20 Pros and Cons of Living in the Midwest Right Now

Good Things To Know Before Moving To The Midwest

Are you ready to move and thinking about the pros and cons of living in the Midwest? Then settle in for a few minutes.

To explore why some believe the Midwest is best. While others say “I hate living in the Midwest”.

Then, once the facts are known. You can decide for yourself.

And answer this next all-important question. Specifically, is the Midwest a good place to live?

Enough of an introduction. So, let’s cover these moving tips. Then you can get packing…

Pros And Cons Of Living In The Midwest

Here’s our list of the top living in the Midwest pros and cons…

  • Great choices for urban living
  • Small towns for all they have to offer
  • Plenty of wide open spaces
  • Light traffic outside of the big cities
  • Centrally located for ease of travel
  • Low cost of living
  • Nice people with a strong work ethic
  • Access to the amazing Great Lakes
  • Lots of parks and outdoor recreation
  • 4 weather seasons to enjoy
  • Summer heat and humidity
  • Pesky insects
  • Winter snow and cold
  • Risk of tornadoes
  • No oceans or mountains
  • Limited public transportation
  • Few entertainment and commercial options
  • Politics can be divisive
  • Lacking diversity in some areas
  • Only one state with no income tax

Next, let’s unpack each one of these points. Then you will have a better idea about life in the Midwest region…

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

Great Choices For Urban Living

If the city lights are what you are looking for. Then the area has plenty to offer.

Of course, there is Chicago. The 3rd largest city in the country. Located in the notable Midwestern state of Illinois.

But for living in an urban environment. Without all the hassles of the largest U.S. metropolitan area. Like Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles.

Then don’t forget about some of these other excellent Midwestern cities:

Small Towns For All They Have To Offer

On the other hand, the big cities may not be for you. And that’s okay, because…

Every state in this part of the country has thousands of mid to small size towns. Offering a little something for anyone looking for that close-knit feel.

Many of these towns have low crime rates, good schools, and family-friendly communities.

What is it like living in the Midwest? Well, here is another point to consider…

Plenty Of Wide Open Spaces

Moving to the Midwest means you are settling in “America’s Breadbasket”. Mainly because of the vast amount of wheat produced here. Corn and soybeans too.

The many acres of farmland means there are lots of wide open spaces.

Perfect for anyone that likes remote living. Limited population density. And minimal effects of urbanization on daily life.

Light Traffic Outside Of The Big Cities

There is another advantage of the limited population density. Represented across much of the area.

Because by avoiding a move to one of the largest cities. You are going to enjoy a life free of traffic jams and heavy road congestion.

Just jump in your car. And get where you are going.

For example, when living in a state like Iowa. Even the largest cities of Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. Have little in the way of traffic congestion.

Speaking of coming and going. Next, I have another of the travel benefits of living in the Midwest…

Centrally Located For Ease Of Travel

Whether you travel for work. Like to take family vacations.

Or, are considering retirement living in the Midwest. And you are just ready to explore the country.

Then this region is an excellent choice.

By deciding to live in Kansas or Nebraska, for example. You are about as centrally located as you can get.

Making travel to the oceans on either the west coast or east coast. Or visiting the mountains in any part of the country. All the more convenient.

Low Cost Of Living

Many of the Midwestern states routinely show up on lists of the lowest cost of living places in the country.

But why is the midwest so affordable?

It is mainly because of moderate median home values. However, property taxes and the other costs of living are quite reasonable here too.

For example, by choosing the state of Indiana for your home. You will benefit from super-low housing prices. And a moderate property tax bill.

Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska are solid options too. If saving money is top of mind.

Just be sure to have your financial house in order. By balancing your budget. And monitoring your credit score for free using Credit Karma.

Handle both of these tasks first.  Before you go to buy that new home on the perfect piece of real estate.

To take advantage of the low cost of living in the midwest!

Nice People With A Strong Work Ethic

They don’t refer to Chicago as “the city that works” for nothing. And the rest of the region has a strong work ethic too.

As residents take advantage of the many excellent job opportunities the region has to offer

From the dairy farmers living in the great state of Wisconsin. To the professional community in the major cities.

The people of the middle west are generally nice folks. And they do not mind putting in a hard day’s work.

Next up, for all of you water lovers…

Access To The Amazing Great Lakes

It’s good to know that 4 out of the 5 Great Lakes are located here. They are popular for boating, swimming, fishing, and sticking your toes in the sand on a hot summer day.

Think about this next point…

By choosing to move to Michigan. Did you know that the state’s coast borders all four of the lakes? And has more than 3,000 miles of freshwater coastline?

It’s as close as you can come around here. To feel like you are living near the ocean.

Speaking of Michigan. If I could only select one place to live in the state. I think I would decide to live in Ann Arbor.

On the other hand, if you don’t need a big lake to have fun. Then consider that…

Lots Of Parks And Outdoor Recreation

There are plenty of other outdoor activities to enjoy. As part of Midwest living.

For example, by considering a move to Minnesota you are selecting “The Land of 10,000 Lakes”. But did you know that Wisconsin has even more? Yes. It does.

Many of the state park systems are fantastic too.

For example, with nearly 100 state parks. And an entire park system that has received national recognition for its breadth and beauty. You will love Missouri living for its great outdoors.

