Robert Gallardo assesses population trends for rural counties during this county in today's Daily Yonder, summarizing:
Rural counties gained only 2.9% in population in the 2000s, compared to a national average of 9.1%. But that doesn't tell the whole story.
Gallardo explains that Rural America is becoming more diverse, but most interesting to me is the patterns of where population growth and loss are occurring. The two noted areas of growth are in exurban communities, and in the mountain west, including Washington.
Gallatin County, where Bozeman is the county seat, had the 17th largest population increase among rural counties between 2000 and 2009, and the largest change in Montana. Besides Gallating County, the fastest growing counties during this decade includes quite a few other counties in the Greater Yellowstone, including:
Second fastest growing rural county in the country, Teton County, Idaho, with a 55.6% population change. This mostly is driven by people working in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and commuting over Teton Pass. The local community has been trying to deal with the impacts of the growth, including the implementation of a commuter bus over the pass. Unfortunately, Idaho has no local taxing authority, and the state doesn't put any money towards public transportation, so every penny has to be scrounged together to try to leverage federal programs. Meanwhile, they are building roads and new suburbs, but maintaining and serving them are a bit more difficult to fund.
Sublette County, Wyoming is fifth on the list with a 48.5% population change over nine years.