When It Comes To Being The Best, Is It Bozeman Or Missoula?
You can already feel it in the air; it's almost that time of year again. Soon, there will be extra trash talk between students, fans, and residents as we get ready for the big game on November 19th at Bobcat Stadium.
Of course, it isn't just a game between two beloved teams; this is about the pride of Montana.
Not only is the Brawl of the Wild the biggest football game in the state, but there is also a food drive involved; one that will feed thousands of Montanans over the next year. In fact, this year, Montanans have been hit particularly hard when it comes to food, so every little bit matters. Plus, who doesn't love bragging rights?
It's no secret that there is a certain level of animosity between Bozeman and Missoula. Both offer a whole lot to their residents, with vibrant downtowns and access to trails, hiking, and skiing. Both have universities that produce top-quality graduates. Both are fast-growing cities, that people are flocking to from all over the country. But when it comes down to it, which one is better?
Bozeman or Missoula? Let's take a look at some of the data.
When it comes to crime, Bozeman has a violent crime rate of 14.5%, while Missoula's rate is 24.5%, according to bestplaces.net. Bozeman has a property crime rate of 40.2%, while Missoula comes in at 63.1%. So when it comes to which city is safer, Bozeman is the winner.
Both cities are expensive to live in, with home and rent prices skyrocketing in the last few years. However, one city is significantly cheaper when it comes to housing.
According to Zillow, the median home price for Missoula is $579,542, which is over a 15% increase from last year. The median home price in Bozeman is $708,939 which is a 22%increase from last year. So when it comes to home prices, Missoula takes this one.
Jobs certainly seem to be plentiful in both cities, but what is the average salary between the two? Ziprecruiter says that the average salary in Bozeman is just over $51,000 a year, or an hourly wage of $24.90.
In Missoula, salary expert says that the average salary is just over $55,000, or an hourly wage of $26.59. Mark up another point for Missoula.
As mentioned, both cities are university towns. In Bozeman, you have the Blue and Gold where people absolutely love their Bobcats. In Missoula, it's Maroon and Silver, and the town is filled with hardcore Griz fans.
So, how do the two compare?
Montana State has a graduation rate of 57.7%, compared to 44.1% for the University of Montana. According to college tuition compare, Montana State is also cheaper than the University of Montana, although only by a couple hundred dollars. Oh, and it's also harder to get into MSU than UM. That point goes to Bozeman.
It seems we have a tie.
Missoula offers cheaper housing and higher salaries, yet there is a higher crime rate and a lower graduation rate at the university level. Bozeman is a safer city, with a higher graduation rate, but it costs more for a home and you don't get paid as much.
As with everything in life, I suppose it comes down to personal preference.