Business is booming.

Missoula, Billings continue seeing influx of out-of-state residents

MISSOULA, MONTANA – Although 27 million Americans moved last year; the United States will have its lowest moving rate in more than 70 years in 2021.

However, according to new US Census data, people moving from state to state increased.

According to the data, Montana had the highest net inflow of moves per capita, with 73 percent of activities inbound, indicating that more people are moving into the state rather than out.

The great Montana migration is still ongoing, and the evidence is in the numbers.

“The ratios were all taken based on population the state, and Montana had one of the lowest populations, and some of the highest moves inward,” Mercedes Martinez of moveBuddha, a technology company that collects data on moving, explained.

According to the new report, Montana was the top destination for people last year, with Martinez saying, “that’s just the biggest takeaway there, is considering how it will change the way of life for everyone moving and already living there.”

The new data also shows a slight decrease in moves to Missoula, with moveBuddha noting while the Garden City saw the highest influx of people moving to the state in 2020, those numbers tapered off some in 2021.



The report divides the number of people moving in by the number of people moving out, resulting in a “net inflow ratio.” Missoula’s figure fell from 7.1 in 2020 to four in 2021, marking the single most significant drop in the study.



“Even though that change, it looks like a negative 300% change from 2020 to 2021, that feels very drastic, which in comparison to the year prior it is, but it’s still very high, there’s still a lot of people going to Missoula,” Martinez explained. “It’s not that it’s no longer popular.”

Meanwhile, Billings saw an increase in population last year, rising from 2.7 in 2020 to 3.9 in 2021. “Long story short, Billings just caught up to Missoula,” Martinez explained.

A lot of these people moving to Montana might be coming from California, as the report also shows that the state lost the most residents last year, with Martinez noting, “I think that people are just looking to get the most space that they can. For their dollar.”

Martinez says as the world adjusts to post-pandemic life, the trend to Montana is likely to continue, “there’s more of an even spread of where people are landing. Overall, they’re still both two of the most popular inbound cities for 2021 and probably will continue to be this year as well.”