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Moving to Montana? The Big Sky Appeal

Montana is a stunning state known for its national parks, diverse wildlife and natural beauty. Ever popular with outdoor adventurers, the Treasure State offers plenty of space to roam and enjoy a peaceful lifestyle far away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. 

Living in Montana is unlike anywhere else! If you're intrigued by the natural beauty of Big Sky Country and researching how to move to Montana, North American Van Lines is here to help. In addition to our comprehensive, affordable moving services, we offer helpful guides filled with expert tips to make every stage of your move go smoothly.

This guide will walk you through nine essential considerations for moving to Montana. 

View of a mountain in Montana

1. Smaller Population

Montana has a relatively small population. As of 2021, there were only 1.08 million individuals in the state. That's comparable to the entire population of Austin, Texas, or Jacksonville, Florida! Before moving to Montana, consider whether the smaller population size will help you and your family feel at peace or leave you feeling isolated. 

2. Prepare for Montana's Climate

When planning a move to Montana, keep in mind that the winters drop to freezing temperatures. Montana has an average low of 16 degrees in January, though some parts of the state can plunge as low as –10 to –15 degrees. If you're big on skiing, snowboarding or spending time outdoors during the winter, living in Montana may seem like a paradise. But you'll need to plan and prepare for the harsh winters ahead.

During spring and fall, the weather is mild and pleasant. Temperatures generally stay between 70 and 80 degrees, and 100-degree days are rare, even during the peak of summer.

3. Finding Your Home

If the cold weather hasn't scared you out of moving to Montana soon, you'll want to start exploring the housing market. According to Zillow, the average sale price of a single-family home in Montana is around $446,676. This is a 3.1% increase year-over-year. Most houses spend less than two months on the market before being sold, and the inventory is much lower than in other states. If you want to settle in a home in a bigger town like Bozeman, you can expect to pay around $749,971. 

4. Employment and Economy 

The largest industries in Montana are petroleum refining, lotteries & Native American casinos, and gasoline & petroleum bulk stations. Together, these three industries bring in a combined revenue of over $23 billion for Montana annually. However, the largest employers in the state are Walmart, Albertsons and Montana State University. Montana also has a large agricultural market, but jobs in this industry are scarce and limited. 

If you plan on moving to Montana soon, you'll want to ensure you have a job secured before planning your relocation. High-paying jobs are niche and, in some areas, tough to come by. With that in mind, the labor market is rapidly growing year-over-year. As of December 2023, the nationwide unemployment rate was at 3.2%, a historic low. Jobs are also being added to the market at a consistent pace month-over-month.

5. Integrating into Montana's Community

Did you know there are more cows than people in Montana? The slim population size is something to keep in mind before you move to Montana. The median age is around 40, and housing tends to be more spread out than in states with greater urban development. That means Montana isn't the place for traditional suburbs or tract homes.

The low population density is a perk for some individuals, while it may seem off-putting and isolating for others. The good news is that living in Montana provides access to nature and year-round outdoor activities. So, if you want to take things slow and enjoy the outdoors, moving to Montana might be an ideal choice.

6. Navigating Transportation and Travel

Most individuals living in Montana use a four-wheel drive vehicle. Icy roads and blizzard conditions can make driving a challenge, particularly if you’re used to a warmer climate. You'll want to ensure your vehicle can handle slippery roads and other winter hazards. While a two-wheel-drive car may get you through the warmer months, it's not a year-round choice for residents. 

7. Education 

Montana has two highly-rated universities: Montana State University and the University of Montana. Both universities are well-regarded and somewhat affordable for Montana residents. Montana also has a great public community college system if you want to take a few courses in your free time. 

8. Affordability 

Montana is a relatively expensive state. According to SoFi, the average cost of living in Montana is $47,887 a year, ranking 35th in the nation for affordability. However, Montana does have relatively affordable housing and no sales tax. Keep in mind that the cost of living varies by city and town. As you research your move to Montana, look into the economic trends and housing costs for the community you plan to call home.

9. Enjoying the Great Outdoors

From fishing and hunting to skiing and snowboarding, Montana is one big playground for lovers of the great outdoors. Each season brings new opportunities to explore and enjoy the beauty of nature. Some of the most popular attractions in Montana include:

  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Glacier National Park
  • Flathead Lake
  • Big Sky
  • Whitefish

Finding a Montana Moving Company for Your Relocation

Moving to Montana soon? If Big Sky Country is calling your name, North American Van Lines is here to help. For over 90 years, our team has been among the top-rated Montana moving companies. Whether you’re planning an individual, family or commercial move, our dedicated professionals will help you achieve a smooth, stress-free relocation. 

Request a quote today to get started.