In 1940, Jeannette Rankin had once again been elected to Congress, and in 1941, as she did in 1917, she voted against the United States' declaration of war. This time she was the only vote against the war, and in the wake of public outcry over her vote, she required police protection for a time. Other pacifists tended to be those from "peace churches" who generally opposed war. Many individuals from throughout the U.S. who claimed conscientious objector status were sent to Montana during the war as smokejumpers and for other forest fire-fighting duties.
The planned battleship USS Montana was named in honor of the state. However, the battleship was never completed, making Montana the only one of the 48 states during World War II not to have a battleship named after it. Additionally, Alaska and Hawaii have both had nuclear submarines named after them. As such Montana is the only state in the union without a modern naval ship named in its honor. However, in August 2007 Senator Jon Tester made a request to the Navy that a submarine be christened USS Montana.
Cold War Montana
In the post-World War II Cold War era, Montana became host to U.S. Air Force Military Air Transport Service (1947) for airlift training in C-54 Skymasters and eventually Strategic Air Command (1953) strategic air and missile forces based at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls. The base also hosted the 29th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Air Defense Command from 1953 to 1968. In December 1959, Malmstrom AFB was selected as the home of the new Minuteman I ballistic missile. The first operational missiles were in-place and ready in early 1962. In late 1962 missiles assigned to the 341st Strategic Missile Wing would play a major role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. When the Soviets removed their missiles from Cuba, President John F. Kennedy said the Soviets backed down because they knew he had an "Ace in the Hole," referring directly to the Minuteman missiles in Montana. Montana eventually became home to the largest ICBM field in the U.S. covering 23,500 square miles (61,000 km2).
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Montana was 1,015,165 on July 1, 2013, a 2.6% increase since the 2010 United States Census. The 2010 census put Montana's population at 989,415 which is an increase of 87,220 people, or 9.7 percent, since the year 2000. Growth is mainly concentrated in Montana's seven largest counties, with the heaviest percentile growth in Gallatin County, which saw a 32 percent increase in its population since 2000. The city seeing the largest percentile growth was Kalispell with 40.1 percent, and the city with the largest actual growth was Billings with an increase in population of 14,323 since 2000.
On January 3, 2012, the Census and Economic Information Center (CEIC) at the Montana Department of Commerce estimated Montana had hit the one million mark sometime between November and December 2011. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Montana was 1,005,141 on July 1, 2012, a 1.6 percent increase since the 2010 United States Census.
According to the 2010 Census, 89.4 percent of the population was White (87.8 percent Non-Hispanic White), 6.3 percent American Indian and Alaska Native, 2.9 percent Hispanics and Latinos of any race, 0.6 percent Asian, 0.4 percent Black or African American, 0.1 percent Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 0.6 percent from Some Other Race, and 2.5 percent from two or more races. The largest European ancestry groups in Montana as of 2010 are: German (27.0 percent), Irish (14.8 percent), English (12.6 percent), and Norwegian (10.9 percent).
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
|Two or more races||-||1.7%||2.5%|
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 94.8 percent of the population aged 5 and older speak English at home. Spanish is the language most commonly spoken at home other than English. There were about 13,040 Spanish-language speakers in the state (1.4 percent of the population) in 2011. There were also 15,438 (1.7 percent of the state population) speakers of Indo-European languages other than English or Spanish, 10,154 (1.1 percent) speakers of a Native American language, and 4,052 (0.4 percent) speakers of an Asian or Pacific Islander language. Other languages spoken in Montana (as of 2013) include Assiniboine (about 150 speakers in the Montana and Canada), Blackfoot (about 100 speakers), Cheyenne (about 1,700 speakers), Plains Cree (about 100 speakers), Crow (about 3,000 speakers), Dakota (about 18,800 speakers in Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota), German Hutterite (about 5,600 speakers), Gros Ventre (about 10 speakers), Kalispel-Pend d’Oreille (about 64 speakers), Kutenai (about 6 speakers), and Lakota (about 6,000 speakers in Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota). The United States Department of Education estimated in 2009 that 5,274 students in Montana spoke a language at home other than English. These included a Native American language (64 percent), German (4 percent), Spanish (3 percent), Russian (1 percent), and Chinese (less than 0.5 percent).
