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HELENA — New projections released Wednesday show Montana’s population growing by 14.1 percent, or 144,413 people, from 2013 to 2043.

The Census & Economic Information Center of the state Commerce Department issued the numbers. They were produced for all 56 counties by eREMI, the Regional Economic Models Inc., a company based in Amherst, Mass.

Under the projections, Montana’s population would increase from 1,021,780 this year to 1,166,193 in 2043.

“These population projections are invaluable to our communities for the purpose of planning and developing policies as well as understanding regional growth,” Commerce Director Meg O’Leary said.

The county-by-county projections actually run by year through 2060, although Joe Ramler, senior research economist for the state Census & Economic Information Center, recommended going out only 20 years to 2033 or 30 years to 2043.

“The farther out into the future, the less confident we are in the accuracy,” he said.

However, the projections for 2060 showed Montana’s population at 1,267,936 for a growth of 24.1 percent over the 2013 number.

Under the 2043 forecasts, 35 counties would see an increase in population over 2013, while 21 would lose population.

By county, here are the top 10 largest percentage increases from 2013 to 2043 and the gain by number. They are a combination of some of the more populous counties as well as some less populous Eastern Montana counties that are experiencing growth from the oil development there.

-- Petroleum, 57.4 percent, or 319 more people.

-- Gallatin, 33.2 percent, 31,179 more people.

-- Fallon, 29.2 percent, 964 more people.

-- Missoula, 26.4 percent, 29,886 more people.

-- Richland, 26.1 percent, 2,789 more people.

-- Flathead, 24.3 percent, 22,832 more people.

-- Custer, 23.9 percent, 3,009 more people.

-- Deer Lodge, 21.2 percent, 1,965 more people.

-- Yellowstone, 19.2 percent, 29,851 more people.

-- Wibaux, 18.7 percent, 196 more people.

Numbers for the other more populous counties that showed gains were Lewis & Clark, 16.1 percent, 10,608 more people; Cascade, 15 percent, 12,565 more people; and Ravalli, 11.1 percent, 4,530 more people.

In contrast, here are the projected biggest losses by percentage from 2013 to 2043, and the loss by number:

-- Big Horn, down 24.9 percent, or 3,230 fewer people.

-- Stillwater, down 24.5 percent, 2,313 fewer people.

-- Rosebud, down 12.4 percent, 1,147 fewer people.

-- Chouteau, down 11.2 people, 655 fewer people.

-- Glacier, down 9.1 percent, 1,257 fewer people.

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-- Phillips, down 7.3 percent, 313 fewer people.

-- Carbon, down 7.3 percent, 716 fewer people.

-- Mineral, down 6.9 percent, 290 fewer people.

-- Meagher, down 5.9 percent, 110 fewer people.

-- Liberty, down 5.3 percent, 126 fewer people.

Silver Bow County is forecast to experience a 1.9 percent population loss over the 30-year period, or 647 fewer people.

The projections also are broken down by age groups and gender.

The county-by-county population and demographic projections can be seen at  http://ceic.mt.gov/Population/PopProjectionsTitlePage.aspx.

Ramler said the population projections illustrate how Montana as a state is projected to continue to have a growing percentage of people aged 65 and older. Previous studies have called this trend “the graying of Montana.”

In 2010, 15 percent of Montanans were 65 percent and older, he said. That is projected to increase to 19.5 percent in 2020, 23.2 percent in 2030 and 23.5 percent in 2040.

“More and more folks are needing services and dependent on fewer people,” Ramler said. “Fewer people are paying taxes. More are demanding Medicare and Social Security.”

Because of uncertainty in the Bakken oil development in Eastern Montana, the Census & Economic Information Center has done two additional population scenarios for 16 counties in addition to the eREMI one. It relied on research done by the Montana Transportation Department, which used another REMI model to study the impact of the Bakken oil development on the region.

Ramler said the two additional forecasts allocate to the each of the 16 counties the potential regional effects of the Transportation Department’s forecasts if more aggressive oil development and accelerated production occurs.

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2013 2043 Change % Change
Montana 1021780 1166193 144413 14.1%
Beaverhead 9365 9738 373 4.0%
Big Horn 12979 9749 -3230 -24.9%
Blaine 6652 7282 630 9.5%
Broadwater 5622 5510 -112 -2.0%
Carbon 9805 9089 -716 -7.3%
Carter 1247 1371 124 9.9%
Cascade 83763 96328 12565 15.0%
Chouteau 5835 5180 -655 -11.2%
Custer 12610 15619 3009 23.9%
Daniels 1840 1906 66 3.6%
Dawson 9137 9554 417 4.9%
Deer Lodge 9271 11236 1965 21.2%
Fallon 3303 4267 964 29.2%
Fergus 11394 11214 -180 -1.6%
Flathead 93967 116799 22832 24.3%
Gallatin 93785 124964 31179 33.2%
Garfield 1302 1466 164 12.6%
Glacier 13810 12553 -1257 -9.1%
Golden Valley 820 885 65 7.9%
Granite 3053 3012 -41 -1.3%
Hill 16956 18058 1102 6.5%
Jefferson 11657 12931 1274 10.9%
Judith Basin 2133 2269 136 6.4%
Lake 28908 27663 -1245 -4.3%
Lewis and Clark 65744 76352 10608 16.1%
Liberty 2376 2250 -126 -5.3%
Lincoln 19977 20486 509 2.5%
Madison 8020 8511 491 6.1%
McCone 1824 1881 57 3.1%
Meagher 1879 1769 -110 -5.9%
Mineral 4223 3933 -290 -6.9%
Missoula 113103 142989 29886 26.4%
Musselshell 4955 5054 99 2.0%
Park 15608 15834 226 1.4%
Petroleum 556 875 319 57.4%
Phillips 4285 3972 -313 -7.3%
Pondera 6387 6979 592 9.3%
Powder River 1798 1742 -56 -3.1%
Powell County 7097 6900 -197 -2.8%
Prairie 1246 1382 136 10.9%
Ravalli 40789 45319 4530 11.1%
Richland 10702 13491 2789 26.1%
Roosevelt 10817 10397 -420 -3.9%
Rosebud 9267 8120 -1147 -12.4%
Sanders 11463 11225 -238 -2.1%
Sheridan 3468 3668 200 5.8%
Silver Bow 34282 33635 -647 -1.9%
Stillwater 9457 7144 -2313 -24.5%
Sweet Grass 3897 4195 298 7.6%
Teton 6215 5980 -235 -3.8%
Toole 5527 5323 -204 -3.7%
Treasure 759 825 66 8.7%
Valley 7695 7834 139 1.8%
Wheatland 2327 2615 288 12.4%
Wibaux 1046 1242 196 18.7%
Yellowstone 155777 185628 29851 19.2%

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