U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Montana
 [Register]
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 09-01-2010, 08:34 AM
 
Location: The Carolinas
24 posts, read 57,676 times
Reputation: 22

Advertisements

My wife and I have all but decided that we will be moving to Montana in the next 8-12 months. We have vacationed in the state several times and love just about everything it has to offer. We are both libertarian and value personal freedom/liberty and small government above all else. Two traits that are nearly impossible to find on the East Coast where we have lived for the past 20 years. We are fortunate in that my wife's employer allows her to work from home exclusively. So we will have a steady, secure income when we arrive. I will need to find work, but we won't starve if it takes me a few months.

We would appreciate your recommendations on towns that we should consider. We prefer the western part of the state as that is the area we are most familiar with. We like mid-size towns that still have some conveniences but are not over-commercialized like the monstrosities we have here on the East Coast. Cold weather does not discourage us in the least. Schools are no consideration as it is only my wife and I. We need to rent for the first year and can afford perhaps $1000 per month max. Towns with a healthy economy would of course be ideal as I will need to find employment. I understand Bozeman and Missoula are both quite liberal by Montana standards and have a relatively high cost of living. If I am wrong on this please correct me. Kalispel and Great Falls seem like two areas that would meet our criteria. Can anyone comment on the economy of these areas? How is the cost of living? Any reasons to avoid these areas? What other towns should we be looking at? Thank you in advance!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-01-2010, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Upper Midwest
1,876 posts, read 4,212,480 times
Reputation: 1933
Helena is decent. Was there yesterday. Kind of the middle of various other towns. The whole state is isolated, no matter how you shake it, but I think honestly if a person had to choose, Helena would probably be the best choice, in my opinion. It's in a decent driving distance to all but a couple of the major towns in the state - Great Falls, Bozeman, Butte, and Missoula. It's in the middle of all of those. They've got a pretty cool downtown area too. One thing I notice is that while they do have many of the big-name chain stores, they also seem to have a lot of things that are unique to Helena. (Which I like.) Population is about 25,000 (according to 2008 atlas). But it seems a little bigger to me. Might be worth checking out. And you know what's strange? Could've been my imagination, but I felt a little underdressed walking around downtown in my jeans and t-shirt. lol Maybe that'll give you an idea of their downtown too. It's a hip little corner of town. It wasn't snobby, just... you know. I guess I felt like... they put in an effort, maybe I should've. haha! Unlike where I live (Great Falls), it has a unique identity.

Great Falls - I don't feel much Montana spirit up this way. GF is kind of like a seperate little planet. You won't find the beautiful Montana scenery up this way either, if that's what you're looking for. Great Falls has way too many small casinos, which make the place look cheap, and a lot of chain stores and eateries, and fewer and fewer local businesses all the time, as far as I can see. Three really great ones just closed down in the last few years - Zandy's, Burger Master (I didn't like it, but many did, and whether I like a town or not it's always sad to see long-time local business go), and Pickle Barrel. And it's slightly more conservative than Helena. Helena seems to embrace their roots, but are in touch with the modern world too.

Last edited by MSPLove; 09-01-2010 at 10:01 AM..
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
6,653 posts, read 7,790,428 times
Reputation: 14400
Hello and Welcome Asmodai,

Bozeman is more liberal in some ways than much of the state, but not nearly as bad as Missoula, in fact it usually votes conservative in most elections. If you are away from the college it is a pretty good place.

Great Falls isn't a bad town, but is very blue.
Helena is the seat of government so is also very liberal and lots of elites here.

Butte was the seat of union power in Montana for years and still has a residual liberalism, but once the mines closed and people had to hustle to make jobs for themselves, it is getting more conservative all the time. The first woman governor of the state, Judy Martz, was a Republican from Butte.

Billings and Kalispell are probably the most conservative areas. Very good people with strong values.

Billings probably offers the most opportunity and jobs at the best price range. It isn't in the western mountains, but has a charm and beauty all it's own and with a pretty conservative population, it is very accepting of all kinds of people.

Good Luck.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 10:50 AM
 
Location: NW Montana
6,258 posts, read 14,044,570 times
Reputation: 3451
If you do not mind the prairie then look at
Sidney
Miles City
You are close to No Dak also
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 10:52 AM
 
Location: NW Montana
6,258 posts, read 14,044,570 times
Reputation: 3451
read over this thread, interesting good luck
Most underrated place to live in MT
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 11:15 AM
 
Location: The Carolinas
24 posts, read 57,676 times
Reputation: 22
Thank you for the very informative posts so far. We will definitely take a look at Billings and some of the other towns in the eastern part of the state that were mentioned.

Would it be accurate to say that western Montana has a higher cost of living than the eastern part? Would wages be comparable to each other?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-01-2010, 09:14 PM
 
Location: C-U metro
1,368 posts, read 3,053,496 times
Reputation: 1187
Default Wages

Wages in the Western half of the state tend to be lower than the Eastern half for two reasons.

