The 10 Best Counties To Live In Montana For 2021


Using science and data, we can tell you which counties in Montana have the most for people looking to make the move to Montana.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best counties to live in Montana.

Some of you might be asking yourself, at this very moment: is Montana a good place?

The answer is unequivocally yes... if you know where to locate the best places to live in Montana.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you identify the best counties to live in the Treasure State based on the most recently available data from the Census. And this isn't our first rodeo -- we've been helping people find the best places to live in America for years.

So, the question becomes, if you wanted to relocate to the best part of Montana, where would you go? To answer that we looked at crime, cost of living, and demographic data for all 56 counties in the state.

After the analytic dust settled, we identified the 10 best counties to live in Treasure State for 2021.

Stillwater County is the county to be when it comes to living the good life in Montana. And you might want to avoid Blaine County if you can -- at least according to the data.

So if you're thinking of making the move Montana, we've got you covered. Keep on reading for a detailed methodology.

Or, check out the best places to live in Montana and the cheapest places to live in Montana.

The Best Counties To Live In Montana For 2021

1. Stillwater County

Columbus, MT

Biggest Place: Columbus

Population: 9,466
Median Income: $64,645 (5th best)
Median Home Price: $255,500.0 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 331.4% (29th best)
More on Stillwater County: PhotosData

2. Jefferson County

Basin, MT

Biggest Place: Montana City

Population: 11,917
Median Income: $69,646 (best)
Median Home Price: $282,700.0 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 388.1% (36th best)
More on Jefferson County: PhotosData

3. Sweet Grass County

Biggest Place: Big Timber

Population: 3,670
Median Income: $49,886 (30th best)
Median Home Price: $255,100.0 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 82.3% (7th best)
More on Sweet Grass County: Data

4. Dawson County

Glendive, MT

Biggest Place: Glendive

Population: 9,017
Median Income: $58,596 (10th best)
Median Home Price: $160,600.0 (27th best)
Unemployment Rate: 179.4% (12th best)
More on Dawson County: PhotosData

5. Gallatin County

Belgrade, MT

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Bozeman

Population: 108,063
Median Income: $66,397 (3rd best)
Median Home Price: $357,100.0 (best)
Unemployment Rate: 283.1% (22nd best)
More on Gallatin County: PhotosData

6. Madison County

Biggest Place: Big Sky

Population: 8,302
Median Income: $54,107 (18th best)
Median Home Price: $276,500.0 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 247.5% (19th best)
More on Madison County: Data

7. Lewis And Clark County

Helena, MT

Biggest Place: Helena

Population: 67,805
Median Income: $65,791 (4th best)
Median Home Price: $243,000.0 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 310.6% (24th best)
More on Lewis And Clark County: PhotosData

8. Daniels County

Scobey, MT

Biggest Place: Scobey

Population: 1,730
Median Income: $57,440 (12th best)
Median Home Price: $126,500.0 (42nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 180.6% (13th best)
More on Daniels County: PhotosData

9. Fallon County

Baker, MT

Biggest Place: Baker

Population: 2,921
Median Income: $64,545 (6th best)
Median Home Price: $169,800.0 (25th best)
Unemployment Rate: 113.1% (10th best)
More on Fallon County: PhotosData

10. Yellowstone County

Billings, MT

Biggest Place: Billings

Population: 159,008
Median Income: $61,264 (7th best)
Median Home Price: $226,000.0 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 327.7% (27th best)
More on Yellowstone County: PhotosData

How do you determine which Montana county is the best?

To give you the best county in Montana, we have to look at a handful of metrics that signal the quality of a place. To do that, we need to make some assumptions about what's a "best county" and what isn't. And, for reference, we are trying to make the kind of argument you'd make at a bar using facts, don't take this analysis to court.

With that in mind, we went to two of the best sources of data on the internet; the American Community Survey data and FBI Crime data for the most recent time period.

We paid particular attention to:

  • Violent Crime Rates
  • Property Crime Rates
  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Unemployment Rates
  • Adult Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty Rates

We then ranked each county in Montana across each of the criteria from one to 56, with one being the best.

