Connecticut is known for its outstanding natural beauty, the song “Yankee Doodle,” and, of course, its most famous daughters: the Gilmore Girls. If you’re considering moving to Connecticut—or the Nutmeg State, as it’s known—it’s important to know a little more than that. You need to discover the realities of living in a place.
And whether it’s jobs, housing, or culture you want to know about, we’ve looked in detail at some of the pros and cons of moving to Connecticut to make your decision easier.
Is Connecticut a good place to live?
Yes, Connecticut is a good place to live. It is one of the top states in the U.S. when it comes to health care, worker protection, and a low crime rate. Connecticut residents are generally some of the happiest in the nation.
Pros and Cons of Living in Connecticut
Let’s look at some of the benefits and downfalls of making Connecticut your home.
Bountiful beauty. There is no denying the stunning beauty and charm of Connecticut. With landscapes ranging from the Long Island shoreline to scenic mountain ranges, you really are spoiled for choice, and outdoorsy types will love living here.
Well-educated inhabitants. You won’t have to search far for a stimulating conversation in Connecticut. With a top-of-the-charts education system, lots of great schools, excellent community colleges, and Yale, Connecticuters are some of the most intelligent and well-read people you will meet.
Great food and drink. Connecticut is the birthplace of the hamburger, and you can still go to Louis’ Lunch in New Haven for the original. Connecticut has pizzerias and breweries galore. Grab a Connecticut-exclusive Apizza, which is a crispy, coal-fired delight like no pizza you’ve tasted before, and then hit the CT beer trail.
Thanks to the coastline, the state has an abundance of incredibly fresh seafood. You definitely won’t be left wanting if you’re a gourmand.
Rich culture and history. The Constitution State is steeped in history, and you can’t help but notice it. It was one of the original 13 colonies and is home to the oldest continuously published newspaper.
Because of all this history, Connecticut has some excellent museums, from the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center to some more bizarre additions, like the Zaffis Museum of the Paranormal. You’ll be a knowledgeable Nutmegger in no time.
High cost of living. Connecticut housing is expensive, the cost of living is above average, and property taxes are high. You should seriously consider your finances and budget before moving to Connecticut.
Cold winters, humid summers. Connecticut weather swings between the extremes with chillingly cold winters and hot and humid summers. Consider whether you can cope with the cold, snowy winters and the few weeks in summer that can be stifling.
Slow traffic. The traffic in Connecticut is notoriously bad, so if you don’t have the patience to be stuck in a jam for long hours, then Connecticut might not be the place for you.
Cost of Living in Connecticut
There’s no point in beating around the bush here: Connecticut is an expensive state, and living costs are higher than the national average. The cost of living in Stamford (one of Connecticut’s most expensive cities) is only 17% lower than Manhattan, New York.
The Economic Policy Institute has broken down how much it costs for families to live in each county in Connecticut, with the Stamford/Norwalk metro area coming out as the most expensive. A family of two adults and two children would need a combined income of $118,551 per year—or $9,879 every month—to live comfortably.
In Hartford, this goes down to $87,464 annually (or $7,289 per month). Groceries, health, utilities, and transportation all rank higher than the national average; the consumer price index (CPI) of Connecticut is 268, which is 9.39% higher than the U.S. average CPI of 245.
Moving to Connecticut is not cheap, but the state has the third highest income per capita in the nation, and according to cityrating.com, Connecticut salaries average $65,870, which is more than $12,000 higher than the U.S. average annual salary.
While the cost of living is high in Connecticut, the quality of life matches it, with income, health, and education ranking well above average.
Housing in Connecticut
Connecticut is a pricey state to live in, and housing is no exception. Let’s look at some facts and figures so you can work out if moving to Connecticut might be right for you.
Connecticut is purportedly home to the most multimillion-dollar houses after California. The median price for a single-family home in Connecticut is $243,700. According to Zillow, Connecticut home values have gone up 2.1% over the past year, and they are predicted to rise 0.4% within the next year. Connecticut also has some of the highest property taxes in the nation, so check the mill rate of each town before you look at houses.
If you can’t afford to buy a home in Connecticut, consider renting. A two-bedroom apartment in Connecticut would cost $1,295 a month on average. Although that might be quite a stretch for younger renters, it is affordable for people with established careers whose salaries match the Connecticut average.
If these numbers are giving you heart palpitations, then it’s important to note that there is certainly no shortage of affordable housing popping up in Connecticut. In particular, massive developments have been built in Milford and Brookfield.
Furthermore, the areas of the state have vastly different environments, so whether you’re looking for a rural idyll or a city lifestyle, you’ll be able to find it when moving to Connecticut.
Getting Around in Connecticut
You definitely won’t be cut off after moving to Connecticut because of the well-established highway system. However, the state has quite a well-known traffic congestion issue in certain areas, particularly on I-84 and I-95, which run from New Haven to New York. WalletHub ranked Connecticut as 38 on its best states to drive in list—not the worst, but pretty darn close!
