetamine map. Many rural areas of the United States are experiencing economic and social distress, which is often associated with heightened drug use.

The Cost of Housing and Essential-Worker Relocation in Booming Southwestern Montana

By Martin W. Lewis | August 1, 2022 |

But will such cities as Anaconda and Helena retain their affordability?  Footloose and often well-compensated Zoom workers also find them attractive. And prices are increasing.

What Is a Zoom Town?

By Martin W. Lewis | July 30, 2022 |

Bozeman, Montana is often described as a quintessential “Zoom town,” a city or small town that has experienced explosive growth owing to the relocation of remote workers since the beginning of the Covid pandemic. Bozeman is certainly booming, and many of its new residents do work remotely, usually through Zoom. But how widespread is this phenomenon, and where might other …

Voting Patterns of Native Americans in Montana

By Martin W. Lewis | July 29, 2022 |

In racial/ethnic terms, Montana is not a diverse state. It has the lowest percentage of Black Americans in the country, the fifth lowest percentage of Hispanic and Latino Americans, and the third lowest percentage of Asian Americans (tied with Wyoming). It does, however, have the fifth largest percentage of Native Americans. Its indigenous population, moreover, is expanding. As can be …

Montana’s Changing Electoral Geography

By Martin W. Lewis | July 28, 2022 |

The main electoral geographical divide in the United States now pits metropolitan areas against small towns and rural areas. This pattern, however, is only vaguely apparent in Montana’s county-level data

Montana Population Change in Comparative Context

By Martin W. Lewis | |

Recent posts have emphasized population decline in the Great Plains of eastern Montana. Comparative analysis shows, however, that eastern Montana has fared better than most other parts of the region. Almost every county in western Nebraska, for example, experienced population decline from 2010 to 2020.

Montana’s Changing Population Geography

By Martin W. Lewis | July 27, 2022 |

Montana has experienced several demographic cycles, each marked by different geographical patterns. Geographer William Wyckoff has extensively documented these changes.