Someone sent me a link the other day to a very interesting news piece from KBZK in Bozeman, MT. – ‘Bozeman ranks #1 for strongest micropolitan economy’.
That’s the strongest micropolitan economy in the nation, not just the state. As the report explains:
“According to Policom, an Economics research firm, Bozeman is ranked number one for economic strength in a micropolitan area. This is the second year in a row Bozeman has earned this ranking, out of 551 current micropolitan statistical areas in the United States.”
A micropolitan area is defined as having a population of less than 50,000 people. Here are the 2019 Policom national rankings for four Montana micropolitan areas:
- Bozeman ranked 1st
- Kalispell ranked 14th
- Helena ranked 49th
- Butte ranked 104th
I also took a look at the Policom metropolitan area rankings. A metropolitan area is defined as having “…at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more population, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by the location of the commuting workforce.”
There are 383 metropolitan areas nationally. Great Falls, Billings and Missoula are three metropolitan areas in Montana and here are the national 2019 economic strength rankings for each:
- Missoula ranked 75th
- Billings ranked 87th
- Great Falls ranked 185th
Policom lists rankings from 2015 – 2019 for each area and I found the ranking history for Great Falls to be interesting:
|Great Falls, MT (MSA)||2019
|Missoula, MT (MSA)||75||144||188||226||199|
|Billings, MT (MSA)||87||55||97||128||120|
Clearly we’re going in the wrong direction, Great Falls. But why? What are the other communities doing that we are not?
In the coming weeks I’ll be attempting to help answer those questions in a series of articles for E-City Beat. Feel free to send me your suggestions and ideas by commenting here, on the E-City Beat Facebook page, or emailing email@example.com.