Taking the average rank across all criteria, we created a quality of life score with the county posting the lowest overall score being the "Best County To Live In Montana".

The result is some of the safest, quiet, and best counties to raise a family in the Treasure State.

Read on to see why Stillwater County is the best county, while Blaine County is probably in contention for being the worst county in Montana.

There You Have It - The Best Counties In Montana To Call Home For 2018

It turns out living in Montana can vary from one part of the state to the next -- who woulda thought?

But now you the know the really good parts and the parts to avoid and that's why you came here to learn at the end of the day. And for that, you are welcome.

Here's a look at the worst counties in Montana according to the data:

  1. Blaine County
  2. Big Horn County
  3. Wheatland County

For more Montana reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Counties In Montana

County Rank Population Median Income Median Home Price
Stillwater County 1 9,466 $64,645 $255,500.0
Jefferson County 2 11,917 $69,646 $282,700.0
Sweet Grass County 3 3,670 $49,886 $255,100.0
Dawson County 4 9,017 $58,596 $160,600.0
Gallatin County 5 108,063 $66,397 $357,100.0
Madison County 6 8,302 $54,107 $276,500.0
Lewis And Clark County 7 67,805 $65,791 $243,000.0
Daniels County 8 1,730 $57,440 $126,500.0
Fallon County 9 2,921 $64,545 $169,800.0
Yellowstone County 10 159,008 $61,264 $226,000.0
Carbon County 11 10,597 $58,707 $247,600.0
Richland County 12 11,199 $67,205 $230,100.0
Missoula County 13 117,309 $54,062 $284,000.0
Flathead County 14 99,899 $56,182 $273,600.0
Powell County 15 6,854 $54,667 $143,100.0
Powder River County 16 1,607 $54,427 $142,600.0
Park County 17 16,352 $53,068 $271,300.0
Custer County 18 11,729 $52,965 $170,400.0
Petroleum County 19 453 $51,250 $181,300.0
Mccone County 20 1,790 $49,701 $114,800.0
Broadwater County 21 5,945 $60,594 $222,200.0
Valley County 22 7,471 $53,162 $151,400.0
Granite County 23 3,311 $49,881 $224,000.0
Beaverhead County 24 9,415 $43,201 $215,400.0
Garfield County 25 1,036 $42,000 $124,100.0
Teton County 26 6,086 $55,000 $172,700.0
Ravalli County 27 42,512 $53,054 $279,300.0
Sheridan County 28 3,483 $55,521 $127,500.0
Meagher County 29 1,888 $46,607 $154,100.0
Cascade County 30 81,625 $49,913 $179,900.0
Fergus County 31 11,221 $50,540 $143,000.0
Judith Basin County 32 1,954 $43,661 $138,200.0
Toole County 33 4,892 $50,721 $137,900.0
Treasure County 34 668 $43,047 $118,200.0
Rosebud County 35 9,152 $57,992 $114,900.0
Sanders County 36 11,681 $40,823 $228,200.0
Musselshell County 37 4,766 $43,274 $172,700.0
Silver Bow County 38 34,770 $45,718 $149,800.0
Wibaux County 39 1,122 $53,958 $113,500.0
Lake County 40 30,013 $48,829 $253,100.0
Chouteau County 41 5,732 $42,298 $143,200.0
Lincoln County 42 19,537 $40,140 $198,200.0
Carter County 43 1,331 $48,000 $110,900.0
Hill County 44 16,436 $49,321 $143,600.0
Prairie County 45 1,252 $43,625 $112,900.0
Deer Lodge County 46 9,106 $41,820 $131,300.0
Liberty County 47 2,351 $44,875 $101,100.0
Pondera County 48 5,994 $51,151 $131,900.0
Golden Valley County 49 728 $43,875 $106,100.0
Mineral County 50 4,251 $41,705 $169,200.0
Phillips County 51 4,077 $46,212 $129,200.0
Roosevelt County 52 11,175 $43,194 $112,400.0
Glacier County 53 13,732 $36,045 $107,700.0
Wheatland County 54 2,142 $39,655 $95,400.0
Big Horn County 55 13,387 $49,859 $126,100.0
Blaine County 56 6,719 $41,279 $94,300.0

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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