10 Best Places To Live In Montana For 2019


These are the cream of the crop in Big Sky Country.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fifth time ranking the best places to live in Montana.

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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.

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.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Montana reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Montana For 2019

Glasgow, MT

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 3,363
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $151,600 (21st best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (11th best)
More on Glasgow: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Glasgow comes in 1st in our best places to live in Montana analysis.

Ranking highly for its exceptionally low unemployment rate (11th overall) and crime rate (2nd overall), Glasgow is the exact kind of place you’d want to live with a family.

Several large companies call the surrounding area home which should keep Glasgow in our lists for years to come.

Colstrip, MT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 2,288
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $126,500 (25th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (25th best)
More on Colstrip: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Colstrip is a cute little city where crime is far below the state average, and where it’s affordable. The schools are also solidly rated.

Home prices clock in at $126,500 and households earn a median salary of $89,483. One could get used to that.

East Helena, MT

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 2,286
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $165,500 (14th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (16th best)
More on East Helena: Real Estate | Data | Photos

We think the motto in East Helena should be “Everything is greater in East Helena,” and that seems to be pretty close to the truth.

East Helena has some of the highest home values in Montana, and they’re going up fast. Additionally, East Helena only has 740.0% of its residents living in poverty.

Crime is also well below the state average, making East Helena a solid option for people who value safety. At least those who can afford it.

Laurel, MT

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,931
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $161,000 (18th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.8% (14th best)
More on Laurel: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Laurel is feeling the love as it ranks as the 4th best city to live in Montana for 2019.

It ranked highly because of its high incomes (10th overall) and low crime (11th overall and one of the best in the top ten).

We think the city should probably change its motto at this point to something like “The Place To Be In Montana”.

Sidney, MT

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 6,407
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $180,400 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.3% (5th best)
More on Sidney: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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.

Sidney should consider renaming to Paradise Valley in our humble opinion.

Review Of Sidney by HomeSnacks User

Im from sidney, im a highschool grad. growing up there only 5 people have dropped out. How dare you insult my home with ur bull c**p u call a study. HOW DARE U

Whitefish, MT

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 6,859
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $311,900 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (20th best)
More on Whitefish: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The Whitefish has the 20th 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 Whitefish is higher than the national average and households make $51,250 per year.

We’d move to Whitefish if we could in a heart beat.

Helena, MT

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 30,102
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $209,500 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (11th best)
More on Helena: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Helena comes in at a close 7th. They have the 11th lowest unemployment rate in the state and the 8th highest median income as well, which means the people in Helena are working and getting paid well.

Additionally, the median home value is the 5th best in the state.

Bozeman, MT

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 41,761
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 6)
Median Home Value: $278,700 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (22nd best)
More on Bozeman: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bozeman is by far the largest area to top this list. And, the population density is really high, meaning there’s a ton of things to do to keep you occupied. .

Residents in this Helena suburb are very wealthy. No wonder the population has exploded in the last 15 years.

Add that all up and Bozeman places 8th in our ranking of the best places to live in Montana for 2019.

Review Of Bozeman by HomeSnacks User

Lived in Bozeman, on a ranch, for many years. Now in California. Will never stop missing Montana’s beautiful mountains, friendly folk. If you do decide to move there, better be prepared for some cold winters!

Columbia Falls, MT

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 4,960
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 4)
Median Home Value: $174,400 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (16th best)
More on Columbia Falls: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Well, I guess technically 4.8% of Columbia Falls residents who want to have a job can’t find one, so not everyone has a job, but it’s the 16th 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, Columbia Falls also ranked well for crime (12th) and median income ($47,157).

Review Of Columbia Falls by HomeSnacks User

The people in this town are so nice and generous. There’s a strong sense of community here. People really look out for one another and always offer help when needed.

The people here are the nicest I have ever come across.

Belgrade, MT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 7,874
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $196,300 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (19th best)
More on Belgrade: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Belgrade had the 19th lowest unemployment of any place in our research (5.2%) and the 13th lowest crime rate. However, the relative lack of population density and long commute times held it back from being higher on our list.

Belgrade is home to an exceptional Volunteer Fire Department that represents so much about what it’s like to live there.

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’.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

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
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data.

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

  1. King Arthur Park (Pop. 1,137)
  2. Scobey (Pop. 1,175)
  3. Montana City (Pop. 2,878)
  4. Four Corners (Pop. 4,003)
  5. Glasgow (Pop. 3,363)
  6. Colstrip (Pop. 2,288)
  7. Helena Valley Northwest (Pop. 3,967)
  8. Plentywood (Pop. 1,881)
  9. Baker (Pop. 1,866)
  10. West Glendive (Pop. 1,922)

Best Small Towns To Live In Montana

  1. Belknap (Pop. 291)
  2. Kerr (Pop. 115)
  3. Turah (Pop. 426)
  4. South Hills (Pop. 529)
  5. Park City (Pop. 944)
  6. Sweet Grass (Pop. 95)
  7. Saddle Butte (Pop. 175)
  8. Huntley (Pop. 478)
  9. Gibson Flats (Pop. 253)
  10. Rader Creek (Pop. 234)

If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Montana according to the data:

  1. Libby (Pop. 2,674)
  2. Polson (Pop. 4,674)
  3. Hardin (Pop. 3,803)

For more Montana reading, check out:

Where Are The The Best Places To Live In Montana?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Glasgow 3,363 3.6% $151,600
2 Colstrip 2,288 7.3% $126,500
3 East Helena 2,286 4.8% $165,500
4 Laurel 6,931 3.8% $161,000
5 Sidney 6,407 2.3% $180,400
6 Whitefish 6,859 5.7% $311,900
7 Helena 30,102 3.6% $209,500
8 Bozeman 41,761 6.1% $278,700
9 Columbia Falls 4,960 4.8% $174,400
10 Belgrade 7,874 5.2% $196,300

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

One thought on “10 Best Places To Live In Montana For 2019

  1. Are you friggin serious????? Oh my God I’m sorry for being rude but you have Sidney, MT the #1 spot to live in Montana? Are you kidding me? Please tell me this is a joke. Please cause if not I have zero faith in Ppl anymore cause that’s just straight up silly

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