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Ismay, Montana
Location of Ismay, Montana
Location of Ismay, Montana
Ismay, Montana is located in the United States
Ismay, Montana
Ismay, Montana
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Montana
County Custer
 • Total 0.42 sq mi (1.09 km2)
 • Land 0.42 sq mi (1.09 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
2,526 ft (770 m)
 • Total 17
 • Density 40.48/sq mi (15.60/km2)
Time zone UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 406
FIPS code 30-38950
GNIS feature ID 0794947

Ismay is a town in Custer County, Montana, United States. The population was 17 at the 2020 census. The town is the least-populous incorporated municipality in the state of Montana.

The town's name is an amalgamation of Isabella and May, the names of the daughters of Albert J Earling, division superintendent (later president) of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway. Other communities with related names include Earling, Iowa; Marmarth, North Dakota; and Alberton, Montana. As a publicity stunt coordinated by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993, the town unofficially took the name of Joe, Montana, after the NFL quarterback Joe Montana.

The town's history and contemporary state (circa 1995) is discussed at length in travel writer Jonathan Raban's book, Bad Land: An American Romance. According to Raban, Ismay's story is emblematic of the settlement and depopulation of the northern Great Plains.


Ismay is located at 46°29′58″N 104°47′37″W / 46.49944°N 104.79361°W / 46.49944; -104.79361 (46.499497, -104.793590).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.42 square miles (1.09 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 344
1930 277 −19.5%
1940 176 −36.5%
1950 182 3.4%
1960 59 −67.6%
1970 40 −32.2%
1980 31 −22.5%
1990 19 −38.7%
2000 26 36.8%
2010 19 −26.9%
2020 17 −10.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 19 people, 9 households, and 5 families living in the town. The population density was 45.2 inhabitants per square mile (17.5/km2). There were 13 housing units at an average density of 31.0 per square mile (12.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 100.0% White.

There were 9 households, of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.6% were married couples living together, and 44.4% were non-families. 44.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 22.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 3.00.

The median age in the town was 46.5 years. 26.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 0% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.1% were from 25 to 44; 42.1% were from 45 to 64; and 10.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 57.9% male and 42.1% female.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ismay (Montana) para niños

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