Bozeman wins yet another ranking contest.
Eric Dietrich, Chronicle Staff Writer, Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Posted: Monday, January 26, 2015 8:00 pm
Bozeman has been ranked as the 11th-best mid-sized American city to live in by a “Top 100 Best Places to Live” index published this month by Livability.com.Three other Montana cities made the list: Missoula, Helena and Billings.Bozeman also scored second nationwide by the study’s civic engagement measure, placing just behind Helena.
“I think for a Montana city of 40,000, we’re doing quite well,” said City Commissioner Chris Mehl, who also works at local think tank Headwaters Economics.
On the other side of the divide, Missoula was ranked at eighth-most-livable but bested Bozeman’s overall score by only four points, 668 to 664.While the study’s authors caution against making direct year-to-year comparisons because of changes in the ranking methodology, both cities moved up compared to last year’s listing, Bozeman up 12 places from 23rd and Missoula up from 61st.
The livability indexes represent a weighted score drawn from eight categories: economic vitality, health, housing affordability, civic engagement, education, recreational amenities, demographic diversity and transportation convenience. Data was drawn from sources including the U.S. Census Bureau and nonprofits like Americans for the Arts.In addition to civic engagement, Bozeman scored comparatively well on the ranking’s measure of health and education but scored poorly on its diversity measure. The city’s housing affordability score was in the middle of the pack.
Missoula scored better than Bozeman but still below average on the diversity ranking, slightly better on housing affordability and substantially lower on civic engagement and education scores.
Mehl pointed to Bozeman’s economic vitality, Bozeman Deaconess Hospital and Montana State University as drivers of the strengths reflected in the study.As more people move to the city for jobs or come to MSU to study and decide to stay, he said, he expects the city to become more diverse.”
We’re attracting people from all over the United States and, frankly, the world,” he said. “That’s something that’s going to change over time.”The study named Madison, Wisconsin, the most livable city in the nation overall, but Madison scored slightly lower than Bozeman in economic strength, health and education, as well as substantially lower in terms of civic engagement.