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As U.S. population stayed relatively flat, Montana's grew 1.6% during the pandemic

U.S. Census Bureau

Montana saw one of the highest rates of growth in the country this past year.

New census data released this week shows the state’s population grew 1.6% between July 2020 and July 2021, from 1,086,193 to 1,104,271. Montana is one of just a handful of states whose population grew by more than 1% – and almost all of those states are in the western U.S.

While Wyoming’s population stayed relatively flat, Idaho had the fastest annual population increase, growing 2.9% from July 2020 to July 2021.

Overall, the West gained 35,868 new residents over the past year.

Meanwhile the total population in the United States grew .1%, the slowest growth on record. The U.S. Census Bureau attributes the historically low rate to fewer births, decreased internal migration and increased mortality due to an aging population and the pandemic.

Nadya joined Yellowstone Public Radio as news director in October 2021. Before coming to YPR, she spent six years as digital news editor/reporter for the NPR affiliate in Wichita, Kansas, where her work earned several Kansas Association of Broadcasters awards and a regional Edward R. Murrow award for Excellence in Social Media. Originally from Texas, Nadya has lived and worked in Colorado, Illinois, Washington, D.C.; and North Dakota. She lives in Billings with her cat, Dragon, and dog, Trooper, and enjoys hiking, crocheting, and traveling as often as possible.