Prairie county, montana



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Source: Montana Department of Commerce
According to Census information, in 2000, 119 residents of Prairie County lived in a different state in 1995 (10.4%). The total residents of Montana that lived in a different state in 1995 was 111,530 (13.2%).
Births, Deaths and Net Migration
The U.S. Bureau of the Census Population Division estimates population changes according to births and deaths based on historical population data. Changes in total population are said by demographers to result from the combination of two

types of change: natural and net migration. Components of natural change are gains from births and losses from death. Components of net migration are gains from people moving in and losses from people moving out. The following table is an estimate of components of population change from April 3, 2000, to July 1, 2004, comparing births and deaths in Prairie County.


Table A.7 Estimates of Average Annual Rates of Components of Population Change

Total Population Change

Total Natural Increase/Decrease

Births

Deaths

Total Net Migration

-10.4

-8.0

5.8

13.8

-2.2

Source: Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau. Release Date: April 14, 2005.
Population Projections
Out of 56 total counties in the State of Montana, Prairie County ranks 52nd in total population. Neighboring counties with slower growth patterns include Wibaux County, which ranks 53rd and Treasure County (Hysham), which ranks 55th.
The Montana Department of Commerce Housing Division provides population projections based on historical trends. Projections for 2005, 2010, 2015, 2020, and 2025 are shown in the following table, based on data from past census information. These projections indicate that the total population in Prairie County will continue to decrease.
Table A.8 Population Projections 2005-2025

2000

Population



2005

Projected

Population

Estimate


2010 Projected Population

2015

Projected Population



2020 Projected Population

2025 Projected Population

1,199

1,149

1,110

1,137

1,108

1,111

Source: NPA Data Services, Inc., 2004.
Conclusions and Projected Trends
Population in Prairie County has been declining since the drought of the 1930s. Although population projections based on historical population trends indicate that the population in Prairie County will continue to decline, there is optimism in the County that people and industry will relocate to the area. Prairie County is following the national trend of an aging population with a rising median age of residents. Prairie County has an outstanding school system that is facing a loss of school age children, as noted in the loss of 96 children between 1990 and 2000. At this time, the population in Montana, notably in the western region of the state, is seeing an increase in population, while the eastern region is seeing a decline.


ISSUES, GOALS AND OBJECTIVES: POPULATION
The PCLPB has identified the following issues, goals and objectives on population in Prairie County:
Issue: Prairie County’s population is aging and declining, leaving a sparse work force and questionable future for the community.
1.) Goal: Stabilization of population size and age in Prairie County.
Objectives:

1a.) Prairie County should keep paperwork permits and other bureaucratic processes and fees to a minimum for people wanting to locate in Prairie County for retirement or to work outside the County and commute.
1b.) Prairie County should encourage some non-governmental groups to compile a list of properties that local landowners would consider selling for subdivision or homesites. This list would be voluntary and should include real estate agents and their listings along with private parties and their own personal parcels.
Issue: Government programs such as CRP and other payments to not produce and idle land shrink the local economy by reducing the need for agriculture supply industries and limits options for young or beginning producers.
2.) Goal: Encourage all state, local and federal politicians to not put forth government programs that shrink the local economy.
Objectives:

2a.) Prairie County residents who share this view should band together and notify policymakers at every local level of government about this problem. This notification should be done at least every other month.


B.0 HOUSING

Introduction
Housing data is invaluable in considering programs for present and future community improvements. The information is important because it allows us to form a detailed picture of the physical aspects of the existing community, and to determine housing needs, trends and infrastructure demands for the future. Although it is true that personal living environments change periodically in response to dynamic social and economic forces, it is a fact that the basic need of man is for protection from the environment. Changes in housing needs and demands, which may occur with respect to housing type, cost and geographic distribution, should be analyzed on a periodic basis. Housing programs and public utility services, which cater to existing and future demand, can then be designed and effectively administered.
The following section includes a description of housing characteristics and trends in Prairie County, six surrounding counties and Montana. Observations are made concerning the type, distribution, cost and quantity of housing units.
Number of Housing Units and Occupancy Characteristics
According to census data, there were 718 total housing units in Prairie County counted in the 2000 Census. Approximately 75 percent of the housing units in Prairie County were owner occupied. Almost 17 percent were renter-occupied and 25 percent were vacant. It is interesting to note the increase in seasonal, recreational and occasional use of housing units in Prairie County in the last decade.
Table B.1 Occupancy Characteristics of Housing Units, Prairie County, 2000




2000

Percent

1990

Percent

1980

Percent

TOTAL

718

100.0%

749

100.0%

773

100.0%

Occupied

537

74.8%

568

76%

667

86%

Owner Occupied

416

57.9%

448

60%

523

68%

Renter Occupied

121

16.9%

120

16%

114

15%

Vacant

181

25.2%

181

24%







For rent

22

3.1%













For sale only

24

3.3%













Rented or sold, not occupied

7

1.0%













Seasonal, recreational, occasional use

37

5.2%

14

1.9%







For migrant worker

1

0.1%













Other

90

12.5%













Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census,1980, 1990, 2000 Summary File Tapes 1&3
Of the 181 homes that were counted as vacant by the 2000 census, 22 were for rent; 24 were for sale; 37 were seasonal, recreational or occasional use; 1 was for migrant workers; and 90 were listed as “other” vacant. The total number of rental units not occupied and vacant was seven.
Between 1980 and 2000, the total number of housing units decreased by 55. Renter-occupied housing units increased by seven units since 1980, while owner-occupied housing units decreased by 107 units for the same time period.
Table: B.2 Homeowner and Rental Vacancy Rate, Prairie County 1990-2000




