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

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Good Things To Know Before Moving To Missouri

Is Missouri a good place to live? To answer that question, let’s dig into the pros and cons of living in Missouri to discover if “The Show-Me-State” is your perfect place to call home.

Is Missouri A Good Place To Live?

Yes. Missouri is an excellent place to live, offering residents a unique lifestyle balancing affordability, scenic beauty, good regional foods, and fun things to see and do. Furthermore, the state’s outdoor recreation opportunities are tops in the Midwest, making the state a great place to live for nature lovers.

Next, let’s address Missouri’s pros and cons.

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

Living in Missouri ProsLiving in Missouri Cons
1. Low cost of living9. Low household incomes
2. Job opportunities10. High income taxes
3. Scenic beauty11. Costly sales taxes
4. Pro sports teams12. Hot, humid summers
5. Fun things to do13. Challenging winters
6. Conveniently located14. Risk of tornados
7. Great regional foods15. Crime and gangs
8. Tasty local beverages16. Sub-par quality of life
Table 1: Pros and Cons of Living or Retiring in Missouri

Now, it’s time to dive deeper into the heart of Missouri living. Before you pack up and move to Missouri, let’s examine the good and bad things about living here.

Missouri state flagPin
Missouri State Flag

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

Pros Of Living In Missouri

1. Residents Benefit From The Low Cost Of Living In Missouri

Missouri has one of the top 10 lowest living costs in the United States (Source: MERIC).

The state’s median home price is 45% less than the comparable nationwide figure (Source: Redfin). Rental units cost 25% less (Source: World Population Review).

Groceries, transportation, and health care expenses are also lower than national averages.

Finally, if you want to save even more money, do so by using the cash-back app from Rakuten. We use Rakuten to receive money back on everything we buy online.

2. There Are Plenty Of Job Opportunities To Make A Living In Missouri

Missouri has many job opportunities to choose from. Ranked among the states with low unemployment by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Missouri is a hub for employment.

Noteworthy employers include Walmart, Mercy Health System, BJC Healthcare, and Washington University. Together with other lesser-known employers, they fuel the state’s job market.

High-paying careers, particularly in healthcare, thrive here. Job seekers find diverse opportunities in other sectors, including biotech, retail, service, and business management.

Finally, Missouri’s business climate remained resilient amidst the challenges of past recessions. As a result, the state earned a top spot in WalletHub’s list for pandemic-proof small businesses.

Thus, you can make a good living in Missouri, where job prospects flourish, and the business landscape stands strong.

Related reading: Explore The Hoosier State, Indiana

3. A Great State For Outdoor Lovers

Missouri is a paradise for nature enthusiasts desiring to experience the outdoors. After moving, immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscapes and diverse activities that make Missouri a great place to live and explore.

With six national parks and nearly 100 state parks, Missouri boasts one of the country’s finest park systems. You can enjoy outdoor adventures in these scenic places, from floating and canoeing to camping, hiking, and swimming.

Furthermore, Missouri has premier hunting and fishing access, featuring sought-after game like deer and turkey. Freshwater lakes and streams contain bass, catfish, crappie, walleye, and trout.

Finally, Missouri offers outdoor enthusiasts four distinct weather seasons, like all the Midwest states.

Spring blooms with vibrant flowers and rejuvenated landscapes. The summers bring warmth for water adventures. Fall paints the scenery in rich colors, enticing hikers, bikers, and leaf peepers. Winter invites cool temperatures and the possibility of snow, completing a diverse year-round playground for nature lovers.

4. Missouri Has A Championship Pro Sports Legacy

Not the outdoors type? No problem!

Kick back on the couch and cheer for Missouri’s professional sports teams. The state hosts the St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, and St. Louis Blues.

It’s okay to get excited. These home-state teams have clinched championship victories in recent years. Let the games begin!

5. Popular Places To Visit And Things To Do After Moving To Missouri

pros and cons of living in MissouriPin

Missouri offers other diverse attractions and activities.

For example, the iconic Gateway Arch is in downtown St. Louis. Also, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a peaceful and relaxing place.

For a livelier experience, venture to Branson, the renowned Live Music Capital of the World, featuring country and gospel music.

6. Missouri’s Central Location Makes Cross-Country Travel Quick And Convenient

Missouri’s prime central location is perfect for when you want to get away.

Whether you move to Kansas City, St. Louis, or in between, you can fly anywhere in the country in a few short hours.

pros and cons of moving to MissouriPin

7. Savor The Flavors Of Missouri’s Regional Cuisine

Missouri has some incredible regional and local foods.

First, you will encounter unique barbecue styles in Kansas City and St. Louis. Kansas City boasts slow-cooked delights like burnt ends, while St. Louis offers smoked or grilled specialties such as spare ribs and pork steaks. Dive into the distinctive Missouri barbecue sauce, a thick, sweet, tomato-based sauce enjoyed in both cities.

