Montana is a state that in addition to being naturally beautiful, allows you to live comfortably and without paying too much. You can take advantage of the affordable cost of living without sacrificing your comfort by moving to one of the best places to live in montana. Let’s see what these cities are and why it is a good idea to live there.
- 1 Best Places to Live in Montana
- 2 What Is It Like To Live In Montana?
- 3 Entertainment and Things to Do in Montana
- 4 Advantages and Disadvantages of Living in Montana
Best Places to Live in Montana
We have created a list of the best places to live in Montana by analyzing crime statistics, the level of public schools, the cost of living and the possible economic advantages.
These are the recommended places when living in Montana:
The most populous city in Montana is Billings. Here you can find a healthy and fairly growing economy, along with a fairly affordable cost of living.
Billings is one of the best cities to live in Montana if you are looking for suitable employment opportunities, as it is the sales and healthcare hub for much of Wyoming and North and South Dakota.
For those looking for a little more social life and entertainment facilities, then start thinking about Billings.
Billings is also a right destination for retirees, as it has a diverse demographic of residents. The good schools attract young families, job opportunities and the cost of economic life make this city an excellent choice for living in Montana.
Ranked several times as one of the best cities to live in America, Bozeman offers excellent opportunities for families. Living in this city, you will find some of the best schools in Montana and plenty of outdoor activities as well, making the city one of the best places to raise a family.
The cost of living in Bozeman is slightly more expensive than most cities in Montana. However, when considering local services, health advantages, and the local economy, this city is worth considering.
Finding jobs is not difficult either, as the city is a tourist spot for skiing and other outdoor activities and receives many visitors annually. Plus, your kids can get an excellent college education, too, as it’s home to Montana State University.
The city of Belgrade is only 8 miles from the city of Bozeman. Living here gives you access to all the advantages of one of the best cities to live in Montana, but it is more affordable, especially when it comes to buying a home.
The rents and mortgages in this area are quite affordable. For much less than the national average, it is possible to get a 3-bedroom home and take advantage of Bozeman’s excellent schools.
One of the largest cities contributing to Montana’s economy is Kalispell, known for its proximity to Glacier National Park.
This city offers good employment opportunities because it is home to the Buffalo Hill Golf Club and Glacier Park International Airport, so tourism is the key economic industry.
For nature lovers, Kalispell also offers a great mix of city life and natural activities. Nearby you will find some alpine areas and brown bears, but you will also be close to city life. This is one of the most varied places to live in Montana.
The cost of living in Kalispell is very reasonable, but finding a suitable home can be a problem. People don’t seem to move much from this city (which is a good sign), so finding a place to live may take some time.
Kalispell is expected to continue to rise among the best places to live in Montana in the coming years, as it is becoming one of the most relevant cities in this state, mainly thanks to its economy and the number of young people who are coming to this city.
Dillon is one of the cheapest and safest cities in the state. Both the crime rate and the value of the houses are well below the national average. In fact, it is possible to buy a home in this city and pay up to 35% less for a property of similar size in other Montana cities.
However, finding the ideal home will take some time. Many of the properties in the area need remodeling (these types of houses are known in the USA as “fixer-uppers”) , but this can be a great economic opportunity.
If you know anything about construction, it is entirely possible to buy houses in this area, remodel them, and then resell them for a big profit.
6. Great Falls
Away from offering an affordable cost of living, the city of Great Falls features Air Base Malmstrom ( Malmstrom Air Force Base ). This generates a great source of jobs and stimulates the local economy.
Good entertainment is guaranteed in this city, as the Four Seasons Arena hosts hundreds of musical and sporting events each year. Plus, with the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, there’s a lot to enjoy in this city.
Thanks to its location, Great Falls residents also have access to good walking, biking, and camping opportunities. The city also offers several restaurants with many opportunities for socializing.
It also offers good educational opportunities for your children, as here you will find the University of Providence ( University of Providence ) and a branch of the Montana State University ( Great Falls College Montana State University ).
The only downside to this city: crime levels are often high. However, residents report that they rarely feel unsafe or threatened in their homes.
Located in the western part of the state, Missoula is on the list of the best places to live in montana for several reasons:
First, its primary and secondary schools offer a good quality of education.
Second, the city has a fairly cheap cost of living. The cost of living in Missoula is 57% lower than the US average, which represents big savings.
Living in this city will also be just minutes from Mount Jumbo Mountain, so opportunities for family time are plentiful.
