Post Overview: Roundup of the Pros & Cons of Living in Wisconsin
Are you thinking about moving to Wisconsin? I think I can help.
I’ve been living in Wisconsin for the past 12 years and decided it’d be helpful to share a list of the pros and cons of moving to Wisconsin for anyone considering a similar move.
Pros & Cons of Living in Wisconsin
Perks of Living in Wisconsin
#1. High Quality of Life
One of the best things about living in Wisconsin is the great quality of life. Speaking from personal experience, I found that the stresses in my everyday life have reduced significantly after moving to Wisconsin.
It seems like I’m not the only one that thinks so. Wisconsin ranks as one of the best states in US for quality of life.
I think the high quality of life has to do with the simple way of living in Wisconsin. Folks aren’t overly consumed by material things and prefer to relish in the small joys of living.
The state has ample farmers markets, festivals, entertainment, jobs and friendly folks — everyone is just trying to live the best versions of their life and Wisconsin seems as good a place as any.
#2. The Locals Are Kind
Midwest locals are known for being some of the nicest in the country. You’ll be greeted everywhere you go and folks will be eager to chat you up. By and large, folks seem to follow the golden rule (treat others how you want to be treated) and it shows because Wisconsin locals are very kind.
But it’d be naive to assume that making friends will be easy while living in Wisconsin. Like most places in America, kindness doesn’t always equate to friendship. Gossip is as common as small talk.
#3. Low Cost of Living in Wisconsin
I think the low cost of living in Wisconsin goes hand-in-hand with the high quality of life. Simply put, folks are able to enjoy things more because they can (actually) afford them!
Those moving to Wisconsin from big cities will find everyday life to be much more affordable.
Things like eating out, grabbing drinks with friends, entertainment and every day errands like groceries and haircuts won’t cost an arm and a leg while living in Wisconsin.
But if you’re moving to Wisconsin from a small town, you may find the prices on par with other Midwestern states.
#4. Quality Healthcare
I have a handful of coworkers that ended up moving to Wisconsin specifically for the top-notch healthcare after receiving a serious medical diagnosis.
But it’s not hard to see why, Wisconsin often ranks as having the best healthcare in the country. The expertise spans the gamut — from the renowned cardiologists and brain surgeons to everyday wellness checks. What’s more, nearly 93% of the population is insured, which is one of the highest rates in the nation.
#5. Outdoor Recreation
There’s no denying that one of the biggest draws of living in Wisconsin is having access to epic outdoor recreation. And it’s true, the never-ending list of outdoor activities is bound to impress anyone that loves nature.
Spend a weekend canoeing down the Wisconsin River or camping in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest to see what all the fuss is about.
#6. Top-Notch Public Education
If you’re moving to Wisconsin with young kids, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that the state’s public education is ranked the 8th best in the nation?
As with most states, the public schools are funded primarily by property taxes and Wisconsin has some of the highest property taxes in the country. Naturally public school vary by county and there’s definitely inequality in funding to certain districts (property values are a good indication).
By and large, more funding goes to public schools in cities than rural areas. However, regardless of where you settle after moving to Wisconsin, you can take comfort in knowing your child’s education won’t be compromised.
#7. Picture-Perfect Summers
Summers in Wisconsin couldn’t be dreamier. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 85°F and you can count on sunshine from June through September. Admittedly, the summer months are humid, but the humidity is tolerable (uncomfortable, but tolerable).
In fact, many of our friends refuse to leave Wisconsin because of the blissful summer weather. They’d sooner rent/purchase a home to escape for winter, but couldn’t fathom moving out of Wisconsin altogether because of the great season.
#8. The Craft Brew Scene
Wisconsin is ambitious in its pursuit to make some of the best craft beers in the country and the effort has not gone unnoticed.
Home to 75 breweries, Wisconsin is considered the 7th best state in the country for beer lovers. There’s a ton of great local spots to check out, especially if you love IPAs. If you need a little guidance, my favorite breweries are Ale Asylum (in Madison) and Lakefront Brewery (Milwaukee).
