Ravalli County is more dependent on Social Security than most of the rest of the U.S., according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. With Social Security beneficiaries accounting for about 25 percent of the county's population, their personal income is 9.8 percent of the county's total.
The Social Security Administration reports that in 2009, over $123 million was distributed to county residents. The data from 2009 is the most current information available.
Lots of numbers here - 9,990 people receive Social Security payments - pensions, survivor benefits and disability checks. The 9.8 percent total of county payrolls is higher than the state of Montana - at 6.8 percent, and nationally - 5.5 percent.
Over the years, and as retirement numbers increase, the per capita percentage of county total income has increased - from 7.4 percent in 1970 to 8.4 percent in 1980 and now at 9.8 percent.
In a report prepared by Bill Bishop of Roberta Gallardo for the Center for Rural Strategies, geographer Peter Nelson was quoted as saying Social Security is a critical element in rural economic bases.