The only downside to the city of Missoula, MT, is that crime rates can be high. The residents, however, say they feel happy and safe living in this beautiful city.
8. Orchard Homes
Orchard Homes is a Missoula suburb that allows you to access Missoula’s excellent schools and job opportunities while living in a safe area with a lower cost of living.
The residents of Orchard Homes seem to be very happy with their city, as it is challenging to find suitable properties for sale. 60% of the residents in the area are homeowners, which is also a great indication of stable jobs in the area.
If you are willing to invest some time in finding the ideal home, this city can save you a lot of money and even be an excellent investment for the future.
Whitefish is a tourist destination thanks to the Whitefish Mountain Resort. Tourists come to the area to have fun on Big Mountain. Thanks to this, job opportunities can be outstanding in this city.
Whitefish is a popular vacation destination for many domestic travelers, so there are plenty of jobs, particularly in the hospitality and tourism industries.
In addition, the right number of tourists maintains a very fun atmosphere in the city. Here you can find cultural attractions such as the Whitefish Theater ( Whitefish Theater Company ) and the Huckleberry Days Arts Festival. Additionally, the Taste of Whitefish culinary event is also very popular.
Because the Rocky Mountains are so close, there are many opportunities to enjoy various outdoor activities. Whitefish also has great schools, so it’s a great place to live in Montana if you have school-age children.
Just north of Yellowstone National Park and along the Yellowstone River, you’ll find the town of Livingston. Living here, it is possible to find work quickly because it is visited by thousands of tourists (NOTE: it is important to speak English very well to quickly find work in this city).
Livingston offers low crime rates, good schools, and affordable housing. Buying a house in this city is a really achievable dream. Livingston also has several nightly widow and entertainment opportunities.
Fishing enthusiasts will feel right at home, as the city community considers itself among the best trout fishermen in the world. Proof of this is the museum dedicated to fishing located in the city.
Due to its cheap rents and low cost of living, the city is becoming increasingly popular with young people. Even if you already own your own home, this city is worth considering as an investment and having a passive rental income.
Hamilton is a small rural community along the Bitterroot River. Residents of this small town enjoy many natural attractions, such as parks, mountain bike trails, and forests.
Most jobs in Hamilton are related to the manufacturing industries, so it is possible to find employment even with few qualifications.
The city also has a small but charming city center. Here you will find many students who live in the area and attend the Bitterroot College University of Montana.
The biggest advantage of living in Helena, MT, is its affordable cost of living. Home prices in this city are quite reasonable and right on par with the national average. It is possible to live comfortably, in a quaint and cozy big house, in an excellent location for a relatively affordable price.
Residents say that Helena takes pride in the old town style. The small town center is charming and houses a rich history. The stream Prickly Pear Creek is a pleasant pastime you can enjoy the natural beauty of the state.
Lewistown is a quiet and peaceful area. Home prices are staggeringly low in this city and you get good value for money too. Likewise, the rental properties here in Lewiston are plentiful and affordable.
Another reason why you should consider Lewistown among the best places to live in montana is its proximity to Lewistown Municipal Airport, where you will find daily flights to six cities in the country: Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and also to Seattle
Low prices are the main advantage of living in Glasgow. Rent in this area can be as low as $ 500 a month. Also, housing costs are well below the national average.
Additionally, Glasgow is ranked as the second safest place to live in Montana. However, the biggest drawback to living in this city is the long distances to travel to reach the more developed cities in Montana (although the city has its own airport).
Polson is located on the shores of Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in the western United States. State Park Flathead Lake State Park has opportunities for boating, fishing and snowmobiling use, and the golf course Polson Bay Golf Course is one of the most visited attractions in the area.
In this city, it is also possible to find employment opportunities in the tourism industry and agriculture, as many cherries are harvested during the summer.
What Is It Like To Live In Montana?
Montana is a state that offers a fairly affordable cost of living and the ability to own your own home. However, it also has some downsides. Let’s see what it’s like to live in Montana and if this state really suits you.
Cost of Living in Montana
The biggest advantage of living in Montana is its fairly affordable cost of living. This state has affordable housing, which makes it possible for you to become the owner of your own home.
However, wages in some Montana cities can also below. Therefore, it is important that before moving to Montana, you can get a well-paying job or better yet, start working from home and thus reduce your expenses while taking advantage of the reduced cost of living.
As for housing, it is possible to find all kinds of houses and apartments at quite reasonable prices. Montana has some new construction going on, and the homes are usually quite spacious.
