Yes, the small city of Sidney, which lies a few miles from the North Dakota border, tops the list for several reasons. It’s got a great economy, for starters—Sidney is known for being one of the country’s top producers of sugar beets, not to mention the oil production in the area. Throw in the short commute times, low crime rates, low cost of living and higher than average median income and you’ve got yourself a happy city.
2. Big Timber
Sweet Grass County’s Big Timber scored a Livability rating of 83 on areavibes.com. Its low crime rates, local amenities and high rates of high school graduation make it a great place to be.
Livingston scored similar ratings on areavibes.com. Crime rates here are 67% lower than average for Montana, and the cost of living is low for the area. Livingston is also close to a lot of popular attractions like the Museum of the Rockies, Chico Hot Springs, and Yellowstone National Park.
Choteau is so charming that it caught the eye of David Letterman, who bought a ranch in the area. Letterman was right when he talked about the residents of this town of about 1,800 people—their generosity inspired him to talk about them on his show after 9/11. Aside from a kindhearted community, Choteau has a low cost of living and a low crime rate, plus a great location when it comes to outdoor activities.
Known as the “Friendly City,” Baker is a small farming community of 1,741 people that’s close to the beautiful Medicine Rocks State Park. It may not have a vibrant nightlife, but it does have a fairly low cost of living, a higher than average median household income, and a peaceful way of life.
If you’ve been to Ennis, you probably understand why it ranks among the best places in Montana to live. Aside from being being located in the breathtaking southwestern part of the state, it’s got a high income per capita thanks to its long-standing ranching economy, and the crime rate is a whopping 75% lower than the Montana average. The public school system is also highly ranked, and it’s a great place to raise a family.
Our capital city has the state’s second highest graduation rate, short commute times given its size, and affordable housing. Its population of 29,596 (as of 2013) seems to be “just right.” If you move there you’ll enjoy more of a “big city” vibe than many other places in the area while still holding on to a small community feel.
It may have the same name as the City That Never Sleeps, but life in this Manhattan is quiet and relaxing. Its population of about 1,600 people have a median income that is 13% higher than Montana’s average, and the crime rates are quite low. You’ll definitely be getting away from it all if you live here, but for some people that’s very appealing.
It would be hard to find a better “big” city in the entire country, much less Montana. Bozeman is incredibly beautiful, has a high graduation rate and a growing economy, and is full of fun things to do. But its crime rate (which is low for a city but high for Montana) and high cost of living keep it from being higher on the list.
Havre has one of the most educated populations in the entire state, and it also has a low cost of living. This makes the city of just under 10,000 people pretty appealing to single people and couple hoping to start a family. Its deep history including war battles and a great fire that led to an underground city (which you can still tour today) makes it even more enticing.