Don't tell the folks in Bozeman, Missoula, or Whitefish, but it appears that good old Billings isn't so bad after all.

According to a recent report compiled by, Billings, MT is the 4th most popular city in the United States for people on the move in 2024. Data indicates that for every 100 people who leave Billings this year, 241 will move in.


Why all the trash talk about Billings from our fellow Montanans?

It bothers me a little when residents in the western half of our great state frequently talk trash about Billings on social media. I grew up in the Gallatin Valley. It's nice and beautiful and all that jazz, but why so much hate for B-Town?

"Billings has so much crime! The mountains are so far away! Billings is dirty and stinky!", they'll say. I've lived in Billings/Laurel now for over two decades and have zero complaints.

Missoula has a fair amount of crime and transients too. Bozeman and Whitefish are gonzo-expensive. It seems like maybe Billings is emerging as a compromise(?) for people who want to move to Montana.

Credit Michael Foth, TSM
Okay, are mountains are a little further away. Big deal. Credit Michael Foth, TSM

Plenty to love about the Magic City.

If mountains in your backyard aren't the most important thing in your life, the Billings area offers a viable Montana experience for many people. We have a stable economy, lower housing costs, major employers, shopping, great hospitals, minimal traffic issues, etc.

For those that don't love winter, it snows a LOT less in Billings, yet mountain recreation is a mere 45 - 60 minutes away.

Per moveBuddah's report, the fastest-growing cities during the Great Covid Exudos™ of 2021-22, are not the same in 2024. People on the move this year are still looking for value, but some of the previous hotspots from a few years ago are dropping in popularity.

The top 5 cities in the US where people want to move this year are:

  • The Villages, Florida
  • Ashville, North Carolina
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Billings, MT
  • Decatur, Georgia

For most Americans, making a move is about cost and quality of life.

People move for all kinds of reasons; work, school, retirement, love, escape, a dream, whatever. Costs usually work into that equation and for folks looking at moving to Montana, Billings is becoming quite an attractive option.

Amtrak Empire Builder from Chicago, Illinois to Havre, Montana

Amtrak Empire Builder from Chicago, Illinois to Havre, Montana

Gallery Credit: Tammie Toren

LOOK: Best counties to retire to in Montana

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to retire in Montana using data from Niche.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

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