Bozeman is a city located in Gallatin County, Montana. With a 2020 population of 52,034, it is the 4th largest city in Montana (after Billings, Missoula, and Great Falls) and the 764th largest city in the United States. Bozeman is currently growing at a rate of 3.48% annually and its population has increased by 39.58% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 37,280 in 2010. Spanning over 20 miles, Bozeman has a population density of 2,558 people per square mile.
The average household income in Bozeman is $71,652 with a poverty rate of 18.62%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $1,016 per month, and the median house value is $343,000. The median age in Bozeman is 28 years, 26.8 years for males, and 29.3 years for females. For every 100 females there are 113.5 males.
Bozeman’s population has seen steady gains since the census of 1870. The population exceeded 2,000 before the end of the 19th century. The city’s population continued to grow at a steady rate through the 20th century, surpassing 11,000 at the time of the 1950 census. By 1980, the population had nearly doubled. Recent estimates show that the population is up 21.4% since the last census was taken in 2010, indicating that Bozeman is on track to reaching 50,000 residents in the near future.
Indigenous tribes for thousands of years inhabited the area that is now Bozeman. These groups included the Nez Perce, Blackfeet, Shoshone, and Sioux. During the 19th century, the city was visited by William Clark during his expedition. It was later that century in 1863 when John Bozeman and his partner John Jacobs opened the Bozeman Trail off of the Oregon Trail, which went through Virginia City and what would one day be Bozeman.
The town was plotted out and established the next year, and although the Bozeman Trail was closed before the end of the 1860s, the fertile land in the area brought in more settlers. During the same decade, gold miner Nelson Story brought over 1,000 cattle and established a ranch in Paradise Valley. Some of this land was later donated to Montana State University. The town of Bozeman was incorporated in 1883.
Fort Ellis was also established but was decommissioned in 1886. The end of the 19th century brought growth to Bozeman with the addition of a library, a fish hatchery, and Montana State University – Bozeman. The 20th century saw continued growth, including the construction of the first high school, a federal building, and a post office. Canneries in the area were producing canned peas, and at one time, the city was one of the largest producers in the country.
In the 1950s, the city opened up Bridger Bowl, its first ski area. In the 1970s, the Big Sky Ski Resort was established and is still in operation today as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area. The Museum of the Rockies was also built in the 1950s, as the city and its population continued to grow. These attractions and the outdoor recreational activities including fishing, kayaking, and mountain climbing have attracted residents and tourists to the area.
The city has continued to grow with the expansion of the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, the quality of life, and employment and educational opportunities.