Thinking about living in Connecticut? If so, you’re in good hands.
I’ve lived in the Constitution State for the past 8 years and have definitely learned a thing or two about the honest pros and cons of living in Connecticut.
Home to a population of 3.6 million residents, you’ll be in good company if you choose to call this historic state home.
But I don’t want to get ahead of myself so let’s cover everything you need to know about living in Connecticut, based on firsthand experience. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, I’m here to help!
Largest cities in Connecticut
The largest cities in Connecticut are Bridgeport, Stamford, New Haven and Hartford.
- Population: 148,300
- Average Salary: $82,000
- Median Home Price: $308K
- Population: 136,300
- Average Salary: $69,000
- Median Home Price: $605K
- Population: 135,000
- Average Salary: $69,000
- Median Home Price: $270K
Hartford (The Capital)
- Population: 120,500
- Average Salary: $75,000
- Median Home Price: $250K
Pros & Cons of Living in Connecticut
First, the Pros of Moving to Connecticut
One of my favorite things about living in Connecticut is having access to great outdoor recreation year-round (yes, even winter if you’re adequately dressed for the cold).
In terms of terrain, the Constitution State has it all. From mountains and lakes to beaches and calming rivers. Admittedly, we’re not know for having the most scenic (or world) class natural wonders, but at least we have all of them.
You can easily spend weekends being active outdoors while living in Connecticut. You’re sure to find a heart-pumping sport to love, like mountain biking, boating and camping in the summer to skiing and snowshoeing in winter.
My coworkers like to joke that Connecticut has a sample of everything, but the best of nothing. And there’s truth to that statement. We’re surrounded by world-class destinations yet don’t seem to have any in our zip codes. As such, a lot of locals tend to take day trips outside the state.
If you find yourself craving great beaches, make the trip to Rhode Island. Skiing? Vermont and Maine come to mind.
Top notch public schools
Moving to Connecticut with kids? You’ll be happy to learn that our state often ranks as one of the best in the nation in terms of public education.
It’s easy to see how much we value education simply by looking at the numbers. Connecticut averages $22,188 per pupil, per year — the 6th highest spending per pupil in the country. And with a high school graduation rate of 93%, we’re the state with the highest graduation rate in the country.
One of the things my wife and I were most nervous about prior to moving to Connecticut was the school system. We moved over from Kentucky where budgeting for private school was a necessity. Believe me when I tell you that moving to Connecticut was a breath of fresh air, especially in the public school department.
(Statistically speaking) homes are still affordable
Alright, I can hear the knives getting sharpened — but hear me out. Compared to other US states, moving to Connecticut to buy a home is not an outlandish idea. The state’s median home price clocks in at $360K — which is below the national average of $430K.
This is the reason a lot of folks from New York City end up moving to Connecticut to buy a home. The rend is most commonly seen in Stamford, where the city’s proximity to NYC makes it an enticing place. That’s why home prices in Stamford ($605K) are well above the state’s average home prices.
But there is a downside to the (affordable) housing market in Connecticut, and that’s the condition of most homes (I’ll cover this in more detail shortly).
You’ll get all four seasons while living in Connecticut
One of the biggest perks of living in Connecticut is having access to all four seasons. Folks that end up moving to Connecticut from states that boast sunshine year-round (Arizona, California, Hawaii, etc.) will be delighted to know that snow is finally a possibility.
But I don’t want to sugarcoat it — our summers are hot and muggy. Heat waves and humidity become a consideration for daily life in Connecticut, as are blizzard storms that keep you couped up inside.
The most beautiful season in Connecticut is autumn. The fall colors are striking so taking road trips becomes non-negotiable. Spring is also nice, but if I’m being honest — the season feels too short. Summer comes in with a blaze and has the soaring temperatures to prove it!
Winter is the most challenging season because of the dark clouds, overcast weather, snow and ice conditions. However, Connecticut knows how to function with snow/ice on the ground, so things don’t shut down easily.
All told, I enjoy living in Connecticut because the climate varies, there’s something new to see (and do) with each passing season. Plus, it seems like even the seasons themselves are starting to shift (winters feel milder, summers are hotter).
Average daily temperatures in Connecticut, by season:
- Winter | Low: 20°F / High: 37°F
- Spring | Low: 38°F / High 60°F
- Summer | Low: 60°F / High: 84°F
- Fall | Low: 42°F / High: 63°F
We’re the 2nd most college-educated state in the country
Yep, you read that right. Not only are our public schools top-notch, but we seem to attract (and keep) college educated folks. In my opinion, that speaks to the high quality of life in Connecticut.
So what does this mean for the average person that doesn’t have a Yale degree (or the subsequent college debt)? Well, it means you’ll be living in one of the happiest states in America. It seems that, by and large, folks are very happy with their jobs while living in Connecticut.
I think the pay has something to do with job satisfaction. The average household income in Connecticut clocks in at nearly $80,000, which is well above the national average of $71,000. Indeed, the well paying jobs help residents live within their means while enjoying everything the state has to offer.