The median home price in Montana’s most developed city ( Billings ) is $ 220,122. The median rent in Billings is $ 1,045. The cost of a home in some Montana cities can be up to 50% less than the national average.
Whether you’re looking for a cute little house to start with or a little cabin in the middle of nowhere, Montana has many options at affordable prices.
The utilities in Montana also tend to be fairly inexpensive, being 8% less than the US average. Gasoline and transportation costs are 7% lower than the national average.
However, Montana residents pay more for groceries. The cost of food in Montana is 4% higher than the national average.
Although the cost of living in Montana is quite affordable, most people move to this state looking for the opportunity to own their own home and take advantage of the impressive natural beauty of the entire area. You will love the vast nature, the wide-open spaces, the beautiful mountains and the diverse wildlife.
In addition, Montana has two cities that stand out among the best to live in the United States. The college town of Bozeman and the city of Missoula. Both Bozeman and Missoula stay on this list year after year.
Montana’s climate differs, depending on where you live. On average, the average daytime temperature in winter is 28 degrees Fahrenheit and 85 degrees Fahrenheit in summer. Summer nights are generally cool.
It is important to note that due to Montana’s mountainous topography, the weather can change constantly, even on the same day. You can wake up to a clear, sunny day, and in a matter of minutes, dark clouds appear with a heavy downpour, then turn into a sunny day again.
Living in the mountains, the weather is often quite unpredictable. Hot and humid weather is less common at 4,000 feet elevation. Snow falls all year round in the mountains but decreases in the summer.
The city of Billings has a semi-arid climate, which means winters are mild and summers are hot, with temperatures that can sometimes reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the heat is dry, so you don’t have to worry about humidity.
Jobs in Montana
It is extremely important to secure a well-paying job before moving to Montana. If you don’t, it may take some time to find a good job, especially during the winter.
It can be said that Montana’s economy is in the transition from an economy based on resource extraction, timber, and farms to tourism, services, and technology. Jobs in mines and sawmills have declined significantly in recent decades.
Jobs in the medicine and health care industry are often the highest paying in Montana. The universities also hire staff for teaching and support staff and maintenance. Also, jobs in the oil industry tend to be plentiful in eastern Montana.
Another important issue about Montana jobs is that some are seasonal. Winter jobs are hard to find. However, it is possible to find a seasonal job during the summer.
If you are a veteran of the United States Army, it will be easier for you to get a job in Montana. Government agencies, as well as national parks and forests, are required by law to give preference to veterans. This will make finding employment in these places without having served in the military very difficult.
Living in Montana, you can generally find work in the tourism industry during the summer. These jobs are not typically high paying and many do not offer benefits but have very few requirements. Many people work in-park stores and concessions during the summer and then work part-time during the winter.
Regardless, statistics show that it is possible to find a job in Montana. The unemployment rate in Montana is about the same as the national average. However, remember that salaries are usually lower in this state and if you can’t get a job you can always check with an employment agency.
The largest employer in Montana is the healthcare giant, the Billings Clinic. Other industries that feature prominently in Montana are the retail, restaurant, and transportation industries.
Most of the good jobs in Montana are concentrated in the big cities ( Billings, Missoula, and Great Falls ). Of course, if you are skilled at working in agriculture or construction, you can live in rural areas.
Among the largest employers in the state are:
- The base area Malmstrom Air Force Base
- Montana government
- Billings Clinic Medical Center
- Benefis Health System Medical Center
- Medical Center Providence Health Center
- Energy company Talen Energy
- Glacier Bancorp financial entity
- Tourist Resort Big Sky Resort
The fastest-growing professions in Montana include physical therapist, foreman, construction worker, electrician, personal assistant, plumber, and mechanic.
Among the highest-paying professions in Montana are Obstetrician / Gynecologist, Nurse Anesthetist, Surgeon, Pediatrician, Psychiatrist, Dentist, and Architect / Managing Engineer.
Education in Montana
Montana has more than 800 schools and an 86% graduation rate, with the best school districts in the Clancy, Gardiner, and Big Sky areas, to name a few.
The public universities in Montana have some of the lowest tuition costs in the nation, which adds another great advantage to its cost of economic life.
There are 16 public colleges and universities in the state, including recognized educational centers such as Montana University in the city of Missoula and Montana State University in the city of Bozeman.
Montana also has a large number of graduate professional staff. In the three largest cities (Billings, Missoula, and Great Falls), the most significant number of professionals have jobs in the healthcare and education industries, contributing to a good education in the state.