Montana has a larger Native American population numerically and percentage-wise than most U.S. states. Although the state ranked 45th in population (according to the 2010 U.S. Census), it ranked 19th in total native people population. Native people constituted 6.5 percent of the state's total population, the sixth highest percentage of all 50 states. Montana has three counties in which Native Americans are a majority: Big Horn, Glacier, and Roosevelt. Other counties with large Native American populations include Blaine, Cascade, Hill, Missoula, and Yellowstone counties. The state's Native American population grew by 27.9 percent between 1980 and 1990 (at a time when Montana's entire population rose just 1.6 percent), and by 18.5 percent between 2000 and 2010. As of 2009, almost two-thirds of Native Americans in the state live in urban areas. Of Montana's 20 largest cities, Polson (15.7 percent), Havre (13.0 percent), Great Falls (5.0 percent), Billings (4.4 percent), and Anaconda (3.1 percent) had the greatest percentage of Native American residents in 2010. Billings (4,619), Great Falls (2,942), Missoula (1,838), Havre (1,210), and Polson (706) have the most Native Americans living there. The state's seven reservations include more than twelve distinct Native American ethnolinguistic groups.
While the largest European-American population in Montana overall is German, pockets of significant Scandinavian ancestry are prevalent in some of the farming-dominated northern and eastern prairie regions, parallel to nearby regions of North Dakota and Minnesota. Farmers of Irish, Scots, and English roots also settled in Montana. The historically mining-oriented communities of western Montana such as Butte have a wider range of European-American ethnicity; Finns, Eastern Europeans and especially Irish settlers left an indelible mark on the area, as well as people originally from British mining regions such as Cornwall, Devon and Wales. The nearby city of Helena, also founded as a mining camp, had a similar mix in addition to a small Chinatown. Many of Montana's historic logging communities originally attracted people of Scottish, Scandinavian, Slavic, English and Scots-Irish descent.
The Hutterites, an Anabaptist sect originally from Switzerland, settled here, and today Montana is second only to South Dakota in U.S. Hutterite population with several colonies spread across the state. Beginning in the mid-1990s, the state also saw an influx of Amish, who relocated to Montana from the increasingly urbanized areas of Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Montana's Hispanic population is concentrated around the Billings area in south-central Montana, where many of Montana's Mexican-Americans have been in the state for generations. Great Falls has the highest percentage of African-Americans in its population, although Billings has more African American residents than Great Falls.
The Chinese in Montana, while a low percentage today, have historically been an important presence. About 2000–3000 Chinese miners were in the mining areas of Montana by 1870, and 2500 in 1890. However, public opinion grew increasingly negative toward them in the 1890s and nearly half of the state's Asian population left the state by 1900. Today, there is a significant Hmong population centered in the vicinity of Missoula. Montanans who claim Filipino ancestry amount to almost 3,000, making them currently the largest Asian American group in the state.
English is the official language in the state of Montana, as it is in many U.S. states. English is also the language of the majority; as of 2000, 94.8% (847,362) of Montana's population speaks the language regularly. Spanish is also a significant minority language, spoken by 1.5% of the total population, equivalent to about 13,000 people. More than 9,000 people in Montana speak German, 1.1% of Montana's population, with another 9,000 (1.1%) speaking a Native American language. The most populous Native American language is Crow, which retains more than 4,000 speakers, about 0.4% of Montana's population.
Percentage of population
(as of 2000)
|French and Crow (tied)||0.4%|
|Scandinavian languages (including Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish)||0.2%|
|Italian, Japanese, Russian, Native American languages (other than Crow; significantly Cheyenne), Slavic languages (including Czech, Slovak, and Ukrainian) (tied)||0.1%|
According to the Pew Forum, the religious affiliations of the people of Montana are as follows: Protestant 47%, Catholic 23%, LDS (Mormon) 5%, Jewish 0.5%, Jehovah's Witness 2%, Muslim 0.5%, Buddhist 1%, Hindu 0.5% and Non-Religious at 20%.
