Article Overview: Locals Discuss the Pros & Cons of Living in Minnesota
Thinking about moving to Minnesota? You’re in the right place. I’ve lived in Minnesota for 12 years and don’t see myself leaving anytime soon. Call me biased, if you must, but I have my reasons!
I thought it’d be helpful to highlight some of the perks and disadvantages to calling Minnesota home. As you read this, please remember this is my personal list (not everybody feels the same way about living in Minnesota!).
Which is perfectly fine, that’s what the comments are for (you’ll be able to see what other locals agree/disagree with). Feel free to leave your two cents below too!
Living in Minnesota
Table of Contents: Living in Minnesota
Table of Contents: Life in Minnesota
- Living in Minnesota
- The Pros of Moving to Minnesota
- 1. The High Quality of Life in Minnesota
- 2. Minnesota Has a High Life Expectancy
- 3. It’s Paradise for Nature Nuts
- 4. Lack of Natural Disasters
- 5. Access to the Twin Cities
- 6. The Low Cost of Living in Minnesota
- 7. Great Public Education
- 8. The State Offers Great Healthcare
- 9. Commuting in Minnesota is a Breeze
- Cons of Moving to Minnesota
- Retiring in Minnesota
- List of the Pros & Cons of Living in Minnesota (Post Overview)
The Pros of Living in Minnesota
1. The High Quality of Life in Minnesota
Minnesota was ranked the 5th best state in the country for quality of life. Speaking from personal experience, there’s definitely a feeling of gratitude from locals for the mere opportunity to call this state home. Here’s some of the perks of the high quality of life in Minnesota:
- The 3rd-lowest levels of poverty in the country (92% of residents live above the poverty line)
- The 2nd-lowest unemployment rate in the nation
- The 3rd-longest life expectancy in the US (average of 80.8 years)
- 3rd-best state in the nation for Human Development
I’ll delve into the various aspects of the high quality of life in more detail below, but suffice it to say: Minnesota’s combination of natural beauty, healthcare, job economy, educational opportunities, engaged community and overall safety make living in Minnesota a real joy.
2. Minnesota Has a High Life Expectancy
One of the biggest advantages of moving to Minnesota is living in a state with the 5th highest life expectancy in the country. The life expectancy in Minnesota averages 80 years, which is almost 4 years higher than the national average of 77 years.
A big reason for the high life expectancy can be attributed to health-conscious locals. The state is keen to provide unparalleled access to parks and green spaces, with ample hiking and biking trails and community events. This keeps folks active and engaged, which leads to a more balanced, fulfilling, and enjoyable life.
3. It’s Paradise for Nature Nuts
It didn’t take long after moving to Minnesota to realize the key role nature plays in everyday life. Known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” Minnesota offers a great variety of outdoor activities. If you’re a fan of boating, fishing, hiking, hunting, canoeing, biking or simply enjoying a picnic by a lake, Minnesota has you covered.
The northern reaches of the state are especially beautiful (during all 4 seasons, I might add). But regardless of where you live in Minnesota, it’d be hard to get tired of the breathtaking backdrop.
Fun Fact: The Trust for Public Land ranked Minneapolis and St. Paul among the top cities in the U.S. for park access and quality.
4. Lack of Natural Disasters
By and large, Minnesota doesn’t get many natural disasters (geography plays a large role in this). Landlocked, far from either coast, the state doesn’t get affected by tropical storms and hurricanes. Likewise, there isn’t much seismic activity in the area. In fact, only 20 earthquakes have been recorded since 1860. The only natural disasters that creeps up on the radar is wildfires, but even then, we’re not even in the same league as the disastrous wildfires that rage on the west coast every summer like clockwork.
5. Access to the Twin Cities
Minnesota is home to the Twin Cities. If you’re new around here (welcome!) it’s helpful to know that the Twin Cities refers to Minneapolis (population: 425K) and Saint Paul (population: 308K). You’ll have access to big city amenities (like great restaurants, entertainment, art & culture, etc.) without all the overwhelming chaos of big city living.
