Business is booming.

Migration report places Montana No. 1 for inbound moves; Missoula and Billings fueling growth

Even while inward migration to Montana is expected to decline in 2021, the state is expected to maintain its position as the top state in terms of the percentage of incoming movements to outbound migrations, according to research issued last month.

The cities of Missoula and Billings, which have the highest proportion of the new population, are expansion engines.

The State to State Migration Report, produced by moveBudda, was compiled using both Census and private data during 2020 and 2021. It included searches by people who were preparing to move or looking for a moving business.

Approximately 400,000 individual searches were sent in 2021, resulting in several interesting tendencies. Missoula had four incoming movements for every outgoing move, which decreased from the previous year when the city had 7.1 inbound activities for every outbound move (in 2020).
Despite the decrease, the pattern indicates that Missoula continues to be a popular area to live and raise a family.

According to Kristen Klepac of Green Flag Digital, “the city as a whole is still acquiring a large number of new people, but not as many as it was in 2020.” “Billings and Missoula are getting almost four incoming movers for every one outbound relocation.”

According to the statistics, Billings has made significant progress over the previous two years. Only 2.7 incoming movements were recorded for every outgoing activity in 2020. However, by 2021, the ratio of inward movements to outbound moves had grown to 3.9 to 1.


The total number of moves into or out of Montana includes 73 percent incoming and 27 percent outbound movements. Moving to or from Idaho, on the other hand, comprised 61 percent incoming and 39 percent outgoing, while in Washington, the figures were 51 percent and 49 percent, respectively.


As Klepac points out, “Montana is the state that receives the biggest amount of inflows compared to its population – it receives a bigger proportion of inflows than any other state.” “In comparison to the size of the state, Montana has a tiny population, and it has a smaller population than the majority of other states. ” However, the pace of influx is enormous, and it may have unanticipated consequences across the state.”


While plenty of employment is available in the state, finding a place to live is a different story. According to a recent study produced by the University of Montana’s Bureau of Research and Economic Development, housing is in short supply across the state. The problem is most severe in towns such as Missoula and Bozeman.


Due to rapid price increases, it has become difficult for persons earning the median salary to find an affordable place to live in the United States. The typical price of a property in Missoula is currently $517,000, while the median price of a home in Bozeman is just short of $700,000.


According to city authorities, Missoula needs 2,400 housing units to satisfy current demand. To keep up with current population trends, it is predicted that 600 more units are required per year as well. The city’s housing strategy asks for new dwellings for people of all income levels and all sorts.


As Klepac said, “We compared the net inflow of new movers for each state to the population of the corresponding state to have a better understanding of which states are being hurt hardest by the quick influx of new movers.” “Taking a look at net movements per capita may give insight into how intake into each state may be hurting local infrastructure,” says the researcher.


The research claims that other states in the Rocky Mountain area are experiencing similar pressures, including Idaho, where property prices in the capital city of Boise are growing faster than in any other part of the nation.


“In 2021, we processed 55 percent more moves to Idaho than we did out of Idaho, but this is a significantly smaller difference than in 2020, when inbound Idaho moves outnumbered outbound moves by more than three to one,” Klepac said. “In 2020, we processed 55 percent more moves to Idaho than we did out of Idaho.” According to the Census Bureau, a negative percent change in net migration means that the flow of individuals moving to Idaho may be leveling down.