Beyond barbecue, try the Italian specialties. Two favorites are toasted ravioli and St. Louis-style pizza featuring a unique provel cheese blend.

Finally, indulge your sweet tooth with a slice of gooey butter cake. Folklore suggests the delicious dessert was made accidentally in the 1930s by a St. Louis-area German American baker.

8. Sip On Missouri’s Delightful Local Beverages

Missouri’s beverage options will complement your delicious meals.

First, beer-drinking German immigrants founded the iconic beer brand Budweiser in St. Louis in 1876.

But did you know Missouri boasts a thriving wine scene?

The state hosts nearly 125 independent wineries scattered across the state. Thus, enjoy a glass of locally sourced wine. Grab your favorite variety, sit, and unwind after moving to Missouri.

Okay. It’s time to switch gears because all good things must come to an end. Next, it’s time to cover the disadvantages of living in Missouri.

Is Missouri a good place to live?Pin

Cons Of Living In Missouri

9. Balancing Your Budget And Making A Living In Missouri

Missouri offers a low cost of living and plenty of jobs; however, it’s important to know that worker’s wages are below average.

For example, the state’s median household income is approximately 11% less than the comparable national figure. Furthermore, Missouri traditionally had one of the lowest minimum wage rates. Fortunately, recent increases have improved its competitiveness.

The minimum wage has progressed, but overall income levels remain sub-par. As a result, evaluate Missouri’s affordability by considering your earnings potential.

Related reading: Every state’s pros and cons

10. Income Taxes Will Take A Bite Out Of Your Budget

Missouri has a progressive income tax system. That is a fancy way of saying the more money you make, the higher your tax rate.

Tax rates start low but quickly increase to 4.8% of income for higher earners. Furthermore, the top income tax rate (4.8%) applies to anyone earning a decent wage. Thus, paying the highest Missouri income tax rate doesn’t take much income to qualify.

On a positive note, Missouri has been reducing income tax rates recently and eliminating income taxes for low-income households.

I recommend you consult a tax advisor to assess your income tax situation.

11. Sales Taxes Will Add To The Cost Of Your Missouri Lifestyle

Missouri has high sales taxes.

The state-wide rate is 4.23%, and local governments tack on more. As a result, the total sales tax on your everyday purchases exceeds 8%.

This is a very high sales tax rate compared to many other states in America. Thus, be prepared to pay every day.

Okay, enough about money. Let’s cover some more reasons not to move to Missouri.

Mad of mid-South statesPin

12. Living In Missouri Means Summer Heat & Humidity

Missouri has hot summers accompanied by high humidity.

July and August are the hottest months. Average high temperatures range from the upper 80s to the lower 90s. However, days in the low 100s are not uncommon.

Making matters worse, humidity readings frequently rise above 90%.

13. Winters Are No Picnic In The Show Me State

Missouri winters feel colder than the temperatures indicate. Not just because the thermometer routinely falls below freezing. The higher humidity levels create a penetrating chill.

During the winter, there is snowfall, but the worst thing is freezing rain. High temperatures in the low to mid-30s combined with precipitation are perfect for icing up everything outdoors.

As a result, this combination of weather events creates unpleasant and dangerous travel conditions.

14. Tornados Are A Risk Of Living In Missouri

Missouri is susceptible to tornadoes, mainly during the spring and fall seasons. On average, 50 twisters are recorded each year.

The state is not located in the heart of Tornado Alley. However, according to historical records, Missouri ranks in or near the top 10 states annually for tornado activity.

Related reading: Midwest living pros and cons

15. Missouri Has A High Crime Rate & Gang Activity

Fighting crime in St. Louis, MOPin

Missouri’s crime rates vary depending on where you choose to live.

Regardless of your location, overall, the state has higher-than-average crime and a propensity for gang activity. For example, Missouri ranks in the top 10 of all states for its violent crime rate and the top 15 for property crime rates.

In particular, St. Louis, Springfield, Kansas City, and Bridgeton have more criminal activity than other areas. And, as I mentioned, part of the crime rate is gang-related.

For your safety, I recommend always being aware of your surroundings. To protect your car and other valuables, purchase a reliable insurance policy.

16. Missouri Is Poorly Ranked In Quality Of Life Surveys

Missouri falls short in overall quality of life rankings. The state frequently scores in the lower one-third of all the states in America.

The high crime rates have an impact here. Also, Missouri receives relatively low marks for access to affordable health care.

Okay. That concludes my review of the pros and cons of moving to Missouri.

Next, I will wrap up and provide some additional resources.

Pros And Cons Of Living In Missouri: Wrap-Up And Resources

I hope today’s discussion has helped you sort out these important questions:

  1. Is Missouri a good place to live?
  2. Should I move to Missouri?

If you have made it this far, you must determine the best places to live in Missouri for you and your family.