And what makes the outdoors so spectacular here in the Midwestern states?

4 Weather Seasons To Enjoy

It’s the weather, of course.

Because if you are one of the people that needs to experience all 4 seasons. The Midwestern United States may be the place for you.

Since you get to enjoy warm summer days. Crisp fall temperatures. Snow for the holidays. And the much-anticipated spring thaw.

Okay. So there you have it. 10 reasons why the Midwest is the best.

However, I’m here to share a balanced point of view. Because all is not perfect here.

So, let’s review some of the cons about the Midwest next. And unfortunately, I’m not done with the weather…

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Summer Heat and Humidity

Summers can get hot. With temperatures rising to 100 degrees not uncommon.

Plus the humidity levels get high. Making it feel even warmer and more uncomfortable than the temperatures indicate.

Pesky Insects

That summer heat and humidity bring out the worst in other residents of the area. Because the mosquitos love it here too. They can ruin any outdoor event you have planned.

Black flies and ticks are also a threat. So be on the watch in the more wooded areas. And there are plenty.

Winter Snow And Cold

On the other extreme. Winters can be brutally cold in here.

Sub-zero temperatures, at times, are a daily fact of life. Accompanied by plenty of snow every year.

Risk Of Tornadoes

As the temperatures fluctuate from spring through fall. Tornadoes are an annual occurrence.

Since much of the region is located in what is known as Tornado Alley.

As a result, 5 of the states rank in the top 10 of all states in the country. For the most tornados each year.

Kansas leads the pack. But Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and the Cornhusker State of Nebraska are in the top 10 list too.

But at least you won’t have to worry about hurricanes…

No Oceans Or Mountains

Because by choosing life in the Midwest. You won’t be near the ocean.

On the other hand, by deciding to move to Detroit. You can live near the shores of massive freshwater lakes. Either Lake Erie or Lake St. Clair.

Of course, neither are like the ocean!

Nor will you have immediate access to the mountains. For hiking, mountain biking, and camping in what these types of terrain have to offer.

Limited Public Transportation

Sure, you can get by without a car. If you choose to live, work, and play in a relatively confined area of one of the largest cities.

Otherwise, you will most likely need an automobile. Since public transportation is limited.

Unfortunately, the buses and trains that do run. Are generally inconvenient.

Specifically, to get where you need to go. When you need to get there.

Few Entertainment And Commercial Options In Spots

In many of the small towns. And rural areas across the region. Commercial entertainment and nightlife options are lacking.

As the old expression goes, you will find the sidewalks get rolled up fairly early in the evening.

So, if that’s not for you. Then choose one of the largest cities to settle in.

The same goes for high-end shopping. Even getting your essentials for daily life can be a challenge at times. Requiring a drive to a larger town in your area.

Of course, you can always take advantage of online shopping and delivery. And use the money-back app from Rakuten. For cash rebates on everything, you buy online.

Politics Can Be Divisive

The big cities tend to be liberal. While the more rural and remote areas lean conservative.

This can lead to some uncomfortable relationships. And competition over resources and points of view.

For example, by moving to the state of Ohio. You are choosing a battleground state.

Because of the results of the presidential election in Ohio. Will often determine the country’s candidate of choice.

Lacking Diversity In Some Areas

For diversity of race, religion, culture, and color. Stick to the big cities.

Otherwise, many areas here lack diversity.

For example, by moving to the state of North Dakota. You will find that roughly 85% of the population is white.

And the same can be said for nearby states like Iowa, Nebraska, and others.

Only One State With No Income Tax

I’m a big fan of that handful of states that do not charge residents an income tax. There are 9 in total. But only one is located in this region.

As a result, when saving money on income taxes is a priority for you. Consider moving to South Dakota. A state with no income tax.

On the other extreme. Avoid Illinois because of state taxes.

Because income taxes are just one of the reasons people are leaving the Midwest. And Illinois, specifically.

Although you will find Minnesota too. Has relatively high tax rates.

Okay now. That concludes our review of the pros and cons of the Midwest lifestyle.

So, please allow me to close with a few parting thoughts. Also, provide answers to a couple of frequently asked questions…

Wrapping Up The Pros And Cons Of Living In The Midwest

Like anywhere you choose to live, there is a lot to like about the Midwest lifestyle. However, it won’t be for everyone.

So, carefully consider all of the advantages and disadvantages of living in the Midwest before you move.

Finally, I highlighted various aspects of every state in this part of the country throughout the article.

However, I want to leave you with a comprehensive list for easy reference. As the first one of these next two frequently asked questions.

What Is Considered The Midwest?

Making up the Midwest are these 12 states:

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

What Is The Best Midwest State To Live In?

But you also may be asking, what is the best Midwest state to move to?

Well, that’s a tough question to answer. Because every individual has different priorities.

However, I will tip my hand. Are you interested?

Then head over to this article about what are the best Midwest states to relocate to.

Finally, for those of you who unfortunately decide…

I Hate The Midwest

Then check out all of our guides about…

The Best Places to Move and Why

All for now. Good luck. No matter where you choose to settle down.

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The article’s conclusion is indicated on a whiteboard

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.

The Pros And Cons Of Living In The Midwest Explained