Is Minnesota a Good Place to Live? (16 Pros and Cons)

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The Good And Bad Things About Moving To Minnesota

Is Minnesota a good place to live? Allow me to address the question and expand on the topic by examining the pros and cons of living in Minnesota.

Is Minnesota A Good Place To Live?

Minnesota is a good place to live, work, and play. Residents benefit from the state’s excellent job market, good schools, scenic landscapes, and diverse recreational activities.

Local realtor Brandon Archie echos the best things about Minnesota living but warns his clients about the high taxes, winter weather, and ongoing road construction (source).

With those highlights in mind, here are Minnesota’s pros and cons.

Pros And Cons Of Living In Minnesota: Side-By-Side Comparison

Living in Minnesota ProsLiving in Minnesota Cons
1. Job opportunities10. High tax burden
2. Four-season weather11. Harsh winter weather
3. Outdoor recreation12. Summer insects
4. Festivals and fairs13. Tough intrastate travel
5. Pro sports14. Hard to make friends
6. Arts and culture15. Limited diversity
7. Good schools16. Bland food
8. Unique cultures
9. Reasonable cost of living
Table 1: Pros and Cons of Living and Retiring in Minnesota

Next, let’s dig deeper into living in Minnesota.

Minnesota state sealPin

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

Pros Of Living In Minnesota

1. There Are Plenty Of Job Opportunities In Minnesota

Minnesota has a low unemployment rate.

Jobs in financial services, health care, and hospitality are plentiful. Agriculture, manufacturing, and mining also play a significant role in the state economy.

One of Minnesota’s largest employers is the Mayo Clinic. There is also a high concentration of Fortune 500 companies doing business here, including

  • 3M
  • Ameriprise Financial
  • Best Buy
  • C.H. Robinson Worldwide
  • CHS
  • Ecolab
  • Fastenal
  • General Mills
  • Hormel Foods
  • Land O’Lakes
  • Patterson Companies
  • Polaris
  • Securian Financial Group
  • Target
  • Thrivent Financial
  • U.S. Bancorp
  • UnitedHealth Group
  • Xcel Energy

So, after moving to Minnesota, you should be able to find good work that suits your skills and interests.

2. Four Weather Seasons Deliver Plenty Of Variety To Residents

Minnesota benefits from all four weather seasons.

The springtime brings a welcome thaw from winter, turning the state into a lush green seasonal playground.

The summers are very nice. Residents get a break from the high summer heat and humidity that other parts of the country experience annually. Daylight is plentiful as dusk falls as late as 9:00 pm.

Autumn is full of color from the changing leaves. Winter presents the likelihood of a white Christmas. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities for winter sports, hot beverages, a good book, or a warm spot by the fire.

3. Lots Of Outdoor Activities To Fill Your Leisure Time

pros and cons of living in MinnesotaPin

Minnesota residents love the outdoors.

Popular recreational activities include:

  • Boating
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Canoeing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Ice skating
  • Rock climbing
  • Trail running
  • Water skiing

Minnesota’s landscape is full of scenic beauty and has many special features.

First, the state is called the land of 10,000 lakes for a reason. There are nearly 100,000 miles of shoreline here, with many trees and fresh air. Residents spend summer weekends enjoying lake life at cabins and cottages throughout the state.

Next, from Duluth, Minnesota, to the Canadian border, you can experience the Great Lake’s most western edge. The area is called the “North Shore”. It is home to dense forests and ridges leading up to the U.S. and Canada Boundry Waters.

Minnesota’s Boundary Waters attracts outdoor adventure seekers who canoe, fish, and camp. They paddle their boats through the fantastic web of waterways along the U.S.-Canadian border.

Finally, Minnesota has nearly 80 national and state parks for exploring and enjoying the outdoors.

