Census data confirms the obvious population growth in many cities around Montana. Bozeman finally topped the 50,000 mark and Billings is now at 110,000, per 2020 census data. And while the bigger cities in Montana get most of the attention, it's impossible to neglect our small towns.

Many of us are one short step away from a Montana tiny town.

Figuratively, or literally, most people born in Montana probably have small town connections. The majority of my friends in Billings were originally from a smaller town in the state. I grew up between Belgrade and Manhattan, both of which have exploded in growth since my teenage years and are becoming not-so-small communities.

Photo Michael Foth, Townsquare Media

Small towns are the backbone of Montana.

Missoula, Bozeman, Billings, and Great Falls might be home to the most residents, but the fact remains that most of the state (by area) is made up of small towns. City-Data.com lists 185 towns or unincorporated communities with populations of 1,000 or less. From Agency (pop. 348) to Yaak (pop. 248) our state is filled with tiny towns, usually every 20 - 40 miles apart and oftentimes located on two-lane highways and quiet country roads.

Check out this cool dashcam time-lapse of Montana's small towns.

Photographer Gail Grace shared a time-lapse video she took of her journey through a handful of Montana small towns. Shot mostly in the western half of the state, I almost felt like I was along for the ride in this video. I recognized most of the little towns, but I will tell you that I spent way too much time pausing certain frames, looking for signage on buildings and streets, trying to identify some of the towns. Take a look and let me know how many you recognize by dropping a Comment.

UP NEXT: 10 Smallest Towns in Montana

Whimsical Homemade Mailboxes Only Found in Montana

Made from recycled parts and pieces, these unique mailboxes are anything but boring.