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Bozeman, Missoula and Helena Rank in Top 100 U.S. Cities to Live

downtown Missoula
Downtown Missoula and Clark Fork River. (Fullerton Photo)

A new study produced by Livablity.com places three Montana cities in its list of the top 100 cities to live in.

“Our list looked at roughly 40 data points across eight broader categories,” said livability.com editor Matt Carmichael. “We’re looking at not only the quality of the schools, but the educational attainment of the residents. We’re looking at climate. We’re looking at the economy and healthcare. This is a ranking out of 1700 cities and so, whether your number 60 or number 45, the fact that you made the list at all is a pretty great accomplishment.”

At #22, Bozeman placed the highest of any Montana city on the list. It was followed by Missoula at #60, and Helena, which barely made the list, at #95.

Bozeman won out with a combination of lower housing costs, better wages and better education. For example, the average wage in Bozeman ($44,546) is $8,000 better than what the average Missoulian makes. The average house in Bozeman is $3,000 cheaper than Missoula, and it takes commuters a full minute less to get to work.

Missoula did have one really big win in the healthcare arena, beating not only all other Montana cities, but all but three cities in the top 100.

Though placing low on the top 100 overall, Helena managed to place higher in economics than all other cities in the top 100. Wages in the public sector-focused capitol of Montana trounced the competition at $51,084, nearly $15,000 more than the average Missoulian.

Matt Carmichael:

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