Article Overview: Things to Know About Living in Maryland
Hey there, I’m Mark Turner and I’ve been calling Maryland home for the better part of 10 years. I originally moved to Boston for a job opportunity, but now live in Waldorf.
I’ve enjoyed living in Maryland for the past decade and thought it’d be helpful to draft a quick list of the pros and cons of moving to Maryland for anyone considering a similar change.
I’m not one for small talk, so let’s drive right in!
Living in Maryland
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Pros of Moving to Maryland
Top-Notch Public Education
Maryland is consistently ranked among the best states in the country for public education. Boasting high education standards and prestigious universities like Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, it’s not hard to see why.
There’s definitely a strong investment in schools and a focus on quality teaching. The schools, especially in counties like Montgomery and Howard, offer a fantastic array of programs, not just in academics but also in arts and sports.
As a resident, it’s super reassuring to know that kids here have access to such excellent educational resources. I wouldn’t think twice about sending my kids to the local public school, which can’t be said about most states.
Strong Job Economy
With an unemployment rate of 1.7% (the lowest in the county), you can expect to find good job prospects. Especially in high-demand sectors like healthcare, government, and technology.
Heck, I’d venture to say that the strong economy and robust job market is one of the biggest reasons folks end up moving to Maryland.
The state’s proximity to Washington D.C. opens up numerous opportunities in federal agencies and contractors – it’s a hub for those interested in politics, defense, and related fields.
In the tech sector, Maryland is a rising star with its growing cybersecurity and biotech industries. For example, the I-270 corridor, often referred to as “DNA Alley,” is bustling with biotech firms.
Personally, I’ve noticed that job opportunities here are not just abundant but also diverse, catering to a wide range of skills and interests.
Plus, Great Paying Jobs
Likewise, the state’s median household income of $90,000 is the highest in the nation, reflects this economic vibrancy.
After living in Maryland for 10 years, I’ve seen firsthand how this strong job market offers stability and growth prospects, which is reassuring whether you’re just starting your career or looking to make a move.
The blend of governmental, scientific, and tech jobs creates a dynamic professional environment. There’s no denying that it’s an exciting place to be career-wise.
Diversity of Landscapes
From the sandy shores of Ocean City on the Atlantic coast to the rolling hills and farmlands of the Piedmont Region, and the serene mountains in Western Maryland, the state’s landscape feels everchanging.
Offering a great variety of scenery, you can easily start your morning with a hike in the Appalachians and end with a romantic stroll along the beach.
Maryland might be one of the smaller states, but it punches above its weight when it comes to natural beauty. If you’re new to the area, I suggest starting with our state parks!
The diversity of landscapes in Maryland not only provides endless recreational opportunities but also contributes to a deep appreciation for the natural world, which makes living in Maryland a true joy.
Proximity to Washington D.C.
The proximity to Washington D.C., just a short drive or train ride away, opens up a world of unique opportunities and experiences.
For starters, there’s the unparalleled access to historical landmarks, world-class museums (many of which are free!), and cultural events that only D.C. can offer.
Professionally, the proximity to D.C. means being near a hub of federal agencies, non-profits, and a myriad of organizations, which is fantastic for career opportunities, especially in sectors like politics, law, and international relations.
I’ve found networking events, conferences, and seminars are a regular part of life here, offering incredible chances for growth and connection.
Speaking personally, the blend of suburban tranquility in Maryland and the fast-paced, historically rich environment of D.C. is one of the biggest advantages of living in Maryland.
P.S. If you’re a whisky nut (like me), you should know about my favorite whisky bar in D.C., Black Whiskey.
Maryland is Diverse
Maryland’s population is a vibrant tapestry – about 30% African American, 10% Hispanic or Latino, and 6% Asian, with a growing number of residents from various other ethnicity.
But don’t just take my word for it, Maryland is the 5th most diverse state in the country.
This mix creates a dynamic community atmosphere where different traditions, languages, and cuisines are part of everyday life.
It also means diverse educational and employment opportunities, reflecting a range of interests and talents. In Maryland, cultural festivals, diverse dining options, and community events are commonplace, offering an array of unique experiences.
Access to Quality Healthcare
Living in Maryland comes with many advantages, chief among them is getting access to excellent healthcare.
Maryland is recognized for top-tier healthcare facilities, among the best in the nation, including world-renowned institutions like Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical Center.
The state’s unique “All-Payer Model” (the only such program in the nation), a price setting mechanism in which all third parties pay the same price for services at a given hospital, keeping costs lower than the national average.
For residents, this means better access to preventive services, regular check-ups, and specialized care, contributing to overall better health outcomes and quality of life.
The State is Steeped in History
Being one of the original 13 colonies has its perks. Living in Maryland offers access to a wealth of historical landmarks, from the cobblestone streets of Annapolis to the moving Civil War battlefields.
I’ve spent countless weekends exploring places like Fort McHenry, where the Star-Spangled Banner was penned during the War of 1812.
But’s not just about the major historical sites; even in smaller towns, there’s tons of museums, churches and buildings that date back centuries.
Living here, you get this amazing sense of connection to the past, and it’s a fantastic way to bring history to life. All told, you don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate the daily access to impressive historic sites while living in Maryland.
