These data come from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. They are based on averages of data collected in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. These estimates cannot be used to say what is going on in any particular year in the period, only what the average value is over the full period. The Census Bureau's American Factfinder provides 3-year estimates for counties with at 20,000 people, and 1-year estimates for counties with at least 65,000 people. We use 5-year estimates because they are available for all counties and allow comparison to other counties within the region.
While the poverty rate is the percentage of people living below the poverty level, it does not capture the entire population that struggles to make ends meet. Looking at the percent of the population with incomes below 200%, or twice, the poverty level can give a more complete picture of how many people have low incomes.
In Montana, the percent of the population with incomes below 200% of the poverty level . . .
- was 35.3 percent in 2012-2016, compared to 37.1 percent in 1999;
- ranked 18th - from highest to lowest - out of the 50 states in 2012-2016.