Small Town and Rural Lifestyle

Vision: We will embrace and nurture our sense of community.

Population Change

According to the American Community Survey, Park County has seen a 230% increase in its population between 1970 and 2017. The chart below includes the specifics since 2011 and shows the most recent upward trends in Park County's total population. The biggest gains in total population are coming from domestic net migration which accounts for people moving to Park County from another U.S. location.

School Enrollments

As we look to understand whether our small towns are thriving and new families are part of the community, it’s helpful to observe school enrollment trends. 

Select a Park County school from the drop-down menu to see these trends over time.


Agriculture plays a significant role in both the economics and identity of  Park County. 

The charts at right include data points from the Census of Agriculture. The Census of Agriculture is a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Even small plots of land — whether rural or urban — growing fruit, vegetables or food animals count if $1,000 or more of such products were raised and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year. 

Data from the Census of Agriculture, taken every five years, shows that while the total number of farms has increased in Park County from 2002 to 2017, the number of acres in agricultural land and the farm size has decreased, as well as the percent of the county’s total land area in farms or ranches.

Commuting Patterns

As the Park County and larger regional economy evolve, it’s instructive to see where our residents are traveling to work. The chart below shows commuting times to a place of work for both Park County and Gallatin County residents.

Inflow/Outflow Analysis

As explained by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, the data shown below includes how many people in Park County live and work there, the number of people who live there but work outside the county, and the number who work in Park County but live elsewhere. The data is part of the Census Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) data produced by the Census Bureau.

About the Data

The Park County Community Foundation articulated the community vision after hearing thoughts from more than 700 community members including: discussions with nonprofits and other community leaders; a county-wide survey with more than 640 responses; and six focus groups throughout the county. To help the community measure and achieve progress towards the vision, we used insights from more than 70 sources and expert interviews to develop a community dashboard of key metrics.

Population data is from Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program (PEP) table PEPTCOMP. This report uses the Census Bureau Data API but is not endorsed or certified by the Census Bureau.

Education data was obtained from the Montana Office of Public Instruction.

Agricultural data was provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Commuting data is from Headwaters Economics, which was complied using the Economic Profile System (EPS).

Inflow/Outflow data is from the U.S. Census Bureau's OnTheMap Application and LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics.

Additional Resources

Park County Growth Policy