Come to the Midwest—we’re cheap

Well, the cost of living, anyway. Apparently, enough so to draw away even those coast-y people…

With East and West Coast residents struggling to cope with high real estate prices and other costs, some are now moving to far less “exciting areas” like that of the Midwest.

“Less exciting?” Bah. I hear excitement’s over-rated anyway.

It does sometimes irk my friends back in DC, and Boston, and New Haven, and San Francisco, etc. when I remind them that I pay $650/month for my 2200-SF house with more yard than anyone could possibly use, while they’re paying 2-3 times that for their little apartments. Guess the price I pay is hearing, “you live where? By choice?” anytime I mention to someone where I reside…

Comments

  1. #1 coturnix
    January 21, 2006

    Think of this from a political angle. People from huge Blue cities are moving to Red states and turning them purple….

  2. #2 Ian B Gibson
    January 21, 2006

    You’ve got a point; my wife wants us to move to San Francisco when she graduates, but I’m pushing for her to take a job in Phoenix instead – the cost of living is 1/4 as much. Makes a huge difference. Not that I wouldn’t love living in SF (and it doesn’t really feel like a typical city – too friendly), but there’s a point where you have to question when things have gone too far; $1600+/month for a 1-bedroom apartment, for instance!

  3. #3 Ericnh
    January 22, 2006

    Having lived in New England all my life (either near NY or Boston), I know all about a high cost of living. But when I look at the alternatives I’m not sure where else I could stand to live. I’ll take shoveling snow over evacuating from a hurricane or wildfire any day. But mostly I think I’d go insane living in a red state–my father-in-law’s family hails from Missouri and my limited exposure to them is enough proof that I don’t belong there. Yeah, I know New Hampshire is technically red when it comes to elections, but you don’t really notice it in daily life. I’m happy to pay more and keep my sanity.

  4. #4 Ian Gibson
    January 22, 2006

    You must bear in mind that red state/blue state is a very misleading false dichotomy. For instance, Phoenix is in a red state, but like most large cities is itself blue. In general, the higher the population density, the more liberal the average person is. Check out this cool map, and contrast it with this one, which you may have seen before.. not so black & white (or red & blue), really! More like purple.

  5. #5 Adam Ierymenko
    January 22, 2006

    I recently moved from Cincinnati to Boston. The cost of living here is about twice as high (or more), but I’m better off financially here than I was in Cincinnati. Why? Jobs here also pay about twice as much (or more) than their equivalents in Cincinnati. Your house or apartment costs more, but the higher income makes it much easier to get rid of student debt, pay off things like cars, accumulate savings, etc.

    That, and there’s not much in the way of high-tech or science-related jobs in Cincinnati.

    I’ve noticed that there seems to be what I call the “salmon phenomenon.” This is the phenomenon of midwesterners going to the coasts, making money, and then returning to raise families. (They swim out and then come back to spawn…) They come to the coasts to make money because it’s very difficult to earn good money in the midwest right out of college.

    There are high-paying jobs in Cincinnati, but they are all management positions that are only open to those with many years of experience or very high degrees. Of course, there are still few of these in technology or science… most are in business-related fields, manufacturing, construction, etc.

    I personally plan on staying near the coast, since I can’t stand the novelty-averse conservative culture where I came from… and that’s a whole other thing…

  6. #6 green LA girl
    January 22, 2006

    After spending 3 hellish years at a midwestern university, I’m so, SO glad to be back in LA, a blue state where I don’t have to deal with weird, uncomfortable, painful comments from strangers (“Wow, you speak English really well!” “You know, my laundryman’s Vietnamese”).

    That said, true ’bout the rent…

  7. #7 coturnix
    January 22, 2006

    I like Blue Islands in Red States. I am in Chapel Hill, but Ann Arbor and similar places also sound good. Best of both worlds.

  8. #8 Mike
    January 23, 2006

    I’ve lived on both coasts (born and raised in Monterey, CA), but I’ll spend the rest of my life in Iowa, please.

    Two main reasons I’ve chosen Iowa: People and Prices.

    Maybe it’s because there aren’t so many people crammed into a small area, but I find the folks here more engaging. When I go to the store here at 6am, I’m one of the few. On the coasts? Get to the store by 6am and get in line.

