Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Great Plains Research Vol. 20 No. 2, 2010


Copyright © 2010 by the Center for Great Plains Studies. University of Nebraska-Lincoln


The Great Plains has experienced population loss for most of the 20th century while the Rocky Mountain region has experienced rapid population growth in the past few decades. This paper examines net migration by county for Montana between 1995 and 2000 disaggregated by age and educational level. Montana was chosen because it straddles the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions and thus provides an opportunity to compare and contrast net migration and population change in two regions undergoing fundamentally different population processes. Regression analysis was applied to determine the predictor variables responsible for net migration between 1995 and 2000. Dependent variables concerned economic, demographic, and environmental characteristics of each of the counties. Overall, median household income and the Rocky Mountains explained the greatest amount of variance in the dependent variables, suggesting that both economics and the environment play a role in migration patterns in Montana.