Is Maryland a Good Place to Live? (20 Pros and Cons)

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Essential Things To Know About Living In Maryland

Is Maryland a good place to live? Today’s article answers that question and explores the pros and cons of living in Maryland. Let’s get started.

Is Maryland A Good Place To Live?

Maryland is an excellent place to live because of its rich cultural heritage, economic opportunities, excellent schools, stunning landscapes, beautiful parks, and seasonal weather. Furthermore, residents love the small-town living options, access to big cities, and a fantastic culinary scene, making Maryland a well-rounded choice for those seeking their ideal lifestyle.

Next, let’s look at Maryland’s pros and cons.

Pros And Cons Of Living In Maryland: Side By Side Comparison

Living in Maryland ProsLiving in Maryland Cons
1. Diverse, cultural, historic12. High cost of living
2. Job opportunities13. Excessive income taxes
3. Financial prosperity14. Other costly taxes
4. Good schools15. Heavy traffic congestion
5. Oceanfront and beaches16. Crossing the Bay Bridge
6. Access to the mountains17. High crime rate
7. Stunning parks18. Densely populated
8. Seasonal weather19. Unpredictable weather
9. Great regional foods20. Odd laws
10. Diverse living options
11. Access to big cities
Table 1: Pros and Cons of Living or Retiring in Maryland

Next, for a more complete review, it’s time to thoroughly examine these pros and cons.

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Flying the Maryland State Flag

Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Living In Maryland: The Pros

1. Maryland Is Rich In American Culture, Diversity, And History

Maryland’s cultural vibe is unique, diverse, and rich in American history.

Maryland’s Vibe

Maryland’s population is a healthy mix of White, African American, Hispanic, Latino, and Asian residents. The Virtual Capitalist ranks the state as the fourth most diverse in the country.

You will discover elements of traditional Southern hospitality. However, most residents think of themselves as northerners.

These different elements come together and create an amazing cultural scene.

Maryland’s History

Maryland is one of the original 13 colonies. The state’s recorded history dates back to the 1500s.

Annapolis, the state capital, is one of the oldest communities in the country, founded in the mid-1600s. Francis Scott Key wrote our national anthem—the Star-Spangled Banner here.

Maryland’s Cultural Attractions

Because Maryland is near Washington, D.C., many monuments and museums exist to explore and enjoy. Some are located in the nation’s capital city, while others are local to Maryland.

Smithsonian alone has nearly 20 world-class museums, galleries, and gardens to explore. The Walters Art Museum is located in Baltimore, and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum calls St. Michaels, Maryland its home

To sum up, Maryland is a state rich in history and culture.

2. Locals Have Good Access To Job Opportunities

Maryland has many good jobs and one of the country’s lowest unemployment rates.

Service-oriented government jobs are plentiful because of the state’s proximity to Washington, D.C. Good technology work is found in cities like Columbia, Baltimore, Fort Meade, and Frederick.

Many Maryland residents work in the robust Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia employment markets.

Because of the abundance of opportunities, some people live in West Virginia and commute across the state border for good jobs in Maryland.

3. Maryland Is Known For Wealth And High Incomes

Living in Maryland has proven to be financially prosperous for many.

According to Kiplinger, the state has one of the country’s highest concentrations of millionaires and boasts one of the highest median household incomes.

4. Living In Maryland Means Access To Good Schools

Maryland has some of the best K-12 private and public schools nationwide. They provide the knowledge and skills for students to land those high-paying jobs.

As a result, the state ranks in the top 10 for the quality and safety of its public schools. (Source: WalletHub)

Maryland also has dozens of colleges and universities to choose from, including:

The University of Maryland, College Park. Thought to be one of the best universities in the state and nation.

John Hopkins University is a private school. It was founded in 1876 as the first research university in the United States.

St. Johns College. A private liberal arts school. It is one of the country’s oldest institutions of higher learning, founded in 1696.

So, no matter where you live in the state. You won’t be far from the campus of your choosing.

5. Maryland Has Oceanfront, Beaches, And Water Galore

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Living in Maryland is for water lovers. If you enjoy swimming, fishing, boating, or anything else related to being around water, you will like your Maryland lifestyle.

Here are several examples:

Ocean City is a popular oceanside resort and beach town.

Assateague Island is a 37-mile barrier island. It is part of the National Park Service and has many outdoor recreational options. The land mass is similar to the Outer Banks off the coastal state of North Carolina.

However, you don’t have to travel to the state’s far southeastern shore to enjoy the water. For example, Chesapeake Bay provides plenty of boating, fishing, and swimming opportunities. The bay dominates most of the state’s eastern region and extends to the Virginia state line, near beautiful Virginia Beach.