2000

1990

Homeowner Vacancy Rate

5.5%

2.4%

Rental Vacancy Rate

15.4%

24.5%

Source: Montana Census and Economic Information Center
Table B.3 compares housing statistics from Prairie County and the State of Montana.
Table B.3 Occupancy Characteristics for Prairie County and Montana, 2000




Prairie County

Montana




% of Total Housing Units

% of Total Housing Units

Occupied

74.8%

86.9%

Owner Occupied

57.9%

69.1%

Renter Occupied

16.9%

30.9%

Vacant

25.2%

13.1%

For Rent

3.1%

17.0%

For Sale only

3.3%

10.3%

Rented or Sold but not occupied

1.0%

4.7%

For seasonal, recreational or occasional use

5.2%

44.9%

For migrant workers

0.1%

0.5%

Other vacant

12.5%

22.6%




Household Size

Household Size

All occupied units: Average Household Size

2.21

2.45

Source: Census 2000 summary file 1.
The overall percentage of owner occupied housing units is slightly less in Prairie County than in the state of Montana. The percentage of units that were occupied by renters was less in Prairie County than in the state overall The percentage of total vacant housing units in Prairie County is significantly higher than the statewide percentage. The number of seasonal, recreational or occasional use housing has increased approximately three percent over the previous decade.
The average household size in Prairie County in 2000 was 2.21, slightly lower than the statewide average of 2.45.
Table B.4 compares homeownership rates in Prairie County, six surrounding counties, and Montana.


Table B.4 Homeownership Rates in Eastern Montana




Prairie County

Dawson County

McCone County

Fallon

County


Garfield County

Custer County

Wibaux County

MT

Homeownership Rate (percent)

77.5%

74.0%

78.0%

77.4%

73.7%

70.2%

73.4%

69.1%

Source: Montana Census and Economic Information Center
Type of Housing and Housing Condition
Table B.5 displays information on housing stock by numbers of rooms. Slightly more than 20% of houses in Prairie County have five rooms and 18% have four rooms.
Table B.5 Residential Units by Number of Rooms

Rooms

Number

Percent

1 room

11

1.5%

2 rooms

40

5.6%

3 rooms

17

2.4%

4 rooms

129

18.0%

5 rooms

161

22.4%

6 rooms

113

15.7%

7 rooms

65

9.1%

8 rooms

96

13.4%

9 or more rooms

86

12.0%

Median (rooms)

5.5

(X)

Total

718

100.0%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Census 2000 Profile of General Demographic Characteristics
Table B.6 provides information on residential units by date of construction. Over half of all the houses reported in Prairie County to the U.S. Census in 2000 were built before 1960. The largest percentage of housing units reported to the census in 2000 had five bedrooms (Table B.5), and were built in 1939 or earlier (Table B.6). The earliest data from the Montana Census Bureau on average household size in Prairie County is 1970. The average household size in 1970 was 2.48 persons. Approximately 42 housing units have been built in Prairie County since 1990, according to Census data.
Table B.6 Prairie County 2000, Housing Units by Date of Construction




Number

Percent

Total housing units

718

100.0

1939 or earlier

325

45%

1940-1959

164

23%

1960-1969

52

7%

1970-1979

99

14%

1980-1989

36

5%

1990-1999

27

4%

1999 to March 2000

15

2%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Census 2000 Profile of General Demographic Characteristics
Approximately 75% of the total housing units reported to the U.S. Bureau of the Census in 2000 reported the type of fuel used to heat their house. Based on this information, the majority of houses in Prairie County use utility gas to heat their home. Table B.7 provides details from this report.
Table B.7 House Heating Fuel




Number

Percent

Utility gas

265

49.3%

Bottled, tank, or LP gas

178

33.1%

Electricity

31

5.8%

Fuel oil, kerosene, etc.

31

5.8%

Coal or coke

7

1.3%

Wood

25

4.7%

Solar energy

--

--

Other fuel

--

--

No fuel used

--

--

Total reporting houses

537

100.0%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Census 2000 Profile of General Demographic Characteristics
Selected characteristics reported on housing units in Prairie County in 2000 included houses lacking complete plumbing facilities, houses lacking complete kitchen facilities and houses that did not have telephone service. Fifteen households reported this information. Approximately 1.5% of houses in Prairie County lack complete plumbing facilities, 2.0% lack complete kitchen facilities; and 1.1% had no telephone service.
Housing Demand and Supply
The 2000 census counted 537 households and 718 housing units in Prairie County. A “household” consists of all the people who occupy a housing unit including the related family members and all the unrelated people, if any, such as lodgers, foster children, wards, or employees who share the housing unit. The average number of persons per household in Prairie County in 2000 was 2.19, lower than the state average of 2.45. The average number of persons per household is derived by dividing the total number of persons in households (1,175) by the number of occupied housing units (537).

The number of people with a mortgage in Prairie County in 2000 was 512 and the number of people without a mortgage was 226.


Factors Related to Demand for Specific Types of Housing
Table B.8 displays information on the age of head of household for all occupied housing units in Prairie County. Approximately 42% of Prairie County residents live in a two-person household, 31% in a one-person household, and 12% in a three-person household. According to Census information on households, almost 20% of residents in Prairie County are 55 and older. Statewide, people aged 65 and older head 22 percent of all households.


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