Montana's growing Hispanic population is struggling to access health care

EMILY SCHABACKER

Montana’s high mountain peaks and slower-paced lifestyle have drawn many newcomers over the past 10 years, including minority populations.

The state is seeing the third-fastest-growing Hispanic population in the country, following only North and South Dakota. The 2020 Census reflects a nearly doubled Hispanic population over the last 10 years, although Montana State University researcher Sally Moyce expects only a sliver of that population is represented in the data.

Though fast growing, the population remains below 100,000, meaning Montana is considered a “new-growth community” with limited Spanish-speaking resources, said Moyce. The state lacks certain basics such as Spanish-speaking health care providers, Spanish versions of documents and health questionnaires, exacerbating health disparities that already exist due to lack of affordable housing. 

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In fact, according to the 2020 Census, Montana’s Hispanic population is closer to 45,000, an increase of approximately 16,634 people, about 4.2% of the state’s population. That’s up from 2.9% in 2010.

America’s Hispanic populations are often migratory, stopping in areas where there is work. Between the construction at Big Sky and growing hospitality industry, Gallatin Valley is seeing a significant portion of the growing minority population,

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