Public transportation is good, though, with a decent rail system compared to many U.S. locations, meaning you don’t need a car to travel around. Amtrak is great for inner-city journeys, and reaching airports like JFK and LaGuardia is easy using Metro-North. A variety of local and express route bus services run by CTtransit are also available.
The famous ferries are definitely something you should experience after moving to Connecticut. Hop on the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry, which will take you on a picturesque journey to Long Island—it carries cars as well as passengers.
Connecticut Job Market
Before moving to Connecticut, you’ll obviously want to consider how healthy your career prospects look.
A report by Zippia ranks Connecticut as 41st on a list of best states in the United States for jobs in 2019, with an unemployment rate of 4.1%. The minimum wage in Connecticut currently stands at $10.10 per hour, which is significantly higher than the federal minimum of $7.25.
These numbers might not fill you with confidence, but last year, former Governor Dannel Malloy announced an $56.8 million investment to help create thousands of well-paid jobs in Stamford. Connecticut also came in at a positive 12th place in the economic environment category of WalletHub’s best and worst states for jobs comparison, which looked at factors such as wages, the share of workers living under the poverty line, and commute times.
There is a diverse range of industries in Connecticut, and the job market and economy have improved slightly over the last few years. Demand for employees working in a number of sectors has grown, including the architecture and engineering industries and the education, training, and library industries.
The fastest growing jobs in Connecticut are operations analyst and web developer. The highest paid professionals in Connecticut are obstetricians and gynecologists, with other medical professionals such as psychiatrists and dentists also ranking highly.
Things to Do in Connecticut
A whole volume of books could be written about the marvelous sights to see in Connecticut. Here are just some of our favorite things to do in Connecticut.
Mark Twain House and Museum
If you’re a fan of the man who said, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education,” then you won’t want to miss out on educating yourself at Mark Twain’s Neo-Gothic mansion, built in 1873. The exterior of the house is as unique as the man himself.
Take the tour, which is full of fascinating facts and led by actors who stay in role throughout, making you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. You can even see the desk that Twain sat at to write “Huckleberry Finn.”
Get dizzy at Lake Compounce Amusement Park
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, then it’s worth making a visit to the nation’s oldest theme park. Take a ride on the Wildcat, which opened in 1927, or the Boulder Dash wooden roller coaster, which was ranked the No. 1 best wooden roller coaster in the world! Don’t worry, there are plenty more sedate rides for the less brave among us.
Moving to Connecticut means that you get to experience all of its beautiful state parks, forests, mountains, and waterways, which provide loads of chances to get outdoors. Grab your gear and go camping, hiking, or boating. There are numerous hiking trails in popular locations like Bear Mountain and Bigelow Hollow State Park that offer a feast for the senses.
Connecticut people are great at protecting their heritage, and you might stumble across a gem like Gillette Castle State Park, home of William Gillette, who portrayed Sherlock Holmes on stage. The state also has a host of lovely beaches including Calf Pasture Beach and Clinton.
Visit Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport Museum
View some creatures of the deep at the amazing Mystic Aquarium. Whether you’re into jellyfish or penguins, this place has it all; you can even touch the stingrays and sharks! It also has a 4D cinema where you can watch the ocean come to life on the big screen.
At the Mystic Seaport Museum, you can learn the history of New England ships and whaling. It’s a great day out for fish fans of all ages.
Live like one of the academic elite for the day. Discover the amazing architecture of Yale University and stroll through the scenic campus or take a guided tour to learn a little more about Yale’s 300-year history.
If you want even more culture, go to one of the many exhibits and plays happening daily or visit the famous Beinecke Library to soak in the tradition and wisdom of the ancient books.
The Best Time to Move to Connecticut
Connecticut experiences all four seasons in their definitive form. In the winter, snowfall is frequent, and a blanket of white covers the state. In the spring, there are cool, sunny days, and the state blooms into life with tulips and daffodils and countless events like the New Haven Cherry Blossom Festival.
The summer brings hot and humid weather when you can escape to one of Connecticut’s many beaches, and in the fall, you’ll get the crisp air and glorious golden and red foliage of your dreams.
All of the seasons have something to offer, but when you are moving, there are certain practicalities to consider. The winters in Connecticut can get extremely cold, and you’ll also want to get in shape for digging your porch, driveway, and car out of the snow.
Summer can get humid and sticky, and there is a chance of subtropical thunderstorms, which could be a nightmare when you’re trying to carry that priceless piece of antique furniture into your new home.
The best time to move to Connecticut, then, is either in the spring, when you can get ready for the sultry summer ahead and look forward to long days spent at Long Island Sound, or in the autumn, when you can watch the leaves change color and prepare yourself and your home to hunker down for the winter.