In Montana, there are some fantastic places to live and others that are considered undesirable. Some of the factors that are considered when deciding if an area is a good place to live or not are the crime rates, the public school rating, unemployment rates, median household incomes, home values, and the range of leisure and entertainment opportunities in an area. Based on data relating to these factors, here are the 20 worst places to live in Montana.
20. Miles City
Just making it onto the list of the worst places to live in Montana is Miles City, which is the 13th most dangerous place to live in the state. Another issue in this location is the educational opportunities, as the schools are poorly rated. On the other hand, there are some positives to living in this location, such as the varied activities, the employment opportunities, and the diverse community. Miles City is a city in and the county seat of Custer County, and it has a population of 8,576 residents.
Sidney has earned its position on the list due to the high crime rates, as it is the 12th most dangerous place to live in Montana. Violent crimes are the greater issue, as this location has the eighth-most violent crimes in the state. Another issue in Sidney is the lack of outdoor activities. If it wasn't for the safety issues and the lack of outdoor spaces, Sidney would be a decent place to live. It has a vibrant nightlife, the job market is diverse, there are many activities to enjoy, and the public schools are above-average. Sidney is a town in Richland County that has a population of 6,475 people.
Laurel has the 11th most crimes in Montana overall, so a lack of safety is a significant concern. Zippia also ranks Laurel as one of the ten worst places to live in Montana for women, as they earn significantly less than men, and approximately 9.5 percent of woman are living below the poverty line. Another significant issue is the educational opportunities, as the public schools in Laurel are ranked as below-average. Laurel is a town in Yellowstone County with a population of 6,849 that has a sparse suburban feel.
Kalispell is a town in Flathead County with 22,621 residents. There are varied employment opportunities, the public schools are outstanding, and there is a diverse range of activities to enjoy. Although Kalispell has some good points, crime is a significant concern in this city, as Kalispell is the ninth-most dangerous place to live in Montana. It is the high crime rates that have landed this city with its label of being an undesirable location.
Missoula is a city in Missoula County that is home to 72,125 residents. Property crime is the primary reason that Missoula is an undesirable place to live, as it has the third-most property crime in Montana. However, violent crimes are also an issue, as Missoula has the 13th highest rate of crimes of this type in the state. Overall, Missoula is the eighth-most dangerous place to live in Montana. If you can look beyond the safety issues, then there are many positive features of Missoula that can give residents a good lifestyle. It has above-average schools, the community is diverse, and there are plenty of things for residents to enjoy in their free time.
15. Wolf Point
Located in Roosevelt County, Wolf Point is home to 2,799 people. Violent crime is the biggest problem in Wolf Point, as it has the second-most violent crimes. Property crime is also an issue, as Wolf Point has the 13th most crimes of this type in Montana. Overall, it is the seventh-most dangerous place to live in the state. Aside from the crime rates, Wolf Point is not a great place to live for families, as there is a lack of activities for families to enjoy, and the public schools are rated as below average. On the other hand, job opportunities in the area are plentiful, there is community diversity, and it has a lively nightlife.
14. Ronan City
According to Niche, Ronan City is a town in Lake County with a population of under 2,000 people. Ronan City has the third-most violent crimes and the 11th highest property crime rate in the state, so it is the sixth-most dangerous place to live in Montana overall. Other issues include poorly rated schools and a lack of family-oriented activities, so it is not the best place to live for families. However, life is not all bad in Ronan City, as the community is diverse, there is a vibrant nightlife, and the transport links are decent.
13. East Helena
East Helena is a small town in Lewis and Clark County with a population of just 1,808 people. The only surprise in seeing East Helena in the 13th position on this list is that it does not rank higher, as it is the fifth-most dangerous place to live in Montana based on FBI data. However, there are many features of this location, which means it offers a goods lifestyle and prevents it from ranking higher on the list. These include excellent public schools, varied job opportunities, and many outdoor activities.
12. Great Falls
The greatest problem in Great Falls is the lack of safety, as it is the third-most dangerous place to live in the state. It has more property crimes than anywhere else in Montana and the sixth-highest violent crime rate. The reason that Great Falls does not rank in the top ten on this list is that it has plenty for residents to enjoy in their leisure time, employment opportunities are good, and the schools in the area are highly-rated. Great Falls is a city in Cascade County with a population of 58,990 people.
