County Demographics


History of Gallatin County

Gallatin County is located in south central Montana as shown in Map 2.1. According to the 2000 US Census data, Gallatin County has a 2007 estimated population of 87,359 and an area of 2,631 square miles. Within Gallatin County, 30,753 of the residents live within the city limits of Bozeman covering approximately 13 square miles. The City of Belgrade has a population of 5728 , The Town of West Yellowstone is around 1777, the Town Of Manhattan, 1396, and the City of Three Forks at 1728. Two other significant areas of population density exist in unincorporated areas, Big Sky with a resident population of 1221 and Four Corners coming in around 1828.

Gallatin County offers a wide variety of sights and outdoor activities including hunting, fishing, cross country skiing, swimming in hot springs, horse back riding, and camping trips. Wildlife abounds throughout the county. Bozeman, the county seat, is also known as one of the gateway communities to Yellowstone National Park. Major scenic roadways include U.S. Highway 191 from Belgrade south to West Yellowstone. Interstate 90 runs through Gallatin County from 10 miles west of Bozeman to Three Forks and runs parallel to the tracks that once carried hundreds of passengers on the Northern Pacific Railroad. Of course, the scenic and well traveled roadways also include access to many other less traveled portions of the county.

The Gallatin River flows through Gallatin County from the top of the Gallatin Canyon through Belgrade and on to Manhattan and Three Forks where it flows into the headwaters of the Missouri River. Gallatin County is bordered by Meagher County to the north, Park County to the east, Jefferson and Broadwater Counties to the west and Yellowstone Park to the south. The elevation ranges from approximately 4,000 to 10,700 feet.

Much of the Yellowstone River basin was inhabited by the Crow Indians until the expedition of Lewis and Clark traveled through in the early 1800’s. In the decades that followed, the region was explored by trappers, gold diggers, and early settlers. Yellowstone National Park became the nation’s first national park in 1872. The Northern Pacific Railroad, completed in the 1880’s, increased the population in Gallatin County from 1880 to 1890. Steady growth has brought the population to what it is today.

Climate of Gallatin County

The climate of Gallatin County varies greatly. Table 2.2 shows the variations between four stations in the county. Figure 2.3 shows when the precipitation typically falls during the year.

climate climate2

Gallatin County covers over 2,500 square miles of mountain lands varying in topography and climate from temperate river valleys to snow-capped peaks and open ranch lands. Nearly half of all the land in Gallatin County is under public ownership by the Gallatin National Forest, State of Montana, Bureau of Land Management or the National Park Service.


Gallatin County is large and diverse, featuring everything from the spectacular scenery of Yellowstone National Park (our first National Park) to lush farmland, and a growing economy of high-tech industries. Skiers, outdoor enthusiasts, wildlife watchers, mothers and fathers, business owners, vacationers, ranchers, retirees, students and many others have grown to love Gallatin County’s boundless opportunities.


The mountainous terrain of Gallatin County, ranging in elevation from approximately 4,000 feet to 10,700 feet (Wilson Peak), and its proximity to an active volcanic caldera, also presents geologic and terrain related hazards. The mountainous forests can spark large wildfires, and occasionally avalanches and landslides, while the active seismic area to the south makes Gallatin County prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. These hazards are all formidable problems in Gallatin County.


Despite its natural beauty, manmade hazards also exist in Gallatin County. The major US interstate, active railways, airports, and fixed facilities put Gallatin County at risk for transportation accidents and hazardous material releases. Dam failure, utility outages, terrorism, civil unrest, violence, communicable disease, bioterrorism, and urban fire all have the potential to affect Gallatin County.


Gallatin County Population

People QuickFacts Gallatin County Montana
Population, 2013 estimate 94,720 1,015,165
Population, 2010 (April 1) estimates base 89,513 989,417
Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013 5.8% 2.6%
Population, 2010 89,513 989,415
Persons under 5 years, percent, 2013 6.0% 6.0%
Persons under 18 years, percent, 2013 20.7% 22.1%
Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2013 10.8% 16.2%
Female persons, percent, 2013 48.5% 49.8%
White alone, percent, 2013 (a) 95.4% 89.5%
Black or African American alone, percent, 2013 (a) 0.4% 0.6%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent, 2013 (a) 1.0% 6.5%
Asian alone, percent, 2013 (a) 1.3% 0.8%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent, 2013 (a) 0.1% 0.1%
Two or More Races, percent, 2013 1.7% 2.5%
Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2013 (b) 3.1% 3.3%
White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2013 92.7% 87.0%
Living in same house 1 year & over, percent, 2008-2012 74.5% 83.6%
Foreign born persons, percent, 2008-2012 2.9% 2.0%
Language other than English spoken at home, pct age 5+, 2008-2012 4.4% 4.6%
High school graduate or higher, percent of persons age 25+, 2008-2012 96.1% 91.9%
Bachelor’s degree or higher, percent of persons age 25+, 2008-2012 45.4% 28.5%
Veterans, 2008-2012 6,358 97,991
Mean travel time to work (minutes), workers age 16+, 2008-2012 17.3 18
Housing units, 2013 43,473 485,771
Homeownership rate, 2008-2012 61.2% 68.5%
Housing units in multi-unit structures, percent, 2008-2012 27.4% 16.6%
Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2008-2012 $270,500 $183,000
Households, 2008-2012 36,659 405,508
Persons per household, 2008-2012 2.34 2.37
Per capita money income in past 12 months (2012 dollars), 2008-2012 $28,642 $25,002
Median household income, 2008-2012 $52,211 $45,456
Persons below poverty level, percent, 2008-2012 13.3% 14.8%
Business QuickFacts Gallatin County Montana
Private nonfarm establishments, 2012 4,843 36,241
Private nonfarm employment, 2012 37,409 343,842
Private nonfarm employment, percent change, 2011-2012 0.4% 2.3%
Nonemployer establishments, 2012 10,898 84,767
Total number of firms, 2007 14,742 114,398
Black-owned firms, percent, 2007 F 0.2%
American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms, percent, 2007 0.8% 2.0%
Asian-owned firms, percent, 2007 0.5% 0.6%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander-owned firms, percent, 2007 F S
Hispanic-owned firms, percent, 2007 1.1% 1.0%
Women-owned firms, percent, 2007 23.7% 24.6%
Manufacturers shipments, 2007 ($1000) 512,617 10,638,145
Merchant wholesaler sales, 2007 ($1000) 508,818 8,202,782
Retail sales, 2007 ($1000) 1,791,758 14,686,854
Retail sales per capita, 2007 $20,524 $15,343
Accommodation and food services sales, 2007 ($1000) 325,789 2,079,426
Building permits, 2012 739 2,736
Geography QuickFacts Gallatin County Montana
Land area in square miles, 2010 2,602.69 145,545.80
Persons per square mile, 2010 34.4 6.8
FIPS Code 31 30

Gallatin County Map