Montana Labor Market Blog

Research & Analysis Bureau - Montana Department of Labor & Industry

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How Many Young People Leave Montana?

There has long been a concern that young workers tend to leave Montana in search of higher-paying jobs in other states. But what do the numbers tell us?


Montanans aged 18 to 34 make up nearly half (46.3%) of all out-migration. However, a high out-migration rate doesn't necessarily indicate a problem, considering this age group generally has the greatest mobility and their high rate of migration is consistent from state to state. It might indicate a problem if Montana was losing workers in this age group faster than it was gaining them. Thankfully, that is not the case.

People moving to Montana from other states outnumber those leaving in most age groups, including those aged 18 to 34. In fact, Montana is gaining 18 to 24-year olds at a much higher rate than it is losing them, with the state showing a net gain of 2,359 people in this age group in 2014. It is only in the older age groups that Montana experiences a net population loss. Among 35 to 44-year-olds, out-migrants outnumber in-migrants by 1,003. Those aged 55 to 64 account for a population loss of 596, while the losses from the 75 and older population amount to only 116 people. Overall, Montana's state-to-state migration flows resulted in a population increase of 1,907 people, not counting those who immigrated from abroad.

For a more in-depth discussion of Montana's migration flows and their effect on the state economy, please read our article: Net Migration’s Contribution to Montana’s Economic Stability


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