The best part? Both cities have a friendly vibe (folks are quick to greet with a hello!), making it easy to enjoy a night on the town while exploring the state’s cultural hubs.
You may enjoy reading: 15 Honest Pros & Cons of Living in Minneapolis
6. The Low Cost of Living in Minnesota
One of the biggest reasons I moved to Minnesota was for the low cost of living. Your dollar goes a lot further out here (which is a huge perk for folks that can work remotely while earning “big city” salaries).
Maybe a huge contributor to the high quality of life is being able to afford everyday amenities that make life enjoyable. Things like eating out, grabbing drinks with friends, entertainment, groceries and haircuts won’t cost an arm and a leg while being a Minnesotan.
At the end of the day, I don’t feel like I’m living paycheck to paycheck, which is a nice change of pace from my previous home (New York City).
7. Great Public Education
If you’re moving to Minnesota with a family, you’ll be happy to learn that the state has some of the best schools in the country (Minnesota is the third-most educated state in the USA). Year after year, the state’s impressive public education is reflected in (an equally impressive) academic performance.
High graduation rates (some of the highest high school graduation rates in the country), unwavering investment in education, quality teachers (the state has rigorous standards for teachers) and an emphasis on early childhood education alongside community involvement creates an environment where students seem to thrive.
8. The State Offers Great Healthcare
Minnesota consistently ranks as one of the best states in the country for access to healthcare. But don’t just take my word for it, in 2022, we ranked 4th in the nation for overall healthcare quality. The ranking took into account various factors, like access to preventative care, smoking rates, physical activity levels, obesity and overall access to essential healthcare services.
Likewise, the state has some of the highest rates of health insurance coverage in the country, meaning more residents have access to medical care. And if that wasn’t good enough, Minnesota is home to one of the most prestigious medical facilities in the world, the Mayo Clinic (headquartered in Rochester, Minnesota).
9. Commuting in Minnesota is a Breeze
Minnesota ranks as one of the best states to drive in. Speaking from personal experience, traffic is manageable (especially for those moving to Minnesota from a large city).
As with many major urban centers, the state’s most populous city, Minneapolis, faces its share of traffic and infrastructure challenges. The city’s growth, both in terms of population and businesses, has led to increased congestion on its roads.
The MNDOT does a good job of keeping road conditions safe year-round (clear in the winter), and infrastructure seems to be holding up strong.
Cons of Moving to Minnesota
1. Outsiders Get the Cold Shoulder
For reasons unbeknownst to me, making friends living in Minnesota is really hard because locals are reserved. Even when I make an effort to go above and beyond (making the invite, beings super chatty/friendly) it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Don’t get me wrong- people are genuinely friendly and kind on the surface, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find them more reserved, relationships tend to skew toward superficial.
“Minnesota Ice” refers to a common challenge newcomers face, which is breaking into social circles (which tend to be insular). Strangers are helpful, neighbors say hello and a coworker will be quick to make small talk, but getting a dinner invite? Well, that requires a miracle.
The thing that has helped me most is perusing interests that require social interaction because it’s exposed me to other transplants. To that end, if having a large friend circle is important to you then you will need to prioritize befriending other transplants or you may feel lonely while living in Minnesota. However, being superficially accepted is more than I can say for most states, so at least there’s that.
2. High Tax Burden
Here’s a (not so fun) fact for you: Minnesota has the 5th-highest tax rates in the country. But there’s a lot of perks that come with high taxes (like great education and high quality of life). Still, let’s dive in a bit deeper.
Minnesota offers comprehensive public services that rival those in some of the most progressive countries in the world. There’s no denying the state is committed to providing top-notch public services that improve daily life.
From access to high-quality education to robust healthcare services, funding these programs require high taxation. However, because the state opts for a progressive income tax system, high-income households pay a larger percentage of taxes compared to lower-income households.
The objective is to reduce income inequality, but if you’re a high earning, it’s helpful to know that your tax burden will be high while living in Minnesota. However, while taxes are higher, many locals believe that the benefits outweigh the costs.