Maryland has many other beaches to explore, including:

  • Betterton Beach
  • Breezy Point Beach
  • Chesapeake Beach
  • Cherry Beach
  • Matapeake Beach
  • North Beach

Finally, you can also head up the Atlantic coast to Delaware and check out the famous Rehoboth Beach.

6. Mountain Lovers Will Enjoy Maryland Living

Maryland’s northern and western regions provide access to the Appalachian Mountains.

Outdoor lovers can access the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Mountains. They are perfect places for hiking, camping, backpacking, and getting away from it all.

7. Maryland Is Home To Many Stunning Parks

Maryland’s park system spans from the ocean waters in the east to the mountain ridges out west.

After moving to Maryland, get out and explore these amazing outdoor spaces:

  • Calvert Cliffs State Park
  • Catoctin Mountain Park
  • Cunningham Falls State Park
  • Elk Neck State Park
  • Hart-Miller Island State Park
  • Point Lookout State Park
  • Sandy Point State Park
  • Swallow Falls State Park

8. Maryland Residents Enjoy Four Weather Seasons And Mild Winters

Maryland’s weather provides the perfect backdrop for enjoying the outdoor features and scenic areas I just mentioned.

First, the state experiences all four seasons. The spring and fall weather is quite nice. Winters are fairly mild but allow for the occasional snowstorm.

As you move farther west in the state, closer to the mountains, summers tend to be cooler, and winters are a bit harsher in the higher elevations. So, Maryland is a good place to live for seasonal weather variety and moderate winters.

9. Maryland Is Known For Unique And Tasty Regional Foods

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Living in Maryland means enjoying unique regional foods, starting with fresh blue crab. The locals love to have crab feasts with family and friends.

Crab cakes are a favored option with a dusting of Old Bay seasoning. Or just plain steamed crab dipped in melted butter.

But those tasty crabs have more good uses, including dip, soup, and quiche. Regarding Marylanders and their love of crab, pretty much any recipe goes.

Maryland’s local seafood, however, doesn’t start and end with blue crab. The fresh catch of the day also includes:

  • Oysters
  • Clams
  • Mussels
  • Rockfish

Be sure to visit Ocean City Beach for these famous treats:

  • Thrasher’s French Fries
  • Fisher’s Popcorn

Then, satisfy your sweet tooth with these long-time local favorites:

Berger Cookies. A shortbread cookie topped with fudge was first made in a Baltimore bakery in the early 1800s.

Smith Island Cake. This is the official state dessert. It is made of thin layers of yellowcake and lots of fudge icing to hold it all together.

Finally, there are Goetze Caramel Creams – a candy treat developed in Baltimore during the early 1900s.

10. From Big City To Small, Living In Maryland Offers It All

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Maryland has different living environments to suit a variety of tastes.

If you like the charm of small communities, consider moving east of Chesapeake Bay near the Atlantic coast. Or, head closer to the mountains in the northern and western parts of the state.

In these areas, you will find a more relaxed pace of life. You can get to know the neighbors and be part of a smaller community.

Next, working east to west, here are some examples of Maryland’s livable small towns.

Some studies rank Berlin as one of the best small towns in America. It is known for its vibrant downtown with many quaint shops and stores.

Head further south, staying near the coast to Snow Hill. It is a popular spot because of its historic homes.

Furthermore, Cambridge is one of the oldest colonial cities in the state, with several museums and a historical trail.

Do you need to be closer to the urban areas? If yes, investigate Takoma Park. Originally known for its liberal bias and counter-culture community.

The town of Thurmont is in the north-central part of the state. It is located between Catoctin Mountain and Cunningham Falls. The area provides excellent access to outdoor activities and state parks.

Oakland is located near the West Virginia border in the far western part of the state. It is near Swallow Falls State Park and 53-foot Muddy Creek Falls.

Finally, choose Baltimore for big-city life and urban amenities. The city is becoming a magnet for high-tech industries and younger, degree-holding professionals. Converted factories and mills have created a hip, modernized housing stock for those who seek it.

11. Maryland Residents Have Easy Access To Other Large U.S. Cities

Living in Maryland means you will never run out of new places or interesting things nearby to see.

The DC Metro Rapid Transit system services the capital city’s Maryland suburbs. Thus, you can visit or work in the nation’s capital without driving.

Philadelphia and New York City are only hours away from many parts of Maryland.

Finally, Maryland shares borders with Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia. New Jersey is nearby, too, for a getaway to the well-known Jersey shore.

Okay. That completes my review of the top benefits of living in Maryland. However, an article about the pros and cons of living in Maryland is not complete without discussing some reasons not to move here in the first place.

