Montana is nicknamed “Big Sky Country” because of its vast plains that stretch across the eastern part of the state. However the name Montana is derived from the Latin word "montaanus" meaning mountainous as in the rugged Rocky Mountains of western Montana. It is home to buffalo in the National Bison Range on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Glacier National Park is located in western Montana and parts of Yellowstone National Park are located in the southwest. Montana covers 145,552 square miles, with a 2014 estimated population of 1,023,579 people – 661,666 living in rural Montana (USDA-ERS). Helena, the capital, is located in the western region of the state. The state’s largest cities are Billings, Missoula and Great Falls. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 89.4% of the state’s population is white, 6.6% is American Indian & Alaska Native, and 3.5% is of Hispanic/Latino origin (U.S. Census, 2014).

Montana Rural Healthcare Facilities

Montana Rural Healthcare Facilities map

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There are 50 hospitals in Montana (Kaiser, 2014). The state has 48 hospitals identified as Critical Access Hospitals (Flex Team, 12/2015). There are 54 Rural Health Clinics in Montana (CMS, 2015), and 17 Federally Qualified Health Centers provide services at 90 sites in the state (NACHC, 2013).

Selected Social Determinants of Health for Rural Montana

Most Montanans have some form of health insurance coverage, although 13% of its residents lack health insurance (Kaiser, 2014). According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average per-capita income for Montanans in 2014 was $39,903, although rural per-capita income lagged at $39,316. The ERS reports, based on 2010-2014 ACS data, that the poverty rate in rural Montana is 16.0%, compared with 14.0% in urban areas of the state. 7.8% of the rural population has not completed high school, while 7.0% of the urban population lacks a high school diploma according to 2010-2014 ACS data reported by ERS. The unemployment rate in rural Montana is at 5.0%, while in urban Montana it is at 4.1% (USDA-ERS, 2014).

For a national comparison, please see an overview of the United States.

Data Sources
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Rural Health Clinic List; Flex Monitoring Team: Critical Access Hospital List; Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts; National Association of Community Health Centers: Key Health Center Data By State; U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts; USDA Economic Research Service: State Fact Sheets


Montana Office of Rural Health
Phone: 406.994.6002
Collects and disseminates information within the state, improves recruitment and retention of health professionals into rural areas, provides technical assistance to attract more federal, state, and foundation funding for rural health, and coordinates rural health interests and activities across the state.
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There are more organizations related to Montana in the organizations section.