What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Bozeman, Montana?
Bozeman, Montana, was recently named one of the most beautiful towns in America by Conde Nast magazine. So many people are flocking to Bozeman that it is one of the fastest-growing cities in America. And while you may think of Montana as being remote, Bozeman will surprise you. Continued population growth means more urban amenities in addition to the amazing outdoors.
Living in Bozeman has many pros like beautiful views, a low crime rate, an insane amount of love of dogs, and excellent schools. But, if the beautiful outdoors Bozeman provides isn’t quite enough, you are only an hour and a half drive from Yellowstone National Park. But, there are plenty of cool indoor activities such as visiting the Museum of the Rockies or the Ellen Theatre. On the flip side, the cons include huge population growth, bear encounters, extreme weather, lack of diversity, and a high cost of living.
Pros of Living in Bozeman
Its Magnificent Beauty
You will find some of the best skiing in the US at the stunning Bridger Mountains, located near Bozeman. The mountain range has an elevation of 8700 feet and receives approximately 350 inches of snow per year, making it a skier’s dream.
Need to know when fresh snow arrives at the Bridger Bowl ski area? Simply look to the Baxter Hotel in downtown Bozeman any time, day or night. If a blue light is on, you know Bridger Bowl has just received two inches of fresh snow.
While skiers can enjoy the snow during the peak months of November until early June, you will want to take an opportunity to explore and hike the mountains in the off months. It’s not uncommon to look up and see soaring eagles or look to your side and see bison, moose, elk, or antelopes roaming.
If you would like to observe Grizzly bears at a safe distance, check out the Montana Grizzly Encounter Rescue and Educational Sanctuary. The rescued bears live happily in a spacious mountain setting, and you get to see them up close without disturbing them. Guides tell you more about the bears that frequent the area and what to do if you encounter one.
Locals in Bozeman love their dogs, and the city can be a canine paradise for your pooch. If there is one thing Bozeman has, it is fabulous trails, and your dog will probably enjoy walking and running the trails just as much as you do.
If you want an area for your dog to be able to play, and you don’t have a backyard, it’s no problem! Bozeman has nine off-leash parks. Snowfill Recreation Area is a fenced-in dog park where your best friend can safely run free and play.
Canine Beach is a leash-free location with the Bozeman pond surrounded by three fences. Dogs can run the beachfront and play in the water. Just remember to clean up after deposits your pup leaves behind.
Bozeman has many dog daycare centers if you must leave the house for work and worry about leaving your dog alone. While you are grinding away at the 9-to-5, your dog can enjoy playing with other dogs, walking and running, getting belly rubs, and frolicking in the grass.
Low Crime Rate
The Bozeman metropolitan area has a population of about 100,000. Yet, despite its ongoing population growth, Bozeman still has the lowest crime rate of the seven most populated cities in Montana.
No murders occurred in Bozeman in 2019. But, there were 245 cases of violent crime. The US average for violent crime is 22.7, and the Bozeman average is significantly lower at 14.5.
The most significant amount of reports turned in by the Bozeman police department were for traffic stops. In addition, there were 1,813 motor vehicle accidents and 350 DUIs reported. Total Bozeman arrests for 2019 totaled 2,017. Check out the cost of living in Bozeman, Montana.
Bozeman has some of the best K-12 schools in Montana. There are eight K-5 schools, two middle schools, and three high schools. Bozeman has a high school graduation rate of 97.9% and a bachelor’s degree or higher rate of 58.7%.
Several Bozeman schools have received national awards and high rankings. Morning Star is a nationally ranked Blue Ribbon K-5 grade school. Its students test in the top 1% in Montana with a math proficiency of 80% and a reading proficiency of 89%. Bozeman High School received a 93.17 out of 100 rating and was ranked the #1 high school in Montana by US News & World Reports.
Niche ranked the Bozeman public school teachers as #181 out of 19,147 in the country. Niche also ranked Bozeman #1 in Montana for best high school for athletes, the best public high school teachers, the best college, prep public high schools, and the best high schools for STEM.
One awesome thing about Bozeman is the school system works on the boundary system, which means students can walk or bike to local schools. Kids often go to school with kids they know from the neighborhood, so it may be easier for them to settle into a new school.
Cons of Living in Bozeman
Population growth is usually something locals love or hate, and Bozeman is no exception. It has become the fastest-growing city of its size in the US, with a growth rate of 3.6% last year alone. Since the mid-60s, the Bozeman city limits population has shot up from approximately 13,000 to 51,000.
The city grows at a rate of 2.27% annually, and it has grown 41.15% since the last census was taken in 2010. Bozeman is set to overtake Great Falls as the third-largest city in Montana by 2025 if this rate of growth continues.
All this growth puts a strain on the city to keep up with the great demands for more affordable housing, schools, and public service facilities. Unfortunately, growth also means building more structures for housing and businesses, which can invade and ruin its natural landscape.
Moving to Bozeman means getting ready for potentially seven months of winter. Yes, it can even snow in July. Bozeman averages 63 inches of snow a year.
But there are a few months with pleasant temperatures. The August average temperature is 84 degrees, not too far behind the July average of 86. September has a nice temperature average of 74, but that drops to 59 in October.
If you are moving from an area of the country where you see snow and the city shuts down, that isn’t going to happen here. The kids still go to school, and you will still be expected to go to work — it is just another day in Bozeman.
The average temperature for Bozeman in January is 33 degrees. But, that doesn’t stop people in Bozeman. Even when temps get close to zero, just throw on another layer of clothing and go about your business.
You will encounter frozen garbage can lids and car doors — it is just par for the course in Bozeman. You will need to learn during the freezing months to keep at least a quarter of a tank of gas in your car. If you don’t, what little gas you have can freeze.
Encountering a bear in Bozeman can be frightening and the important thing is to know what to do and what not to do. If you see a bear at a distance, and he doesn’t notice you, keep an eye on him, but slowly move away.
If the bear does notice you, stand your ground. Don’t lay on the ground or run. Only backup when he is retreating.
One thing to keep in mind is bears are probably just as scared of you as you are of them. If he approaches you, wave your arms aggressively and shout. Always carry bear spray with you and be ready to use it.
Try to remember to travel in a group when enjoying the great outdoors. Hiking, biking, or walking a trail alone can be dangerous. The bears are most active at dawn, dusk, and night.
High Cost of Living
You will find the Bozeman cost of living to be 8% higher than the US average.
Rapid population growth almost always results in one financial problem — the average wages haven’t quite caught up with living costs. While the median home price in Bozeman is $365,600, the median home income is only $55,569.
The growth has made it more difficult to find affordable housing in Bozeman. Only about 40% of those that live in Bozeman own their own homes.
Even finding a one-bedroom apartment in Bozeman can be difficult as the vacancy rate is extremely low. The average rent is $929 for a studio apartment, and a one-bedroom can run you as much as $1,645.
How diverse is Bozeman?
The lack of diversity in Bozeman is not at 0%, but quite close. Whites make up 92.1% of the population. There are .7% African Americans, 2.2% Asians, 3.8% Hispanic, and 3.3% that claim two or more races. And, the Native American population percentage in Bozeman is only 1%.
How much rain does Bozeman get each year?
Bozeman gets on average a little over 16 inches of rain each year.
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