4. Festivals, Fairs, And More For Your Life In Minnesota

Minnesota hosts dozens of diverse festivals. The celebrations are held year-round here, unlike other states with a winter season. For example…

  • Bayfront Blues Festival
  • Ely Winter Festival
  • Minneapolis Sommerfest
  • Minnesota Renaissance Festival
  • Minnesota State Fair
  • New Ulm Oktoberfest
  • Moose Madness Family Festival
  • St. Paul Winter Carnival

Minnesota’s Mall of America, located in Bloomington, is another major regional shopping and recreational attraction.

The mall houses many top retailers and brands. There are so many stores you can spend several days visiting all of them. You will also discover an indoor theme park with rollercoaster rides. The park is an excellent option for getting the kids out of the house on a cold winter weekend.

5. Pro Sports Lovers Will Feel Right At Home In Minnesota

Minnesota hosts several pro sports franchises. Each major sport is represented.

You can choose from:

  • Baseball: Minnesota Twins
  • Basketball: Minnesota Lynx
  • Basketball: Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Football: Minnesota Vikings
  • Hockey: Minnesota Wild
  • Soccer: Minnesota United FC

Okay. We are just getting rolling. Let’s continue with the pros and cons of living in Minnesota.

6. Arts And Culture Are Alive And Well In The State

Minnesota is home to many art museums, theaters, and art festivals. Stick to the state’s urban areas in and around the Twin Cities to get your fill.

Here is just a small sample of things to see and places to visit:

  • Art-A-Whirl
  • Edina Art Fair
  • Guthrie Theater
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art
  • Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

7. There Are Quality Educational Opportunities In Minnesota

education in "The North Star State"Pin

Minnesota is cited for its excellent educational system. Some of the positive attributes include:

  • Highly ranked for educational attainment
  • A well-funded public library system
  • Good marks for school safety
  • Home to world-class colleges and universities

8. Diversity Is Alive In Minnesota In Some Unique Ways

Minnesota has experienced a lot of immigration over the years.

First, many early settlers were of European descent.

There is also a large population of Hmong Americans. They are an ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.

Next, the Twin Cities are home to one of the largest U.S. populations of Somali Americans. They are an ethnic group native to the Horn of Africa.

Finally, the LGBT community is more extensive here than many people may realize.

9. A Reasonable Cost Of Living In Minnesota

Minnesota residents benefit from the reasonable cost of living.

Median home prices and rental units run 12% below the comparable national figure (Source: Redfin and World Population Review).

Groceries, utilities, and transportation costs are slightly less than the national average (Source: RentCafe).

At the same time, you should plan on paying more for health care. However, you get what you pay for since the state’s healthcare system is highly ranked for patient access and health outcomes (Source: WalletHub).

Finally, your location will play a prominent role in the cost of living in Minnesota.

For example, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area is more costly than the less densely populated parts of the state. Expenses are much lower in the mid-sized Midwest cities of Duluth and Rochester. Rural living in Minnesota comes with a much lower price tag, too.

Here are two additional tips to make the most of your money in Minnesota.

Pro tip #1: Earn money back on your online purchases by signing up for the Rakuten cash rebate app.

Pro tip #2: Pull your expenses, budget, and investments together in one place with the online tool from Empower. It’s free and makes managing your money less of a chore.

Okay. That completes my review of the best things about living in Minnesota.

However, an article about the pros and cons of living in Minnesota is incomplete without covering the reasons not to move to Minnesota in the first place. Let’s review these points now.

living in Minnesota pros and consPin

Cons Of Living In Minnesota

10. Plan On Paying A Lot Of Income And Sales Taxes

Minnesota residents pay high income taxes.

This state has a progressive tax system. That’s a fancy way of saying the more money you make, the higher your tax rate.

Income tax rates start at over 5% and ratchet up to almost 10% for high earners. That’s one of the highest state tax rates in the country.

Minnesota also taxes Social Security income and all other forms of retirement income. Thus, there are no tax incentives for retirees moving to Minnesota.

You can cross Minnesota’s border to the west, move to South Dakota, and pay much lower state income taxes.

Minnesota charges high sales taxes, driving up the costs of your everyday purchases.

It would be best if you planned on paying about 7.5% on top of the cost of the goods you buy. Once again, this is one of the highest rates in the country.

