Moving to Montana? Relocation Guide for 2021

This is a complete guide for Moving to Montana.
Get all the information you need to know about moving to Montana.

Are you mulling over moving to Montana?

Montana’s low cost of living, low crime rates, and booming job market make it a favorite state for many families and millennials.

The state’s low property taxes, zero sales tax, and shorter commuting time make moving to Montana appealing to many people.

Famous for its gold, silver, and sapphire, the state’s low population density makes it a safe place for many families.

If all of that sounds like what you’ll like to be a part of, moving to Montana could be perfect for you. To help you make up your mind, we have compiled key facts and information about the state so you can decide if moving to Montana is right for you.

Let’s get started.

Quick facts to note before moving to Montana

  • The unemployment rate in Montana is lower than the U.S. average
  • Montana’s average one-way commute time takes 17.10 minutes
  • The cost of living in Montana is 94.0. The United States average is 100
  • Montana has no sales tax
  • Property taxes in Montana are lower than the U.S. average
  • The average annual pay for hourly jobs in Montana is $56,575 per annum
  • The average hourly rate for hourly jobs in Montana is $27.20 an hour

What’s the population of Montana?

Montana has a population of 1,836,843 living in 55 different counties. Here’s a simple breakdown of the state’s population since you’re considering moving to Montana:

  • Montana’s median age is 41.6. The U.S. median age is 37.4
  • Montana has 2.4 people per household. U.S. average is 2.6
  • Montana population density is 76 people per square mile
  • 50.6% of Montanans are female, while 49.4% are males

How are the weather and climate like in Montana?

If the weather is one of the relevant things you’d like to consider before making up your mind about moving to Montana, we’ve collected key stats about the state’s weather to give you an idea of what to expect.

  • On average, Montana gets 15 inches of rain per year. The U.S. average is 38 inches
  • Montana gets an average of 49 inches of snow per year. The U.S. average is 28 inches
  • Montana gets an average of 189 sunny days per year. The US average is 205 sunny days
  • The July summer high in Montana is around 84 degrees
  • The January winter low in Montana is around 12 degrees
  • Montana averages 88 days of precipitation per year
move to Montana

Top 10 Reasons to move to Montana

Is moving to Montana right for you? People are moving to Montana for several reasons. We’ve highlighted ten of such reasons to help you figure out if moving to Montana is right for you or not.

  • The cost of living in Montana is low

    Montana is a great place to live on a minimal budget. Groceries, health, housing, transportation, health - everything here costs lower than the national average. You can get a studio apartment for an average rent of $566, while a two-bedroom house would cost you $823 as rent.

  • Crime rates in Montana are relatively low

    Montana had a past packed with battles and violence but that was a century back. Now, Montana is one of the safest states with a low-level crime rate. Property crime levels sit just below the national average at 42.09 per 1,000 residents. Gang-related violence and armed robberies are also hardly reported in Montana.

  • Homes are highly affordable in Montana

    The average rental prices are much cheaper in Montana than the national average. The average rent for a studio apartment is $566 per month, compared to the U.S. national average of $823 per month. For a one-bedroom apartment, the Montana monthly average cost is $641, while the national average is $930. The average cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment in Montana is $823. The U.S. national average is $1,148.

    If buying a home is in your plan, you can own one for $367,030. Realty experts state that almost 56% of the homes in the state fall between $118,674 and $356,480, which is highly affordable for a common man.

  • Access to top-quality education

    One of the best things about Montana is the top-quality education here. The state is home to several high-performing, well-rounded school districts that balance academic achievement with vigorous athletic programs.

    Montana has two large universities - Montana State University and the University of Montana. In addition, there are many small and mid-size colleges across the state. Here is the list of Top Schools and University in Montana

  • Montanans are friendly people

    You'll be surprised to see people waving in Montana as they pass on the state’s country roads and chat with strangers in cafes and diners. The residents here have a friendly and warm attitude that welcomes more people. While in conversation, Montana people crack jokes in between and do not miss a chance to laugh at them.

