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Carbon County, Montana facts for kids

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Carbon County
Map of Montana highlighting Carbon County
Location within the U.S. state of Montana
Map of the United States highlighting Montana
Montana's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Montana
Founded March 4, 1895
Seat Red Lodge
Largest city Red Lodge
 • Total 2,062 sq mi (5,340 km2)
 • Land 2,049 sq mi (5,310 km2)
 • Water 13 sq mi (30 km2)  0.6%
 • Total 10,473
 • Density 5.0790/sq mi (1.9610/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional district At-large
  • Montana county number 10

Carbon County is a county located in the U.S. state of Montana. As of the 2020 United States Census, the population was 10,473. Its county seat is Red Lodge.

Carbon County is part of the Billings, MT Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Carbon County was named for the rich coal deposits found in the area. Land from Park and Yellowstone counties was used to form Carbon County on March 4, 1895. More than sixty federally designated historic sites are located in the county, including Petroglyph Canyon, one of the state's most important rock art sites.

The first commercial oil well in the state was established in Elk Basin fields in 1915.


Bear's Tooth
Bear's Tooth

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,062 square miles (5,340 km2), of which 2,049 square miles (5,310 km2) is land and 13 square miles (34 km2) (0.6%) is water.

Granite Peak, the highest mountain in Montana, is found in the Beartooth Mountains. The Beartooth Highway, one of the "most spectacular alpine highways", links Red Lodge to Cooke City. The Pryor Mountains are in the east of the county, along with the Big Horn River.

Major highways

  • US 212.svg U.S. Highway 212
  • US 310.svg U.S. Highway 310
  • MT-72.svg Montana Highway 72
  • MT-78.svg Montana Highway 78

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 7,533
1910 13,962 85.3%
1920 15,279 9.4%
1930 12,571 −17.7%
1940 11,865 −5.6%
1950 10,241 −13.7%
1960 8,317 −18.8%
1970 7,080 −14.9%
1980 8,099 14.4%
1990 8,080 −0.2%
2000 9,552 18.2%
2010 10,078 5.5%
2020 10,473 3.9%
US Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 10,078 people, 4,571 households, and 2,884 families living in the county. The population density was 4.9 inhabitants per square mile (1.9/km2). There were 6,441 housing units at an average density of 3.1 per square mile (1.2/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.2% white, 0.8% American Indian, 0.3% black or African American, 0.2% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.9% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 32.3% were German, 16.2% were Irish, 14.5% were English, 12.6% were American, and 6.6% were Norwegian.

Of the 4,571 households, 23.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.4% were married couples living together, 6.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 36.9% were non-families, and 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.74. The median age was 48.1 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $49,010 and the median income for a family was $59,823. Males had a median income of $41,241 versus $26,150 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,983. About 8.1% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.1% of those under age 18 and 11.1% of those age 65 or over.


Roscoe, Montana
Farm along a creek in Roscoe, Sep 1978



Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Ghost towns

The following communities existed in Carbon County at one time:

  • Carbonado
  • Chance
  • Chickentown
  • Fairbanks
  • Gebo (originally Coalville)
  • Golden
  • International
  • New Caledonia
  • Riverview
  • Scotch Coulee
  • Stringtown


During the early history of Carbon County, coal mining was the predominant industry. The current economy relies on agriculture, recreation, and tourism.

In 2009 the top employers were Beartooth Hospital & Health Center, Red Lodge Mountain, and the Red Lodge Pizza Company.

In December 2014, construction began on a large windfarm, Mud Springs Wind Ranch, with 120 wind turbines, 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Bridger.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Carbon (Montana) para niños

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