The story of Connecticut begins with three separate settlements of Puritans from Massachusetts by way of England. They decided to combine under a single royal charter in the 1660s. The colony prospered thanks to farming and trade, with its emphasis on conservativism creating a reputation of it being a place where steady habits were encouraged.
Connecticut is a state where many firsts took place for Americans. Prudence Crandall, a Quaker schoolteacher, formed the first integrated school in the country when she admitted the daughter of a free farmer in their community. When she refused to segregate the students, it would eventually lead to her opening a school specifically for African-American girls.
Between 1790-1930, Connecticut also had more patents issued per capita than any other in the country. The first recorded invention was the lapidary machine that had rights granted to it in 1765.
Although there have been political changes over the years, the pros and cons of living in Connecticut are very similar to what they were during the initial colonial period.
List of the Pros of Living in Connecticut
1. There are numerous opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in Connecticut.
You might not think about a visit to the beach as a top priority in Connecticut, but you’re only two hours away from the ocean at the furthest when living here. You’ll find several popular options to visit, including Hammonasset Beach State Park, Ocean Beach Park, or the beautiful Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk.
It is a fantastic place for hiking, which includes a stretch of the Appalachian Trail. Most of the state parks have opportunities for you to enjoy, and a handful of forest preserves make for the perfect autumn trek. There is a little bit of something for everyone to love when you live in Connecticut.
2. The fall colors are stunning when you live in Connecticut.
The colors that happen as summer transitions to winter are unlike any other place in the United States when living in Connecticut. You will find rolling hills and quiet, winding roads waiting for you to find them. The backwoods areas are majestic in their oranges, yellows, and reds. Make sure to add some extra time to your schedule so that you can enjoy a small diner, go shopping for antiques, and take advantage of all of the other unique opportunities that you’ll find throughout the state.
3. Connecticut offers lots of entertainment options.
If you love the performing arts, the New Haven’s College Street Music Hall is the place you want to be. It reopened in 2015 after being vacant for more than a decade. Now it’s the place for artists who come through the area, attracting acts that would normally skip over the state when traveling between Boston and New York City.
Live music benefits from a variety of small clubs that dot the state, including historic places like the Sidedoor Jazz Club in Old Lyme. Each city has at least one place for acts to perform, including open mic nights where you can play something, offer poetry, or connect with friends after a long week at work.
4. The Connecticut Wine Trail is a must-do adventure.
California, Washington, and Colorado might be meccas of wine-growing bliss in the United States, but you don’t want to discount what Connecticut offers. It is part of the fastest-growing wine region in the country, with the Wine Trail allowing you to visit 25 different wineries. You’ll get to travel from Stonington to Litchfield Hills to Goshen sampling different bottles. It’s the perfect chance to relax, savor where you are, and enjoy the atmosphere that only this state can provide.
5. Craft breweries are growing quickly in the state.
If you prefer beer instead of wine, then Connecticut still has something for you to enjoy when you start living here. You’ll find local pubs, microbreweries, and craft beers are popular throughout the state. Tastings happen frequently, and you can enjoy some festivals and fundraising events that involve this tasty beverage. Some of the better-known names that you’ll find in this culture are City Steam Brewery in Hartford and the Two Roads Brewing Company in Stratford.
6. Outdoor dining really is a thing when you’re living in Connecticut.
If you love the idea of casual outdoor dining, then Connecticut has several options for you to consider. There are elegant options to look at as well, like the Shell and bones Oyster Bar and Grill in New Haven. Some homes offer a three-seasons porch that will let you enjoy some time outside while you’re enjoying the local bounty. Chicken, steaks, sweet corn, lobster, and wood-fired clams are all part of the experience.
When you do visit a seafood restaurant in Connecticut, make sure that you ask about their fresh raw bar. Then take advantage of whatever seaside seating is available so that you can have a fantastic view.
7. Life in Connecticut is all about the small-town experience.
There are quintessential towns sprinkled all over the Connecticut countryside if you want to enjoy the classic small-town experience. Some of the villages are even listed in travel guides like 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Essex Village has even been called the perfect place to live, a community that includes the Griswold Inn. This establishment holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously operational tavern in the United States.
Even if you want to live in one of the larger cities in the state, Connecticut still provides a small-town feeling compared to Boston, New York City, or Philadelphia. Bridgeport is the largest community in the state, with a population of 144,000. Two counties (Tolland and Windham) don’t even have a single city in them.
8. There are fantastic communities and neighborhoods waiting for you.
Connecticut has plenty of quiet neighborhoods and communities where you can settle into a peaceful life. You can find a place with the yard you want, the right amount of space, or close to where you plan to work. Then you can take advantage of fair season in the state since you’re only a couple of hours away from any activity. When the winter snows decide to come, then skiing becomes available at places like Mohawk Mountain or Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort.
9. You can get into New York City for a fun weekend day trip whenever you want.
Some ambitious homeowners commute to the Big Apple since you’re about 100 miles from Manhattan when living in Connecticut. That means it’ll take you a couple of hours to get into the city depending on the traffic. You also have the option to take the train, which is a three-hour trip most days. It’s not much further to make your way to Boston on the I-84 and I-90, or you can head over to Providence and visit Rhode Island for the day.
If you don’t mind a little extra time in the car, you can plan weekend trips to Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and more when you’re living here.
10. The crime rate in Connecticut has been steadily falling.
Some of the best cities to live in are in Connecticut because their record of safety continues to improve. The state is experiencing its lowest crime rate in decades, with the overall ratio being about 20 incidents per every 1,000 residents. The rate of violent crime is only 2 per 1,000, which makes most communities a safe place to raise a family and let your kids outside to play in the front yard.
It is still a good idea to have insurance in place for any of the more expensive items you have in your home. Compared to other places you could live along the East Coast, you’ll find Connecticut has a lot to offer.
