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Recent Net Migration Numbers Show Living in Montana is More Desirable Based on the Economy

Blue Mountain

Recent net migration numbers have portrayed Montana’s economy in a positive light.

Assistant Director of the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research Bryce Ward said Montana must be doing something right.

“People are migrating on net to Montana, so more people are moving here than are leaving,” Ward said. “It’s the simplest indicator that something is going right in your economy because, I mean, people can live where they want to. If people are choosing to live here as opposed to someplace else, something about the region is desirable.”

NBC Montana reported that from 2010 to 2013, Montana has seen a 1.54 percent change in population via net migration. Missoula has grown by 1.05 percent, Billings has grown by 2.68 percent, and Bozeman has grown by 3.61 percent.

Ward said there’s wide variation as to what makes different Montana cities more attractive.

“So migration is generally a function of three things: the quality of jobs, the cost of living, and the quality of life, right?” Ward said. “Those are the three things that you tend to look at. So, Billings is certainly more likely to be a jobs issue. The fastest growing parts of Montana are out in eastern Montana. The oil boom creates good jobs and people are drawn to those jobs.”

Census data shows the population growth via net migration for the average American metro area with a population between 100,000 and 120,000 people is -0.04 percent.

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