A recent study confirmed some opinions about why people have been moving to Montana. The survey of about 2,000 people showed the top factors as "quality of life" reasons - such as outdoors access, less congestion and a slower pace of life. Of course, by moving here, they've impacted those very same reasons.

Only a third of the people coming to the state (or moving from place to place inside our borders) said that jobs and other financial reasons were the top priorities. That meant higher pay or better working conditions. But also they were looking for a lower cost of living, according to Tara Mastel, principal investigator of the MSU Extension Service survey. She said in a news release, "This study shows that quality of life reasons, rather than financial reasons, were the most important factors for deciding where to move."

The survey was sent to people in both rural areas and cities who had moved between 2016 and 2021. Only half of the people responding to the survey had moved into Montana. The other half were people who had moved from one Montana location to another Montana location.

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The people moving to the state were coming mainly from California, Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Idaho. Many in the survey commented on the lack of affordable housing, a problem that has only become worse since the end of the survey.

Montana State University researchers were also in the Education Department and the Political Science Department. The study was supported by the Montana Community Foundation and the Montana Farm Bureau Foundation. The study findings are online.

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