Minnesota reminds me of other high-tax states. California comes to mind immediately.

11. Be Prepared For Cold And Snowy Winters After Moving To Minnesota

dangers of living in MinnesotaPin

Minnesota is one of the coldest states in the country. Temperatures regularly drop to minus ten. Furthermore, snow typically falls from October through May.

Thus, Minnesota residents are subjected to snow and winter-like conditions for more than half the year.

Here are some indications of how lousy winter can get here.

First, downtown Minneapolis has more than 10 miles of skyway passages. This series of above-ground glass tunnels connects buildings so people can get around without going outside.

Next, locals routinely start and warm up their cars to make sure they are ready when it’s time to go.

Snowfall is measured in feet rather than inches. Spring snowmelt and seasonal rains cause flooding in low-lying areas.

As a result, residents must learn to embrace the winter weather here. Or plan an exit to a warmer climate.

12. Insects, Bugs, And Mosquitos Can Ruin Your Outdoor Summer Fun

Minnesota’s abundant water sources and warm summer temperatures make the perfect breeding grounds for insects.

Beware of mosquitos and black flies during the summer months. They can ruin your best-planned outdoor activities.

13. Getting Around Minnesota Isn’t As Easy As You May Think

moving to MinnesotaPin

Minnesota’s Twin Cities and surrounding metro areas experience heavy traffic congestion. So, don’t expect to get anywhere fast in your car during peak travel times, especially if it snows.

Minnesota has a lot of road construction from spring through fall. Harsh winter weather, corrosive road salt applications, and the freeze-thaw cycle are brutal on road surfaces. Thus, road repairs are ongoing here and add to travel times.

Public transportation options are limited. In most parts of the state, it’s hard to manage your day-to-day travel without owning a vehicle. In most cases, public transit won’t get you where you need to go when you need to get there.

Finally, a lot of bad drivers live in Minnesota. So, if you don’t enjoy spending time in your car, be careful about moving to Minnesota.

Additional resources: A little something about every state

14. It’s Tough On New Comers To Fit In After Moving To Minnesota

two people socializingPin

Long-time Minnesota residents tend to have a close circle of friends and family. Many newcomers say it’s hard to break into social circles.

Furthermore, there is a phrase known as “Minnesota Nice.” The niceness stems from people’s desire to avoid conflict. However, it sometimes leads to passive-aggressive behaviors.

You may even encounter people who suggest getting together to socialize. However, they might not sincerely mean it. So, their invitation can come off as phony.

As a result, Minnesota may be a good place for those who are okay with keeping to themselves. But not the best choice for anyone desiring an active social life immediately after moving to Minnesota.

15. Limited Racial And Ethnic Diversity

Minnesota is not a very diverse state.

There are small pockets of unique ethnic cultures that I mentioned earlier. However, most Minnesotans are white. Some consider discrimination to be a significant issue here.

Depending on you and your values, this con might be one reason not to move to Minnesota.

16. Minnesota’s Regional Foods Are Boring And Bland

Minnesota’s local foods and regional food preferences are pretty bad.

I’m talking about what people cook up at home. Also, the food that is served in local diners and restaurants.

Great regional foods can set one state apart from another. For example, live in Louisiana for a while and experience the cooking there. Louisiana locals know how to spice up any dish and make it taste good.

On the other hand, I call the food here “Minnesota bland.”

Fried foods, meat, potatoes, casseroles, and molded gelatin salad. These are Minnesota’s food specialties. The condiment of choice is ketchup. Just dump it on, and you are good to go.

Okay. That’s all I have for today. Please allow me to wrap up with some parting comments.

Pros And Cons Of Living In Minnesota – A Good Place To Live?

I hope this discussion has helped you consider the following questions before moving.

  1. Is Minnesota a good state to live in?
  2. Should I move to Minnesota?
  3. What is living in Minnesota like?

Best of luck with your decision, no matter where you settle down.

More Reading About Living In Minnesota 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 Minnesota Explained