Moving states might seem like a counterintuitive or even scary thought. Why would one want to move to another place instead of home? Truth is, home is an attitude, and so long as you have enough reasons to give the prospect of moving to another state a good thought, you might actually find it could improve the quality of your life, professional prospects, and your financial standing. The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed how people work, by now most likely permanently, with a historical shift to remote work. Now that millions of Americans have a remote-work option, many are rethinking where they would like to live and prosper. So here are our 5 reasons why you might consider moving to another state:
Of course the number one reason that Americans have historically considered when moving places is due to a new job prospect or employment. But it’s not nearly as central any more as it once was. Increasingly, lucrative employment is location-independent. With the onset of digitalization across sectors the prospect of living where you want rather than where you need to becomes at last real. Employment opportunities vary from state to state and it really depends on what sort of job market you are in. Some jobs are still big city biased and you would be challenged to build a career outside of specific metropoles, but if your skills are more portable and sought after, you have a much better chance of finding work wherever you decide to move. Of course income levels for jobs can vary significantly from state to another, but all other things being equal, workers tend to earn more in places where the cost of living is high or competition for their talent is fierce. Which means you can’t have your cake and eat it too. You could say earn 30% more in California, rather than Utah, but that positive difference might be a wash thanks to Southern California’s sky-high housing, gas prices, and taxes. So mind your priorities and do thorough research before you move — and ideally, find a job suitable to your skills and career ambitions before you relocate, but don’t sacrifice it all just for the sake of it, unless you are really ready to do so.
Taxes and affordability
Our second reason follows the tone and discourse of reason number one. We all know too well death and taxes are certain, and although you can’t entirely escape them, you could try and minimize your overall tax burden by moving to the right place. For example, you could consider moving to any of the five states that don’t charge sales taxes: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon. Or else, to one of the nine states that waive income taxes on most or all sources of income: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. Make sure to scrutinize other levies, because many more taxes apply — for instance property taxes, school taxes, gasoline taxes, and business taxes and fees — something that could affect your bottom line to a greater or lesser extent. To correctly quantify that impact at your next address, look to the Tax Foundation’s state-local tax burden report, which calculates what taxpayers in all 50 states pay in state and local taxes. But do balance the taxation considerations with the affordability of life, for wealth is relative. According to a 2020 commissioned by Money Crashers, over 25% of Americans equate wealth with financial security. Another 27% define wealth as a function of quality of life rather than finances. It is clear most of us would prefer to have more money to spend and save, but it is not as simple, and that’s where affordability, arguably the most critical factor for people moving, comes in. Affordability encompasses the total cost of living — not just housing costs and income after taxes, but all your other life expenditures including utilities, groceries, transportation, durable goods, and health care. Curious how far your dollar might go in a new state? Use BestPlaces’ cost of living calculator to get a rough estimate.
Climate and quality of life
For many climate is a critical quality-of-life consideration. If you enjoy winter sports, you probably need to be in a place that has them in abundance, think Colorado or Vermont. By the same token, if you prefer the beach to the slopes, then the Sun Belt is just right for you. It’s worth noting that climate impacts more than just our physical comfort, hobbies, and what you wear. It very often shapes local economies and, by extension, employment, and relocation decisions. But quality of life is a construct that is much more encompassing then climate alone. It’s about the vibe, the community, the environment surrounding you, and how well it suits your personality and needs. There have been hundreds of pandemic-related stories about people leaving big cities on the coasts over the past year. 8.9 million people have relocated since the beginning of the pandemic. New York was the state with the most residents leaving, Kentucky reached an “inbound” surplus for the first time since 2010 and California earned an outbound status for the first time since 1995. Counties near big cities (aka suburbs) are experiencing the most migration gains, but if you want to follow the moving trends, Americans in general seem to now relocate to states with higher perceived quality of life. The fastest growing state by this measure is Idaho, followed by Oregon, Arizona, and Utah. Americans add up the cost of living, jobs and infrastructure availability, safety and security, and the great outdoors as the surprising factor, in picking their move to state. So make up what is important for your quality of life, and decide whether you should be moving states.
Crime rates and commutes
The crime rate, and the perceived level of safety is another defining factor one needs to consider, as is the commute time and ease of connection by various transportation means. Of course nobody wants to live in a high-crime area, but that doesn’t mean there is a utopian state out there where crime never happens. Use municipal or state resources to research crime statistics in any city, town, or neighbourhood you’re eyeing. By this measure Wyoming, Connecticut, Idaho, Vermont, and Maine rank best in terms of low violent crime and property crime rates. In terms of ease of transportation, consider that the explosive suburban and exurban growth around big cities, increases average commute times and time spent in traffic. These problems are especially acute in high-cost coastal metropolises like the San Francisco Bay Area and greater New York City. Long commutes are less stressful and potentially less costly, in major metro areas with good public transportation options for commuters. Although, the United States’ regional public transportation infrastructure generally lags behind much of the rest of the developed world’s, commuting by bus or rail is still a realistic option in most larger cities if you would rather not drive. Additionally, make sure the neighbourhoods or suburbs you’re considering have robust public transit that runs when you need it. And use Walk Score to gauge your new neighbourhood’s walkability.
Education, culture, and outing
We want to best for our loved little ones, hence for parents, the value of living near high-quality schools is clear, yet even singles and couples without children need to consider the local education system when choosing where to live. All other things being equal, home values tend to rise faster in good school districts than in otherwise comparable locales with challenged schools. And according to a study of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, the trend is even more pronounced in the best school districts. Use non-profit websites like GreatSchools and SchoolDigger to assess school quality in the cities, towns, or neighbourhoods you’re considering. Culture is relative, and you’re the one who defines what drives yours. If world-class museums and theatres, music venues, professional sports teams, topped by a diverse array of restaurants serving cuisine from every corner of the world, is what excites you, then you naturally belong in a big city or its suburbs. But if you enjoy outdoor activities that require ample space or proximity to nature, such as hunting, hiking, and camping, or want plenty of property to raise crops and livestock, you should stick to the wide-open spaces. At the end of the day, much like the other reasons preceding this one, to each its own.
And if you do make your mind on moving states, please make use of our services to have your vehicles seamlessly transported to your destination. Follow Dellcy’s other blog posts on the 3 ways of moving your vehicle when relocating, the 10 items you cannot put in your car during transportation, and our 7 Tips for Preparing Your Car for Auto Transportation.”