Fort Benton is a city in and the county seat of Chouteau County, Montana, United States. Established in 1846, Fort Benton is the oldest settlement in Montana. The city’s waterfront area, the most important aspect of its 19th-century growth, was designated the Fort Benton Historic District, a National Historic Landmark, in 1961.
Fort Benton is located at 47°49′10″N 110°40′11″W / 47.81944°N 110.66972°W / 47.81944; -110.66972 (47.819307, -110.669726).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.07 square miles (5.36 km), all of it land.
The community sits in a narrow river valley on the west bank of the Missouri River and is in a geographic area known as the Golden Triangle (one of several dozen folk regions of Montana) due to the strength of the wheat industry of the region. For example, in 2007, Chouteau County was one of two counties in the United States with the
highest wheat production. The long summer days (due to being at almost 48 degrees N latitude) and fertile soil of the area (due in part to ash deposits from the Elkhorn
Volcanics to the south) leads to exceptionally “hard” wheat (high protein content) thriving in the area.
Fort Benton experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk) with cold, dry winters and hot, wetter summers.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,464 people, 686 households, and 412 families residing in the city. The population density was 707.2 inhabitants per square mile (273.1/km). There were 811 housing units at an average density of 391.8 per square mile (151.3/km). The racial makeup of the city was 97.4% White, 0.1% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.6% of the population.
There were 686 households of which 20.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 39.9% were non-families. 37.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.67.
The median age in the city was 52.1 years. 17.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 17% were from 25 to 44; 32.7% were from 45 to 64; and 27.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.5% male and 52.5% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,594 people, 636 households, and 422 families residing in the city. The population density was 763.2 people per square mile (294.5/km²). There were 731 housing units at an average density of 350.0 per square mile (135.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.68% White, 0.19% African American, 0.56% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.38% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.56% of the population.
There were 636 households out of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.4% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the city, the population was spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 23.1% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 23.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $29,406, and the median income for a family was $32,072. Males had a median income of $22,813 versus $20,787 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,861. About 11.6% of families and 13.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.6% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over.