The largest denominations in Montana as of 2010 were the Catholic Church with 127,612 adherents, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 46,484 adherents, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 38,665 adherents, and non-denominational Evangelical Protestant with 27,370 adherents. 
Native American population
Approximately 66,000 people of Native American heritage live in Montana. Stemming from multiple treaties and federal legislation, including the Little Shell Chippewa is a "landless" people headquartered in Great Falls, recognized by the state of Montana but not by the U.S. Government. The Blackfeet nation is headquartered on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation (1851) in Browning, Crow on the Crow Indian Reservation (1851) in Crow Agency, Confederated Salish and Kootenai and Pend d'Oreille on the Flathead Indian Reservation (1855) in Pablo, Northern Cheyenne on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation (1884) at Lame Deer, Assiniboine and Gros Ventre on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation (1888) in Fort Belknap Agency, Assiniboine and Sioux on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation (1888) at Poplar, and Chippewa-Cree on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation (1916) near Box Elder. Approximately 63% of all Native people live off the reservations, concentrated in the larger Montana cities with the largest concentration of urban Indians in Great Falls. The state also has a small Métis population, and 1990 census data indicated that people from as many as 275 different tribes lived in Montana.
Montana's Constitution specifically reads that "the state recognizes the distinct and unique cultural heritage of the American Indians and is committed in its educational goals to the preservation of their cultural integrity." It is the only state in the U.S. with such a constitutional mandate. As a result, the Indian Education for All Act" mandates schools teach American Indian history, culture, and heritage to from preschool through college. For kindergarten through 12th grade students, an "Indian Education for All" curriculum from the Montana Office of Public Instruction is available free to all schools. Montana is also the only state that has a fully accredited tribal college for each Indian reservation. The University of Montana "was the first to establish dual admission agreements with all of the tribal colleges and as such it was the first institution in the nation to actively facilitate student transfer from the tribal colleges."
EconomyBureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Montana's total state product in 2010 was $50.7 billion. Per capita personal income in 2012 was $37,370, 36th in the nation.
Montana is a relative hub of beer microbrewing, ranking third in the nation in number of craft breweries per capita in 2011. There are significant industries for lumber and mineral extraction; the state's resources include gold, coal, silver, talc, and vermiculite. Ecotaxes on resource extraction are numerous. A 1974 state severance tax on coal (which varied from 20 to 30 percent) was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Montana, 453 U.S. 609 (1981).
Tourism is also important to the economy with over ten million visitors a year to Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, the Missouri River headwaters, the site of the Battle of Little Bighorn and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park.
Montana's personal income tax contains 7 brackets, with rates ranging from 1 percent to 6.9 percent. Montana has no sales tax. In Montana, household goods are exempt from property taxes. However, property taxes are assessed on livestock, farm machinery, heavy equipment, automobiles, trucks, and business equipment. The amount of property tax owed is not determined solely by the property's value. The property's value is multiplied by a tax rate, set by the Montana Legislature, to determine its taxable value. The taxable value is then multiplied by the mill levy established by various taxing jurisdictions—city and county government, school districts and others.
As of June 2014, the state's unemployment rate is 4.5 percent.
Many well-known artists, photographers and authors have documented the land, culture and people of Montana in the last 100 years. Painter and sculptor Charles Marion Russell, known as "the cowboy artist" created more than 2,000 paintings of cowboys, Indians, and landscapes set in the Western United States and in Alberta, Canada. The C. M. Russell Museum Complex located in Great Falls, Montana houses more than 2,000 Russell artworks, personal objects, and artifacts.
Evelyn Cameron, a naturalist and photographer from Terry documented early 20th century life on the Montana prairie, taking startlingly clear pictures of everything around her: cowboys, sheepherders, weddings, river crossings, freight wagons, people working, badlands, eagles, coyotes and wolves.
