11 Pros and Cons of Living in Connecticut

Are the high cost of living and tough winter weather outweighed by the Constitution State’s natural beauty and proximity to major metro areas? These are the 11 pros and cons of living in Connecticut.
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Connecticut residents enjoy ample natural beauty combined with easy access to major metropolitan areas—but the Constitution State isn't an entirely utopian oasis. A high cost of living combined with tough winter weather can make the state less than appealing. 
Are you thinking of relocating to Connecticut? It’s important to understand the positives and negatives before you make the big move. For some, it’s the perfect state thanks to its urban feel and NYC adjacency. For others, the
winter weather
and expensive taxes make it undesirable. 
To help you make an informed choice, we’ve curated a diverse list of pros and cons accounting for everything from landscape to cost of living to weather. Let’s dive in.

Pro: Multiple living options 

The Connecticut River runs north to south, dividing the state into two halves. Depending on where you choose to lay down your roots, your lifestyle could be drastically different.
Towns east of the river are largely rural and peaceful. This area holds most of CT’s farmland and is a great option if you’re looking for a property with lots of acreage. The people who live here are generally down-to-earth blue-collar workers and make friendly neighbors. And, because the state is relatively small, more populated areas are still a reasonable drive away! 
If you crave a little bit more convenience, Connecticut has many small towns to choose from, especially outside of the Fairfield County region. 
You’ll be welcomed into a close-knit community and enjoy easy access to everything you need—pharmacies, grocery stores, hospitals, and more. This is a great option for families with growing children—especially because of their great schools and low crime rates
If you prefer a more coastal lifestyle (and want to spend your summers wearing all-white linen outfits), then Connecticut has miles of pristine shoreline, directly across from Long Island, which thankfully creates a barrier from the rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean. 
You can choose between small coastal towns like
New London
or
Mystic
, or opt for a larger coastal city such as
Bridgeport
, Stamford, or New Haven—three of the largest cities in the state. 
Finally, for anyone interested in urban living, Connecticut has Fairfield County, which is largely defined by its proximity to
New York City
. This location has one of the highest per capita incomes in the U.S., thanks to the fact that many residents
commute to the Big Apple
for work and earn impressive NYC incomes. Money and the city influence much of the culture here. 
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Pro: Top-notch educational system

If you have children—or are pursuing higher education, yourself—then Connecticut is the perfect place for you.
U.S. News consistently ranks Connecticut among the best states for K-12 education. Additionally, some of the most well-regarded and prominent colleges and universities in the state include Yale University, the University of Connecticut, the University of Hartford, the University of New Haven, Sacred Heart University, and more.
Plus, there is a fantastic community college system for those interested in staying close to home and saving a bit of money while pursuing their degree. 

Con: Tough winter weather

The winters in Connecticut can get extremely cold, and deep snow is always to be expected—especially in the northern parts of the state. During the coldest months, highs in Hartford barely reach 20 degrees Fahrenheit. 
While snowglobe weather can be absolutely beautiful, driving in the snow is quite dangerous and makes traffic much more intense, especially on the major routes leading in and out of NYC. Plus, you’ll have to weather-proof your home and get used to shoveling! 

Pro: Easy access to major metro areas

Connecticut is perfectly positioned for those who want a suburban life with relatively easy access to New York City or
Boston
.
From the state’s capital,
Hartford
, New York City is just 125 miles away, while Boston is an easy 100 miles. This means that you can live and work in a small town while escaping to the exciting big cities when desired. Alternatively, you can commute daily and benefit from those bigger metropolitan salaries. 
Plus, if you don’t like driving, a relatively robust rail system will get you to the big cities, and you can even take Amtrak to international airports like JFK and LaGuardia. 

Con: Heavy tax burden 

Unfortunately, living in Connecticut doesn’t come cheap, as residents pay steep taxes
Connecticut has one of the highest income tax rates. Thanks to the progressive tax system, the wealthiest earners pay nearly 7% in income tax, while the average resident pays 5-6%. Compare this to New Hampshire, another New England state, where no taxes are charged on your earnings. 
You won’t get a break on
property taxes
, either. The Nutmeg State is one of the few in the country where the average income tax rate is above 2%. (And keep in mind that this rate is applied to the value of your property—and CT houses tend to cost a pretty penny.) 
You won’t save on your purchases, either. Sales tax exceeds 6%, whereas Delaware residents don’t pay a dime. And don’t expect gasoline to be cheap, with hefty add-ons from the state per gallon.

