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:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Montana
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In Montana
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live 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.
With the unemployment rate being the 11th lowest in Montana and very stable household median incomes, it’s easy to see why someone would want to live in Glasgow.
Plus, the crime rate is the 2nd lowest in the state!
The Town of Colstrip might be a bit of a surprise to some in terms of how well it ranks according to science.
The crime rate in Colstrip isn’t amazing, but it’s far below the state average. The homes are valued at $126,500 here, and the schools get some of the most funding in Montana.
If Colstrip can get some more of their residents to work, things will look even rosier here. The unemployment rate (7.3% is the 25th highest in the state.
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.
Little Laurel has it made. It has the 14th lowest unemployment rate, and crime is far below average for Montana.
Residents here have great jobs, and the home price proves it’s a highly desirable location in the state, for those who can afford the high cost of living
We’d recommend you start saving up!
Sidney ranks as the 5th best place in Montana for 2018. Let’s take a look at why.
Sidney has a lower crime rate than the cities mentioned above. Sidney’s cost of living is a tick higher, but families also earn much higher salaries – to the tune of $59,131 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 14 violent crimes in the city limits last year. The unemployment rate is the 20th lowest in Montana (5.7%), and the public schools are ranked 3rd in the state in terms of spending per student.
Additionally, homes are the 1st most expensive in Whitefish ($311,900), meaning a lot of people want to live there.
Plus, the residents earn a really great salary: $51,250 a year.
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.
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 Bozeman.
Bozeman ranked impressively high for its crime rate (17th overall) and its short commute times (17th).
We think that’s worth the price of admission.
Columbia Falls 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 $174,400 and households earn a median salary of $47,157. One could get used to that.
Belgrade is a short drive from everything, but who would want to leave the 10th best place in Montana?
Homes are priced around $196,300 and residents have the 27th shortest commute in Montana.
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:
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Montana
- 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