What’s the cost of living in Montana?

1 min readLast updated October 5, 2023by Charlie Barton

Wondering about the cost of living in Montana? This article summarizes everything you need to know, from tax rates to healthcare costs. 

When considering a move to a new state, understanding the cost of living is vital for effective budgeting and financial planning. If Montana is at the top of your list, here are some current statistics related to the cost of living in the state that could help you make up your mind.    

The average cost of living in Montana 

Montana is home to over 6.1 million people.  

According to 2021 data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average total personal consumption cost in Montana is $47,887. 

According to data gathered in 2022 from MERIC, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, the state ranks 34th in a list of states with the lowest to the highest cost of living. 

Housing costs in Montana 

As of March 2023, the average home value in Montana is estimated to be around $427,886, according to the Zillow Home Value Index as of March 2023.  

It’s important to note that housing prices can significantly differ across various regions within the state. Here are some examples of typical home prices based on Zillow's data: 

CityAverage Home Value
Billings $371,299
Missoula $517,660
Great Falls $288,396
Bozeman $647,146
Butte $259,666

The monthly rental price ranges across the state for those considering renting in Montana. For example, the average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in Billings costs $900. 

Utility costs in Montana 

Utility costs play a significant role in Montana's overall cost of living. According to Forbes, the average monthly cost is around $379.  

UtilityAverage cost in Montana
Energy bill $97.84
Monthly water bill $38
Internet $45
Natural gas $37
Phone bill $114
Streaming $47.50

Grocery and food costs in Montana 

When it comes to groceries and food costs, Montana generally aligns with prices found elsewhere in the United States.   

According to Zippia, those in Billings pay over $323 on average each month.   

According to 2021 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average spending on food at home is $5,259 annually, or about $438 per month for US households.   

Transportation costs in Montana 

Transportation costs, including gas prices and vehicle maintenance, impact Montana's overall cost of living.  

According to MIT, a single adult with no children can expect to pay upwards of $5,300. 

Gas prices in Montana are typically in and around the national average. At the time of writing, Montana was at the national average. These prices fluctuate over time.   

It is also worth noting that prices can vary across different regions within the state.  

Healthcare costs in Montana 

Understanding healthcare expenses is crucial when considering the cost of living.  

The specific healthcare costs in Montana can vary depending on factors such as insurance coverage and individual circumstances. Therefore, it is advisable to research and consult with healthcare providers and insurance companies to obtain accurate cost estimates. 

MIT estimates:  

ScenarioAnnual healthcare expenditure
One adult, no children $2,675
One adult, one child $8,571
One adult, two children $8,581
Two adults (one working), no children $6,352
Two adults (one working), one child $8,581
Two adults (one working), two children $8,507
Two adults (two working), no children $6,352
Two adults (two working), one child $8,581
Two adults (two working), two children $8,507

Childcare costs in Montana 

Families in Montana currently pay around $9,589 per year for childcare for one child. This figure doubles for two children.   

However, it's important to note that this figure can vary across the state.  

Taxation in Montana 

Montana’s state income tax rate ranges between 1% and 6.9%.  

Here's a comparison of income tax rates among some neighboring states:  

StateIncome Tax Rates
Montana 1.0% - 6.9% (based on income brackets)
North Dakota 1.10% - 2.90% (based on income brackets)
South Dakota No state income tax
Wyoming No state income tax
Idaho 1.125% - 6.925% (based on income brackets)

The sales tax rate in Montana is 0%. This is because Montana does not have a statewide sales tax. However, certain local jurisdictions in Montana may impose local option sales taxes, which can vary. 

The bottom line 

The amount of money needed to live comfortably in Montana can vary depending on location, lifestyle, family size, and personal preferences. However, as the most expensive state in the US, you may need more than you first think. 

It's essential to consider these factors, along with personal circumstances and preferences, when evaluating the cost of living in Montana. In addition, consulting with a financial advisor can provide valuable insights and assistance in managing expenses and financial planning. 

Whether you’re retirement planning or considering relocating to chase a new career, Unbiased can assist you with your move's financial ins and outs. Find the right advisor for your needs today. 


Charlie Barton

Charlie Barton is a writer at Unbiased. He has been writing about personal finance and investing since 2017, with extensive knowledge of platforms and products. Charlie has a first-class degree from the London School of Economics.