List of the Cons of Living in Connecticut
1. Taxes are a significant issue to consider before living in Connecticut.
Connecticut has one of the highest tax rates in the country, coming in at a rate of 12.6% in 2016. That put the state in the same conversation as New York when looking at the cost of living in the area. When you consider other places charge half of that rate and don’t have a state income tax to worry about, it’s no wonder why some long-time residents are thinking about moving to a different home.
United Van Lines reports that 60% of the clientele from Connecticut is moving out of the state. From 2015-2017, the U.S. Census Bureau reported a net population loss for each year.
2. The cost of living is high in Connecticut.
When you look at how much $100 can get you in total value when living in Connecticut, it is ranked a lot less than most other places in the country. You’ll receive about $92 of net worth from that investment, whereas many southern states in the U.S. will give you over $110 in value.
Connecticut consistently ranks in the top 20% of the places that are the most expensive to live in the United States. If you can afford to live here, then there are plenty of advantages for you to enjoy. Fewer people are finding it possible to do.
3. Jobs are leaving Connecticut in a hurry.
Over 28,000 people left Connecticut in 2015 because jobs are leaving the state quickly. 45% of the people who are leaving do so because they are pursuing employment opportunities elsewhere. Lots of businesses are fed up with the tax environment, so they’re packing up shop to go somewhere else. When significant employers like Aetna and GE run into financial issues, the loss of jobs causes the economy to take a significant hit.
You’ll find several positions in the healthcare field available in Connecticut. Fishing jobs can be fruitful in some seasons. There can be tech positions available at startups, while freelancers are finding more spaces to work. You might still want to secure a job before moving here because of the current employment climate to reduce financial risks.
4. The cost of a house is rather high in Connecticut.
Zillow reports that the median home value in Connecticut is about $245,000. Prices went up about 1.2% over 2018 figures to reach that amount, with the list price averaging about $175 per square foot. Renting in the state averages about $1,800 per month, although you’ll find costs are a lot higher when you live in Stamford or Bridgeport since you’re close to the water and New York City.
After prices bottomed out in 2012-2013, they have been on a steady rise ever since. That’s still a lot lower than living in NYC directly, but it is more than what you’d pay on average across the United States.
5. Property taxes are a significant issue for Connecticut homeowners.
Connecticut has the fourth-highest property tax levy in the United States, with the state’s average effective rate at 2.07%. Hartford County is even higher, with the average rate being 2.216%. That means if your home has an assessed value of $335,000 in 2019, then you’d pay $7,424 in taxes for that year. If you went with the state-based levy, then it would drop to $6,924.
That same home value with the median property tax rate of 1.080% in the United States would have a tax responsibility of $3,618. That means you can expect to pay between $4,000 to $10,000 more in taxes per year for the average single-family dwelling if you’re living in Connecticut.
6. You have fuel taxes to consider when living in Connecticut.
The residents of Connecticut haven’t faced a gasoline tax increase since 2013, and there have only been two of them in the past 12 years. There are two taxes that happen in the state. Motorists pay a direct $0.25 per gallon retail tax, and then there is a wholesale tax based on percentages that get charged to business owners – who build that cost into the base price of the fuel so that drivers pay both of them.
Between 2005-2007, Connecticut had the highest fuel taxes in the United States. Since then, the state has fallen to eighth in that category, but you’re still going to pay $0.06 per gallon more than the median rate across the country.
7. Connecticut is exploring the idea of adding more tolls to roadways.
While other states are pushing their gasoline taxes higher, Connecticut is looking at how tolling could help them start to raise money to repair infrastructure needs. The overcrowded highways, railways, and bridges could all become part of the fundraising structure for the government. During the 2019 legislative session, Governor Ned Lamont suggested that fuel taxes could go down if tolls were approved.
Why is the state pushing for more revenues from drivers so aggressively? In a word: mismanagement. Between 2006-2014, Connecticut spent over $1.3 billion from wholesale fuel tax receipts on programs not in the transportation budget. That’s why voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2018 that prevents a future diversion of funds.
8. The traffic in Connecticut is problematic almost every day.
The highways in Connecticut are ranked as some of the worst in the United States. When you consider how fast some of the bridges and roads are wearing out, there are significant traffic issues that you’ll need to manage if you start living in Connecticut.
EverQuote Insurance even notes in their survey of driving habits that the people from Connecticut are the worst ones behind the wheel in the United States. Since you’re living between Boston and New York City, there are days when it seems like you’re stuck in a constant traffic jam despite the smaller size of the state’s cities.
9. It can get really cold in Connecticut in some years.
If people aren’t leaving Connecticut because they’re trying to find work somewhere else, then there’s an excellent chance that they’re going because of the weather. The average temperature in the winter in Hartford is below 20°F. The coastal part of the state sees 15 snow days each year, with accumulation levels reaching three feet. Norfolk gets even more of the white stuff, averaging almost 80 inches per year.
If you don’t like dealing with snow, then living in Connecticut is going to be an unpleasant experience for 3-5 months out of the year.
Connecticut is a unique state that provides some distinctive pros and cons for you to review. The history of this region will provide you with numerous opportunities to start exploring, but the cost of living can keep you at home more often than you like.
What makes the state stand out are the strange laws that are sometimes enforced. You can’t walk backward after sunset in Devon, and eating in your car is outlawed in Bloomfield. Then there’s the fact that you can’t dress like a clown to scare people.
If you love beautiful scenery and money isn’t a problem, then Connecticut is the perfect place to live. Renters can also manage their employment and income levels effectively on the lower end of the Middle Class. You’ll find your perfect fit in the small towns here if you’re willing to look hard enough to find that home you’ve always wanted.
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.