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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.
Here are the 10 best places to live in Montana for 2019:
- 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
The 10 Best Places To Live In Montana For 2019
At an unemployment rate of 3.6%, everyone who wants a job can get one in Glasgow. And the residents command high salaries ($53,235 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($151,600 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.
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's A LOT of demand to live in Colstrip.
Colstrip ranked impressively high for its crime rate (1st overall) and its short commute times (5th).
We think that's worth the price of admission.
Good things do come in small packages; it's true for East Helena, which with a population of 2,286 makes it one of the smallest on this list.
Relatively low unemployment and relatively high adjusted income are just two blessings East Helena residents enjoy.
The 3rd lowest crime rate in all of Montana makes East Helena one of the safest place on this list.
Laurel ranks as the 4th best place in Montana for 2019. Let's take a look at why.
Laurel has a lower crime rate than the cities mentioned above. Laurel's cost of living is a tick higher, but families also earn much higher salaries - to the tune of $49,839 a year.
The knock? We can't really find one 🙂
The crime rate is much lower here than in the rest of Montana, as there were only 29 violent crimes in the city limits last year. The unemployment rate is the 5th lowest in Montana (2.3%), and the public schools are ranked 3rd in the state in terms of spending per student.
Additionally, homes are the 11th most expensive in Sidney ($180,400), meaning a lot of people want to live there.
Plus, the residents earn a really great salary: $59,131 a year.
If you don't have a job in Whitefish, you're most likely not trying very hard. The unemployment rate here is almost as low as you can get -- 5.7%. 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 $51,250.
That's actually not a bad idea...
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.
Known for its low unemployment rates and great education, Bozeman 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, Bozeman still holds its own in in Montana.
Columbia Falls has a really low crime rate (12th lowest) and only 4.8% of the people are unemployed. Additionally, residents here have high paying jobs ($47,157). 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 Columbia Falls.
Well, I guess technically 5.2% of Belgrade residents who want to have a job can't find one, so not everyone has a job, but it's the 19th closest of any city in Montana.
You can tell they take business seriously as they have by far the coolest Chamber of Commerce website we came across in our research.
In addition to its incredibly low unemployment rate, Belgrade also ranked well for crime (13th) and median income ($54,000).
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.
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
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Montana
- 10 Safest Places In Montana
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Montana