Cow-to-People ratio of every county in Montana

Montana has a reputation of having more cows than people. As it turns out, that reputation is based on reality. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Montana’s 2018 population is roughly 1,062,305. Yes, folks, we broke one million. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, Montana had 2,518,571 cows in 2017. That’s just over 2 cows for every person. To be exact, 2.37085489 per person.

Montana Counties. Source: Montana Secretary of State

But what does that look like on the ground? Certainly not every county has a 2:1 ratio of cows to people. So we broke it down, county by county, to see where the cattle outnumber the humans in our expansive, 147,000-square mile state.

For instance, Carter County has way more cows than people — 74 cows for every human.

In comparison, humans outnumber bovines in six other Montana counties. See if yours is on the list. We at Prairie Populist are milking the data for all it’s worth.

Take a look:

CountyCows (2018)People (2017)Cows per person
Carter County91,2521,23874
Garfield County74,2621,26859
Powder River County84,9441,71650
Prairie County48,2241,08744
Petroleum County22,13851343
Treasure County28,37567942
Judith Basin County72,0911,95237
Meagher County50,9891,86627
McCone County40,3491,67524
Golden Valley County16,48482620
Wibaux County21,0501,03420
Wheatland County43,0062,23619
Phillips County76,9014,07419
Fallon County46,0662,92016
Beaverhead County126,7529,40413
Fergus County119,33611,11311
Blaine County70,6986,80710
Rosebud County91,5599,06310
Sweet Grass County33,5293,7109
Madison County80,7638,7689
Daniels County14,4121,7478
Musselshell County38,8614,6518
Valley County61,8317,4378
Custer County90,95211,5868
Chouteau County37,6445,7457
Teton County46,0026,1627
Carbon County78,55810,7147
Granite County19,3923,3786
Richland County63,28810,9136
Big Horn County83,73413,3386
Sheridan County17,6513,4245
Powell County35,2436,9685
Stillwater County46,7559,5345
Liberty County10,2452,4304
Toole County18,2454,8534
Pondera County24,2855,9724
Broadwater County23,1546,0854
Dawson County36,4278,6804
Glacier County43,83913,7473
Roosevelt County27,22811,0592
Jefferson County24,87912,0972
Park County37,09916,7362
Lake County56,11930,2502
Deer Lodge County7,3619,1311
Sanders County15,53911,8441
Hill County16,82616,3471
Ravalli County27,03243,1721
Lewis and Clark County40,20268,7001
Cascade County64,81681,6431
Yellowstone County110,710160,1371
Mineral County4384,3160
Lincoln County2,10119,7940
Silver Bow County3,67934,9930
Flathead County8,441102,1060
Gallatin County41,043111,8760
Missoula County5,772118,7910

Amanda Garant

Data Sources:

Human Population Data: 2018 U.S. Census Estimates. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/map/mt/PST045218

Cow Population Data: 2017 Ag Census. https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/AgCensus/2017/Full_Report/Volume_1,_Chapter_2_County_Level/Montana/st30_2_0011_0011.pdf

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