So, here are some ideas and information for choosing your location in the Show Me State.

St. Louis, Missouri

Missouri’s St. Louis metropolitan area has nearly 3 million residents. However, only about 10% of those residents live within the city limits.

Thus, most people reside in the many outstanding communities in the St. Louis suburbs. Possibilities to explore include:

  • Brentwood
  • Chesterfield
  • Clayton
  • Creve Coeur
  • Kirkwood
  • LaDue
  • St. Charles
  • Webster Groves

Columbia, Missouri

Columbia, Missouri, is located in the center of the state.

The city is home to the University of Missouri, Columbia College, and Stephens College. The schools contribute to the city’s college-town atmosphere.

The Columbia community also features a strong job market and a good transportation infrastructure.

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City is an excellent place to live on Missouri’s western border.

The city stretches across 2 states, Missouri, of course, and Kansas.

However, in its most common usage, when people refer to Kansas City, they usually talk about the Missouri side, “KCMO” for short.

Some of the best neighborhoods to live in KCMO include:

  • Brookside
  • Country Club Plaza
  • River Market
  • Westport

To sum it up, whether living, working, or retiring in Missouri, these are some of the top pros and cons and best places to live.

Additional Reading About Living In Missouri And Beyond:

Best of luck with your decision. If, upon further review, Missouri isn’t your perfect place, visit our archive of articles about all the best places.

Or refocus your relocation search on Missouri’s border states, including:

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.

Pinterest image: woman at home living in MissouriPin

The Pros And Cons Of Living In Missouri Are Fully Explained

4 thoughts on “Is Missouri a Good Place to Live? (16 Pros and Cons)”

  1. Missouri sucks. Its backwards and racist. The things you mentioned about good food can be found anywhere in the US. “Good food” is subjective. Why do you think there are so many fat people in the US.
    The wages are below national average and if you are not educated you will definitely make less money. Retail jobs are low paying jobs if you are not in management. Managers make good money in retail and they also have to work overly hard. Doctors and healthcare professionals consistently earn some of the highest wages. Other professionals, attorneys, engineers, IT and tech do well. CEOs do well everywhere. Sales and insurance people do well.

    Every place in the US has outdoor activities, parks, lakes, rivers etc. St. Louis has a good arts scene.

    It’s been a red state for about 15 years now. Diversity is limited and its NOT a true midwestern state. It has a southern/ border state, slave history. Made to fight with the union.
    If you are progressive leaning stick with parts of St. Louis County and City or Kansas City metro area. The rest of Missouri is rural and backwards and has only gotten worse.

    Nobody knows about St. Louis style pizza nationally, so who cares. NY and Chicago style pizzas are known nation wide and probably world wide. Provel cheese is disgusting.

    If you are single Missouri also sucks. Most people are coupled up or married with children. Busch beer is nasty and that’s the irony. How could German descent people make such nasty tasting beer. You can get all types of beer nowadays anywhere you go. The Busch heirs sold Anhesier Busch years ago to a Belgum company called InBev.

    The weather sucks, its either too cold or too hot. I hate humidity. Because of global warming Missouri has gotten warmer winters with less snow than when I was growing up here in the 70s, 80s.

    This is 2021 in the US, again good food, bars, restaurants, outdoor recreation, parks, museums, monuments, arts etc can be found in just about all 50 states. So those reasons alone should not be deciding factors. The job opportunities would be better if there were more diverse industries. Again if you are not from old money or educated, IT, doctor, lawyer, engineer, military career you will make low wages on average. Despite having a vibrant arts scene and music. You have to leave Missouri if you want to make it big in the entertainment industry. Brad Pitt knew he could not stay in Springfield and become an “A” lister. Lol

    Show me state. What the hell does that mean? Dumb slogan…
    If you want progressive, open minded people dont move to Missouri. I grew up in STL county, Kirkwood which was good. But having travelled to 5 of the 7 continents and lived in DC for college and later NYC, Westchester County NYand northern NJ Missouri will never catch up. It has gotten worse from when I grew up here.

    The US is regional. It’s like different countries depending on region and not too much is United either anymore.

    • Hi EJ. Wow. Thank you for your diverse and interesting perspectives about Missouri. I really appreciate you sharing your experiences here! Tom

    • Thank you EJ for the info. That’s what I wanted to hear about; diversity. Not that the article wasn’t informative but I’m about the diversity info too. I want the country but not the racism or lack of diversity. I met a Black woman who’s married to a White man, and they have several children, who live south of STL. They don’t have any issues and are very welcome there. It’s all so confusing. I just want to live in peace out in the country without racism.
      Signed, The open minded White girl from LA

      • Good luck finding your perfect place to live. I’m sure you can find it. And I totally agree, we all deserve a peaceful place to live where people are treated fairly and equally! Tom

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