These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Montana


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

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Where are the best places in the state of Montana? They are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places where people have the best jobs, where residents are happily married, and where the sun shines the most.

And certainly, since crime is really low, every one wants to be there. It’s, literally, all sunshine and rainbows. And while many places in Montana are actually really awesome compared to cities throughout the country, these stand out on their own merits.

We looked at the most populated cities in Big Sky Country for this study. The cities at the top are places where things are going swimmingly right now, at least according to data, which measures the good things that people say they want in a city.

There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against. We had more than 10 million people read our worst cities in a state series, which was featured in hundreds of media outlets, including an NPR feature.

So we know what we’re talking about.

Here are the 10 best places to live in Montana:

  1. Sidney
  2. Helena Valley West Central
  3. Helena Valley Southeast
  4. Lockwood
  5. Laurel
  6. Bozeman
  7. Billings
  8. Orchard Homes
  9. Miles City
  10. Lewistown

We understand there’s a lot of good in every place. However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty, ‘friendly people’ and community involvement), these are the best options in Montana for making a place home.

The worst city to live in Montana? Kalispell. More on that later.

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How do you decide if a place is amazeballs or not?

In order to rank Montana’s best cities, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, good weather, things to do and a stable economy.

So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

How we crunched the numbers for Montana

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, this is the criteria we used:

  • Strong schools
  • Low unemployment rates
  • High incomes
  • High home prices
  • Lots of sunny days a year
  • Low crime
  • Low cost of living

If you’d like to see the complete list of cities in Montana, scroll to the bottom of this post to see a link to the entire data set.

Note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. This list is based on data, and is entirely unbiased. In terms of the cost of living numbers listed below, they are based on a national average of 100. So anything under 100 is more affordable.

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1. Sidney

Best Montana

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,360
Crime Index: 53
Cost Of Living Index: 94

Sidney is a small city near the North Dakota border. When you look at the data, it’s the unbiased best place to live in the state of Montana.

2. Helena Valley West Central

Best Montana

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,293
Crime Index: 40
Cost Of Living Index: 111

This small area on the northern side of Helena (hence the name) is very safe, but a bit less affordable than other cities on this list.

3. Helena Valley Southeast

Best Montana

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,860
Crime Index: 57
Cost Of Living Index: 105

The name says it all. This place is outside of the Helena metro area. You get wide open spaces and friendly neighbors.

4. Lockwood

Best Montana

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,606
Crime Index: 62
Cost Of Living Index: 97

There’s a reason this place in Yellowstone County has had a 57% growth rate over the last 10 years. It’s pretty safe and close to a ton of outdoor activities.

5. Laurel

Best Montana

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,763
Crime Index: 76
Cost Of Living Index: 106

Laurel is on the south end of Billings.

6. Bozeman

Best Montana

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 37,619
Crime Index: 95
Cost Of Living Index: 117

It would be hard to find a better ‘big’ city in America, must less in the state of Montana. Frankly put, Bozeman is top notch in a number of categories.

7. Billings

Best Montana

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 104,374
Crime Index: 109
Cost Of Living Index: 107

This is the biggest city in the state of Montana. It’s very rare that a state’s largest city ranks as one of the best places to live. But the data doesn’t lie. There’s not a lot to complain about from residents who live here.

8. Orchard Homes

Best Montana

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,491
Crime Index: 80
Cost Of Living Index: 116

Orchard Homes is a small place on the southern fringes of Missoula. It’s relatively safe, but a bit more expensive than other cities on this list.

9. Miles City

Best Montana

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,428
Crime Index: 86
Cost Of Living Index: 87

Miles City is the county seat of Custer County. The only downfall – you’re way out in no man’s land. But for lots of people, that’s a good thing.

10. Lewistown

Best Montana

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,897
Crime Index: 76
Cost Of Living Index: 89

Lewistown is another of Montana’s ‘big, small towns.’ It’s relatively safe and affordable in central Montana. The nearest large city is Great Falls.

There You Have It

When considering the local economies, cost of living, and crime numbers, these places in Montana are by far the best. Don’t shoot the messenger.

Other notable cities:
3rd Worst: Anaconda-Deer Lodge County
2nd Worst: Evergreen
Worst: Kalispell

We also wrote about the 10 worst places to live in Montana is you want to read that story.

Detailed List Of Best Places To Live In Montana

City Rank Population Crime Index Cost Of Living Index
Sidney 1 5,360 53 94
Helena Valley West Central 2 8,293 40 111
Helena Valley Southeast 3 7,860 57 105
Lockwood 4 6,606 62 97
Laurel 5 6,763 76 106
Bozeman 6 37,619 95 117
Billings 7 104,374 109 107
Orchard Homes 8 5,491 80 116
Miles City 9 8,428 86 87
Lewistown 10 5,897 76 89
Belgrade 11 7,439 93 109
Butte-Silver Bow 12 34,164 81 93
Helena 13 28,381 105 104
Havre 14 9,425 117 94
Great Falls 15 58,498 105 99
Livingston 16 7,071 84 101
Whitefish 17 6,402 74 116
Missoula 18 66,982 132 110
Anaconda-Deer Lodge County 19 9,277 79 91
Evergreen 20 6,696 76 100
Kalispell 21 20,016 110 106

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One thought on “These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Montana

  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 shitting 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 retarded

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