Bozeman added 1,760 people to its population between 2014 and 2015, bringing the city to 43,400 residents, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

The city-level statistics put the city’s growth rate at a blistering 4.2 percent — well higher than comparable communities both in Montana and regionally.

Because Census Bureau population estimates are released on an annual cycle for the previous year, an official population estimate for 2016 isn’t yet available. Assuming a constant rate of growth, however, puts Bozeman’s current population at roughly 45,200.

Local population growth far outstrips Montana’s other major cities, on both a raw number and a percentage basis. Billings, with a population of 110,000 and Missoula with 71,000, for instance, added roughly 1,400 and 1,200 residents, respectively, between 2014 and 2015, putting their growth rates at less than 2 percent.

Helena and Kalispell are the state’s next-fastest growing cities, each adding several hundred residents for growth rates near 2 percent.

Other western U.S. cities comparable to Bozeman are also seeing growth, but at rates that pale in comparison to Bozeman. Bend, Oregon, for example, is estimated at 3.4 percent annual growth, while Fort Collins, Colorado, and Flagstaff, Arizona, are clocked at 2.5 and 2.1 percent rates, respectively.

Several smaller municipalities in the Bozeman area are also seeing substantial growth. Manhattan, for example, added an estimated 66 people between 2014 and 2015, bringing its population to 1,630 with a growth rate nearly equal to Bozeman’s 4.2 percent. Belgrade grew at 3.1 percent, adding 240 residents to break the 8,000-resident mark.

Unincorporated Gallatin County also added 1,356 people, putting it at a 3.1 percent growth rate.

Countywide, the Census Bureau estimates the Bozeman area saw a total population increase of 3,460 people, bringing Gallatin County’s total 2015 population to 100,700. About one-fifth of that growth, 670 people, is attributable to having more births than deaths, the bureau says, with the remainder coming from people moving into the Bozeman area.

Extrapolating at a constant growth rate puts today’s county population at 104,000 people.

The census bureau’s population numbers are based on the 2010 census count, with change since the census based on factors like housing unit construction. According to the bureau’s methodology, the counts include residents living in group settings like college dorms.

Eric Dietrich can be reached at 406-582-2628 or He is on Twitter at @eidietrich.

Census population estimates for 2014 and 2015

Population estimates published by the U.S. Census Bureau for Bozeman and comparable communities.

City 2014 population 2015 population Increase Growth rate
Bozeman 41,645 43,405 1760 4.2%
Belgrade 7,790 8,029 239 3.1%
Manhattan 1,565 1,631 66 4.2%
Three Forks 1,901 1,926 25 1.3%
West Yellowstone 1,322 1,339 17 1.3%
Unincorporated Gallatin County 43,053 44,409 1356 3.1%
Gallatin County 97,276 100,739 3463 3.6%
Livingston 7,214 7,302 88 1.2%
Helena 29,969 30,581 612 2.0%
Kalispell 21,620 22,052 432 2.0%
Missoula 69,810 71,022 1212 1.7%
Billings 108,889 110,263 1374 1.3%
Great Falls 59,582 59,638 56 0.1%
Montana total 1,023,252 1,032,949 9697 0.9%
Bend, Oregon 84,131 87,014 2883 3.4%
Fort Collins, Colorado 157,176 161,175 3999 2.5%
Boulder, Colorado 105,516 107,349 1833 1.7%
Flagstaff, Arizona 68,907 70,320 1413 2.1%


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