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Are there a lot of billionaires in Montana?

Montana is known for its wide open spaces, rugged landscapes, and small population. With just over 1 million residents, Montana is one of the least populous states in America. This begs the question – are there a lot of billionaires living in Big Sky Country? Let’s take a closer look at the data on billionaires in Montana.

How many billionaires are there in Montana?

According to Forbes’ 2022 list of the world’s billionaires, there are only 2 billionaires that reside in Montana. This gives Montana the 6th smallest number of resident billionaires of any U.S. state.

The two Montana billionaires are:

– Dennis Washington: With an estimated net worth of $6.2 billion, Dennis Washington is the wealthiest person in Montana. He made his fortune in construction, mining, and transportation. Washington resides in Missoula.

– Eric Schmidt: The former CEO of Google has an estimated $23 billion net worth. He owns a luxury ranch near Bozeman, Montana but also has residences in other states.

So while Montana is home to some ultra high net worth individuals, the total number of billionaires is very low compared to more populous states. For example, California has the most billionaires of any state with 167. Even neighboring states like Washington have nearly 10 times as many billionaires as Montana.

Montana billionaire wealth statistics

Here are some key statistics about billionaire wealth in Montana:

– Total billionaire wealth: $29.2 billion
– Average billionaire wealth: $14.6 billion
– Percent of total US billionaire wealth: 0.1%
– Billionaire wealth per capita: $29,632

As these statistics show, Montana accounts for only a tiny fraction of total billionaire wealth in the United States. The average Montana billionaire has a higher net worth than the national billionaire average of $5.9 billion. But there are so few billionaires that their wealth per resident is low.

Montana billionaire data table

Name Net Worth Residence
Dennis Washington $6.2 billion Missoula
Eric Schmidt $23 billion Bozeman

How does Montana compare to other states?

Montana lags far behind other states when it comes to its number of billionaires:

– Montana is tied with South Dakota, Alaska, and Vermont for the 6th least billionaires per state.
– The states with the most billionaires are California (167), New York (118), and Florida (79).
– Wyoming is the only state with fewer total billionaires than Montana at 1. However, Wyoming’s total billionaire wealth is higher at $38.2 billion.
– Montana has the 9th lowest total billionaire wealth of any state.
– The District of Columbia has a higher total billionaire wealth than Montana despite not being a state.

So clearly Montana is not a hub for billionaire activity and wealth like east coast cities or west coast tech hubs. The state’s low population and lack of a major metropolitan area contribute to its small number of ultra-high net worth residents.

Why are there so few billionaires in Montana?

There are a few key reasons why Montana is home to so few billionaires relative to its size:

– **Small population** – With just over 1 million residents, Montana has one of the lowest state populations. The small population means fewer potential billionaires.

– **Lack of cities** – Montana does not have any major metropolitan areas on the scale of New York City or Los Angeles that tend to be hubs for the ultra wealthy. The state’s largest city is Billings with only 110,000 residents.

– **Few corporate headquarters** – Montana is home to very few Fortune 500 or other major corporate headquarters where top executives become billionaires through stock holdings.

– **No tech industry** – Tech hubs like Silicon Valley and Seattle have produced lots of billionaires through founding innovative companies like Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. Montana does not have a notable tech sector.

– **Natural resources economy** – Montana’s economy is more based on agriculture, mining, and tourism than on banking, finance, and technology where personal wealth accumulates.

So the lack of a critical mass of population, corporate headquarters, and tech firms limits billionaire formation in Montana. The state’s rugged landscapes and small towns may also not appeal to all billionaires’ lifestyles.

Will Montana ever have more billionaires?

It’s unlikely that Montana will see a rapid increase in billionaires any time soon for the reasons cited above. But there are some factors that could potentially boost billionaire numbers in the long run:

– **Bozeman’s growth** – Bozeman is one of Montana’s fastest growing cities as a tech and lifestyle hub. If growth continues it could attract more wealthy individuals.

– **Tourism industry growth** – Billionaires like Eric Schmidt are attracted to Montana for its natural beauty. As tourism expands there may be more luxury developments catering to the ultra-wealthy.

– **New industries emerging** – If Montana develops new high paying industries in fields like energy, biotech, or aerospace, that could boost wealth generation.

– **Spillover from tech hubs** – With more remote work, Montana could attract some tech billionaires seeking a lower cost of living or second home location while still doing business in Silicon Valley.

However, Montana would likely need to see massive economic shifts to reach billionaire numbers on par with states like California or New York. Its small population will always limit extreme wealth accumulation. Realistically, Montana may add a few more billionaires over the coming decade but will not see transformative growth.


In conclusion, Montana is currently home to just 2 billionaires with a combined net worth around $29 billion. This reflects only 0.1% of total US billionaire wealth. Montana’s small population, lack of major metropolitan hubs, and natural resource based economy contribute to the state’s very low billionaire numbers compared to other states. Significant growth in emerging industries like tech or tourism would be required for Montana to substantially increase its billionaire population. While a few more billionaires may reside in Montana in the future, the state is unlikely to ever become a billionaire hotspot.