Eastern Montana Leads in Personal Income

Aaron Flint posted on April 26, 2011 13:33 :: 1160 Views

With all the millionaires moving into Western Montana in recent years, the colleges in Missoula and Bozeman, and the granduer of places like Flathead Lake- who would have thought that Northeastern Montana would lead the state in average personal income.

That’s exactly what has happened, as Evelyn Plyburn writes in The Big Sky Business Journal. 

The impact of oil income is reflected in the counties which ranked one through four in the state. Sheridan County, in the far northeastern corner of the state, sitting in the midst of the Bakken, ranks first, in per capita personal income, at $42,934. Far eastern, Richland County ranked 2nd in personal income at $40,310. Neighboring, Daniels County ranked 3rd at $39,714. Fallon County ranked 4th, at $39,534, reflecting an increase of 5.8 percent over the ten year period.

Agriculture also likely plays a big role in these personal income rankings as well, even after keeping in mind that this is 2009 data.  I’d imagine these numbers could be even larger for 2010 and 2011.  While counties like Daniels don’t have a lot of oil play at this time, they certainly benefit from related activity.  And, as one listener pointed out, housing prices have skyrocketed in the area- leading homeowners to collect high rent from oil workers in need of a place to stay. 

You may recall this story from Bloomberg News about a week ago discussing how the price of wheat is driving up profits in neighboring North Dakota. 

Wheat rose 71 percent in the past 12 months to $8.21 on the Chicago Board of Trade, as flooding from Canada to Australia last year hurt crops. Russia, once the second-biggest exporter, banned shipments in August and Ukraine followed with curbs in October. That gave the U.S. an opportunity to expand in markets across northern Africa and the Middle East, traditional buyers of grain from the Black Sea region.

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