U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Montana
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
Old 01-17-2019, 08:27 PM
3 posts, read 2,577 times
Reputation: 10


This all started with me and my husband looking at apartments in Boston, MA, seeing the crazy prices on apartments, and jokingly clicking on Butte, MT 's craigslist (because it looks like butt. I found it hilarious.) All joking aside, I've been researching since then-- seeing the nice apartment listings for less rent than we're currently paying-- and it actually seems... pretty awesome!

I used to live in Colorado, so I love the rocky mountains. We're both planning on attending college (23 and 24 years old-- a little late to the party but determined!) and we've looked at Butte, Helena, Bozeman and it seems we're really most interested in Missoula. A big city compared to our small town in New England, with a college campus, plenty of activities both in the city and in the great outdoors. And the apartments seem incredible compared to the 200 year old colonial houses that are haunted (ha ha) and poorly maintained here in New England. We can't afford an apartment without 2 other room mates here. We really would like to have a place of our own, and probably live in Montana for a year before enrolling in university for those in- state tuition rates.

It seems beautiful, inexpensive, and engaging. But a lot of the discussions of Missoula on here seem highly negative. Would this be a good place to move for a young college bound couple?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 01-17-2019, 09:05 PM
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
4,882 posts, read 5,763,319 times
Reputation: 8243
If you can live in Boston, you can live in Missoula. Most of the negatives the rest of the state has about Missoula is because of it's politics.
If far left views don't bother you, it's not a bad place.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-17-2019, 09:17 PM
1,241 posts, read 1,007,975 times
Reputation: 1268
Get jobs lined up before moving.

Good luck
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-18-2019, 03:52 AM
Location: Washington State
156 posts, read 93,956 times
Reputation: 417
As already stated by a poster above, the majority of the negative discussion concerns the left leaning politics of the city.

If I were to add any negatives, based on my previous years living in Missoula, (disclaimer: these views are obviously subjective, and are always up for debate,)

1. Missoula has something of an identity crisis: the city is in a transition place between being a town or a city, hipster or cowboy, rich or poor. While on the outset, this is not much of a problem, it tends to create some weird issues when politics and city management comes into play. How much development is too much? Do we modernize? This problem is minute however, compared to others.

2. Inequality: This one is glaring. Missoula is something of a haves and have nots kind of town. Large and beautiful homes adorn the south hills and the University district while, only blocks away, seedy motels and poorly managed multi-apartment converted houses stand proud. There are admittedly some halfway decent middle class neighborhoods peppered throughout the city. No observation is an absolute, but, without much effort, one can see a large difference between the sports cars and expensive trucks cruising around town, and the homeless meth users that hang out on some street corners.

3. Economy: This one primarily concerns jobs. I understand the argument that if you apply yourself, you can get a good job and yadda yadda... the fact of life in this town is the economy rotates almost exclusively aound Education (the University), Healthcare, and Tourism. Two of these things typically require a boatload of education to be any kind of lucrative, and the third is untenable bedfellows with the minimum wage. Jobs are not really tailored to semi training/educated blue collar laborers. Plus, with all the students, most entry level jobs are a little tough to come by.

4. Cost of living: This one is simple and is an extension on point 3 above. Housing and wages do not line up here. It may be cheaper than the East Coast, but bring some money with you. Please for the love of God, don't depend on making it big here.

I just realized that most of my complaints is essentially one long diatribe about finances. But I guess that is the point, this town is not kind to insecure finances. I suppose I could rant about the traffic on Reserve Street. Or the fact that for a progressive city it is blindingly white. Or the winter inversion. Or the yearly summer time fire smoke. Or the badly laid out street system (Malfunction junction? Slant Streets? No left turn capitol of America?) But those are anecdotal issues.

Missoula is a strange town with a good heart. Just bring some money, patience and fortitude with you.

You never know, you might be one of the few who strike metaphorical gold.

