In a recently released study, the Montana Policy Institute set out to answer the question "how business friendly are Montana's 25 largest cities?" By looking at a variety of factors such as recent job growth, cost of living, property tax rates and population growth, the study gave each city an aggregate score which can be broken out into three categories; economic vitality, business tax burden, and community allure.

As can be seen in the final list that follows this post, Missoula ranked 22nd overall. Nearby Hamilton, on the other hand, came out in 16th place. By digging into the specifics of the study it's easy to see why Hamilton  was able to come out on top of Missoula despite having a much smaller population and a low economic vitality score. The answer is property taxes. Missoula has the third highest taxes of all the cities in Montana, while Hamilton has the 5th lowest.

Business Friendly Cities Final Rankings

1.  Polson

2.  Sidney

3.  Glasgow

4.  Bozeman

5.  Belgrade

6.  Dillon

7.  Billings

8.  Lewistown

9.  Livingston

10.  Great falls

11.  Havre

12.  Whitefish

13.  Deer Lodge

14.  Kalispell

15.  Columbia Falls

16.  Hamilton

17.  Wolf Point

18.  Glendive

19.  Laurel

20.  Helena

21.  Cut Bank

22.  Missoula

23.  Butte-Silver Bow

24.  Miles City

25.  Anaconda-Deer Lodge