Where are the best places in the state of Montana?
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Treasure State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in Montana.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 32 places in Montana, we came up with this list of the best places:
- Glasgow (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Colstrip (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- East Helena (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Laurel (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Sidney (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Whitefish (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Helena (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Bozeman (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Columbia Falls (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Belgrade (Photos | Homes For Sale)
Well, it looks like you should check out Glasgow if you’re thinking of moving to Montana — it’s the best the Treasure State has to offer according to the data.
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Montana.
For more Montana reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In Montana
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Montana
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Montana
Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Montana
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Helena with a population of 30,102 against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.
So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:
- Cities — Populations over 2,000
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 2,000
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This left us with 32 cities, 62 towns, and 215 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 2,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Montana
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Montana across a number of criteria from one to 32, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In Montana”.
The criteria we looked at were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Montana? That would be Glasgow.
If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Montana.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Glasgow at the end of the cul-de-sac.
It’s obvious why Glasgow ranks 1st in the state for best places to live: they have the 11th lowest unemployment rate and the 21st highest home values.
Plus, they’re known for their quality education and relatively low crime, making Glasgow a great place to live.
We wouldn’t be surprised to see CNN call Colstrip one of the best places to live in the United States. Not only do the residents all make great livings, there’s essentially no crime in the entire city. And the residents are very involved in the community.
They can’t build homes fast enough here as it seems everyone wants a piece of Colstrip.
East Helena is just about as close to a perfect area as you can get. Residents here are gainfully employed, and the schools are some of the best in the state. It’s safe, and residents get to enjoy the benefits of quality at home living.
It’s quite a gem tucked away in Montana.
At an unemployment rate of 3.8%, everyone who wants a job can get one in Laurel. And the residents command high salaries ($49,839 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($161,000 each).
We’re not saying money is why these cities are the ‘best’ in Montana. What we’re implying is that money means safety and peace of mind. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
In Sidney, everyone loves to call Sidney home! The median home value is the 11th highest in Montana.
Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 5th lowest in the state. and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Treasure State.
Taking a similar route to the top ten as many others on this list, Whitefish ranked highly for adjusted median income (9th), crime (15th), and unemployment (20th).
With a population of 6,859 it was one of the smaller in the top ten and its government website actually goes to pains to say that it’s a “community though not a city”.
But don’t listen to what they say people of Whitefish, you can be anything you want.
Helena has a really low crime rate (27th lowest) and only 3.6% of the people are unemployed. Additionally, residents here have high paying jobs ($52,288). And that goes a long way.
The population is growing at a steady clip, and the cost of living is lower than it should be. So people have an extra incentive to live in Helena.
With the unemployment rate being the 22nd lowest in Montana and very stable household median incomes, it’s easy to see why someone would want to live in Bozeman.
Plus, the crime rate is the 17th lowest in the state!
Columbia Falls has some of the most employed as well as the highest earning residents in the entire state of Montana. Factor in a very low crime rate, and this Columbia Falls is a real gem.
With high incomes comes a high cost of living, which can been seen in the home prices. Additionally, the commute time for Columbia Falls residents to work is significantly higher than average.
Belgrade ranks as the 10th best place in Montana for 2019. Let’s take a look at why.
Belgrade has a lower crime rate than the cities mentioned above. Belgrade’s cost of living is a tick higher, but families also earn much higher salaries – to the tune of $54,000 a year.
The knock? We can’t really find one 🙂
Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Montana
If you’re looking at areas in Montana with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Glasgow made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Montana for 2019.
Best Towns To Live In Montana
- King Arthur Park (Pop. 1,137)
- Scobey (Pop. 1,175)
- Montana City (Pop. 2,878)
- Four Corners (Pop. 4,003)
- Glasgow (Pop. 3,363)
- Colstrip (Pop. 2,288)
- Helena Valley Northwest (Pop. 3,967)
- Plentywood (Pop. 1,881)
- Baker (Pop. 1,866)
- West Glendive (Pop. 1,922)
Best Small Towns To Live In Montana
- Belknap (Pop. 291)
- Kerr (Pop. 115)
- Turah (Pop. 426)
- South Hills (Pop. 529)
- Park City (Pop. 944)
- Sweet Grass (Pop. 95)
- Saddle Butte (Pop. 175)
- Huntley (Pop. 478)
- Gibson Flats (Pop. 253)
- Rader Creek (Pop. 234)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Montana according to the data:
- Libby (Pop. 2,674)
- Polson (Pop. 4,674)
- Hardin (Pop. 3,803)
For more Montana reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Montana For 2018
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Montana
- 10 Safest Places In Montana
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Montana
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In Montana