Best Places To Raise A Family In Montana For 2020

We used science and data to determine which cities in Montana have the best set up for children: a lot to do, good schools, and no crime.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best cities for families in Montana.

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Families are important to the Treasure State, and HomeSnacks is here to tell you just how important. You can't have strong families without great infrastructure, so we set out to determine where Montana's strongest family oriented places are located. And lucky for you, this quest led us to create a list of Montana's most family friendly places for 2020.

How did we determine Montana's most family friendly places? We consulted the US Census on places in Big Sky Country with more than 2,000 residents. We looked at several factors: crime, education, family friendly activities, and the percent of households that currently have children. We ended up with 26 family friendly Montana places.

We discovered that Montana is the fourth largest state in the United States, but the eighth least populated. We think that's all the more reason to have your family live in one of Montana's family friendly places: there's plenty of mountain ranges and prairies for your kids to run, and there's plenty of opportunity to make a difference. We also determined that there are places in Montana for every type of family. There are hip mommy and daddy towns like Bozeman, cool cowboy/cowgirl towns like Hamilton, and towns like Whitefish for families that like to ski and snowboard.

Speaking of family friendly amenities, in Montana, the big sky's the limit. You can have your family camping in the Kootenai National Forest just outside of Libby and swimming on the Bigfork side of Flathead Lake all in the same weekend. That's a Montana family win!

To learn more about our methodology and to see why Montana's top ten best places to raise a family are truly the best of the best, read on.

What do 260,000 families already know in Montana? They know that the state has great schools, great jobs, and tons of family friendly activities to keep their families happy, healthy, and entertained. And this is most evident in Montana's number one best place for families for 2020, Glendive.

To see how your favorite place in Montana compared, take a look at the list below. And if you don't find your favorite there, head to the bottom.

Check out some more reading about Montana and the best places for families in the country:

The 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Montana For 2020

Glendive, MT

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,232
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 57
Closest Major City: Denver
Households with kids: 30.8%
More on Glendive: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Dillon, MT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,244
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 64
Closest Major City: Boise City
Households with kids: 17.5%
More on Dillon: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Stevensville, MT

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,163
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 60
Closest Major City: Spokane
Households with kids: 28.9%
More on Stevensville: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Deer Lodge, MT

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,976
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 53
Closest Major City: Spokane
Households with kids: 22.0%
More on Deer Lodge: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Review Of Deer Lodge by HomeSnacks User

Wonderful pictures! Yep this is my home and my roots! From Deer Lodge! Thank you for sharing!

Kalispell, MT

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 22,621
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 59
Closest Major City: Spokane
Households with kids: 30.8%
More on Kalispell: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Kalispell is a city in, and the county seat of Flathead County, Montana, United States. The 2015 Census estimates put Kalispell's population at 22,052. The Kalispell Micropolitan Statistical Area has a population of 93,068 and it is the largest city and commercial center of northwest Montana. The name Kalispell is a Salish word meaning "flat land above the lake". Kalispell is also the gateway to Glacier National Park.

Review Of Kalispell by HomeSnacks User

I think it's an understatement to say that visiting Kalispell for about a month was the best experience of my life as it is truly a beautiful place. I loved visiting Glacier National Park that is literally ten minutes away from the city and the local campus of the University Of Montana is nearby as well and it is rated as one of the top colleges in the nation. Also just being surrounded by the beautiful mountains and scenery around me made me feel relaxed and calm.

What stood out out to me the most were the beautiful scenery and nature and wildlife that the city of Kalispell had to offer and therefore I have to say it was a great experience and nothing was bad about it.

Columbus, MT

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,324
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 58
Closest Major City: Boise City
Households with kids: 30.7%
More on Columbus: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Glasgow, MT

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,348
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 58
Closest Major City: Spokane
Households with kids: 29.3%
More on Glasgow: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Libby, MT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,663
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 40
Closest Major City: Spokane
Households with kids: 22.3%
More on Libby: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Review Of Libby by HomeSnacks User

The crime in Libby is no different from many towns and cities across this nation. M**h, Alcohol are the major problems, some of this is driven by lack of employment opportunities. I live in Libby, and I absolutely love it here. Yes it has been given a bad name due to the superfund cleanup of asbestos, but most of the people I know have never had asbestos related cancer or any other issues from the mine that was once here. The people here were, and still are, hard working and loving people. That's much more than can be said of places like Missoula, Bozeman, and other big cities in Montana. Libby is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. The schools are good and you don't have to worry about the kids being shot or kidnapped like you do in other areas. HomeSnacks can only give you raw data, you have to live in a place before you can TRULY rate it!

I love the Kootenai River, the Kootenai River Falls, and the Cabinet Mountains. If you like hiking into some of the most beautiful scenery in this country, Libby has it all! I ride the trails on my horse and it's just short of being in heaven, if you can imagine what that'll be like! It's so easy to get on the river and fish with no one around to crowd you, it's absolutely bliss!

Wolf Point, MT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,799
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 62
Closest Major City: Spokane
Households with kids: 34.6%
More on Wolf Point: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Red Lodge, MT

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,277
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 38
Closest Major City: Boise City
Households with kids: 21.3%
More on Red Lodge: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

How do you determine which place is best for families in Montana anyways?

To give you the places in Montana which are best for families, we have to look at a handful of metrics. Of course, we want to measure the type of people who live in each city, and make some assumptions about what's family-friendly and what isn't.

So we researched the internet for a database that contains all that information.

How we crunched the family friendly numbers for the Treasure State

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using U.S. Census data produced for the state of Montana, we looked at every single city in the state. We paid particular attention to:

  • Crime (Both violent and property)
  • Quality of local schools
  • Distance to a major city without necessarily being in it
  • % of households with children
  • Family-friendly amenities nearby (museums, libraries and colleges)

We then gave each city a Family Score.

The higher the score, the better the city is for families. We also limited our results to cities with populations over 2,000 people. For Montana, that meant a total of 26 cities. You can download the data here.

There You Have It - The Best Places To Raise A Family In Montana

If you're looking for a breakdown of cities in Montana ranked by criteria that most would agree make a place a great spot for families, this is an accurate list.

Here's a look at the best cities for singles Montana according to the data:

  1. Billings
  2. Sidney
  3. Helena

For more montana reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places For Families In Montana?

Rank City Population Amenities Score
1 Glendive, MT 5,232 43
2 Dillon, MT 4,244 55
3 Stevensville, MT 2,163 34
4 Deer Lodge, MT 2,976 50
5 Kalispell, MT 22,621 63
6 Columbus, MT 2,324 39
7 Glasgow, MT 3,348 62
8 Libby, MT 2,663 40
9 Wolf Point, MT 2,799 44
10 Red Lodge, MT 2,277 60

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

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