Awards and rankings

It seems like every couple of months, a new “best-of” list comes out ranking Missoula among the finest burgs in the nation. In recent years, the Milken Institute called us one of the best small cities in which to grow old, while America’s Promise Alliance has repeatedly named Missoula among the best 100 communities for young people. Inc. named Missoula the second-best small city in America for doing business; Outside picked us as one of the best river towns in America. The League of American Bicyclists picked Missoula as one of the nation’s 14 most bike-friendly communities, while the U.S. Census found that average commute times in Missoula are fifth-best in the nation.

Those quality-of-life spotlights reflect a simple fact about this town: It’s a great place to live, do business, raise a family and retire.

Meantime, Montana as a whole is widely recognized as a business-friendly state, boasting no sales or inventory tax, high entrepreneurial activity, a highly educated workforce and excellent infrastructure. In 2013, the state was cited as the #1 place to pursue the American Dream, by Site Selection Magazine.

Here is a sampling of awards and citations earned by Missoula, The University of Montana and Montana as a whole.




2013 American Dream State Ranking Report: Achieving the American Dream:

From the 2013 Strengthening Brand America Project, created and managed by Edward Burghard, The Burghard Group, Loveland, Ohio. The Strengthening Brand America Project describes itself as “an educational website to teach economic development professionals how to apply private sector branding principles to brand their community, region or state.”

“Based on the outlook of people who live there,” the study ranked Montana:

  • #5 Living the American dream
  •  #5 Economic conditions
  •  #1 Well-being
  •  #2 Healthy environment (air, food, water, land)

In looking at subpieces of the project’s American Dream Composite Index, Montana in 2013 ranked among the top three states in:

  • Entrepreneurial Spirit — “interest in the pursuit of new ideas and progress in life”
  • Environment — “extent of pollution in the air, food, water and land that one encounters on a regular basis”
  • Fruits of my Labor — “extent to which one is rewarded fairly for efforts in life”
  • Happiness — “satisfaction and contentment with one’s life”
  • Home ownership — “desire and ability to own a home”
  • Job Environment — “satisfaction with work environment”
  • Optimism — “expectation of good things for oneself in life”
  • Safety in Community — “extent of safety where one lives”

Learn more — download the PDF report


Montana State Business-friendly National Rankings 2013:

  • #3  Lowest Industrial Electricity Rates
  • #5  Lowest Cost of Labor
  • #7  Best overall tax climate for business.**
  • #8  Best Business Tax Climate
  • #8  Renewable Energy Leader (Capacity)
  • #9  Renewable Energy Leader (Power Generation)
  • #9 Lowest CO2 Emissions
  • #10  Credit Quality

Business Facilities Magazine
** The Tax Foundation, 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index

More Montana Rankings Among U.S. States

  • #2  Export Intensity Growth
  • #2  Export Growth
  • #2  Entrepreneurial Activity
  • #4  Per Capita Income Growth
  • #4  STEM Job Growth
  • #4  Transportation Infrastructure Performance
  • #5  Long-term Job Growth
  • #5  Small Business Lending
  • #5  Higher-ed Efficiency
  • #6  Business Birth Rate
  • #7  Business Tax Climate**
  • #7  Academic R&D Intensity
  • #11  Gross State Product Growth
  • #15  Short-term Job Growth
  • #16  State and Local Tax Burden
  • #18  Small Business Lending
  • #19  Productivity Growth
  • #21  College Affordability
  • #22  Educational Attainment
  • #25  Growth in Share of National Exports

– U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2012
** The Tax Foundation, 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index

Missoula Economic Partnership | 500 N. Higgins Ave. | Suite 300 | Missoula, Montana 59802 | P: 406.541.6461 | F: 406.541.6464