Located in Northwest Montana, Flathead County encompasses 3,262,720 acres or 5,098 square miles. Approximately 94% of the land mass is National or State Forest Land, Wilderness, Agricultural, and Corporate Timber Land, thus confining development to the remaining 6% of the area.
A short distance from any developed area is Glacier National Park, designated hiking areas, 2 ski resorts, 8 golf courses, Flathead Lake, and Hungry Horse Reservoir. With the abundance of recreational opportunities and aesthetic values, it is not hard to see why Flathead County is the among the fastest growing, and the 3rd most populated county in Montana.
There are 3 incorporated cities in the County. Kalispell, which is the largest, has a population of approximately 19,927. Two additional major municipalities include Whitefish, with a population of 6,357, and Columbia Falls, with a population of 4,688. There are also several small full service communities in Flathead County, which have been designated as Census Designated Places, which will also have population and housing info. Countywide, the population has increased from 74,471 in 2000, to an estimated 90,928 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This represents a 22.1% increase in 10 years. Native residents are now greatly out numbered by new residents. A large percentage of new residents are retirees and middle aged professionals.
Attraction development has greatly increased in recent years contributing to the influx of tourists and tourism based services, and moving the economic base towards Recreation and Tourism, and creating new jobs in the service industry. Flathead County’s population increases by 40%, during the months of June through August.