Cons of Moving to Wisconsin
#1. Wisconsin is Insular
Something most people don’t talk about is how insular Wisconsin feels. Most folks living in Wisconsin were born and grew up in the state, transplants are the minority group in the state.
Overall, based on my observations, it seems that most people living in Wisconsin are less mobile than other places I’ve lived. Chances are high that if I move away for five years and then return, I’ll probably be running into the same folks around town.
I consider this one of the disadvantages of moving to Wisconsin because small talk seldom ventures beyond small town gossip and daily goings on. I want to talk about travel, but alas, that’s been hard to come by.
It’s not all bad though. The perk of the state’s insular nature is that most places in Wisconsin have a genuine community feel.
In fact, the Washington Post recently released a study that used data to find the states where folks are most likely to marry a born-and-bred local. Wisconsin ranked third!
#2. The High Tax Burden
One of the things that seems to surprise folks most about moving to Wisconsin is learning about the state’s high tax burden. The state’s income taxes are levied on a variable scale (ranging from 3.54-7.65% depending on income).
If you’re moving to Wisconsin for a job with a good salary, use this handy calculator to determine your effective tax rate.
Folks that make more than $280,900 per year are subject to the 7.65% income tax rate, which is the 10th highest income tax in the US. But honestly, if you’re making that amount you’re probably doing something right!
In terms of property taxes, at 1.63% Wisconsin has the 7th highest property taxes in the country.
#3. Winters are Brutal
Let’s talk about winter weather because it should be taken into consideration before moving to Wisconsin. We’re not just taking freezing temperatures, we’re talking snow — and lots of it.
On average, the state of Wisconsin gets 40-50 inches of snow per year. Not all parts of the state get hit the same. Hurley is the snowiest town, with average snowfall clocking in at 200 inches (imagine!). By contrast, Sagamore Beach and Sandwich only see snowfall of 15.5 inches per year.
All this to say, do your research before moving to Wisconsin because snow will become a part of your daily life. But don’t just take my word for it, according to Thrillist, we have some of the most miserable winters in the US.
My advice? Learn to love snow sports while living in Wisconsin because it will make the time go by faster. If you don’t find a winter activity to enjoy then you’ll be cooped up most of the season, which may drive you mad after a few weeks.
#4. High Rates of Alcoholism
The rate of alcoholism in Wisconsin is the 2nd highest in the nation (behind North Dakota). These are very troubling stats because high alcohol consumption leads to serious ailments later in life. Likewise, Wisconsin also has the 4th highest DUI rates in the country.
Many social events revolve around alcohol, so you’ll definitely need to take that into considering before moving to Wisconsin. Especially if you (or your family members) have struggled with alcohol abuse in the past. Living in Wisconsin may prove difficult because you’ll constantly be surrounded by drinking culture.
#5. Moving to Wisconsin? Prep for Mosquitos
One of the biggest disadvantages of living in Wisconsin are the intolerable bugs. It seems like we have the worst of them: ticks, mosquitos and spiders galore. In my opinion, the mosquitos are the worst of the bunch.
These little buggers plague the state in the summer months and make hiking an unbearable endeavor during hatching season. But don’t just take my word for it, here’s the drama from summer 2018.
Pros & Cons of Moving to Wisconsin (Post Overview)
In sum, here’s a roundup of the pros and cons of living in Wisconsin.
- High Quality of Life
- The Locals Are Kind
- Low Cost of Living in Wisconsin
- Quality Healthcare
- Outdoor Recreation
- Top-Notch Public Education
- Picture-Perfect Summers
- The Craft Brew Scene
- Festivals Are a Way of Life in Wisconsin
- Wisconsin is Insular
- The High Tax Burden
- Some of the Highest Property Taxes
- Winters are Brutal
- High Rates of Alcoholism
- Moving to Wisconsin? Prep for Mosquitos