3. Contrary to Popular Belief, Mosquitoes are Not the State Bird
Oh my goodness, you might think you despise mosquitos before moving to Minnesota — but you have no idea! I’m not talking about the little mosquitos people like to gripe about — I’m talking mosquitos the size of figs. If you don’t have an experience with our annoying pests, you’re in a rude awakening come summer.
You know what mosquitos love best? Water. And you know what they call Minnesota? “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Oh yeah, baby, mosquitos will become the third wheel in your marriage in no time. For many locals, a romantic summertime date usually ends by being carried away on a carpet of mosquitos as the sun sets in the background (like the magic carpet scene in Aladdin). Only it’s way more disturbing in real life.
4. Rooting for the Local Sports Team Leaves Much to Be Desired
This might seem like a little thing (hell, it probably is) BUT, damn it. Living in Minnesota means getting comfortable with potential because our professional sports teams seldom come through.
I mean, here’s a fact: Minneapolis hasn’t won a title in any major sport since 1991 (what were you doing in 1991?). Our best hope are the Vikings, but hey, if the past is the best indicator for the future, we’re not holding our breath. At this point I’d rally for a mascot change, with a cheeky box of Kleenex being the top contender.
5. Ticks Are A Serious Consideration
Okay, the mosquitos suck for sure, but you know what else sucks about living in Minnesota? We’re one of the worst states in the country for tick-borne diseases. Ticks wreak havoc when they bite, everything from Lyme Disease (a few of my neighbors have this) to the infamous lone star tick, you’ll need to be hyper-vigilant after being outdoors. If helpful, here’s a map of areas at high risk for tick-borne illnesses.
6. Brutal Winters
Saving the most obvious for last. I mean, who hasn’t heard of our notorious winter weather? Here’s the thing, if you’re moving to Minnesota you better learn to love winter (winter sports help) otherwise you’ll be in for a rude awakening. Winters feel long because of the blister cold temperatures and depressing gray skies. The best advice I can offer newcomers is this: learn to embrace winter completely.
Take up winter sports and learn about proper layering (also, don’t skimp on quality winter clothing or you’ll be miserable). If you don’t learn to love winter sports you’ll find yourself miserable and cooped up inside for months on end, which isn’t fun for anyone.
Oh, before I forget, another thing to consider about winters while living in Minnesota is how late the sun rises and early it sets. If you’re working a standard office job you can expect to arrive around sunrise and leave after sunset, it’s a hard season to get through.
Retiring in Minnesota
Is Minnesota a good place to retire?
Minnesota can be a good place to retire for those who appreciate its qualities. The state is known for its natural beauty, including thousands of lakes and parks, which offer numerous recreational opportunities. Minnesota also has a strong healthcare system and a high quality of life.
The cost of living is generally reasonable, though it can vary by location. However, the cold winters are a significant consideration. The state’s cultural activities, community engagement, and safety are other positive factors.
Ultimately, whether Minnesota is ideal for retirement depends on personal preferences and priorities.
Is Minnesota a good place to live?
Minnesota is often considered a good place to live due to its high quality of life, strong sense of community, and abundance of natural beauty.
The state is known for its excellent healthcare system, quality education, and diverse cultural experiences. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the numerous lakes and parks.
However, the cold winters and higher taxes can be drawbacks for some. Overall, Minnesota’s appeal largely depends on individual preferences and lifestyle choices.
List of the Pros & Cons of Living in Minnesota (Post Overview)
In sum, here’s a quick list of the pros and cons of living in Minnesota.
- The High Quality of Life in Minnesota
- Minnesota Has a High Life Expectancy
- It’s Paradise for Nature Nuts
- Lack of Natural Disasters
- Access to the Twin Cities
- The Low Cost of Living in Minnesota
- Commuting in Minnesota is a Breeze
- Great Public Education
- Top-Notch Health Care
- Outsiders Get the Cold Shoulder
- High Tax Burden
- Contrary to Popular Belief, Mosquitoes are Not the State Bird
- Rooting for the Local Sports Team Leaves Much to Be Desired
- Ticks are a Consideration
- Brutal Winters
Pin Living in Minnesota
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