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However, the age component is more complex than the data depicted in these two charts.  Per Figure IX-6, of the 2,167 area household members of survey participants, forty-six percent (46%) were age 17 or under.  Moreover, when interpolating these data on the basis of the number of persons in each specific year group, the 0 to 5 Age Group has on average 67 individuals in each age year while the 25 to 34 Age Group and the 35 to 44 Age Group only average 7 and 14 persons, respectively, in each age year.  Thus, while the Bigfork area has a large and growing number of retired individuals, it also has youthful population advancing through life’s stages.  Note that the age year regression is far from linear.  Rather, it is heavy at both ends suggesting that while area residents have determined Bigfork is a great place to raise a family or retire, it is also possible to fortify the popular conclusion that necessity forces a number of our youth to seek their financial security elsewhere.   

Taken together, the data demonstrate that area longevity and seniority, coupled with business/employment interests, are reflective of a dynamic community that diverse groups have found attractive.  These trends, coupled with the well-documented and fast approaching baby-boomer retirement bubble, make the community planning processes that serve as a backdrop for this survey absolutely essential elements of Bigfork’s future.  Just as important, we must continue to recognize that we are a diverse community and the ability to meet the needs of the full spectrum of our community must remain an essential planning element of our future.   

Of the 1,560 survey respondents, only 131 (less than 1%) indicated they were active farmers.  Of these, only one hundred-five (105) responded to the question about how long they would continue farming (Figure IX-7).  Of these, seventy four (74) (representing 6,290.5 acres) felt they would be farming for ten years or more, while fourteen (14) (representing 347 acres) felt they would be out of farming in the next 5 years.  Interestingly, respondents to this question collectively own 7,185 acres of the 18,473.9 acres owned by all survey respondents.