The state of Missouri serves as the crossroads for the United States. It is a place where the cultures of the east come together with the experiences of the west to create a unique environment and experience. We honor that feature through the iconic Gateway arch found in St. Louis. Even since the territorial days, the central location of this state made it an attractive option for farmers, immigrants, and early entrepreneurs.
Missouri adopted a resolution for statehood in 1818. It should’ve been a simple request because of the explosive population growth in the area, but a national controversy was going on at the time to maintain a balance of states that supported slavery against those that were “free.” The legislature had requested admission as a slave state, but Congress attached amendments to it that were anti-slavery in nature.
It would take two years for the Missouri Compromise to finish the process, with Maine coming in to preserve the balance. Missouri would finally be admitted as the 24th state in 1821. It was the first state entirely west of the Mississippi River to be admitted to the Union.
If you are thinking about settling down here, then it is essential to review the pros and cons of living in Missouri before completing any of your plans.
List of the Pros of Living in Missouri
1. Jobs are plentiful throughout Missouri in several different careers.
The unemployment rate in Missouri is typically one-half of a percentage point lower than the national average. That means you can find several excellent jobs available to pursue in a variety of careers. The fastest growing areas of employment in the state are in healthcare, web development, information technology, and milling services. Health-specialty teachers are also in demand, and that position is one of the highest paid jobs in the state.
If you have been struggling to find a job or you need to switch a career for some reason, then Missouri is an inviting place to call home.
2. The housing marketing is affordable in Missouri.
If you are thinking about living in Missouri, then the average price of a house in the state in 2018 was $180,000. The median home value was just above $150,000. It has been rising at a rate of 7% or more in recent years, but there are still some excellent deals out there to find. If you are not ready to commit to a mortgage just yet, then the good news is that the average price of rent across all types of home categories is less than $1m000 per month.
Jefferson City is one of your best options in Missouri, with apartments going for as little as $475 per month. If you were to take the same space in Kansas City or St. Louis, you would need to pay double that amount. If you want something that fits between those two extremes, then Independence is the best choice at $675 per month.
3. Life operates at a slower pace when you’re living in Missouri.
You will find the culture of Missouri is a complex combination of Midwestern politeness and southern charm. You can find a mix of accents in every community, letting you kind of know where everyone is from. Most people dress casually, offer a friendly smile, and let life pass by at a slower pace.
The people here tend to drive slowly, even if they are in a hurry to reach their destination. Most will strike up a long conversation with a stranger, sip lemonade while watching a thunderstorm from their porch, and give you lengthy opinions about what kind of barbecue is best.
4. You can get outdoors to enjoy a variety of activities.
Missouri might be in the heartland of the United States, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a wide variety of outdoor activities to enjoy when you start living here. If you ask the average person what their favorite thing to do is outside of the city, the two answers you usually receive are hunting and fishing. Since turkeys outnumber people here, Thanksgiving can be a popular time of year.
Another fun activity to try is frog gigging. You’ll get together with fellow hunters, catch them, and cook your find up on the spot. Just don’t believe people when they say that they taste like chicken.
5. It is a culinary journey that awaits you when you start living in Missouri.
You can’t talk about culinary options in Missouri without discussing barbecue. The perspective of most people here is that if the sauce is sweeter, then the food is going to be better. St. Louis and Kansas City both practice a customized style to create flavors, traditions, and techniques that are 100% unique. These approaches are practiced on everything from toasted ravioli to pulled pork burgers.
You will find passionate people on both sides of the barbecue debate as to whether St. Louis or Kansas City does it better. When you start living in Missouri, someone is going to ask you where you stand on this issue. It’s up to you to decide what you prefer.
6. Missouri offers a lower cost of living.
Missouri often ranks as one of the most affordable places to live in the United States. U.S. News and World Report ranks the state as the 10th most affordable place to be. The reason why it receives such high ratings in this area is because of lower costs for utilities, entertainment, groceries, and rent. You might need to bring your budgeting skills to manage this advantage with the lower wages, but you will find that an approach that includes frugal living can be successful here.
7. You can find plenty of attractions to enjoy when living in Missouri.
Entertainment is one of the primary strengths that Missouri offers if you are thinking about living here one day. From theaters to museums, national parks to national monuments, there is a lot of historic architecture for you to explore. You can’t ignore what Branson offers either, especially since they advertise themselves as being the live entertainment capital of the world. Kansas City, St. Louis, and Independence all provide unique options that are worth exploring, no matter what your definition of the word “fun” happens to be.
8. The people in Missouri are generally nice and welcoming.
Missouri is one of those places where people will wave to you even if you are a complete stranger to them. This advantage occurs most often in the rural communities of the state, but you can find it happening in the cities as well. The philosophy is one that is rather simple: if you are there at that moment, then there is a specific purpose for you to be in that spot. Since both of you are there at the same time, then that meeting was pre-ordained for a specific purpose. The least you could do at that moment is to offer a smile, and this friendliness can become contagious almost immediately.
9. You are going to be near the wine country when you start living in Missouri.
Did you know that Missouri was once the second-largest wine-producing state in America? The prohibition years in the United States put an end to this reputation. Vineyards are trying to revive this advantage right now by producing world-class bottles from local grapes. You can find numerous tours available at local facilities, and the words “Norton,” “Vignoles,” and “Chambourcin” will become a second language to you.
10. Missouri has a significant beer heritage for you to consider.
During the 19th century, the population of Missouri went from about 20,000 people to over 2 million people. This successful settling effort was primarily due to the waves of German immigrants that came to the region. That means there is a significant beer heritage in the state that you can’t find elsewhere, even in places where similar activities took place. Over 6% of the state’s GDP each year comes directly from beer production.
