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Montana is growing, but not proportionately. Here's how rural communities are coping with population decline

January 24, 2018View for printing

Between 2000 and 2015, the number of jobs in Montana grew 20 percent. But just five counties -- Missoula, Flathead, Gallatin, Lewis and Clark and Yellowstone -- account for three-quarters of it. In much of rural Montana, residents are slipping away -- especially the children and families that towns need to support their schools.

So, last year, journalists from the Missoulian and newsrooms throughout western Montana, as well as High Country News and the Solutions Journalism Network, got together to ask the question: What are Montana communities, especially rural ones, doing to respond to this trend? And what could they learn from the experiences of others?

The result is a series of stories called The Montana Gap, publishing over the next month, that examines how places like Choteau, Seeley Lake and Libby, as well as Missoula's nearby neighbors in Frenchtown, Lolo, Bonner and East Missoula, are grappling with their uncertain future.

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The challenges of urban economic growth vs. rural stagnation in the West. What can communities learn from each other? http://www.matr.net/article-80798.html

10 factors that will shape rural communities http://www.matr.net/article-81027.html

Where is your community now and where does it want to go? Montana Economic Developers Association Resource Team Assessments http://www.matr.net/article-81064.html

How will millennials impact the future of Butte and beyond? http://www.matr.net/article-80997.html

MEDA Spring Conference - Rockin' It Rural: Thriving In Small Town Montana - 4/26-27 - Dillon, Montana http://www.matr.net/article-80999.html

Rural areas short on workers turn to overseas professionals. What openings does your company or organization have? You can post them here. http://www.matr.net/article-80977.html

No zoning? No problem. Lack of zoning laws allow entrepreneurs to thrive in East Missoula. http://www.matr.net/article-80906.html

Montana brain drain is real, but here is why some young people return http://www.matr.net/article-80872.html

Choteau, Montana searching for formula to stop loss of population, jobs, students http://www.matr.net/article-80871.html

Why some young professionals settle in small-town Montana http://www.matr.net/article-80836.html

How the 'scenery economy' reinvigorated a Montana town http://www.matr.net/article-80788.html

What others can learn from Bonner, Montana's success in revitalizing its old mill site http://www.matr.net/article-81010.html

As Missoula grows, ripples hit surrounding cities in sometimes painful ways http://www.matr.net/article-80995.html

When Copper Kings leave, what happens to the slag? http://www.matr.net/article-80943.html

Want to revitalize a depressed economy? The EPA can help. Anaconda, Montana http://www.matr.net/article-80942.html


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Reprinted under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law. Full copyright retained by the original publication. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.


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