John Cabot receives credit for being the first European to explore Maryland and that region of North America. He did so in the year 1498. Settlements began to appear in the north and the south soon after, but it was not until 1632 when King Charles I would grant access to the area. The first people began to arrive a couple of years later, and the initial colony built an economic foundation based on tobacco.
Maryland was the 13th state to ratify the Articles of Confederation that helped to form the backbone of the United States. When the Constitution created a stronger structure for governing, it became the seventh state to ratify the new document in 1788.
Unlike the other colonies to the south, many of the plantation owners in Maryland began to free their slaves as the economy started changing. It was still a slave state in 1860, but over 50% of the population was free. Baltimore was the largest city in the region, and it had the highest number of people of color in the United States.
If you are thinking about living in Maryland today, then these are the primary pros and cons that you’ll want to review.
List of the Pros of Living in Maryland
1. The state is filled with numerous outdoor activities to enjoy.
Over 40% of the state is covered in trees, making Maryland an oasis in the Mid-Atlantic region. There are numerous ways for you to get outside to enjoy the activities that await. One of the best places to visit is a community called Thurmont where you can access many of the options that the untamed beauty provides here. This small town is between Catoctin Mountain and Cunningham Falls, giving you lots of hiking opportunities that can fill up an entire day.
You can also visit Assateague where a large herd of wild horses lives on the island. If you love ponies, then you won’t want to miss this adventure. With all of the state and national parks in such a small area, one of the nicknames for Maryland is “America in Miniature.
2. You are in proximity to several large, significant U.S. cities.
When you live in Maryland, then you’re going to be close to the city of Baltimore no matter where you choose to be. That means you’re within striking distance of Washington, D.C. and all of the activities found there. If you want to visit Philadelphia, then you’re about an hour away from that experience. New York City is only two hours away. This central location gives you several tremendous advantages that will help you make the most out of your new home.
3. The culture of Maryland is unique for the Mid-Atlantic region.
You’ll find a fascinating and diverse culture waiting for you if you decide to start calling Maryland home. It comes right up to the Mason-Dixon line, so there are several elements of Southern hospitality that you can find in the state. Most of the locals will tell you that their Northerners, so there is a certain honesty that you can expect when having a conversation. This combination of forces creates an unusual, accepting culture that focuses more on being authentic.
4. There are numerous employment opportunities to enjoy.
You will find plenty of jobs available in Maryland even though the unemployment rate is a little higher than the national average in most years. That’s because you are extremely close to Washington, D.C. so that means their figures don’t get reported on the overall numbers. Most of the jobs tend to be service-related with the government, especially those that are within striking distance from Baltimore. There are several contracting options available because of this structure as well. That means you can end up going to a different city, but you would still end up with a short commute.
5. You have access to numerous museums and similar activities.
Because of Maryland’s location next to the capital of the United States, you’ll have access to monuments and museums that aren’t available to most of the rest of the country. Two of the top choices in the state are the National Aquarium and Walters Art Museum. You can even take a day to visit the series of exhibits that the Smithsonian has on display in their series of facilities. There are so many options available here that you can visit a different one each week and still have options left to explore at the end of the year.
6. Maryland comes right up to the Atlantic Ocean.
There are several stunning beaches in Maryland that you are sure to enjoy when you start living here. Outside of visiting Assateague, you’ll want to plan some weekends at Ocean City. You’ll find several around Chesapeake Bay that are intriguing, especially since you can get some views of the bridge that is just outside of Annapolis. That’s why any activity related to the water, including boating, fishing, or swimming, is available in multiple ways when you decide to start calling this state your home.
7. The food in Maryland is out of this world.
There are several excellent food options that you can enjoy when you move to Maryland. The fresh seafood that you can find is incredible. If you’re craving oysters on the half shell, lobster rolls, or fresh crab. Several nationally-recognized chefs and restaurants operate in the state so that you can have an excellent meal with family or friends. There’s a growing craft brewery presence in Baltimore, and the cocktail scene is thriving. You’ll even discover an eclectic set of ethnic dining options for you to try.
8. Maryland has a rich history for you to enjoy.
The city of Baltimore was founded in 1729, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States. You’ll find a rich history waiting for you in the city with its seaport that served as a hub for Caribbean trade. Maryland is where Francis Scott Key wrote The Star-Spangled Banner, and it is where Babe Ruth was born. There are more than 65,000 unique properties on the National Register of Historic Places in Baltimore alone, with thousands more dotting the state. That means you have plenty of options to start learning about America while living here.
9. There are charming apartments and lofts that you can call home.
Because of the history of Maryland, you’ll find more row houses in the various communities in the state. There are also several factories and mills that developers have converted into condominiums, art studios, and lofts. When you’re ready to go see the city, there are stores, galleries, and offices located in these beautiful historic places as well. Some of them are even on the waterfront so that you can go to sleep each night enjoying an incredible view of the coast.
10. You will get to enjoy a temperate climate when living in Maryland.
You’ll still get the humid summers and snowy winters in Maryland, so it is the perfect place to be if you want to live somewhere that experiences all four seasons. Since it isn’t too far north or south, its temperate nature creates a moderate climate that tends to stay comfortable throughout most of the year. That means you can enjoy many of the seasonal festivals held here without worrying about what will happen outside.
Over 80,000 tulips bloom each year at Sherwood Gardens, making it a popular destination for everyone in the region in spring. Baltimore hosts HONfest each summer that celebrates life in the city. A holiday lights festival called Miracle on 34th Street happens during the colder winter months that everyone loves too.