  • Montana has a booming job market

    Montana's economy is booming and the unemployment rate is just 4.2 percent. Most people work in the healthcare industry, followed by education. There are a large number of populations working in transportation, food preparation, and office administration.

  • You’ll enjoy winter sports in Montana

    While in Montana, the best time to have an adrenaline rush is in winter. While in winter, there will be carpets of snow all around and Montana also offers a wealth of unique winter activities, some of which are found nowhere else.

    Some of the best things to do in Montana in winter are:

    • Dog sledding
    • Winter Fat Biking
    • Snowshoe & Winter Camping
    • Skijoring
    • Ice fishing
    • Snowmobiling
    • Downhill skiing
    • Ice climbing

  • There are lots of outdoor activities to enjoy in Montana

    Montana has no shortage of outdoor entertainment, especially in winter. However, that doesn't mean that summers are dull. The state has got enough options to keep you busy year around.

    Here are some of the things to do in Montana

    • Hiking
    • Horseback riding
    • Bicycling
    • River rafting
    • Rock climbing
    • Snow tubing
    • Dog sledding
    • Sleigh rides
    • Snowmobiling
    • Backcountry skiing
    • Snowshoeing
    • Skijoring
    • Ice climbing
    • Ice fishing

  • Healthy population density

    The fourth-largest state by area, Montana is also the third least densely populated state. The state has a population of 1,085,407 and the density is 7.09 per mile. This leaves almost a big part of the state uninhabited. The healthy population density also ensures equal distribution of natural resources where each resident will get a good share.

  • You don’t have to bother about traffic

    Since the state is sparsely populated, there is no heavy traffic anywhere in the state, including big cities. This way, you won’t be stuck on roads while commuting for professional or personal reasons.

pros and cons of Montana

Pros & Cons of Living in Montana

Living in Montana comes with some upsides and downsides. Considering both will make it easier for you to make the right decision. So, we’ve highlighted the pros and cons of living in Montana to make it easier to consider both options.

There are many farms in Montana
The Pros of living in Montana The Cons of living in Montana
You’ll have access to top-quality educationThe weather in Montana can be harsh sometimes
You’ll enjoy a low cost of livingYou’ll have to put up with lots of tourists
You’ll enjoy world-class winter sports in MontanaHousing isn’t so many in Montana
The environment in Montana is warm and friendlyYou may be at risk of a predator attack in Montana
Montana has a booming job marketYou’ll have to deal with the constant need to be self-sufficient
Montana isn’t an overcrowded stateLack of public transport is a problem here
Outdoor activities in Montana are really amazingFacilities aren’t so many in Montana
You’ll live among nice and friendly neighbors in MontanaNew trends hardly trend here compared to the rest of the U.S.
Traffic isn’t a problem in Montana
You’ll enjoy hunting, fishing, and ranching in Montana
Homes are affordable in Montana
If you love beer, you’ll love Montana
palce to live in Montana

Where are the best places to live in Montana?

Montana is home to several beautiful cities. Since you’re considering moving to Montana, living in some of the best places in the state will most likely be one of your top priorities.

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1Colstrip2,4486.0%$119,000
2Glasgow3,3443.9%$150,200
3Columbia Falls5,4292.4%$195,700
4Red Lodge2,2120.5%$244,700
5Glendive5,1262.0%$161,500
6Laurel6,8342.6%$174,000
7Deer Lodge2,9340.0%$114,900
8Belgrade8,6852.9%$243,200
9Sidney6,4161.6%$233,800
10Bozeman46,7463.2%$365,600
cost of living in Virginia

What’s the cost of living in Montana?

The cost of living in Montana is 94.0. The United States average is 100. This means that the cost of living in Montana is lower than the national average.

The housing market in Montana

The median home value in Montana is $264,987. There are 425,818 homes and apartments in Montana. Montana is home to 56 counties.

What’s the median home rental cost in Montana?