Last edited by sylentvoyce; 01-18-2019 at 04:04 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-18-2019, 06:21 AM
3 posts, read 2,577 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for all the responses! My husband and I are already saving for the trip, pretty much we're going to sell everything and pack the rest into my car and go in June when our lease ends here. I work retail and I'm hoping I can transfer to the store in Missoula, and my husband works in the food industry. We're definitely not making big bucks and we're not expecting a lot in Montana, but the cost of living seems pretty much the same except amenities are better in Montana. (Washers and driers inside of the apartments?? omg no more laundromat trips) I used to live in Phoenix AZ in a terrible part of town so I'm not phased too much by seediness haha, and we're not averted to left leaning politics so that's not a problem either.

I appreciate all the input!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-18-2019, 06:03 PM
4,641 posts, read 3,962,883 times
Reputation: 9712
Missoula is great in the summer & fall, I just hate the inversions & gray days of winter/spring. So many of us in Montana live where winter has lots of bright sunshine days even if we have piles of snow, so that gray sky of Missoula & the Flathead is oppressing to us. We fixate on it as the big negative. Take lots of Vitamin D3, get exercise outside, & you should be fine.

Missoula has a University town feel to it & I think you'll like that aspect since you plan to be students. & it's not that far to Spokane if you want city stuff. Take up skiing & other winter activities & you'll really enjoy it.

People talk about how liberal it is, but seriously it is not Berkley liberal. It is Montana liberal which has a whole lot of libertarian (little L) going on in the background.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-18-2019, 08:48 PM
Location: North Dakota
7,663 posts, read 8,950,244 times
Reputation: 10938
Originally Posted by jdhpa View Post
Get jobs lined up before moving.

Good luck
This can't be emphasized enough. You can't eat scenery.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-19-2019, 07:52 AM
Location: Billings, MT
9,523 posts, read 7,777,554 times
Reputation: 13254
"Or the fact that for a progressive city it is blindingly white."
Much of Montana (and most other Northern Tier states) is "blindingly white".
Mainly because so many minority people don't like our winters. When we lived in the Flathead Valley, we met several minority familys at the work place. They moved there and got jobs in the summer time, then when winter hit the shock set in. They didn't like 20 below zero, with heavy snow, 15 MPH winds, and weeks of cloudy days. By the time the next summer arrived, they were ready to pack up and move South. I often wished I could have done the same thing.
However, that was back when winters were more severe. Now that we live in South Central Montana, and winters are milder (Global Warming isn't really ALL BAD!), there are a few more minorities, at least in this area.
I don't know much about Missoula and the Flathead Valley these days. I know there have been a lot of changes over the last 30 years, and not always for the better. I definitely know I will never live there again.
OP, all I can say it "Good luck". I hope you find what you are looking for.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-20-2019, 02:12 AM
Location: Washington State
156 posts, read 93,956 times
Reputation: 417
Redraven... I'll be the first to admit that my observation of the blinding whiteness is purely subjective. I definitely will not presume to know the rhyme or reason behind why this is the case. But, yes you are right, as a general rule, most states in the northern half of the country trend toward a white demographic. I am a white guy of Scandinavian heritage myself, and if I were to guess I would say: I don't think it is the hard winters driving minorities out per say; I think it is that minorities in the longer stretch of history just hail from warmer climates, and after immigrating, settle in warmer climates. Whereas, northern European (Arctic Circle) white settlers felt comfortable settling in a colder climate. This of course is completely ignoring the fact that there have been Native American people living out the brutal winters in Montana for ages before our white "Hardy cowboys" rolled onto the scene.

My comment is meant more to throw shade at supposedly inclusive, tolerant, diverse, progressive cities; Missoula being the Montana variant. Most of these super diversity cities tend to be top heavy with white, young, tech employed, alternative lifestyle, hipsters. While I am certainly guilty of these traits myself, it is always worth it to mention this observation when describing Missoula to a newcomer.

Someone who comes here (especially from the East Coast,) might think that a progressive town such as Missoula might have a wider demographic, then be greeted by an unbroken sea of Pale Hipsters. Egads! It's terrifying really.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-20-2019, 01:45 PM
3 posts, read 2,577 times
Reputation: 10
We live in New Hampshire which is demographically the whitest state in america sooo even if Missoula is very white it probably still has more culture than here haha
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply

Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Montana
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top