The 10 Fastest Growing Towns in Montana Everyone is Talking About

Written by Stella Bouldin
Updated: November 14, 2023
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People are taking notice of Montana’s fastest-growing towns, as well as its stunning landscapes and outdoor activities.

Many cities in the Treasure State saw an enormous increase in their population in 2022. Factors like job opportunities, good living conditions, and affordable prices drove much of this growth. Montana continues to be one of the most popular states to move to. In fact, recent data shows that more folks are moving to Montana than moving out.

Many people who work in Bozeman choose to live in Belgrade for lower housing costs.

Find out about Montana’s top 10 fastest-growing cities for 2022, their expanding population, living costs, and thriving economies.

1. Bozeman

Bozeman, Montana

The thriving tech industry, anchored by Montana State University, is contributing to Bozeman’s growth.

©Colton Stiffler/Shutterstock.com

Bozeman, often referred to as the “Heart of the Rockies,” tops our list as the fastest-growing city in Montana for 2022. With a population growth rate of over 3%, Bozeman has been attracting new residents from across the country.

Growth: The thriving tech industry, anchored by Montana State University, is attributed to Bozeman’s rapid expansion. The city’s high quality of life, abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, and vibrant arts scene also draw people in.

Cost of Living: While Bozeman’s cost of living has risen, it remains competitive compared to cities in states like California. The demand for housing has increased, leading to a rise in home prices and rents.

Why It’s Growing: The influx of tech companies and remote workers, drawn to the city’s strong job market, excellent schools, and the appeal of Montana’s natural beauty, contribute to Bozeman’s growth.

Economy: A robust economy in Bozeman thrives with diverse industries such as technology, healthcare, education, and manufacturing driving its prosperity.

2. Whitefish

Whitefish Lake. Flathead County. Montana. USA

Fishing is a popular outdoor activity in Whitefish Lake.

©VIKVAD/Shutterstock.com

Whitefish, nestled in the Flathead Valley, is another Montana city that experienced remarkable growth in 2022.

Growth: Whitefish’s population growth rate of over 2% is driven by its appeal as a tourist destination, outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, and a growing number of remote workers.

Cost of Living: The cost of living in Whitefish has risen due to increased demand for housing. While it’s not the most affordable city in Montana, it offers a higher quality of life.

Why It’s Growing: Whitefish’s natural beauty, proximity to Glacier National Park, and recreational opportunities make it an attractive place to live. Additionally, the city’s thriving tourism industry and remote work options contribute to its growth.

Economy: Tourism is a significant driver of the economy in Whitefish, along with retail, hospitality, and real estate.

3. Belgrade

Belgrade Montana

Located just west of Bozeman, Belgrade experienced substantial growth in 2022.

©IslandLeigh/iStock via Getty Images

Belgrade, located just west of Bozeman, experienced substantial growth in 2022.

Growth: The population of Belgrade has been expanding by over 2%, primarily due to its affordability compared to neighboring Bozeman. Many people who work in Bozeman choose to live in Belgrade for lower housing costs.

Cost of Living: Belgrade offers a more affordable cost of living than Bozeman, making it an attractive option for those looking to save on housing expenses.

Why It’s Growing: The city’s proximity to Bozeman and its growing job market have fueled its expansion. Belgrade is an excellent option for those who work in Bozeman but want a more budget-friendly place to call home.

Economy: Belgrade’s economy is closely tied to that of Bozeman, with many residents commuting to work in the larger city.

4. Sidney

Wheat fields and grain elevator in Sidney, Montana during a rain storm on a summer day.

The energy industry plays a pivotal role in Sidney’s economy, but agriculture and healthcare also contribute significantly.

©David Harmantas/Shutterstock.com

Sidney, located in the northeastern part of Montana, has seen impressive growth in recent years.

Growth: With a population growth rate of over 2%, Sidney has been attracting people seeking employment in the energy sector, including oil and gas.

Cost of Living: The cost of living in Sidney is relatively moderate, with housing costs being competitive compared to other parts of the state.

Why It’s Growing: Sidney’s growth is mainly due to the energy boom in the region. Job opportunities in the oil and gas industry have drawn workers from various parts of the country.

Economy: The energy industry plays a pivotal role in Sidney’s economy, but agriculture and healthcare also contribute significantly.

5. Kalispell

Kalispell, Montana

Kalispell’s population has been increasing at a rate of over 2%.

©Kit Leong/Shutterstock.com

Kalispell, situated in the Flathead Valley, is one of the fastest-growing cities in Montana.

Growth: Kalispell’s population has been increasing at a rate of over 2%, driven by its scenic beauty, outdoor activities, and a growing number of retirees.

Cost of Living: The cost of living in Kalispell is relatively reasonable, making it an attractive option for those seeking a peaceful and scenic lifestyle.

Why It’s Growing: Kalispell’s growth can be attributed to its natural beauty, proximity to Glacier National Park, and the influx of retirees seeking a high quality of life.

Economy: Tourism, healthcare, and retail are significant contributors to Kalispell’s economy.

6. Columbia Falls

Columbia Falls, Montana

Columbia Falls’ growth is driven by its proximity to the national park, outdoor recreational opportunities, and access to employment in Kalispell.

©Clifford Wayne Estes/Shutterstock.com

Located near Kalispell and Glacier National Park, Columbia Falls is also experiencing substantial growth.