Many notable Montana authors have documented or been inspired by life in Montana in both fiction and non-fiction works. Pulitzer Prize winner Wallace Earle Stegner from Great Falls was often called "The Dean of Western Writers". James Willard Schultz ("Apikuni") from Browning is most noted for his prolific stories about Blackfeet life and his contributions to the naming of prominent features in Glacier National Park.
Major cultural events
Montana hosts numerous arts and cultural festivals and events every year. Major events include:
- Bozeman was once known as the "Sweet Pea capital of the nation" referencing the prolific edible pea crop. To promote the area and celebrate its prosperity, local business owners began a "Sweet Pea Carnival" that included a parade and queen contest. The annual event lasted from 1906 to 1916. Promoters used the inedible but fragrant and colorful sweet pea flower as an emblem of the celebration. In 1977 the "Sweet Pea" concept was revived as an arts festival rather than a harvest celebration, growing into a three-day event that is one of the largest festivals in Montana.
- Montana Shakespeare in the Parks has been performing free, live theatrical productions of Shakespeare and other classics throughout Montana since 1973. The Montana Shakespeare Company is based in Helena.
- Since 1909, the Crow Fair and Rodeo, near Hardin, has been an annual event every August in Crow Agency and is currently the largest Northern Native American gathering, attracting nearly 45,000 spectators and participants. Since 1952, North American Indian Days has been held every July in Browning.
- Lame Deer hosts the annual Northern Cheyenne Powwow.
Colleges and universities
The Montana University System consists of:
Tribal colleges in Montana include:
There are three private, non-profit colleges in Montana:
The Montana Territory was formed on April 26, 1864, when the U.S. passed the Organic Act. Schools started forming in the area before it was officially a territory as families started settling into the area. The first schools were subscription schools that typically held in the teacher's home. The first formal school on record was at Fort Owen in Bitterroot valley in 1862. The students were Indian children and the children of Fort Owen employees. The first school term started in early winter and only lasted until February 28. Classes were taught by Mr. Robinson. Another early subscription school was started by Thomas Dimsdale in Virginia City in 1863. In this school students were charged $1.75 per week. The Montana Territorial Legislative Assembly had its inaugural meeting in 1864. The first legislature authorized counties to levy taxes for schools, which set the foundations for public schooling. Madison County was the first to take advantage of the newly authorized taxes and it formed fhe first public school in Virginia City in 1886. The first school year was scheduled to begin in January 1866, but severe weather postponed its opening until March. The first school year ran through the summer and didn't end until August 17. One of the first teachers at the school was Sarah Raymond. She was a 25 year old woman who had traveled to Virginia City via wagon train in 1865. To become a certified teacher, Raymond took a test in her home and paid a $6 fee in gold dust to obtain a teaching certificate. With the help of an assistant teacher, Mrs. Farley, Raymond was responsible for teaching 50 to 60 students each day out of the 81 students enrolled at the school. Sarah Raymond was paid at a rate of $125 per month, and Mrs. Farley was paid $75 per month. There were no textbooks used in the school. In their place was an assortment of books brought in by various emigrants. Sarah quit teaching the following year, but would later become the Madison County superintendent of schools.
There are no major league sports franchises in Montana due to the state's relatively small and dispersed population, but a number of minor league teams play in the state. Baseball is the minor-league sport with the longest heritage in the state, and Montana is currently home to four Minor League baseball teams, all members of the Pioneer Baseball League: Billings Mustangs, Great Falls Voyagers, Helena Brewers, and Missoula Osprey.
All of Montana's four-year colleges and universities field intercollegiate sports teams. The two largest schools, the University of Montana and Montana State University, are members of the Big Sky Conference and have enjoyed a strong athletic rivalry since the early twentieth century. Six of the Montana's smaller four-year schools are members of the Frontier Conference. One is a member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
A variety of sports are offered at Montana high schools. Montana allows the smallest—"Class C"—high schools to utilize six-man football teams, dramatized in the independent 2002 film, The Slaughter Rule.