Renting a home is a good option if you’re moving to Montana. About 27% of Montanans are renters, while about 1.7% of apartments and homes in the city are available to rent. Here are the average costs of renting various rooms and apartments in Montana:

  • Average cost of a studio apartment in Montana is $566
  • Average cost of a 1-bedroom home or apartment in Montana is $641
  • Average cost of a 2-bedroom home or apartment in Montana is $823
  • Average cost of a 3-bedroom home or apartment in Montana is $1144
  • Average costs of a 4-bedroom home or apartment in Montana is $1,373
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Montana Job Market

How is the job market like in Montana?

Montana’s unemployment rate is 2.7. The United States average is 3.7%. Whether you’re considering getting a job after moving to Montana or not, the state’s unemployment rate will give you an idea of the state’s job market and the overall economy.

  • The unemployment rate in Montana is lower than the U.S. average
  • Montana has witnessed a 0.1% increase in job growth over the past year
  • Montana’s job market is experiencing a positive growth

What are the top industries in Montana?

Montana is home to several large industries powering the state’s economy. Moving to Montana could mean investing or working in any of the largest industries in the state. Here are the largest industries in Montana:

  • Agriculture And Forestry
  • Healthcare
  • Energy
  • Manufacturing
  • Tourism, Travel, And Recreation
  • Transport And Logistics
  • Real Estate And Construction

What are the top career options in Montana?

If you’re considering changing your career after moving to Montana or you’re considering getting building a career in one of the fastest-growing jobs in the state, we’ve made a list of the ten fastest-growing jobs in Montana.

Rank Job Title Growth % Average Wage Jobs in 2024
1Physical Therapist129.0%$77,1101,380
2Foreman126.2%$62,7903,470
3Construction Worker123.5%$37,5705,250
4Electrician123.4%$61,5802,320
5Personal Care Assistant123.2%$22,7306,580
6Plumber122.9%$58,4402,360
7Cost Estimator122.2%$56,2201,320
8Groom122.1%$27,2101,490
9Registered Nurse122.1%$64,30011,930
10Mechanic121.8%$43,6001,620

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What’s the median salary in Montana?

The average annual pay for hourly jobs in Montana is $56,575 per annum. If you’re interested in getting a new job after moving to Montana, we’ve compiled key stats about the average salary in the state to give you an idea of what to expect.

  • The average hourly rates for hourly jobs in Montana are $27.20 an hour
  • The average weekly pay for hourly jobs in Montana is $1,088 per week
  • The average monthly pay for hourly jobs in Montana is $4,715 per month
  • Average annual pay in Montana could be as high as $144,105 and as low as $20,184

10 Biggest companies in Montana

Montana is home to several large industries and employers. Moving to Montana could give you a chance to get a job or do business with one or more of the largest companies in the state. Here’s a list of the top ten largest companies and employers in Montana:

Rank Company City Employees
1Talen MontanaBillings12,256
2Fringe Benefit ResourcesGreat Falls12,000
3Billings ClinicBillings4,600
4Iinnii InitiativeBrowning3,000
5St. Patrick Hospital Health Sci CentMissoula3,000
6MontanaHelena2,680
7Glacier BancorpKalispell2,615
8Washington CorporationsMissoula2,567
9Town PumpButte-Silver Bow1,871
10Kalispell Regional HealthcareKalispell1,800

How fast can you commute in Montana?

Montana’s average one-way commute time takes 17.10 minutes. The national average is 26.4 minutes. This means that the average commuting time in Montana is faster than the United States average.

  • About 75.6% of people in Montana drive their own car alone
  • Up to 9.7% of people in Montana carpool with others
  • In Montana, 6.4% of residents work from home
  • About 0.8% of people in Montana take the mass transit

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Is Montana a safe state to live in?

