When you think of the most popular cities to live in in the U.S., places like Los Angeles and New York City will come to mind. The big city provides lots of opportunities for career advancement and fun. There’s always something to do when you live in the biggest states in the country.
With all of these activities comes the sense of being overwhelmed. Large cities can make people feel lost and lonely. People don’t know who you are. You sometimes think you are getting lost in the crowd. Oh, and that $4,000 monthly rent isn’t looking too great on your bank account.
There are many advantages to settling down in a smaller, Midwestern city. The community feels like family. Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy. And you don’t have to take out a loan for a one-bedroom apartment. We’ll talk about all of these and many more reasons to live in the middle instead of the coasts of the U.S.
#1 – It’s Cheaper to Live in the Midwest
Living in a big city is very expensive. This has been made quite clear throughout the last couple of years, especially, as the COVID-19 pandemic has made economic struggles a huge part of life in the U.S. and globally. It’s better to put some exact numbers into perspective, though.
Let’s say that you decide you want to move from Sioux Falls, South Dakota to San Francisco, California. Housing costs nearly 480% more in San Francisco. Transportation costs over 100% more.
Sure, there’s more to do in California, but how can anybody afford to do it? And there are plenty of other expenses that are much cheaper in the midwest than just homes and public transit. Car insurance is also a lot cheaper.
People who live in Kansas are going to get better prices on insurance than those in New York. Kansas car insurance usually costs $3,000-$4,000. New York prices can go a couple of thousand dollars higher. This is because there are more drivers in New York. Bigger cities are more dangerous to drive in.
Groceries and merchandise are other things that can be more expensive on the coasts than in the Midwest. Going back to the Sioux Falls and San Francisco comparison, the average price of groceries is nearly 17% higher in the latter city. This makes no sense, as most of the name brands that everyone purchases can be found in both cities.
Living in the big city may be a dream for many people, but it might be a better option to wait until retirement to make that move.
#2 – The Community is More Intimate
Living in the Midwest has the huge upside of being more intimate than living in a big coastal city. There are a lot more small towns in this area of the country. This means that everyone kind of knows everyone. The environment is more personal. You can make friends easier and care about your neighbors in a way that is harder to do if you live in a large city.
Small cities only have a few restaurants to eat at. The ma-and-pa shops in the Midwest are more accessible to everyone in town, whereas small businesses in the big city are more spread out.
Small businesses in Midwestern cities may be able to recognize the trends that customers are interested in better than in a bigger city where there is too much data to pick from. The diversity of a big city makes it so that a small restaurant may not know what they should serve to their customers.
Local joints in the Midwest are going to have a specific flavor to them. You know exactly what Kansas City barbeque tastes like because the community has been perfecting it for decades with the same customer base.
A big city has too many different types of customers going through the doors of businesses to recognize and create a specific style of product in the same manner. If you are a small business owner who is trying to decide what you need to know before starting, the location of your business is one of the most pivotal.
#3 – You Are Between Both Coasts
When you live on the coast, it makes it more difficult to travel to other parts of the country in a quick fashion. Living in the middle of the country cuts down on time spent in a car or plane when you want to get away from home.
The slow lifestyle of the Midwestern U.S. makes it so that folks want to go on vacations and see the big cities. You get to live the best of both worlds in the middle of the country. You can enjoy the secluded atmosphere of the Midwest, and easily take a break from it when you want to. California and New York are just a few hours away from a city in Missouri or Kansas.
#4 – There’s Less Crime
Many of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. are the big ones on the coasts. New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, and many others have seen increases in criminal activity in recent years. And while there are infamously violent metropolises like Detroit and Chicago in the Midwest, there is a sharp decrease in crime in the rural towns that we want to focus on here.
The large amount of tiny locations to live in the Midwest means that you can have the peace of mind that your family is safe to raise there. Naperville, Illinois was ranked as the safest city in the U.S. in 2021 by the cost of crime per capita. Several other cities in the Midwest also ranked in the top five: Cary, North Carolina, and Carmel, Indiana.
Less crime means lower prices on car and homeowners insurance. Companies don’t have to worry about a criminal activity like theft and vandalism nearly as much in cities like the ones listed above.
People who live in these small Midwestern cities don’t pose a large risk of filing a claim. Folks who live there can still contribute to their safety by locking their doors and getting security systems.
Living in the Midwest isn’t for everyone. Some people are going to enjoy the busyness of a large city that many states in this region can’t provide. But if you want a balanced lifestyle with a lot of friendly neighbors and convenient flights to the coasts, the middle of the U.S. is right for you.
Shawn Laib writes and researches for the car insurance site, CarInsurance.org. He wants to help inform people of the ways that living in different parts of the country affects car insurance rates.