There are eight junior hockey teams in Montana, five of which are affiliated with the North American 3 Hockey League: Billings Bulls, Bozeman Icedogs, Glacier Nationals, Great Falls Americans, and Helena Bighorns. The other three are in the Western States Hockey League: Butte Cobras, Missoula Maulers, and Whitefish Wolverines.
Numerous other sports are played at the club and amateur level. In 2011, Big Sky Little League won the Northwest Region, advancing to the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, PA for the first time in state history.
- Ski jumping champion and United States Skiing Hall of Fame inductee Casper Oimoen was captain of the U.S. Olympic team at the 1936 Winter Olympics while he was a resident of Anaconda. He placed thirteenth that year, and had previously finished fifth at the 1932 Winter Olympics.
- Montana has produced two U.S. Champions and Olympic competitors in Men's Figure Skating, both from Great Falls: John Misha Petkevich, lived and trained in Montana prior to entering college, competed in the 1968 and 1972 Winter Olympics. Scott Davis, also from Great Falls, competed at the 1994 Winter Olympics
- Missoulian Tommy Moe won Olympic gold and silver medals at the 1994 Winter Olympics in downhill skiing and Super G, the first American skiier to win two medals at any Winter Olympics.
- Eric Bergoust, also of Missoula, won an Olympic gold medal in freestyle aerial skiing at the 1998 Winter Olympics, also competing in 1994, 2002 and 2006 Olympics plus winning 13 World Cup titles.
Montanans have been a part of several major sporting achievements:
- In 1889, Spokane became the first and only Montana horse to win the Kentucky Derby. For this accomplishment, the horse was admitted to the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008.
- In 1904 a basketball team of young Native American women from Fort Shaw, after playing undefeated during their previous season, went to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition held in St. Louis in 1904, defeated all challenging teams and were declared to be world champions.
- In 1923, the controversial Jack Dempsey vs. Tommy Gibbons fight for the heavyweight boxing championship, won by Dempsey, took place in Shelby.
Montana provides year round recreation opportunities for residents and visitors. Hiking, fishing, hunting, watercraft recreation, camping, golf, cycling, horseback riding, and skiing are popular activities.
Fishing and hunting
Montana has been a destination for its world-class trout fisheries since the 1930s. Lake Trout and Kokanee Salmon fisheries in the west, Walleye can be found in many parts of the state, while Northern Pike, smallmouth and largemouth bass fisheries as well as catfish and paddlefish can found in the waters of eastern Montana. Robert Redford's 1992 film of Norman Mclean's A River Runs Through It was filmed in Montana and brought national attention to fly fishing and the state.
Montana is home to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and has a historic big game hunting tradition. There are fall bow and general hunting seasons for elk, moose, pronghorn antelope, whitetail deer and mule deer. A random draw grants a limited number of permits for mountain goats and bighorn sheep. There is a spring hunting season for black bear and in most years, limited hunting of bison that leave Yellowstone National Park is allowed. Current law allows both hunting and trapping of a specific number of wolves and mountain lions. Trapping of assorted fur bearing animals is allowed in certain seasons and many opportunities exist for migratory waterfowl and upland bird hunting.
- Bear Paw Ski Bowl near Havre, Montana
- Big Sky Resort, at Big Sky
- Blacktail Mountain near Lakeside
- Bridger Bowl Ski Area near Bozeman
- Discovery Basin between Philipsburg and Anaconda
- Great Divide near Helena, Montana
- Lookout Pass off Interstate 90 at the Montana-Idaho border
- Lost Trail near Darby, Montana
- Maverick Mountain near Dillon, Montana
- Moonlight Basin near Big Sky
- Red Lodge Mountain Resort near Red Lodge
- Showdown Ski Area near White Sulphur Springs, Montana
- Snowbowl Ski Area near Missoula
- Teton Pass Ski Area near Choteau
- Turner Mountain Ski Resort near Libby
- Whitefish Mountain Resort near Whitefish
Big Sky, Moonlight Basin, Red Lodge, and Whitefish Mountain are destination resorts, while the remaining areas do not have overnight lodging at the ski area, though several host restaurants and other amenities. These day-use resorts partner with local lodging businesses to offer ski and lodging packages.