However — the job market isn’t what it seems. And although folks can make a pretty penny if moving to Connecticut for a job, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I’ll elaborate on this more below.
Low poverty rate
While we’re on the topic of interesting statistics, here’s another one for you — Connecticut has some of the lowest rates of poverty in the nation. It’s estimated that 10% of the state lives below the poverty line, which is slightly below the national average of 11.6%.
Cons of Living in Connecticut
The tax burden of living in Connecticut is some of the highest in the USA
Alright, let’s kick off this list of the cons of living in Connecticut with a heavy hitter — the tax burden in the Constitution State is one of the highest in the country.
Here’s the quick breakdown:
- State income tax: 3 – 6.99%
- Sales tax: 6.35%
The overall tax burden clocks in at a hefty 12.6%, the second highest rate in the country (second only to New York). Oh yeah, come tax season you’ll wish you weren’t living in Connecticut at all.
Connecticut is part of charming New England, which comes with a host of perks but also some cons. Chief among them is the reputation for reserved locals.
Don’t get me wrong — I’ve never felt unwelcome living in Connecticut, but it’s been hard to make genuine friends. By and large, people tend to keep to themselves and don’t seem overly interested in expanding their social circle.
People are very polite and kind in daily interactions, but don’t expect to strike up conversations easily or get invited out often.
The job market leaves much to be desired
Connecticut may be home to the 2nd-highest number of degree holders, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the worst states in the country to find a job.
With an unemployment rate of 6.6%, we rank 36th in the nation. Job opportunities while living in Connecticut leave much to be desired.
It feels to me like the job market is stagnant, which prevents folks from moving to Connecticut in search of jobs. And without a corporate ladder to climb, folks find it hard to advance easily which encourages them to look for jobs outside the state.
Likewise, for those that don’t swim in the corporate pool, middle to lower class gigs are hard to come by and advancement is nothing short of abysmal. And as you know, middle to lower class jobs don’t pay as well as corporate jobs, which means the cost of living in Connecticut will be more challenging.
The largest employers in the state are:
- Pratt & Whitney (Aerospace)
- Hartford Hospital (Medical)
- Hartford Financial Service Group (Insurance)
- Aetna Inc. (Insurance)
In addition to the largest employers, Connecticut is home to 14 Fortune 500 Companies.
Abysmal housing market
Remember how I mentioned folks moving to Connecticut to buy affordable homes? Well, something I want to dive into is the state of houses in Connecticut.
This wouldn’t be an honest list without mentioning how old (and neglected) tons of homes seem to be. Many of the houses on the market are 100+ years old, which wouldn’t be a big deal if they weren’t so outdated.
Chances are high that if you buy a home in Connecticut you will need to spend a decent amount of money and time bringing it up to snuff. For example, most places don’t have central AC, which seems to be one of the biggest expenses for new homeowners (in addition to updating bathrooms and kitchens).
Some of the highest property taxes in the USA
Moving to Connecticut to buy a home? Know this: Connecticut has some of the highest property taxes in the country. At 2.14%, only three other states boast higher property taxes. Couple this with the hefty tax burden mentioned above and you’ll understand why some folks gripe about living in Connecticut.
Your electricity bill is guaranteed to shock you
One of the most surprising things about moving to Connecticut is getting your first electricity bill. You’ll probably do a double (maybe triple?) take before deciding that you received your neighbor’s bill by mistake.
But that is not so! The electricity bill is so high because the price of electricity (and gas) is downright obnoxious! In fact, Connecticut has the second highest electricity bills in the country, second only to Hawaii.
Phrased another way: Connecticut has the highest price for electricity of any state in the Contiguous United States. Ouch.
And listen, if the electricity bill is going to shock me like that, the least they could do is offer a beach to look at. But alas, looks like I’m just stuck with bills and no dreamy beach sunsets while living in Connecticut.
If helpful, my electricity bill typically clocks in around $150 a month, but some of my coworkers say they pay closer to $220.
Retiring in Connecticut (FAQ)
Is Connecticut a good place to live?
Yes, between affordable home prices, outdoor recreation opportunities and the great public school system, Connecticut is a good place to live. The major downsides of living in Connecticut boil down to the high tax burden and poor job market.
Love cities? You won’t really find them here
We don’t have any large cities of our own but Boston and NYC are very close by, easy to do a day trip
Pros & Cons of Living in Connecticut (Post Summary)
In sum, here’s a quick roundup of the pros and cons of living in Connecticut. Hope you enjoyed!
- Outdoor recreation
- Top notch public schools
- (Statistically speaking) homes are still affordable
- You’ll get all four seasons while living in Connecticut
- We’re the 2nd most college-educated state in the country
- Low poverty rate
- The tax burden of living in Connecticut is some of the highest in the USA
- Reserved locals
- The job market is terrible
- Abysmal housing market
- Some of the highest property taxes in the USA
- Your electricity bill is guaranteed to shock you