Growth: Columbia Falls’ population growth rate has exceeded 2%, primarily due to its proximity to Kalispell and Glacier National Park.

Cost of Living: The cost of living in Columbia Falls is relatively moderate, making it an appealing option for those who want to enjoy the nearby outdoor amenities without the high costs of living in Kalispell.

Why It’s Growing: Columbia Falls’ growth is driven by its proximity to the national park, outdoor recreational opportunities, and access to employment in Kalispell.

Economy: Tourism and retail play crucial roles in Columbia Falls’ economy.

7. Helena

Drone view of the Montana State Capitol, in Helena, on a sunny afternoon with hazy sky caused by wildfires. The Montana State Capitol houses the Montana State Legislature.

Helena’s growth can be attributed to its status as the state capital, which provides a stable job market.

©Mihai_Andritoiu/Shutterstock.com

Helena, Montana’s state capital, is another city on the list of fastest-growing places in the state.

Growth: Helena’s population has been growing at a rate of over 1.5%, driven by state government jobs, a growing tech industry, and an appealing quality of life.

Cost of Living: The cost of living in Helena is relatively moderate, making it an attractive option for those seeking government jobs or looking to enjoy Montana’s outdoor amenities.

Why It’s Growing: Helena’s growth can be attributed to its status as the state capital, which provides a stable job market. Additionally, the city’s growing tech industry and outdoor recreational opportunities are drawing in residents.

Economy: State government jobs, healthcare, and the tech sector contribute significantly to Helena’s economy.

8. Missoula

View of Missoula from Mount Sentinel, in Missoula, Montana.

Missoula’s growth can be attributed to its diverse economy, with opportunities in healthcare, education, technology, and outdoor recreation.

©Jon Bilous/Shutterstock.com

Missoula, located in western Montana, continued to attract new residents in 2022.

Growth: Missoula’s population growth rate has exceeded 1.5%, driven by its diverse job market, vibrant arts scene, and access to outdoor activities.

Cost of Living: The cost of living in Missoula is relatively competitive, making it an attractive option for those seeking employment and a high quality of life.

Why It’s Growing: Missoula’s growth can be attributed to its diverse economy, with opportunities in healthcare, education, technology, and outdoor recreation. The city’s cultural attractions and educational institutions also play a role in its appeal.

Economy: Healthcare, education, and technology are major contributors to Missoula’s economy.

9. Polson

Polson Montana on a sunny day

The cost of living in Polson is relatively affordable, making it an appealing option for retirees and those seeking a peaceful lakeside lifestyle.

©Janelle Garcia Photograph/Shutterstock.com

Polson, located on the shores of Flathead Lake, is a picturesque city that saw notable growth in 2022.

Growth: Polson’s population growth rate has exceeded 1.5%, driven by its natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and a growing number of retirees.

Cost of Living: The cost of living in Polson is relatively affordable, making it an appealing option for retirees and those seeking a peaceful lakeside lifestyle.

Why It’s Growing: Polson’s growth can be attributed to its stunning lakefront location, outdoor activities, and its appeal as a retirement destination.

Economy: Tourism and healthcare are significant contributors to Polson’s economy.

10. Livingston

Livingston, Montana

Livingston’s stunning natural surroundings are a contributing factor to its growth.

©Montanabw / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

Livingston, located along the Yellowstone River, rounds out our list of the fastest-growing cities in Montana for 2022.

Growth: Livingston’s population exceeds 1.5% growth, fueled by its scenic beauty, outdoor activities, and a burgeoning arts and culture scene.

Cost of Living: The moderate cost of living in Livingston attracts those seeking outdoor amenities and cultural offerings in the area.

Why It’s Growing: Livingston’s growth can be attributed to its stunning natural surroundings, access to outdoor activities, and the growth of its arts and cultural community.

Economy: Tourism, arts and culture, and outdoor recreation contribute significantly to Livingston’s economy.

Summary Of the 10 Fastest Growing Places In Montana For 2022

RankCityGrowthPopulationPopulation 2010
1Bozeman32.6%48,33036,440
2Whitefish26.4%8,0326,352
3Belgrade26.1%9,1847,281
4Sidney25.7%6,3515,052
5Kalispell24.0%23,93519,298
6Columbia Falls22.2%5,6514,626
7Helena18.0%32,65527,672
8Missoula14.7%74,99465,383
9Polson12.6%5,0334,468
10Livingston8.5%7,6967,094
Summary Table of the The 10 Fastest Growing Towns in Montana

In 2022, these 10 cities in Montana have experienced significant growth, each with its unique set of reasons and characteristics.

Whether it’s the tech boom in Bozeman, the outdoor paradise of Whitefish, or the energy sector opportunities in Sidney, Montana’s cities offer a wide range of experiences and lifestyles.

As these cities continue to grow, they hold the promise of new opportunities, a higher quality of life, and the chance to enjoy Montana’s breathtaking landscapes and abundant recreational activities.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Keegan Connell/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Stella is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel and animals. She has over 20 years of professional writing experience. She holds a doctorate degree and several writing certifications. Stella is a digital nomad currently living in Mexico. As she has a passion for travel, she has also lived in China, S. Korea, Thailand, Kenya, and Ecuador in the past ten years. Stella has two rescue dogs, Paisley and Tinosa who travel with her around the world. Her hobbies include reading, quilting, and meeting new people.

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