Montana also has millions of acres open to cross-country skiing on nine of its national forests plus in Glacier National Park. In addition to cross-country trails at most of the downhill ski areas, there are also 13 private cross-country skiing resorts. Yellowstone National Park also allows cross-country skiing.
Snowmobiling is popular in Montana which boasts over 4000 miles of trails and frozen lakes available in winter. There are 24 areas where snowmobile trails are maintained, most also offering ungroomed trails. West Yellowstone offers a large selection of trails and is the primary starting point for snowmobile trips into Yellowstone National Park, where "oversnow" vehicle use is strictly limited, usually to guided tours, and regulations are in considerable flux.
Snow coach tours are offered at Big Sky, Whitefish, West Yellowstone and into Yellowstone National Park. Equestrian skijoring has a niche in Montana, which hosts the World Skijoring Championships in Whitefish as part of the annual Whitefish Winter Carnival.
Montana does not have a Trauma I hospital, but does have Trauma II hospitals in Missoula, Billings, and Great Falls. In 2013 AARP The Magazine named the Billings Clinic one of the safest hospitals in the United States. Montana is ranked as the least obese state in the U.S., at 19.6%, according to the 2014 Gallup Poll.
As of 2010, Missoula is the 166th largest media market in the United States as ranked by Nielsen Media Research, while Billings is 170th, Great Falls is 190th, the Butte-Bozeman area 191st, and Helena is 206th. There are 25 television stations in Montana, representing each major U.S. network. As of August 2013, there are 527 FCC-licensed FM radio stations broadcast in Montana, with 114 such AM stations.
During the age of the Copper Kings, each Montana copper company had its own newspaper. This changed in 1959 when Lee Enterprises bought several Montana newspapers. Montana's largest circulating daily city newspapers are the Billings Gazette (circulation 39,405), Great Falls Tribune (26,733), and Missoulian (25,439).
Railroads have been an important method of transportation in Montana since the 1880s. Historically, the state was traversed by the main lines of three east-west transcontinental routes: the Milwaukee Road, the Great Northern, and the Northern Pacific. Today, the BNSF Railway is the state's largest railroad, its main transcontinental route incorporating the former Great Northern main line across the state. Montana RailLink, a privately held Class II railroad, operates former Northern Pacific trackage in western Montana.
In addition, Amtrak's Empire Builder train runs through the north of the state, stopping in Libby, Whitefish, West Glacier, Essex, East Glacier Park, Browning, Cut Bank, Shelby, Havre, Malta, Glasgow, and Wolf Point.
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is the busiest airport in the state of Montana, surpassing Billings Logan International Airport in the spring of 2013. Montana's other major Airports include Billings Logan International Airport, Missoula International Airport, Great Falls International Airport, Glacier Park International Airport, Helena Regional Airport, Bert Mooney Airport and Yellowstone Airport. Eight smaller communities have airports designated for commercial service under the Essential Air Service program.
Historically, U.S. Route 10 was the primary east-west highway route across Montana, connecting the major cities in the southern half of the state. Still the state's most important east-west travel corridor, the route is today served by Interstate 90 and Interstate 94 which roughly follow the same route as the Northern Pacific. U.S. Routes 2 and 12 and Montana Highway 200 also traverse the entire state from east to west.
Montana's only north-south Interstate Highway is Interstate 15. Other major north-south highways include U.S. Routes 87, 89, 93 and 191. Interstate 25 terminates into I-90 just south of the Montana border in Wyoming.
Montana and South Dakota are the only states to share a land border which is not traversed by a paved road. Highway 212, the primary paved route between the two, passes through the northeast corner of Wyoming between Montana and South Dakota.