Let’s hit these points next as we continue with the pros and cons.

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Living In Maryland: The Cons

12. There Is A High Cost Of Living In Maryland

Maryland ranks as one of the most expensive states to live in. The state’s cost of living index is 15% higher than the U.S. average (Source: MERIC).

The Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Annapolis metropolitan area is the most costly region. Many people are attracted to the high-paying employment opportunities here, increasing the demand for housing, goods, and services.

For lower-cost options, look to the state’s smaller towns and rural communities discussed earlier in the article. Focus your search in the state’s southeast, north, or western regions.

Finally, save a little more money by receiving cashback on all your online purchases. That’s exactly what we do by using the Rakuten cash rebate app. Sign up for free and immediately start making money-back rebates on your everyday purchases.

13. Maryland Residents Bear An Excessive Income Tax Burden

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Maryland is not a tax-friendly state. For a rough estimate, the average Maryland taxpayer pays 7-9% of their income for income taxes. Some residents pay even more.

I recommend consulting with your tax advisor. However, here are the highlights to understand before moving.

First, the state has a progressive income tax system. Thus, the more money you make, the higher your tax rate. Most residents pay 5-6%.

Additionally, every county in Maryland, as well as Baltimore City, charges a local tax. Local tax rates vary by location, ranging from 2.25% to 3.20%. This local tax is an extra charge on top of the state tax rate and is often called a “piggyback” tax.

14. There Are Other Taxes To Be Aware Of Before Moving To Maryland

Maryland’s other taxes may also take a bite out of your finances.

Sales taxes will add 6% to your purchases of everyday goods to support your lifestyle.

Finally, Maryland is the only state in the country with an estate tax and a separate inheritance tax for those fortunate to have enough money to qualify.

15. Maryland’s Metropolitan Areas Have Heavy Traffic Congestion

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Maryland’s Baltimore, Annapolis, and suburban Washington, D.C. metro areas have heavy traffic congestion. The volume of vehicles moving about the region rarely takes a break.

For example, driving from your Maryland home to Washington, D.C., might take 30 minutes on a Sunday at 3 am. However, that commute will take 60-90 minutes during rush hour. Add more time on the road when encountering an accident or bad weather.

Fortunately, public transportation is available throughout the state’s most populated areas.

16. Getting Across Maryland’s Bay Bridge Is Challenging In More Ways Than One

The Bay Bridge crosses the Chesapeake Bay, connecting the state’s busy metropolitan areas with Eastern Maryland and the Atlantic coast.

First, the bridge is a significant traffic bottleneck. Getting across is a nightmare, especially on Fridays during the summer, as commuters head to the shore for fun and recreation.

Second, the size and height of the bridge are intimidating for anyone with a fear of heights or nervousness about being way above a large body of water. Thus, you must get used to a tight grip on the wheel and some white-knuckle driving.

17. You Will Discover Higher Than Average Crime In Maryland

Maryland has a higher-than-average crime rate

Baltimore, for example, is considered one of the most dangerous cities in America, with high instances of homicide, violence, and drug-related crime.

There are many safe places to live here. However, Baltimore negatively affects the state’s overall crime rate and personal safety score.

18. Maryland Is Densely Populated

Maryland is one of the country’s most densely populated states (source: World Population Review).

The vast number of people in the metropolitan areas adds to some of the disadvantages of living in Maryland we have discussed, including:

  • Overcrowding
  • Higher prices
  • Unmet demand for public and private services
  • Traffic congestion

19. Maryland’s Weather Isn’t For Everyone

Maryland’s weather isn’t perfect. Furthermore, it is changeable and unpredictable, depending on your location.

For example, the summers can get very hot and humid. Areas along the coast experience strong winds throughout the year. Large snowfalls are possible in the higher elevations.

Finally, pollen and allergens fill the air during the spring and fall. So, moving to Marland presents challenges for seasonal allergy sufferers.

20. You Will Encounter Some Odd Laws After Moving To Maryland

Be aware of Maryland’s “Blue Laws” or “Sunday Laws.” A few of the issues you may bump into include:

Restricted alcohol sales by some businesses on Sundays.

Select municipalities require car dealerships to close on Sundays.

Unless local ordinances allow it, professional sports teams cannot play a game on Sunday mornings.  

Fortunately, emphasis on these colonial-era laws has relaxed over the years.

Living In Maryland: Wrap-Up And Resources

I hope this discussion has helped you to answer some important questions. Such as:

1) Is Maryland a nice place to live?


2) Why should I move to Maryland?

Good luck with your decision. No matter what you decide.

More Reading About Living In Maryland And Far Beyond

Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

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The Pros And Cons Of Living In Maryland Explained