1) The Western half caters to out-of-state people with money (ie. tourism). There are pockets of productive normal economies such as Butte (PPL, Advanced Silicon) and Helena (State) but most are significantly dependent on service sector employers. Missoula, Bozeman and Hamilton are difficult to measure due to the large amounts of out-of-state money coming in and the University or NIH dollars driving the economy.

2) The Eastern half of the state is on the periphery of an oil boom that straddles the ND/MT border. Much of the industrial supply for the area comes out of Dickenson, ND and Billings, MT. Billings/Yellowstone County also has 3 refineries, a large non-petroleum service sector (construction materials, finance, Gov't contracting, 2 colleges), is the major medical center for Eastern Montana, Northern Wyoming and Western Dakotas and has the largest retail economy in the state. The oil boom has driven up wages as the petroleum sector is paying higher wages to convince people to move to a place with many working homeless people like Williston or Sidney.

Cost of living is a little higher in the western half too as gas and some food items are about 5% over Billings prices. Rents are easy to find under $1,000 as long as you stay out of the oil production areas around Sidney and Glendive. My favorite apartment of all time was a 1 bedroom 2 blocks from Dahler (then Cobb) Field and had hardwood floors and huge living room for $355/mo. I don't think it rents for that any more.

Montana conservatives are very libertarian as opposed to the Southern conservatives who are social conservatives. You'll probably fit in

Last edited by flyingcat2k; 09-01-2010 at 09:16 PM.. Reason: grammer
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-02-2010, 07:17 AM
 
Location: The Carolinas
24 posts, read 57,676 times
Reputation: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingcat2k View Post
Wages in the Western half of the state tend to be lower than the Eastern half for two reasons.

1) The Western half caters to out-of-state people with money (ie. tourism). There are pockets of productive normal economies such as Butte (PPL, Advanced Silicon) and Helena (State) but most are significantly dependent on service sector employers. Missoula, Bozeman and Hamilton are difficult to measure due to the large amounts of out-of-state money coming in and the University or NIH dollars driving the economy.

2) The Eastern half of the state is on the periphery of an oil boom that straddles the ND/MT border. Much of the industrial supply for the area comes out of Dickenson, ND and Billings, MT. Billings/Yellowstone County also has 3 refineries, a large non-petroleum service sector (construction materials, finance, Gov't contracting, 2 colleges), is the major medical center for Eastern Montana, Northern Wyoming and Western Dakotas and has the largest retail economy in the state. The oil boom has driven up wages as the petroleum sector is paying higher wages to convince people to move to a place with many working homeless people like Williston or Sidney.

Cost of living is a little higher in the western half too as gas and some food items are about 5% over Billings prices. Rents are easy to find under $1,000 as long as you stay out of the oil production areas around Sidney and Glendive. My favorite apartment of all time was a 1 bedroom 2 blocks from Dahler (then Cobb) Field and had hardwood floors and huge living room for $355/mo. I don't think it rents for that any more.

Montana conservatives are very libertarian as opposed to the Southern conservatives who are social conservatives. You'll probably fit in
That was very informative, thank you.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-08-2010, 03:34 PM
 
152 posts, read 316,328 times
Reputation: 108
Darby is the most libertarian, anti-government, town I have been to in the state, perhaps anywhere for that matter. However, there are few jobs to be found, but commuting, shopping, going out in more traditional republican Hamilton is always an option.

I think a great deal of the smaller towns are just too small to be particularly politically bent. They are traditional and conservative by nature, but they have to take care of each other out of necessity.

Missoula is the most left coast liberal of all of Montana. Butte and Anaconda are heavily influenced by their mining and union past. Flathead Valley is quite conservative. Helena is the government town. etc.

The Bitterroot is enormously impacted by very wealthy out of state money, federal forest laws, environmental extremists, wolves, elk, land issues, luddites, California nanny-staters, christian conservatives, christian social justice types, subsistence hunters, organic farmers, cattle ranchers, country estates, wealthy private clubs, communists, anarchists, and yes some libertarians.

However, you would never know it by just walking around what a political hot bed this place really is. I expect a strong rebuff of the control freaks this November, but there is a lot of money on the other side, and never underestimate the power of familiarity and being multi generational Montana.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-11-2010, 05:01 PM
 
Location: The Carolinas
24 posts, read 57,676 times
Reputation: 22
Appreciate all the useful info guys, thanks!

Another couple of quick questions:

What will it cost to register and title a vehicle previously registered in another state? What about yearly registration costs? I own a pickup truck with a book value of about $28K if it matters. Are personal property taxes assessed on vehicles?

Does MT have mandated vehicle safety and emissions inspections? Not only do these do nothing to improve air quality and road safety, they keep useless bureaucrats employed who would otherwise be in the unemployment line. Environmental nuts also support these programs so you know they are of dubious value. Yes, I detest these and similar government money grabs.

Last edited by Asmodai; 09-11-2010 at 06:01 PM..
Rate this post positively 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.


Reply
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
Message:


Settings
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2020 data
Loading data...

123
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

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2022, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - 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, 36, 37 - Top