Law and government
The current Governor is Steve Bullock, a Democrat elected in 2012 and sworn in on January 7, 2013. His predecessor in office was two-term governor, Brian Schweitzer. Montana's two U.S. senators are Jon Tester and John Walsh, both Democrats. The state's congressional representative is currently Republican Steve Daines, elected in 2012 and sworn in on January 3, 2013.
Politics in the state has been competitive, with the Democrats usually holding an edge, thanks to the support among unionized miners and railroad workers. Large-scale battles revolved around the giant Anaconda Copper company, based in Butte and controlled by Rockefeller interests, until it closed in the 1970s. Until 1959, the company owned five of the state's six largest newspapers.
Historically, Montana is a swing state of cross-ticket voters who tend to fill elected offices with individuals from both parties. Through the mid-20th century, the state had a tradition of "sending the liberals to Washington and the conservatives to Helena." Between 1988 and 2006, the pattern flipped, with voters more likely to elect conservatives to federal offices. There have also been long-term shifts of party control. From 1968 through 1988, the state was dominated by the Democratic Party, with Democratic governors for a 20-year period, and a Democratic majority of both the national congressional delegation and during many sessions of the state legislature. This pattern shifted, beginning with the 1988 election, when Montana elected a Republican governor for the first time since 1964 and sent a Republican to the U.S. Senate for the first time since 1948. This shift continued with the reapportionment of the state's legislative districts that took effect in 1994, when the Republican Party took control of both chambers of the state legislature, consolidating a Republican party dominance that lasted until the 2004 reapportionment produced more swing districts and a brief period of Democratic legislative majorities in the mid-2000s.
In presidential elections, Montana was long classified as a swing state, though the state has voted for the Republican candidate in all but two elections from 1952 to the present. The state last supported a Democrat for president in 1992, when Bill Clinton won a plurality victory. Overall, since 1889 the state has voted for Democratic governors 60 percent of the time and Democratic presidents 40 percent of the time, with these numbers being 40/60 for Republican candidates. In the 2008 presidential election, Montana was considered a swing state and was ultimately won by Republican John McCain, albeit by a narrow margin of two percent.
However, at the state level, the pattern of split ticket voting and divided government holds. Democrats currently hold both U.S. Senate seats, as well as four of the five statewide offices (Governor, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Secretary of State and State Auditor). The Legislative branch had split party control between the house and senate most years between 2004 and 2010, when the mid-term elections returned both branches to Republican control. The state Senate is, as of 2013, controlled by the Republicans 29 to 21, and the State House of Representatives at 61 to 39.
Montana currently has only one representative in the U.S. House, having lost its second district in the 1990 census reapportionment, which makes it the poorest-represented U.S. state in the House (see List of U.S. states by population). Montana's population grew at about the national average during the 2000s, and it failed to regain its second seat in 2010. Like other states, Montana has two senators.
An October 2013 Montana State University Billings survey found that 46.6 percent of Montana voters supported the legalization of same-sex marriage, while 42.6 percent opposed it and 10.8 percent were not sure.
Cities and towns
Montana has 56 counties with the United States Census Bureau stating Montana's contains 364 "places", broken down into 129 incorporated places and 235 census-designated places. Incorporated places consist of 52 cities, 75 towns, and two consolidated city-counties. Montana has one city, Billings, with a population over 100,000; and two cities with populations over 50,000, Missoula and Great Falls. These three communities are considered the centers of Montana's three Metropolitan Statistical Areas.
The state also has five Micropolitan Statistical Areas centered on Bozeman, Butte, Helena, Kalispell and Havre. These communities, excluding Havre, are colloquially known as the "big 7" Montana cities, as they are consistently the seven largest communities in Montana, with a significant population difference when these communities are compared to those that are 8th and lower on the list. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Montana's seven most populous cities, in rank order, are Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, Bozeman, Butte, Helena and Kalispell. Based on 2013 census numbers, they collectively contain 35 percent of Montana's population. and the counties containing these communities hold 62 percent of the state's population. The geographic center of population of Montana is located in sparsely populated Meagher County, in the town of White Sulphur Springs.
