You always see various lists of "Top Small Towns For ____".  The criteria for a lot of these lists is usually fairly subjective. Like when Outdoor Magazine named Billings the Best Town in 2016.

There is a new report from the Milken Institute that seems to be a little more scientific. From their 58 page report ranking top small cities in 2018, here is what they base the study on:

Our index uses an outcomes-based set of metrics such as job creation, wage gains, and technological developments to evaluate the relative growth of metropolitan areas.

If you don't feel like reading the full report, I'll save you the time and give you the Cliff notes. The top 5 small cities are:

  1. Bend-Redmond, OR
  2. St. George, UT
  3. Gainesville, GA
  4. Elkhart-Goshen, IN
  5. Coeur d'Alene, ID

So, what about Montana towns? Missoula cracked the top 40, moving up from #43 to #31.  Billings is at #118 in 2018, a huge drop from #55 in 2017. The only other Montana town to make the list is Great Falls, which moved up slightly from #168 to #156.

We're curious as to why Billings dropped 53% from one year to the next? I don't recall our economy tanking between 2017 and 2018, do you? And no matter how the experts rank our town, we think it's a pretty okay place to be.