Article Table Of Contents
If you're not flying down The Big Mountain in Whitefish going mach speed, hiking Glacier National Park, or visiting the best places in Montana for 2020, than you're not taking advantage of the best things that Montana has to offer.
Whether you're taking advantage of long summer nights by Flathead Lake, idyllic winter jaunts through Custer National Forest in Billings, or just hangin' with the good 'ol people of Big Sky Country, Montana is the best. Needless to say, it was very difficult to narrow down the top ten best places to live in this Northwest state.
But, HomeSnacks did it. How'd we do it? We consulted the numbers. In total, we analyzed 32 cities. We looked at important factors like cost of living, crime, unemployment rates, rent and median home values for every place with over 2,000 residents.
We discovered that there are awesome places in Montana to live for every stage of life and every budget. Glasgow is the best for families just starting out, Dillon is great for people looking to retire, and make sure to give Sidney a second look if you don't have to worry about a budget.
Have we piqued your interest? Want to know more about our methodology and where the best places in Montana are located? Keep reading.
The 10 Best Places To Live In Montana For 2020:
- Colstrip (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Glasgow (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Glendive (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Whitefish (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Belgrade (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Columbia Falls (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Laurel (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Bozeman (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Sidney (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Red Lodge (Photos | Homes For Sale)
Montana has so many great cities, that you could literally throw a dart at the state and live happily wherever it landed. But, what city is the best place to live in Montana for 2020? Well according to the US Census and FBI data we crunched, Colstrip is the best place to live in The Treasure State if you care about home values, low crime, and a high quality of life.
Read below to see how your hometown ranked and how other amazing Montana cities ranked. Hint: if you live in the greater Helena area consider yourself one lucky Montanan!
For more Montana reading, check out:
- Best Counties To Live In Montana
- Cheapest Places To Live In Montana
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Montana
The 10 Best Places To Live In Montana For 2020
Colstrip has it made. In fact, according to science, it's one of the best places to live in the state of Montana.
The unemployment rate is the 24th lowest in the state at 5.4%, and residents make a pretty penny. Median incomes are $87,188, and the average cost of a home is $118,400. Which is an indication that lots of people want to live here.
We wouldn't be surprised if more and more publications call Colstrip one of America's gems.
At an unemployment rate of 6.2%, everyone who wants a job can get one in Glasgow. And the residents command high salaries ($62,300 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($138,800 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.
Well, I guess technically 1.9% of Glendive residents who want to have a job can't find one, so not everyone has a job, but it's the 6th 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, Glendive also ranked well for crime (3rd) and median income ($50,681).
Crime is something that doesn't happen very often in Whitefish. Statistically the 9th safest place in the state, there were only 9 violent crimes in the entire city last year.
It's really beautiful in Whitefish, and new homes continue to replace older homes. Resident earn $51,059 a year, and homes are valued at more than $348,600.
What else could you possibly want if you're someone who likes the good things in life?
Belgrade has a long and illustrious history and its ranking in the top ten of our best places to live is just another notch in its belt.\n\Belgrade had the 5th highest household median income adjusted for cost of living at $58,146.
Not to mention that its residents have plenty to do on the weekends.
In Columbia Falls, everyone loves to call Columbia Falls home! The median home value is the 11th highest in Montana.
Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 9th lowest in the state and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Treasure State.
The Laurel has the 16th 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 Laurel is higher than the national average and households make $50,541 per year.
We'd move to Laurel if we could in a heart beat.
Bozeman takes 8th place on our list of best places in Montana for 2020 thanks to a strong showing in unemployment rate (18th overall) and things to do.
Bozeman is no stranger to top ten lists, being named one of the best places to live in the country by multiple outlets over the past ten years. And that tends to happen when home prices hit $343,000 at the median.
Sidney is just about as close to a perfect area as you can get. Residents here are gainfully employed, and the schools are some of the best in the state. It's safe, and residents get to enjoy the benefits of quality at home living.
It's quite a gem tucked away in Montana.
Who wouldn't want to live in a place where there's low crime and everyone is rich? That's the case with Red Lodge.
Things are looking peachy keen here. The unemployment rate is the lowest in Montana and the median income comes in at $49,450.
This is the kind of place you brag to your friends on Facebook about.
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 31,212 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 cities to live in Montana 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 Colstrip.
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 Colstrip 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.
Colstrip made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Montana for 2020.
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:
- Polson (Pop. 4,843)
- Cut Bank (Pop. 3,007)
- Hardin (Pop. 3,842)
For more Montana reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Montana
- Richest Cities In Montana
- Safest Places In Montana
- Worst Places To Live In Montana