Crime rates are among the most significant things to take into account before making up your mind about moving to Montana. Here are key stats about the crime rates in the Big Sky Country to help you make an accurate comparison before making up your mind about moving to Montana:

  • Violent crimes in Montana are rated 22.0. The U.S. average is 22.7
  • Property crimes in Montana are rated 38.3. The U.S. average is 35.4
  • Aggravated assault accounted for 71% of all reported violent crimes
  • Rape constitute 24% of all crimes in the safest cities in Montana and 14% statewide
  • Aggravated assault accounted for 79% of all violent crimes reported in Montana
  • Burglary accounted for 12% of all property crimes in Montana
  • Larceny-theft is the most common (77%) property crimes in Montana
  • Burglary accounted for 8% of all property crimes in the safest cities in Montana
  • Larceny-theft accounted for 85% of all property crimes in the safest cities in Montana

Where Are The 10 Safest Cities In Montana?

Safety is one of the most significant things to think through before moving to Montana. So, we’ve listed the ten safest cities in Montana to give you an idea of where you should consider buying or renting a home in the state. Here are the ten safest cities in Montana:

Rank City Population Violent Crimes Per 100k Property Crimes Per 100k
1Colstrip, MT2,324172516
2Glendive, MT5,132214701
3Whitefish, MT7,8011151,666
4Columbia Falls, MT5,4561461,539
5Deer Lodge, MT2,902241620
6Dillon, MT4,281373607
7Miles City, MT8,4962001,871
8Bozeman, MT48,1012161,839
9Libby, MT2,6981113,002
10Laurel, MT6,8002202,000
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Taxes in Montana

How much will you be paying in taxes in Montana?

Moving to Montana could mean paying a lot less in taxes depending on where you’re moving from. Montana is rated as a fairly taxpayer-friendly state. The state’s property taxes are lower than the U.S. average. Montana has no sales tax. Before making up your mind about moving to Montana, here’s a simple breakdown of the state’s taxes:

  • Income tax in Montana is 1% - 6.9%
  • Montana has no sales tax
  • The average effective property tax rate in Montana is 0.83%
  • The gas tax in Montana is 32.00 cents per gallon of regular gasoline
  • Another gas tax in Montana is 29.45 cents per gallon of diesel
  • Montana income tax rate: 1.00% - 6.90%
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What is Montana most known for?

The beautiful state of Montana is known for several things. Here we’ve listed a dozen things The Big Sky Country is known for. Since you’re considering moving to Montana, you should check out the list.

  • Gold, silver, and sapphires

    Montana has a large stock of gold, silver, and sapphires as natural resources and since the 18th century, this had attracted people to the state. Even now, the different gems, gold, silver, and sapphires are extracted from different mines, contributing highly to the state’s coffers.

  • The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center

    A non-profit wildlife park and educational facility in West Yellowstone, the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is open to the public for 365 days. 114 animals belonging to 23 species are displayed here.

  • The World Museum of Mining

    The museum is at an inactive silver and zinc mine in Butte. There are 50 buildings spread over 22 acres and you can tour through underground mines up to 100-feet down.

  • Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park

    A 3,000-acre recreation and nature preservation area 12 miles east of Whitehall, Lewis and Clark Caverns has two visitor centers, ten miles of hiking trails, a campground, and electrically lighted limestone caverns. Since 2018, it has been on the National Registry of Historic Places.

  • The Moss Mansion

    A 1903 era-red stone mansion in Billings, the Moss Mansion is now a museum reflecting the history of early Billings's development. The Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • Gates of the Mountains Wilderness

    The Gates of the Mountains Wilderness Area covers 28,465 acres and is managed by the Helena National Forest. There is a 53-mile trail through high meadows, open forests, and narrow gorges cut by bounding streams. Camping and fishing are allowed with proper permits but no motorized or mechanized vehicles, including bicycles, are allowed.

  • Glacier National Park

    On Northwestern Montana, on the US-Canada border, Glacier National Park is spread over 1,000 miles and includes parts of 2 mountain ranges. There are 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 different species of plants, and hundreds of species of animals in this protected region.