11. There are lots of cute towns to explore in Maryland and the region.
Berlin was ranked as the best small town in America in the last decade. Snow Hill is a popular spot because almost every house is more than a century old. Bethany Beach and Rehobeth Beach are in Delaware but offer a similar vibe to enjoy. Harriet Tubman’s hometown was Cambridge, providing several museums and a historic trail to follow.
List of the Cons of Living in Maryland
1. Living in Maryland can be a costly experience.
Maryland might be one of the wealthiest states in the entire country despite what critics of Baltimore’s city management might try to claim. CNBC reports that the highest concentration of millionaires in the United States lives there. Current reporting suggests that 1 in 12 households are worth at least seven figures. That means you can expect a hefty sum even if your plan is to rent a home.
You can avoid some of this issue by living in the rural communities of Maryland instead of Baltimore or some of the other larger towns. The average household income is above $70,000 per year, so you’ll have some room in which to work.
2. If you love living in a large city, then you’ve only got one option.
Living in Maryland means that you’ve got one option for big-city life: Baltimore. There are plenty of amenities that you can enjoy with that experience. Pro sports are widely available, there are excellent family communities, and the job market is competitive when compared with the rest of the United States. If you come here and decide that what you see isn’t something that you like, then you’re already out of options. That’s why living here can be a bit of a tricky experience for some families.
3. You will need to get used to a high volume of traffic.
Because there are so many employment opportunities within the region, the amount of traffic that you’ll need to manage is extensive. Even though you might be 30 minutes away from DC, it might take you 60-90 minutes to finish your commute on some days. There are never really any off times in the area either since there are so many significant cities within two hours of where you are living.
4. You’re stuck with the combination of high property taxes and home values.
The properties that you’ll find available for sale are priced significantly higher in Maryland than in other parts of the country. The average price of a home in the state is more than $330,000. You’ll find numerous listings for much more than that because of the prevalence of high-paying jobs and household income. That means you’ll be paying a significant amount in property taxes each year too. That means you have access to better schools in many communities, but it can price you out of some neighborhoods before you even get a chance to start looking.
If you live in Baltimore, then you’ll need to deal with a 3.2% income tax in the city. That’s even higher than the county, which charges 2.83% instead. Some tax credits can help to offset these charges, but recent limitations to federal tax law have capped them for many homeowners in the state.
5. You might find yourself commuting over the Bay Bridge.
If you’re not a big fan of traveling over bridges, then the Bay Bridge is a span that will make your heart pound every time you’re on it. The imposing size of it puts you well above the water as you’re trying to get to work or make your way home. When Friday evening comes around and people start leaving DC and Baltimore to make their way to Ocean City, the bottleneck that occurs can have you sitting in stop-and-go traffic for several miles. You’ll experience this issue throughout most of the summer when families are headed out to enjoy the coast during their vacation.
6. Crime is an issue that you’ll want to consider.
The city of Baltimore ranked third as the most dangerous city in the United States because of a surge in violent crime. Homicide rates in the community reached their highest-ever per capita level that year. Many of the incidents involve drugs and are in some of the more neglected areas of the city, but that doesn’t mean incidents don’t spill out to the rest of the town or the state.
You’ll need to take precautions when living in Maryland to ensure your safety. Locking your steering wheel is helpful. Keep valuables out of your car. It isn’t a good idea to be walking alone at night in an unfamiliar area either. Some programs are attempting to address this issue, but there is still some work that needs to be done.
7. The state struggles with issues of homelessness.
As with many of today’s urban areas in the United States, there are some significant issues with homelessness throughout the state. Baltimore sees the brunt of this issue. Efforts are being made to relocate squatters and clear encampments, but there is a higher risk of being exposed to drug paraphernalia in these areas. Frequent fundraising activities have helped to create more temporary housing facilities to help people find their way back to employment, but it seems to be a process that is taking two steps backward for every forward movement taken.
8. You’ll need to get used to the blue laws in Maryland.
The blue laws in Maryland are a little different than they are in other parts of the United States. If you want to purchase alcohol on Sundays, then you’ll need to go to a restaurant or a bar to have some fun. When you’d prefer to have something prepackaged to enjoy at home or during a tailgate party, then you’ll need to plan in advance to make sure you have enough supplies ready the day before.
These laws also apply to car dealerships with the exception of Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George Counties. Even professional sports teams are not allowed to play a game before 1 pm on a Sunday unless local ordinances or laws allow it.
9. There can be a lot of wind to manage when living in Maryland.
You won’t experience as much wind in Maryland as you would when living in a city like Chicago, but it can still get frustrating. There tends to be a stronger breeze here when compared to most of the other places along the east coast. If you live near the coast, you’ll detect a distinctive odor coming through thanks to the nearby chicken processing plants around the Chesapeake. There are days when you can smell the facility over 20 miles away.
Maryland has its fair share of pros and cons to consider like most places in the world today. Most people who come to live in the state feel that the benefits typically outweigh the disadvantages they experience on the average day. There are more people here, which means more traffic, but that also equates to new opportunities that can improve your quality of life.
This state is not the place to be if your employment opportunity is an entry-level job because of the cost of housing. It would take two working adults to support such a place, and even then, there could be several financial challenges to manage.
The pros and cons of living in Maryland in this guide can help you to decide if moving to this state is the best choice for your needs. Consider each point carefully in accordance to your current and future circumstances.
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.