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 Place 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
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.
Glasgow is a short drive from everything, but who would want to leave the 1st best place in Montana?
Homes are priced around $151,600 and residents have the 4th shortest commute in Montana.
The Colstrip has the 25th lowest unemployment rate in Montana. The population growth here has been 8% over the last 15 years, meaning a lot of people want to live here. If they can afford it; the cost of living in Colstrip is higher than the national average and households make $89,483 per year.
We’d move to Colstrip if we could in a heart beat.
If you don’t have a job in East Helena, you’re most likely not trying very hard. The unemployment rate here is almost as low as you can get — 4.8%. In fact, there are probably enough butler and landscaping jobs available here to put every single unemployed resident to work, what with a median income of $52,639.
That’s actually not a bad idea…
If you live in Laurel, you probably know how great it is already.
Laurel has a stable economy where residents earn a large salary ($49,839). And the crime is really, really low (11th lowest in Montana).
If we could afford to move here, we probably would.
There’s two types of people who live in Sidney. Either the old hold outs who have lived there forever and are watching their home values skyrocket, or those d who can afford to buy a $180,400 home there.
Either way, you’re set. Your kids go to great schools, there’s a ton of things to do, and you earn a great salary. Sidney is exactly what you hoped for when you played that board game, LIFE as a kid.
Known for its low unemployment rates and great education, Whitefish is a wonderful place to live in this state.
The relatively stable household incomes and below average crime rates don’t hurt either!
While it may not be as great as some other places on this list, Whitefish still holds its own in in Montana.
The crime is the 27th lowest in the state in Helena, and there were only 203 violent crimes in the entire city last year. We think it’s even safer here than the numbers indicate.
The schools are some of the best in Montana, and residents live in very expensive homes. They also earn more than most every other city in the state. Residents in Helena earn $52,288 a year.
Bozeman had the 22nd lowest unemployment of any place in our research (6.1%) and the 17th lowest crime rate. However, the relative lack of population density and long commute times held it back from being higher on our list.
Bozeman is home to an exceptional Volunteer Fire Department that represents so much about what it’s like to live there.
Columbia Falls comes in at a close 9th. They have the 16th lowest unemployment rate in the state and the 14th highest median income as well, which means the people in Columbia Falls are working and getting paid well.
Additionally, the median home value is the 12th best in the state.
Belgrade makes a case for being one of the best places to live in Montana mainly because of a low crime rate and a higher than average household income level.
And when school spending is higher than the national average and only 5.2% of folks are jobless, you can bet Belgrade residents are glad to live where they do.
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 2018.
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 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