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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Retire in Billings, Montana?

Overview:   Friendly Billings is situated along Interstate 90 in south central Montana and grew up around freight hauling and railroading. For years it was an actual Wild West town, with dusty streets, noisy saloons, quick draw gunfights, gamblers, cowboys and ladies of the evening.

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These days, Billings is tamer but still holds onto its authentic Western character. Built in a rimrock canyon carved by the Yellowstone River, the modern, bicycle-friendly downtown is partitioned by cliff walls. It has office buildings, government buildings, banks, restaurants and gentrified housing along wide, busy streets and hosts a farmers' market and a summer concert series. Its Skypoint shelters the city's annual Strawberry Festival. Residents also enjoy a symphony, an opera, an array of craft breweries, the Billings Studio Theater, the Yellowstone Art Museum and the Western Heritage Center. Established neighborhoods are leafy and neatly laid out, with a lot of ranch ramblers, raised ranch ramblers and bungalows. Newer areas meander a bit and have larger homes and more green spaces.

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Billings manages an extensive park system, too, as well as outdoor pools, a par three golf course, and a trail system. Several shopping malls have a variety of small and large retailers. Montana State University (4,500 students) draws traditional and nontraditional (older) students. The 64-acre Lake Elmo is inside city limits, and the Pictograph Cave and Chief Plenty Coups State Park are within minutes. Six mountain ranges and the Little Bighorn Battlefield are within 100 miles.

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Population:  112,000 (city proper)

Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better:  41%

Cost of Living:  3% above the national average

Median Home Price: $225,000

Climate:    Summer temperatures are in the 70s and 80s.   Winters bring temperatures in the teens, 20s and 30s.  On average, the area receives 52 inches of snow and 14 inches of rain each year.   The elevation is 3,300 feet above sea level.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?   Yes

At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission?  Yes

Public Transit:   Yes

Crime Rate:   Meets the national average

Public Library:    Yes

Political Leanings:   Conservative

Is Montana Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?    No

Cons:    None

Notes:    Billings is Montana's largest city. Racial diversity is minimal.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?   Yes

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Montana:

By area, Montana is the fourth largest state in the United States. With an average of only six people per square mile, it is one of the country's least populated states. This Big Sky Country was the 41st state to enter the union in 1889 and is home to 12 tribal nations.

Split by the Continental Divide, the state can experience dramatic climate differences from east to west. The west usually has milder winters and cooler summers than the east. Western Montana is characterized rocky peaks, forests, streams and lakes, while eastern Montana is open prairie punctuated by occasional buttes and hills. This prairie is drained by the Missouri River and its tributaries. Elk, moose, and grizzly bears are still abundant across the state.

Although manufacturing, tourism, and minerals contribute to Montana's wealth, agriculture may be the top economic driver. Cattle, calves, barley, hay, and black cherries are important products.

Tourist favorites include Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument and Glacier National Park. The Park contains 250 lakes. The largest, Flathead, is 28 miles long and between five and 15 feet wide.

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Stats:

Population - 1,042,520

Persons 65 years old and over - 18%

High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 93%

Bachelor's degree or higher, age 25+ - 30%

Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 3%

White persons, not Hispanic - 86%

Median household income - $47,169

Median home value - $193,500

Social Security taxed? Yes

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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