Montana's motto, Oro y Plata, Spanish for "gold and silver," recognizing the significant role of mining, was first adopted in 1865, when Montana was still a territory. A state seal with a miner's pick and shovel above the motto, surrounded by the mountains and the Great Falls of the Missouri River, was adopted during the first meeting of the territorial legislature in 1864–65. The design was only slightly modified after Montana became a state and adopted it as the Great Seal of the State of Montana, enacted by the legislature in 1893. The state flower, the Bitterroot, was adopted in 1895 with the support of a group called the Floral Emblem Association, which formed after Montana's
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on November 8, 1889 (41st)
- Census of Montana
- Famous and Infamous Montanans
- General Information About Montana
- Geographic data related to Montana at OpenStreetMap
- List of Searchable Databases Produced by Montana State Agencies
- Montana Energy Data & Statistics – From the U.S. Department of Energy
- Montana Historical Society
- Montana History
- Montana Official Travel Information Site
- Montana Official Website
- Montana at DMOZ
- Montana State Capitol Information
- Montana State Facts From the U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Saturday Night Out – Montana 1936
- USGS Real-time, Geographic, and Other Scientific Resources of Montana
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|State animal||Grizzly Bear Ursus arctos horribilis'||1983|
|State bird||Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta||1931|
|State butterfly||Mourning cloak Nymphalis antiopa||2001|
|State fish||Blackspotted Cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarkii||1977|
|State flower||Bitterroot Lewisia rediviva||1895|
|State fossil||Duck-billed Dinosaur Maiasaura peeblesorum||1985|
|State gemstones||Sapphire & Agate||1969|
|State grass||Bluebunch wheatgrass Pseudoroegneria spicata||1973|
|State motto||"Oro y Plata" (Spanish for "Gold and Silver")||1865|
|State tree||Ponderosa Pine Pinus ponderosa'||1949|
Various community civic groups also played a role in selecting the state grass and the state gemstones. When broadcaster Norma Ashby discovered there was no state fish, she initiated a drive via her television show, Today in Montana, and an informal citizen's election to select a state fish resulted in a win for the blackspotted cutthroat trout after hot competition from the Arctic grayling. The legislature in turn adopted this recommendation by a wide margin.
Montana schoolchildren played a significant role in selecting several state symbols. The state tree, the ponderosa pine, was selected by Montana schoolchildren as the preferred state tree by an overwhelming majority in a referendum held in 1908. However, the legislature did not designate a state tree until 1949, when the Montana Federation of Garden Clubs, with the support of the state forester, lobbied for formal recognition. Schoolchildren also chose the Western meadowlark as the state bird, in a 1930 vote, and the legislature acted to endorse this decision in 1931. Similarly, the secretary of state sponsored a children's vote in 1981 to choose a state animal, and after 74 animals were nominated, the Grizzly bear won over the elk by a 2–1 margin. The students of Livingston started a statewide school petition drive plus lobbied the governor and the state legislature to name the Maiasaura as the state fossil in 1985.
The state song was not composed until 21 years after statehood, when a musical troupe led by Joseph E. Howard stopped in Butte in September 1910. A former member of the troupe who lived in Butte buttonholed Howard at an after-show party, asking him to compose a song about Montana and got another partygoer, the city editor for the Butte Miner newspaper, Charles C. Cohan, to help. The two men worked up a basic melody and lyrics in about a half-hour for the entertainment of party guests, then finished the song later that evening, with an arrangement worked up the following day. Upon arriving in Helena, Howard's troupe performed 12 encores of the new song to an enthusiastic audience and the governor proclaimed it the state song on the spot, though formal legislative recognition did not occur until 1945. Montana is one of only three states to have a "state ballad," "Montana Melody," chosen by the legislature in 1983. Montana was the first state to also adopt a State Lullaby.
 and the State Lullaby, "Montana Lullaby," adopted in 2007. All other symbols were adopted throughout the 20th century, save for Montana's newest symbol, the state butterfly, the Mourning Cloak, adopted in 2001,