Helena is the second-most dangerous place to live in Montana, so it is surprising that it does not rank higher on the list. It has the second-most property crimes and the fourth-highest violent crime rate. It is only because of Helena's positive points that it has not landed in the top ten worst places to live in Montana. Some of these include highly-rated public schools, multiple activities and attractions to enjoy, and strong transport links.
Lewistown is a town in Fergus County with a population of 5,895 people. The unemployment rate is above average for Montana, so finding work in their preferred sector is clearly an issue for the residents of Lewistown. Although this location does not rank in the top 20 for crime, property crime remains an issue. The undesirability of the area is reflected in the median home value, which is the third-lowest in Montana at $111,700.
Despite not ranking in the top 20 for crime, safety is still a concern in Livingston. This location also has a relatively high rate of unemployment compared to the average for the state. Although the area has issues, the cost of living is high, which is a concern for many people. On the other hand, there are plenty of leisure and entertainment options for those who live in this area. Livingston has a population of 7,478 residents.
Although Libby does not rank in the top 20 for violent crime, it has the 12th highest property crime rate in Montana, so it ranks as the 17th most dangerous place to live in the state overall. There are also issues in the economy, and Zippia lists Libby as the second-worst place to find a job in Montana. It has the second-highest unemployment rate at 11.6 percent and the second-lowest median home value. Furthermore, public schools in Libby are ranked as performing poorly.
One of the main reasons that Stevensville is on the list is the crime rates, as it is the 14th most dangerous place to live in Montana. Violent crime is a significant concern, as only eight locations in the state have a higher rate of violent crime per capita. Although Stevensville only has the 16th most property crimes in the state, property crime remains a significant concern. Sadly, crime is not the only area of concern. The public schools in Stevensville are below average, the community is not diverse, and there is a lack of family-oriented activities.
Hamilton is a town in Ravalli County with a population of 4,628 residents. One of the primary concerns about Hamilton is the lack of safety, as it is the 10th most dangerous place to live in Montana. Property crimes are the greater issue, as Hamilton has the seventh-highest property crime rate in the state, compared to only the 15th most violent crimes.
Malta is a small town in Phillips County with a population of 2,090 residents. The main reason for Malta's inclusion on the list is economic issues. Many people find it difficult to find employment in their preferred sector, and it has the fourth-worst unemployment rate at 9.4 percent. Those in work do not earn much above the poverty line, and the median home value is the eighth lowest in Montana at $126,000. On the plus side, the public schools in Malta are above average.
Shelby is a city in Toole County with a population of 3,376 people. Although Shelby does not rank in the 20 most dangerous places to live in Montana, crime is still an issue, and there is a one in 28.7 chance of being a victim of a property crime. The median household income is one of the lowest in the state, and it has the 12th worst median home value in Montana. There is also a lack of outdoor and family-oriented activities in this area. However, the public schools are above average, and it is a great place to live if you enjoy going out in the evenings.
3. Cut Bank
Cut Bank deserves such a high position on the list of the worst places to live in Montana, as it is the most dangerous place to live in the state. It has more violent crimes than anywhere else in the state and the fifth-highest property crime rate in Montana. There are also economic issues, as Cut bank has the 12th highest unemployment rate, the seventh-worst median home value, and a median household income that sits right on the poverty line. A further problem in Cut Bank is that there is a lack of outdoor spaces to enjoy. Cut Bank is a small town in Glacier County with a population of just over 3,000 people.
Crime is one of the primary reasons why Polson is in the second position on the list, as it has the fourth-most crimes in Montana. Unfortunately, the lack of safety is not Polson's only issue. Employment opportunities are limited, and this means that 7.7 percent of the population are unemployed, which is the sixth-highest unemployment rate in the state. The median household income is also one of the lowest in Montana.
According to Road Snacks, the worst place to live in Montana is Hardin. Although crime is not a big issue in this small town of 3,842 people, there are many other areas of concern in Hardin. One of its biggest issues is its unemployment rate, which at 10.1 percent is the third-highest in the state. Those in work have a median household income that is significantly less than the average for the state. Another sign of Hardin's undesirability is the median home value, which is the ninth-worst in the state at $127,600. It is a sign that there is a lack of demand for housing in this location. A further issue is that the public schools in Hardin are ranked below average.
Despite Montana having some less than desirable places to live, there are definitely very desirable places to live in Montana.
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Written by Liz Flynn
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