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Prairie County, Montana facts for kids

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Prairie County
Downtown Terry, Montana during a typical snowy day.
Downtown Terry, Montana during a typical snowy day.
Map of Montana highlighting Prairie 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 February 5, 1915
Named for Prairie landscape
Seat Terry
Largest town Terry
 • Total 1,743 sq mi (4,510 km2)
 • Land 1,737 sq mi (4,500 km2)
 • Water 5.8 sq mi (15 km2)  0.3%
 • Total 1,088
 • Density 0.6/sq mi (0.2/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Congressional district At-large
Website (Terry Chamber of Commerce)
  • Montana county number 45

Prairie County is a county in the U.S. state of Montana. As of the 2020 census, the population was 1,088, making it the fifth-least populous county in Montana. Its county seat is Terry. Prairie County was created by the Montana Legislature in 1915 out of parts of Custer, Dawson, and Fallon Counties. The name was selected in a contest and reflects the predominant landscape of the region.

The county was the site of the 1938 Custer Creek train wreck that killed 47 people and injured 75.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,743 square miles (4,510 km2), of which 1,737 square miles (4,500 km2) is land and 5.8 square miles (15 km2) (0.3%) is water.

Major highways

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 3,684
1930 3,941 7.0%
1940 2,410 −38.8%
1950 2,377 −1.4%
1960 2,318 −2.5%
1970 1,752 −24.4%
1980 1,836 4.8%
1990 1,383 −24.7%
2000 1,199 −13.3%
2010 1,179 −1.7%
2020 1,088 −7.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 1,179 people, 551 households, and 342 families in the county. The population density was 0.7 inhabitants per square mile (0.27/km2). There were 673 housing units at an average density of 0.4 per square mile (0.15/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 96.4% white, 0.5% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 0.2% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.4% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 44.7% were German, 18.6% were Norwegian, 14.1% were American, 11.8% were Irish, and 9.5% were English.

Of the 551 households, 18.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.9% were married couples living together, 4.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 37.9% were non-families, and 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.67. The median age was 53.6 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $34,896 and the median income for a family was $43,500. Males had a median income of $28,438 versus $21,964 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,296. About 12.4% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.6% of those under age 18 and 14.5% of those age 65 or over.



Census-designated place

Other communities

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