Pro: Lots of natural beauty 

Okay, I guess we can kind of understand why property taxes are so high—and that’s because Connecticut is just straight-up gorgeous! 
You will find that much of the state is hilly, with rolling, quiet, and winding roads. Also, thick woods and lush forests cover much of the New England states. 
Combine this with four-season living and you’ve got a picturesque landscape any time of year. The summers are warm, turning the coastal towns into idyllic
beach destinations
. Autumn brings crisp temperatures and breathtakingly colorful leaves.
During the winter, everything is blanketed in snow, making the scene look like your favorite Hallmark Christmas movie. And in springtime, some of the finest flower blossoms bring the state to life. 

Pro: Endless outdoor activities 

We already mentioned just how beautiful Connecticut’s landscape is, so it makes perfect sense that the residents are eager to get outdoors.
From almost anywhere in the state, you’re less than 100 miles from the coast, which means boating, fishing, and watersport enthusiasts have the ocean at their fingertips. 
If you prefer to keep your feet on solid ground, there are numerous state parks, including a stretch of the Appalachian Trail. Hikers, bikers, hunters, and campers can head to places like Bigelow Hollow State Park, Kent Falls State Park, Mount Tom State Park, and Sleeping Giant State Park. 
And if you’re happy to brave the cold, Mohawk Mountain or Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort are just two of the fantastic skiing and snowboarding destinations in Connecticut. Plus, being close to Upstate New York,
Vermont
, and
New Hampshire
expands your options even further. 
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Con: High cost of living 

Taxes aren’t the only thing that makes living in Connecticut expensive. In general, the region consistently ranks as one of the most expensive states to live in, especially if you live in Fairfield County, or more specifically,
Stamford
Take a look at how some of the costs compare to the rest of the nation:
  • The median home value is about 9% higher than the national average
  • Groceries, utilities, and transportation cost 5 to 20% more than the national average

Pro: Delicious food and drinks 

When you think “culinary capital of the country,” we’re sure you don’t think of Connecticut—but rest assured that the Provisions State does not disappoint! 
Believe it or not, Connecticut is the birthplace of the hamburger, and you can still go to the Louis’ Lunch sandwich shop in New Haven, the inventor of this
quintessential American delicacy
. Just beware—it’s served on toast!
Some locals will tell you Italian food is the best option in Connecticut, thanks to the abundance of immigrants who were pizza connoisseurs. Be sure to try “apizza,” a New Haven-style pie that’s sort of a hotter, crispier, charred descendant of the Neapolitan style.
And living next to the sea has its obvious benefits, namely fresh clams, oysters, lobster, and more. We assure you that there’s no shortage of raw bars and chowder stands! 
And if you love sampling an occasional alcoholic drink, you’ll enjoy Connecticut’s microbrewery scene, which produces some nationally-renowned craft beers. More of a wine person? Check out the Connecticut Wine Trail, which runs from Stonington to Litchfield Hills to Goshen and includes and includes more than 20 wineries. 
MORE:
Food trail road trips
    

Con: Bad traffic 

In terms of geographic land, Connecticut is one of the smallest states, but its population is still quite high, making it one of the most densely-populated states in the country.
Thus, despite having an impressive rail and interstate highway network, it’s quite common to get stuck in
traffic jams
, especially during peak travel hours. 
Being located near NYC and Boston doesn’t help, as people come and go for work and pleasure at a very high rate. 

Pro: Rich in culture and history 

If you’re a history buff, you’ll love the fact that Connecticut is one of the nation’s original 13 colonies, making it home to an abundance of Revolutionary-era sites
The state boasts the United State’s oldest continuously-published newspaper, as well as several impressive museums, including the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center to some more bizarre additions, like the Zaffis Museum of the Paranormal. 
Move here, and you’ll be a knowledgeable Nutmegger in no time! 

Is Connecticut a good state to live in?

Yes—Connecticut is a fantastic state to live in, but only if you can afford it
You’ll love Connecticut if you are:
  • A New York City or Boston professional looking for a suburban lifestyle 
  • An outdoor enthusiast who loves hiking, biking, skiing, and more
  • Dreaming of a coastal life that includes fresh seafood and salty breezes
  • A micro-beer enthusiast and/or wine connoisseur 
However, high costs of living—which are partially caused by exceptionally stifling tax rates—make the state quite exclusive. Plus, if you can’t stand winter weather, or are uninterested in spending your time sitting in standstill traffic, Connecticut might not be for you. 
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FAQs

Connecticut’s racial diversity rankings are lower than the national average, with an estimated index of about 56%. However, among New England states, Connecticut has the highest diversity index score, followed by Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Connecticut's nickname—well, one of them—is “The Nutmeg State.” But they are certainly not a state that grows nutmeg. Well, it goes back to Connecticut's commercial and shipping interests. Ships laden with spices from Asia, South America, and Africa all came to Connecticut first.
Another prominent nickname is “The Constitution State,” as the first constitution of the American colonies, known as the “Fundamental Orders” was written in Hartford.
As of 2020, the median income level in CT was $38,865.
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