It’s not just Anheuser-Busch that drives this advantage, although they do control roughly 40% of the national beer market. Missouri is also the home to a growing craft brewing movement that provides a lot of variety for you to enjoy.
11. You are living in a centrally-located state.
If you live in the southwestern part of Missouri, then you are in one of the most centralized locations available in the United States. You can reach over 40% of the American population from this area and four hours or less. There are several large businesses located in the area, including Bass Pro Shops, so you can always pick up supplies to have a fun weekend with friends without too much of a hassle.
If you can get past some of the commuting you might need to do if you live outside of the cities or their suburban neighborhoods, then you can find some quiet spots where it really is quite peaceful.
12. Traffic isn’t a problem, even in Kansas City.
You might need to own a vehicle if you decide to start living in Missouri, but traffic is not going to be a problem. Kansas City has one of the fastest commutes in the country for a city of its size, averaging less than 23 minutes per trip. That’s the fifth-fastest time in the United States. As long as you can navigate the sometimes confusing exits on the interstate system, you’ll have more time to yourself before and after work.
List of the Cons of Living in Missouri
1. Wages are somewhat low in Missouri compared to the rest of the country.
The median income for the average family in the state of Missouri is $6,500 less per year than what it is nationally. One of the reasons for this disadvantage is the lack of a comparable minimum wage compared to the states that are further west. Business owners are only required to pay $7.85 per hour, which is only $.60 higher than the federal minimum. Although most jobs are going to give you a salary that’s higher than this amount, you will need to budget differently if you are coming from a higher income region.
2. Gang activities can be a problem in some areas of the state.
There is a perception that gang activities only occur in the metro areas around Kansas City and St. Louis, but that is not always the case. You can find this disadvantage also applies to some of the rural areas of the state. You will want to check whatever crime reports are available for your preferred community before making a final decision on moving so that you know that you’re comfortable with whatever (if anything) activities occur from this disadvantage.
Once you are in a gang, it’s not easy to get out of it. If you are bringing your family to Missouri, then you will want to make sure that everyone knows how to take action when necessary. Don’t overreact, ignore threats, or pretend to be in a gang because that could lead to travel.
3. Crime can be a significant issue in some communities.
CBS consistently lists Kansas City as one of the most dangerous communities in the United States each year. Missouri, as a whole, has one of the highest rates of violent crime for a state. If those disadvantages weren’t enough to lend some pause to the idea of moving to Missouri, then you will also want to know that property crime is 15% higher here. St. Louis, Springfield, and Bridgeton often have high rankings for their criminal activity for you to consider.
There are plenty of other places for you to call home in Missouri, so make sure that you research each community to determine where are you will feel the most comfortable.
4. The weather in Missouri can be hot, humid, and stifling.
You are going to get all four seasons when you start living in Missouri. That might seem like an advantage, but the state has more of a continental climate with a mix of Southern stickiness. You’ll love it here if you thrive in an environment that is consistently hot and humid. There can be a lot of rainy days that you will need to manage, and then the thunderstorms can turn severe at a moment’s notice.
You will hear more than one person make this joke about the weather when you start living here: “We should rename our state Misery instead of Missouri.” Tornadoes are something that you will need to take seriously when you move here.
5. Missouri ranks poorly in the areas of inclusiveness and health care.
CNBC ranked Missouri as one of the worst states to live in in the United States in 2018. It was number 46 on their list that year, which is actually higher than 2016 when it ranked 49th out of 50. The ratings for this disadvantage are based on a variety of factors, but inclusiveness, tolerance, healthcare access, and equality are contributing factors. The high crime rate doesn’t provide this ranking algorithm any favors either.
6. Pest management can be a full-time job for some rural homeowners.
It wasn’t just the Germans who thought that Missouri could become a wonderful home. The first people who began to explore the area where the French because they saw the region as an entrepreneurial opportunity. Fur traders came here because there is a significant wildlife presence in the state. They might’ve been hunting beavers and possums, but you’ll be hunting squirrels, shrews, rats, and even armadillos at times.
If you live in a rural area and want to manage chickens or livestock, then controlling the pet population can feel like a full-time job sometimes.
7. Professional sports teams keep leaving the state.
Although it might seem like a tongue-in-cheek disadvantage, the people of Missouri take this issue very seriously. Before the Rams made their way to Los Angeles, the state already had a history of professional teams deciding to relocate to a different market. There have been four different football teams, three basketball teams, two baseball teams, and two hockey teams that have all left for various reasons.
You’ll still get to see the Cardinals, Royals, Chiefs, and Blues if you love the Big Four sports leagues in the United States. MLS has a team in the state with Sporting Kansas City. It’s just one of those things to consider, even if it is for the fact that someone might complain about this fact to you one day.
Missouri takes pride in the fact that it was the home of Mark Twain. It has also said a record for having the loudest stadium in the world. When you see water towers or silos painted in the colors of a favorite soft drink, it is easy to understand why the Show Me State often feels like the most American of any state in the Union.
This state might not be located near an ocean, but the Lake of the Ozarks has more shoreline to explore then what California offers. You will find that the rivers and lakes in Missouri provide excellent recreational opportunities to enjoy, including boating, swimming, and fishing.
The pros and cons of living in Missouri offer several points of consideration to review before making your decision. Consider each topic carefully in this guide so that you can make the best choice possible.
Blog Post Author Credentials
Louise Gaille is the author of this post. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Louise has almost a decade of experience in Banking and Finance. If you have any suggestions on how to make this post better, then go here to contact our team.