Billings is the largest city in the U.S. state of Montana, with a population estimated at 109,550 as of 2018. Located in the south-central portion of the state, it is the seat of Yellowstone County and the principal city of the Billings Metropolitan Area, which has a population of 171,677. It has a trade area of over 500,000.
Billings is located at 45°47′12″N 108°32′14″W / 45.78667°N 108.53722°W / 45.78667; -108.53722 (45.786553, −108.537139), with two-thirds of the city in the Yellowstone Valley and the South Hills area and one-third in the Heights-Lockwood area. The city is divided by the Rims, long cliffs, also called the Rimrocks. The Rims run to the north and east of the downtown core, separating it from the Heights to the north and Lockwood to the east, with the cliffs to the north being 500 feet (150 m) tall and to the east of downtown, the face rises 800 feet (240 m). Billings elevation is 3,126 feet above sea level. The Yellowstone River runs through the southeast portion of the city. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 43.52 square miles (112.72 km), of which, 43.41 square miles (112.43 km) is land and 0.11 square miles (0.28 km) is water.
Around Billings, seven mountain ranges can be viewed. The Bighorn Mountains have over 200 lakes and two peaks that rise to over 13,000 feet (4,000 m): Cloud Peak (13,167 ft (4,013 m) and Black Tooth Mountain (13,005 ft (3,964 m). The Pryor Mountains directly south of Billings rise to a height of 8,822 feet and are unlike any other landscape in Montana. They are also home the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. The Beartooth Mountains are the location of Granite Peak, which at 12,807 feet (3,904 m) is the highest point in the state of Montana. The Beartooth Highway, a series of steep zigzags and switchbacks along the Montana–Wyoming border, rises to 10,947 feet. It was called “the most beautiful drive in America” by Charles Kuralt. The Beartooth Mountains are just northeast of Yellowstone National Park. The Crazy Mountains to the west rise to a height of 11,209 feet at Crazy Peak, the tallest peak in the range. Big Snowy Mountains, with peaks of 8,600 feet, are home to Crystal Lake. The Bull Mountains are a low-lying heavily forested range north of Billings Heights. The Absaroka Range stretches about 150 mi (240 km) across the Montana-Wyoming border, and 75 miles at its widest, forming the eastern boundary of Yellowstone National Park.
As of the census of 2010, there were 104,170 people, 43,945 households, and 26,194 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,399.7 inhabitants per square mile (926.5/km). There were 46,317 housing units at an average density of 1,067.0 per square mile (412.0/km). The racial makeup of the city was 89.6% White, 0.8% African American, 4.4% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.4% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.2% of the population.
There were 43,945 households of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.7% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.4% were non-families. 32.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 12% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the city, the population was spread out with 22.6% of residents under the age of 18; 9.8% between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.3% from 25 to 44; 26.3% from 45 to 64; and 15% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age in the city was 37.5 years. The gender makeup of the city was 48.3% male and 51.7% female.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $35,147, and the median income for a family was $45,032. Males had a median income of $32,525 versus $21,824 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,207. About 9.2% of families and 12.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.5% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over. 29.4% of the population had a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Billings has many sections that comprise the whole of the city. The sections are often defined by Billings’s unique physical characteristics. For example, a 500-foot (150 m) cliff known as the “Rims” separates the Heights from downtown Billings
There are 11 boroughs called “sections” within Billings’ city limits.
The city’s neighborhoods make up the soul of Billings. The south side of Billings is probably the oldest residential area in the city, and it is the city’s most culturally diverse neighborhood. South Park is an old growth City park, host to several food fairs and festivals in the summer months. The Bottom Westend Historic District is home to many of Billings first mansions. Midtown, the most densely populated portion of the city is in the midst of gentrification on a level few, if any, areas in Montana have ever seen. New growth is mainly concentrated on Billings’s West End, where Shiloh Crossing is a new commercial development, anchored by Scheels, Montana’s largest retail store. Residentially, the West End is characterized by upper income households. Denser, more urban growth is occurring in Josephine Crossing, one of Billings’s many new contemporary neighborhoods. Downtown is a blend of small businesses and office space, together with restaurants and a walkable brewery district. The Heights, defined as the area of the city northeast of the Metra, is predominantly residential, and a new school was recently constructed to accommodate growth in the neighborhood.
Billings is the principal city of the Billings Metropolitan Statistical Area. The metropolitan area consists of two counties, Yellowstone and Carbon County. The population of the entire metropolitan area was estimated at 171,677 as of the 2018 census estimate.