Demographics

Founded in 1914, Richland County, located in northeast Montana on the border of North Dakota. Richland County has a comparatively short but indelibly rich history, as a primarily ranching and agricultural community, grounded by strong familial ties and a deep connection to the land. Spanning 2,084 square miles, the county is the twentieth most populous in Montana, with a population of roughly 11,039 and a population density of 4.7 people per square mile. Richland County is subsequently classified as frontier. Sidney, the county seat, is the State’s eighteenth largest city with a population of 6,328 as of July of 2017. Four additional municipalities are located within the county: Crane, Fairview, Lambert and Savage. Since 2010, Richland County has experienced a huge increase in population due to increased oil production in what is called “The Bakken” formation. Richland County’s once declining population experienced a rapid growth from the oil boom. We not only have an increase in the population between 19 – 45 years of age, but we also have individuals from different states and countries. In 2015, the county experienced a decline in population due to a decrease in oil activity, although the population didn’t decline to pre-2010 levels.


The interactive chart above shows an increase in average population in Richland County over several time frames, compared to select counties in Eastern Montana.

The interactive chart below shows the total population of Richland County by census tract, versus total population. The increase in population is more pronounced over time in this chart.


The population of Richland County has increased over time, though the age subsets have remained relatively stable. Richland County has experienced an influx of residents ages 18 - 44 over the past decade.

Community Perceptions

In the CASPER door-to-door community assessment, polled community members were asked to rate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed if the topics listed were positive aspects of living in Richland County.

CASPER respondents were given a list of potential health and quality of life issues, and asked to indicate whether they felt the issue was not a problem, a problem, or they didn't know. The top issues for which the majority of respondents reported "a problem", were diabetes, obesity, tobacco use, alcohol abuse, illegal drug use, and cancer.

Leading Causes of Death

Source: MT DPHHS, Dec. 2015; CDC.gov, databriefs, 2016

The three leading causes of death in Richland County are heart disease, cancer and unintentional injuries. These are similar to the leading causes of death in the nation.