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Beaverhead County, Montana


Beaverhead County, Montana

Beaverhead County, Montana
Map of Montana highlighting Beaverhead County
Location in the state of Montana
Map of the United States highlighting Montana
Montana's location in the U.S.
Founded 1865
Seat Dillon
Largest city Dillon
 • Total 5,572 sq mi (14,431 km2)
 • Land 5,542 sq mi (14,354 km2)
 • Water 30 sq mi (78 km2), 0.5%
 • (2010) 9,246
 • Density 1.7/sq mi (1/km²)
Congressional district At-large
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Website .org.beaverheadcountywww

Beaverhead County is the largest county by area in the U.S. state of Montana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 9,246.[1] Its county seat is Dillon.[2] The county was founded in 1865.[3]

Much of the perimeter of the county is the Continental Divide, including all of its border with the state of Idaho. The divide heads east into Montana at the county border with Ravalli County, between Lost Trail Pass and Chief Joseph Pass.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Adjacent counties 2.1
    • Major highways 2.2
    • National protected areas 2.3
  • Demographics 3
  • Economy 4
  • Education 5
  • Communities 6
    • City 6.1
    • Town 6.2
    • Census-designated place 6.3
    • Unincorporated communities 6.4
  • Notable residents 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The county name is derived from a rock formation, which the Shoshone described as being shaped like a beaver's head.[4]

The original county seat was the gold-mining town of Bannack. In 1881 it was moved to Dillon.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 5,572 square miles (14,430 km2), of which 5,542 square miles (14,350 km2) is land and 30 square miles (78 km2) (0.3%) is water.[5] It is the largest county in Montana by area.

The Big Hole River runs through the county.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

National protected areas


As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 9,202 people, 3,684 households, and 2,354 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile (1/km²). There were 4,571 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile (0/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 95.86% White, 0.18% Black or African American, 1.46% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.09% from other races, and 1.18% from two or more races. 2.67% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 16.7% were of German, 14.9% English, 10.7% Irish, 9.0% American and 7.2% Norwegian ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 3,684 households out of which 30.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.80% were married couples living together, 6.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.10% were non-families. 29.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.60% under the age of 18, 11.90% from 18 to 24, 25.10% from 25 to 44, 24.90% from 45 to 64, and 13.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 105.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,962, and the median income for a family was $38,971. Males had a median income of $26,162 versus $18,115 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,621. About 12.80% of families and 17.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.30% of those under age 18 and 12.20% of those age 65 or over.


Beaverhead County is one of the largest cattle and hay producing areas of Montana. Barrett's Minerals, one of the world's largest talc mines, calls Beaverhead County home.[12] In 2009, Barrett Hospital and Healthcare was the largest private employer in the county.


The University of Montana Western is located in Dillon




Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

Notable residents

Thomas Savage - novelist (1915-2003) spent his childhood and teen years on his family's ranch in Beaverhead County. His experiences there informed his best known novels, The Power of the Dog and The Sheep Queen.

See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Montana Place Names Companion". Montana Place Names From Alzada to Zortman. Montana Historical Society Research Center. Retrieved December 1, 2014. 
  4. ^ Merrill, Andrea; Judy Jacobson (1997). Montana almanac. Helena, Montana: Falcon Publishing. p. 6.  
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 27, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 27, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 27, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 27, 2014. 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  12. ^ State of Montana. "Beaverhead County" (PDF). Retrieved 31 May 2011. 

External links

  • Official page
  • Chamber of Commerce page

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