The Montana Gap

Look at statewide numbers and Montana’s economy seems to be doing well. Between 2000 and 2015, the number of jobs in the state of Montana grew 20 percent, according to a report released last year by Headwaters Economics. Personal income grew, as did statewide employment.

If you live outside a city, though, there’s a good chance you won’t see much evidence of that growth. In small towns, contracting economies, shrinking population and social issues including a lack of mental health services offer mounting challenges. For a year, a group of journalists from western Montana, supported by High Country News and the Solutions Journalism Network, have investigated what Montana communities are doing to be resilient to change, from economic shifts to mental health. This project is funded by the LOR Foundation.

Small towns under the Big Sky address challenges to secure their future, as centers boom.
How to turn a struggling small town around
How to turn a struggling small town around
In the first part of a series on Boulder, Montana, a well-rounded economic development effort.
The future of small-town Montana rides on public lands
The future of small-town Montana rides on public lands
From Dupuyer to Columbia Falls, a look at the growing recreation economy.
Why some young professionals settle in small-town Montana
Why some young professionals settle in small-town Montana
As rural areas struggle to hold onto youth, a look at a few young professionals who returned.
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