MCPS data forecasts housing relief

Demographer Jerome McKibben predicts Missoula County’s housing woes are coming to a close — eventually. 

The South Carolina-based researcher recently released the results from a 10-year population study of Missoula County Public Schools, and he said it appears the area’s population and housing availability are trending in a healthy direction.  

Housing, McKibben predicted, “will be a huge factor” in the coming years for MCPS. But he said, “Missoula’s in great shape.”

McKibben’s sunny outlook — which flies in the face of much recent consternation over housing prices and availability — derives from several long-term demographic trends. 

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Primary among those were changes in housing patterns among the baby boomer generation. As that population ages, its membership will shrink and individuals will downsize out of single-family residences in the district, according to McKibben. While the rate and size of that shift are hard to pin down, he said, the end result will be an opening of single-family homes throughout Missoula County. 

“That’s going to happen at different paces and magnitudes around the district,” he clarified, pointing out that the various zones within MCPS have vastly disparate homeownership rates. 

Lowell and Paxson Elementary schools have the lowest

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