  9. #9 Tara
    January 23, 2006

    I like Blue Islands in Red States. I am in Chapel Hill, but Ann Arbor and similar places also sound good. Best of both worlds.

    I was going to mention that to the folks who said they couldn’t stand living in a red state. Iowa City is nicely insulated from much of the rest of the state. (Not sayin’ that the rest of the state is that bad–I’ve only been here a year and haven’t spent enough time elsewhere to judge yet). We have culture, great schools, and friendly people who generally keep their religion to themselves. And, no hurricanes or fires. :) Besides, Iowa was barely red in the last election anyhoo.

    Re: “salmon phenomenon.” I love that name; never thought about it that way before, but I’ve noticed a lot of that as well. I did college on the east coast myself, but knew I wouldn’t want to raise kids there.

  10. #10 Jamie
    January 23, 2006

    As an East Coast native turned Midwesterner, I can say that the tradeoff is worth it. Sure the yearly production of [i]Cats[/i] counts as a cultural activity, and the only restaurants of note are cookie-cutter bar/grill type places. And yes, the news looks like it was produced on a Video Toaster and the drive-time DJ’s have the creativity of socks. And there’s no such thing as a “major league” sports team.

    But I get to live in a very nice house (for 1/2 to 1/3 of what I’d pay in my former home state) in a great neighborhood. There’s virtually no violent crime. Teachers are underpaid but the educational system is still well-above average. And as Tara said – no hurricanes, no fires.

  11. #11 Tara
    January 23, 2006

    Sure the yearly production of Cats counts as a cultural activity, and the only restaurants of note are cookie-cutter bar/grill type places. And yes, the news looks like it was produced on a Video Toaster and the drive-time DJ’s have the creativity of socks. And there’s no such thing as a “major league” sports team.

    Well, that all will vary depending on location, too. Iowa City has some really good restaurants (including a great Thai place and an excellent middle eastern restaurant). There are all kinds of world-class performances at the university auditorium. But yeah, the news is amazingly terrible (I swear, the average anchor age is 12) and the big sports teams around here are the college ones, not pros. But don’t tell someone living in Cleveland or Chicago (for example) that there’s no such thing as a major league midwest sports team!

  12. #12 coturnix
    January 23, 2006

    A small University town is thus the best. Great restaurants, bookstores, great cultural institutions, and although I don’t care for sports, I can, if I want to, walk over to watch UNC play whichever sport is in its season, or take a 10-minute drive and watch Blue Devils, or 30 minutes and watch Wolfpack.

  13. #13 GrrlScientist
    February 16, 2006

    i grew up in a farming community in washington state and lived most of my life on the west coast everywhere from tiny college towns to er, Seattle, and now i live in the big bad apple. it is the sad truth that NYC is a very safe city, MUCH safer than where i grew up, in fact! besides, i don’t have to own a car in NYC, which means that my living expenses are MUCH cheaper than for a city like, say, Seattle, Portland, Olympia, San Fran or LA or mostly anywhere really (especially in CA), where you simply MUST own a car to get around, at least in the winter.

    living in a large city is consistent with my personal philosophy; because people are so reproductively successful and so astonishingly dirty and destructive, they deserve to be crammed together into tiny spaces, along with their parasites such as dogs and cats, rats, house mice and cockroaches, so the rest of the world can remain relatively pristine for the birds, animals and plants.

  14. #14 GrrlScientist
    February 16, 2006

    i grew up in a farming community in washington state and lived most of my life on the west coast everywhere from tiny college towns to er, Seattle, and now i live in the big bad apple. it is the sad truth that NYC is a very safe city, MUCH safer than where i grew up, in fact! besides, i don’t have to own a car in NYC, which means that my living expenses are MUCH cheaper than for a city like, say, Seattle, Portland, Olympia, San Fran or LA or mostly anywhere really (especially in CA), where you simply MUST own a car to get around, at least in the winter.

    living in a large city is consistent with my personal philosophy; because people are so reproductively successful and so astonishingly dirty and destructive, they deserve to be crammed together into tiny spaces, along with their parasites such as dogs and cats, rats, house mice and cockroaches, so the rest of the world can remain relatively pristine for the birds, animals and plants.