Everyone has heard the common reasons for Montanans moving out of state. In recent years it has overwhelmingly been about the soaring cost of housing. But that's not the only reason long-time Montana residents are now packing up and moving out.

The flood of people moving to Montana has come at many different prices. The most obvious is, well, the prices. But money isn't really at the heart of the matter for what we're finding here. We have come across dozens of online conversations that are centered around other factors for moving out of Montana - some of which are very concerning.

It's not unusual for people to have reasons that include an aspect of the cost of living, tied up with another significant reason for leaving the state. At this point, you'll often see 'money' AND something like politics, school, or family needs.

The following sampling of responses cam from a recent Reddit conversation, sparked by the question "Why did you move away from Montana". A very broad, simple question, right? It was amazing how many thoughtful but strongly worded responses there were.

  • "Spent twenty-three years in SW MT and I finally left a few years back to go to grad school on the west coast. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I still have a lot of friends and family there."
  • "I moved to Colorado last year because the politics of Montana were starting to scare me. As a gay man, I felt pretty safe in Missoula, but as soon as I was twenty or so miles outside of town, I wouldn't feel safe holding my boyfriend's hand in public anymore."
  • "I moved to AZ to help my aging parents. Wasn't by choice but the move has been eye opening. Housing costs aren't much different but my wages have gone up 30% in the past year."
  • "The influx of far right individuals over the last six or so years changed the nature of Montana from Live and Let Live to Let me Live My Way and I'll Force You to Live My Way, Too. So I moved to a more accepting state.
  • "Born and raised in the state. Moved away every single chance I could get. Love the nature, hate the excessiveness (drinking, gambling, drugs, etc)."
  • "I like being in a mostly politically-neutral area that isn't hugely us-vs-them mentality."
Photo by Julia Nastogadka on Unsplash
Photo by Julia Nastogadka on Unsplash
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  • "Left middle of last year (had a remote IT job), bought a house sight unseen in southern West Virginia for only $145k. I do miss some things here and there, but overall we're pretty happy replacing the Rockies with the Appalachians."
  • "I've lived in NW Montana since I was 8, its the only home I've ever known. There's nothing more that I want to do but leave. Sick of losing friends to addiction and suicide."
  • "MT will always have a place in my heart and I also will forever miss the mountains and outdoor recreation, but the growing sense that my friends back home are struggling to find meaning and grow out of toxic behaviors means that I probably won’t be moving back anytime soon."
  • "I’m leaving because I can’t find work and because I’m politically progressive and can’t stand how this purple state has turn bright red."
  • "We were never winter sports junkies, so Oregon still scratches our hiking/biking itch very well while also allowing us to make living wages and get to experience some big city things we never did while living in MT."

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  • "We are thinking of moving somewhere with a lower cost of living with a longer fishing season for more species besides trout."
  • "People are angrier. More paranoid. One loved one, who always leaned to the right but really believed in not holding prejudices, is now Very Concerned about the gays and the trans people."
  • "Left as an adult to travel the world. I return to visit family. My main take away; Montana has turned to one of the angriest places I know."
  • "I knew when I was 4 years old I needed to get the hell out of there and I think a lot of Great Falls residents felt that way. I need a city with options, food, cultures, and preferably good public transportation."
  • "Lots of extremists, with very blatant proclamations of their love for bigotry & Trump. My hometown used to be a place of “mind your own business” - but it’s not that anymore. Lots of Texas people with balls on their trucks."

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