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Volume 45, Number 4, Winter  2007

Substance Abuse

Montana Rates Higher Than National Rates


Thale Dillon, Julie Ehlers, and Daphne Herling

Data show Montana youth drinking, using tobacco and illegal drugs, and drinking and driving at higher rates than the rest of the country. The two most prevalent substance abuse activities among Montana youth are binge drinking and smoking marijuana. While Montana youth aren't smoking cigarettes at a significantly higher rate than the rest of the country, smokeless tobacco use among all 8th, 10th and 12th graders is 7 percentage points higher than the national average. The authors report these and other finding from the 2007 Montana Kids Count such as family characteristics and demographics, social and economic status, health care and other factors affecting Montana children.

Sub-County Population Estimates

New Methods Needed to Provide More Accurate Data


James T. Sylvester

The U.S. Census Bureau is using flawed methodology to produce population estimates at the sub-county level. For Montana, this means the growth of some rural communities is underestimated by as much as 400 percent, while the growth of more urban areas is significantly overestimated. Because population estimates are used to determine over $300 billion in federal funding as well as important policy choices, inaccurate data have significant implications for Montana communities. As chairman of the Federal State Population Cooperative Program for Population Estimates, author James T. Sylvester is working to correct the problem. He explains why the current method doesn''t work in Montana and offers solutions to provide more accurate data.

Montana Manufacturing

Bucking the National Trend


Patrick M. Barkey and Steve Holland

Since 2004, Montana's manufacturing payrolls have gone up as national employment numbers in the same area decline. Nationwide, the economy has shifted from producing products to services. Yet, manufacturing continues to employ more and more Montanans each year and the state's manufacturing exports increased more than 280 percent since 2003. BBER economist Patrick M. Barkey and Steve Holland, director of the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center at Montana State University, describe how Montana has deviated from the national trend since 2004 and what impact this growth has had on the state.

Gated Communities

Gaining Popularity Across Montana


Amy Joyner

Nationwide, roughly 6 percent of homes are in developments behind walls and fences. Predominantly out-of-state investment has brought this trend to Montana. In 1990 only 276 houses in Montana were worth $300,000 or more according to the U.S. Census Bureau. By 2000, the Bureau had to add a whole new category: homes costing $1 million or more. Author Amy Joyner gives readers a glimpse of life in some of Montana''s most luxurious and exclusive communities. From the Yellowstone Club to the Ridge Above Rock Creek, Joyner describes life behind the gates.