The Food Scene (Especially Seafood)
Living in Maryland is an absolute delight for foodies, especially for those that love seafood.
Maryland’s famous blue crabs (and crab cakes) live up to the hype. Call it touristy if you must, but a personal favorite spot of mine is Faidley’s Seafood in Baltimore – those crab cakes are legendary.
But it’s not all about seafood; Maryland’s diverse population means we’ve got a fantastic variety of cuisines. From authentic Italian to amazing Ethiopian food in Silver Spring, the options are endless, ensuring you’ll never go hungy while living in Maryland.
Disadvantages of Living in Maryland
The High Cost of Living in Maryland
Living in Maryland, I’ve definitely felt the impact of the high cost of living, and it’s something anyone considering moving here should be aware of.
The state consistently ranks as one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S.
Median home prices in the state clock in at a steep $400K, which means those moving to Maryland with the hopes of buying a home should do proper research.
This is especially true in neighborhoods closer to Washington D.C., like Montgomery and Howard Counties (where home prices average $545K). Home price in these areas soar well above the national average.
Everyday expenses like groceries, utilities, and transportation also add up, often running higher than what you might expect in other states.
There’s Also a High Tax Burden
There’s no denying that one of the biggest disadvantages of living in Maryland is the high tax burden.
Not only do Marylanders face pretty steep property taxes, but out income taxes are also quite steep. With a combined state and local tax burden of up to 11.3%, Maryland ranks among the highest in the nation.
Extreme Weather Conditions
While Maryland’s weather is generally pleasant, it does have its moments. Summers can be hot and humid, and winters, while not extreme, can be unpredictable with occasional heavy snowfalls, especially in the western parts.
The State is Densely Populated
Maryland is the 10th most densely populated states in the U.S. This high population density, especially in urban areas like Baltimore and the suburbs of Washington, D.C., can lead to a feeling of overcrowding at times.
It affects everything from schools to public services, increasing the competitive edge required for living in Maryland.
Allergy Sufferers Moving to Maryland, Beware
While I enjoy the surrounding greenery, I’ve found that the spring and fall months rage with pollens and allergens.
I’ve got friends who never had allergy issues before, but they started to feel constantly congested after moving to Maryland.
The Chesapeake Bay area, with its high humidity, can also contribute to mold allergies. However, it’s not all sneezes and watery eyes.
Many folks manage just fine with the right medications and precautions. In any case, it’s still helpful to know!
The traffic around cities like Baltimore and the D.C. metro area can be a real headache, often ranking among the worst in the nation.
So, if you’re moving to Maryland and need to commute, get a car you’re comfortable in, because you’ll be spending a lot of quality time with it.
Retiring in Maryland FAQ
Is Maryland a good place to live?
Absolutely! The state boasts top-notch education and healthcare, a strong job market, especially in sectors like tech, healthcare, and government, and it’s rich in history and culture.
Plus, the seafood can’t be beat (Maryland crab cakes, need I say more?). Sure, the cost of living is a bit on the higher side, and traffic can get heavy, but residents find these are small trade-offs for the quality of life and diversity of experiences Maryland offers.
Is Maryland a good place to retire?
Maryland is a great place for retirement with its scenic landscapes, rich cultural activities, and excellent healthcare. It’s tax-friendly for retirees, which is a nice bonus.
Though the cost of living can be a bit high, the state offers a blend of urban and natural beauty, perfect for an active and fulfilling retirement.
What’s the cost of living in Maryland?
The cost of living in Maryland is more expensive than the national average. Especially when it comes to housing – places near Washington D.C., like Montgomery County, can have housing costs that really stretch the wallet.
Groceries, utilities, and transportation also tend to run a bit higher here. So, if you’re moving to Maryland to reduce your living costs, you may want to reconsider (unless you’re moving from NYC or metro areas in California)
Is marijuana legal in Maryland?
Marijuana is legal for medical use but remains illegal for recreational use. Maryland passed legislation allowing the use of medical marijuana for folks with certain qualifying conditions.
Patients with a valid prescription from a doctor can purchase medical marijuana from licensed dispensaries in the state. Otherwise, you don’t want to be caught with the stuff.
Is Maryland a tax-friendly state?
Not really. Maryland, with all its charm and scenic beauty, isn’t typically seen as a tax-friendly state, especially when compared to others.
The state has a progressive income tax system, which means the more you earn, the higher the tax rate you might fall into. Property taxes here are also on the higher side compared to the national average. T
hat said, there are some tax benefits, especially for retirees – Maryland exempts Social Security retirement benefits from state income tax and offers some deductions on other retirement income.
Things to Know About Living in Maryland (Summary)
In sum, here’s a quick roundup of the benefits of living in Maryland, along with the disadvantages.
- Top-Notch Public Education
- Strong Job Economy
- Plus, Great Paying Jobs
- Diversity of Landscapes
- Proximity to Washington D.C.
- Maryland is Diverse
- Access to Quality Healthcare
- The State is Steeped in History
- The Food Scene (Especially Seafood)
- The High Cost of Living in Maryland
- There’s a High Tax Burden
- Extreme Weather Conditions
- The State is Densely Populated
- Allergy Sufferers Moving to Maryland, Beware
- Notorious Traffic