Some of the best schools in Montana are:
- Ridge View Elementary School
- Belt School
- Morning star school
- Hawthorne School
- Somers Middle School
- Dillon Middle School
- Choteau High School
- Frenchtown High School
- Gardiner High School
- Hamilton High School
Transportation in Montana
Having a car while living in Montana is absolutely necessary, as it is not easy to get from place to place in this large open area. Also, public transport is quite limited (even in the most developed cities).
The good news is that you will hardly ever find traffic. If you decide to go anywhere, you can feel lonely on the road as traffic is almost non-existent on the highways.
In winter, the number of drivers also decreases enormously as the roads become slippery, so you must have a lot to drive much slower.
Montana is a big state. Traveling from the east to west of the state, you will travel 700 miles and drive for an average of 12 hours. Because residents must often drive long distances and over various types of terrain, you will need an SUV or four-wheel drive vehicle ( in English: all-wheel drive ), especially during winter.
Latinos in Montana
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Hispanic or Latino population in Montana is 3.73%.
In addition, the racial composition (non-Hispanic) of the city is:
- 86.29% white
- 6.21% Native American
- 2.47% of two or more races
- 0.75% Asian
- 0.42% black or African American
- 0.07% of the Pacific Islands
- 0.05% from other races
Entertainment and Things to Do in Montana
Montana is a very sparsely populated state, but this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to have fun here. Montanans spend a lot of time outdoors, hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, skiing, and more.
The hunting of animals here is a way of life and a need for self – protection in many cases. The average home in Montana apparently has 13 firearms, as the state is full of wild animals.
Here are some local activities that you can’t dare to stop doing:
1. Ghost Town Garnet Ghost Town
Garnet Ghost Town is a ghost town located in Drummond. In 1912, a fire broke out and most of the miners evacuated the area. Today, it is one of the best-preserved ghost towns in the United States.
2. Museum of Informatics and Robotics ( American Computer and Robotics Museum )
There are only two museums in America devoted to the history of computing, and one is in Bozeman, Montana. At the American Computer and Robotics Museum, visitors can walk through 4,000 years of the information age.
They will trace how the first computer was born and how they have changed the course of civilization. Tech nerds and history buffs go nuts over this.
3. Pea Festival ( Sweet Pea Festival )
The annual Sweet Pea Festival in Bozeman brings together residents to support live music and local artists. The art and culinary scene come together in a three-day event that includes a parade, live music, food, and even a costume ball.
4. Thousand Buddha Garden ( Garden of One Thousand Buddhas )
In Arlee, the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas Buddhist garden and a shrine is located
on a Native American reservation. Established as a center of peace in 2000, the garden features white concrete Buddha statues.
This is a place for visitors to come and relax, let out their inner peace, or simply marvel at the effort put into the sculptures and their arrangement.
5. Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is a non-profit organization in West Yellowstone that teaches visitors about wolves and grizzly bears. Animals live in naturalistic environments to help them feel at home. It is definitely the safest way to get up close to the wildlife in Montana.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Living in Montana
Like any other state, living in Montana has both pros and cons. Some of them are:
- No sales tax – Montana is one of the four states in the country with no sales tax ( in English: sales tax ). You can buy everything you want and save between 7% to 10% compared to other states.
- Montana is a pristine state: Called the “explorers paradise,” Montana has many “pristine” spaces. It is the perfect place for those who like to have a lot of room to breathe and have the tranquility that is not found in the big cities.
- No Traffic: Because Montana has a small population, it is possible to drive hundreds of miles on freeways with very few cars around. Even in the largest cities in the state, there is very little traffic.
- Natural beauty: Montanans spend a lot of their time outdoors, and for good reason. Montana is absolutely beautiful, with all types of terrain for all types of nature lovers. From mountains and rivers to plains, desert areas and even wastelands, this state is a great work of art.
- Long, harsh winters: Winter is quite cold and severe in Montana. In fact, they hold the record for the coldest temperature in America, reaching minus 70 degrees in 1936! Winters are long here, making fall and spring very short seasons.
- Wild animals: For its large grounds, Montana has a high population of bears, grizzlies, wolves, cougars and rattlesnakes. So make sure you’re prepared, having a bear spray could save your life.
- Tourists: Montana residents often complain about tourists flooding their natural sanctuary each year. But with so much nature and so many national parks, including part of Yellowstone National Park, it is not surprising that the state is such a popular hotspot.
If you have any further questions about the cheapest cities in Montana, or if you haven’t found a good city for you, leave us a comment below and we’ll do our best to help.
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