  • Editor's Pick Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

    This is a preserved site that is a memorial to the soldiers who fought the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. The site of a related military action led by Marcus Reno and Frederick Benteen is also part of the national monument but is about 3 miles southeast of the Little Bighorn battlefield.

  • Museum of the Rockies

    An independent non-profit institution, the Museum of the Rockies (MOR) is a repository for state and federal fossils. One of the world's finest research museums, MOR displays an extensive collection of dinosaur fossils including the fully-mounted Montana's T. rex skeleton.

  • Big Sky Resort

    A ski resort in Montana, Big Sky is located an hour south of Bozeman via U.S. Highway 191. The second-largest ski resort in the country, it is spread over 5,800 acres of terrain and has a vertical drop of 4,350 feet. It has 250 runs for skiing enthusiasts of every type - beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The resort also hosts several events, including conferences and weddings year-round.

  • Helena

    Helena, the state capital of Montana is one of the most visited cities and is blessed with the scenic beauty around. The elaborate Victorian architecture is worth seeing. You’ll see its rich historic past still intact - for the past 100 years and more. The 75-mile trail is ideal to explore walking or on a bike.

  • The C.M. Russell Museum Complex

    The art museum in Great Falls primarily displays the artwork of "cowboy artist" Charles Marion Russell. The illustrated letters by Russell, work materials used by him, and many other items are displayed to help visitors understand his life and working habits. There is also Russell's log cabin studio and his two-story wood-frame home within the museum property.

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Best Schools & Universities in Montana

If you’re moving to Montana, you’ll most likely be interested in the best schools in the state. We’ve made a list of the best universities, colleges, high, middle, and elementary schools in the state. Here’s the list below:

Best elementary schools in Montana

  • Morning Star School
    Bozeman Elementary School District, Public, PK-5 | 499 students, Rating: 9/10

  • Hawthorne School
    Bozeman Elementary School District, Public, PK-5 | 355 students, Rating: 9/10

  • Longfellow School
    Bozeman Elementary School District, Public, PK-5 | 319 students, Rating: 9/10

  • Creston School
    Creston Elementary School District, Public, PK-6 | 87 students, Rating: 9/10

  • Meadow Lark School
    Great Falls Elementary School District, Public, PK-6 | 510 students, Rating: 9/10

Top rated Middle schools in Montana

  • Chester-Joplin-Inverness 7-8
    Chester-Joplin-Inverness El School District, Public, 7-8 | 18 students, Rating: 8/10

  • Clancy 7-8
    Clancy Elementary School District, Public, 7-8 | 69 students, Rating: 8/10

  • Ophir 7-8
    Big Sky School K-12, Public, 6-8 | 89 students, Rating: 7/10

  • Elysian 7-8
    Elysian Elementary School District, Public, 7-8 | 85 students, Rating: 7/10

  • Sacajawea Middle School
    Bozeman Elementary School District, Public, 6-8 | 745 students, Rating: 7/10

Best High schools in Montana

  • Fairfield High School
    Fairfield High School, Public, 9-12 | 104 students, Rating: 10/10

  • Fairview High School
    Fairview High School, Public, 9-12 | 119 students, Rating: 10/10

  • Frenchtown High School
    Frenchtown K-12 Schools, Public, 9-12 | 412 students, Rating: 10/10

  • Gardiner High School
    Gardiner High School, Public, 9-12 | 66 students, Rating: 10/10

  • Melstone High School
    Melstone High School, Public, 9-12 | 33 students, Rating: 10/10

Best Colleges & Universities in Montana

  • Rank 1. Montana State University, Bozeman

  • Rank 2. The University of Montana, Missoula

  • Rank 3. Montana Tech, Butte

  • Rank 4. Montana State University Billings, Billings

  • Rank 5. Carroll College, Helena

  • Rank 6. Rocky Mountain College, Billings

  • Rank 7. Montana State University-Northern, Havre

  • Rank 8. University of Providence, Great Falls

  • Rank 9. The University of Montana Western, Dillon

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