Reasons You Might Regret Moving to Vermont

Vermont has mud season and low population density, but you should be more concerned about cost of living and job opportunities. Here’s why you might regret moving to Vermont.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Sep 14, 2022
Epic winters and low population density might be reason enough to regret moving to
, but its high cost of living and over-reliance on cars may put the final nail in the coffin for others.
Hiking, Ben & Jerry’s, and fresh maple syrup are a few of the most famous and beloved aspects of Vermont. But there’s an unsavory side to this state, too. Do you know about mud season? Are you prepared to embrace a car-dependent lifestyle?
From flannel-as-fancy to limited job opportunities,
has compiled the top reasons people may regret moving to Vermont. Jerry is a
licensed broker app
that helps people find affordable
home insurance
—and we’re here to reveal what life can be like in the Green Mountain State.
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1. Winter is epic…and then there’s mud season

Vermonters are obsessed with all four seasons. Yes, there is autumn when the hillsides famously flare with reds and yellow (and attract thousands of leaf-peepers from out-of-state). Summer is gorgeous, from the shores of Lake Champlain in the north to live music and creemee in Brattleboro.
But it’s a Vermont winter that truly makes or breaks the spirit. We’re talking about
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
, a very real type of seasonal depression that can impact people who live for prolonged periods in colder, darker climates.
Vermont is the seventh-coldest state in the country, with the average winter low temperature hovering around 2°F. Vermonters are hardy people who enjoy snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, and other outdoor activities all winter long. 
Even if you’re willing to embrace a few feet of snow on the ground, spring brings
mud season
. As the snow thaws from late March into early June, hikers, bikers, and drivers must contend with a sludgy dirty mess that makes driving unsafe and outdoor activities unpleasant.

Consider instead: Massachusetts

The Bay State has all four seasons, just like its northern neighbor. However, Massachusetts winters are far less extreme. Average winter lows are 16°F, versus Vermont’s 2°F. Plus, you can avoid the worst of the mud season by living in a more urban area.

2. Low population density

One of the reasons many people relocate to Vermont is the dream of having more space. But a rural lifestyle where your nearest neighbor is miles away may not be quite as enjoyable in reality!
Vermont ranks 31st for population density. This can make it tricky to borrow a cup of sugar, carpool with friends, or pop into the grocery store for supplies. Not only can this make you lonely, but low population density means that services are more spread out, too. 
Life is pretty casual here. You won’t find many special occasions in Vermont (that go beyond wearing your
good flannel
, at least). With such a low ratio of people to land here, cities are…well, they’re more like large towns. 
Burlington is the largest city in Vermont with a population of 45,000, and it’s mostly
craft breweries
and art museums.

Consider instead: Connecticut, Maryland, or Delaware

Where Vermont’s population is small and spread out, you’ll find a higher population density in Connecticut, Maryland, and Delaware. Best of all, these states offer plenty of wild nooks where you can forget you even have neighbors. 

3. Lack of diversity 

There are 55 species of trees in Vermont and more than 260 species of birds, but when it comes to people, Vermont is lacking in diversity. As of 2022,
of Vermonters are caucasian.
The world is incredibly diverse. We bet that not even your workplace or your alma mater have such a high concentration of one group! 
If you want to have diverse friends—or if you want your kids to grow up in a diverse community—Vermont may not be the best fit. (Vermont’s
overwhelmingly white population
is the result of various factors, discussed in this article.)  

Consider instead: New York

New York is the fifth most diverse state in the country. 
While New York City is certainly the heart of the Empire State’s ethnic diversity, many counties in upstate New York are surprisingly diverse. For instance, Orange County has Middletown, Oneida County has Utica, and Tompkins County has Ithaca—and each of these cities has high racial diversity while providing lots of access to the outdoors.

4. Car dependent lifestyle

You may regret moving to Vermont if you hate spending time in the car. 
Much of rural Vermont is completely inaccessible to public transit. From grocery shopping to commuting, your ability to get around the state (even just a few miles away from home) depends on access to a vehicle
In winter, a car-dependent lifestyle can be especially challenging due to icy roads and unplowed back roads. You’ll have to buy coverage that adheres to
Vermont’s car insurance laws
You must also perform regular winter maintenance on your vehicle and stock up on
winter car essentials
to ensure you don’t get stranded—or else become a
Unfortunately, Vermont earned a C on its
infrastructure report card
. For drivers, this means roads are peppered with potholes and outdated bridges in need of repairs.
While Vermont is a fairly bike-friendly state, you’ll find that options are mostly limited to summer pleasure rides on idyllic county roads. Don’t expect to find protected commuter bike lanes here.

Consider instead: Massachusetts  

Public transportation systems in Massachusetts are much more extensive, not to mention better funded, than in Vermont. 
Even in rural areas of Massachusetts like the Pioneer Valley, you’ll find buses and trains that make it easy to work and shop in the city. You could save a ton of money by avoiding car ownership costs!

5. High cost of living, especially housing 

cost of living in Vermont
is higher than you might think. While healthcare and food costs are about average, housing costs are approaching exorbitant. A two-bedroom rental in Burlington is about $1,700 and the median monthly mortgage payment is about $1,621.
Sure, you could set up a homestead and live off maple syrup and eggs. But even then, on top of your mortgage you’d have to pay for startup costs like livestock, a pickup truck, feed, and the occasional salad mix at the grocery store in the peak of winter.
Rural life is not always more affordable than city life! In fact, high property taxes are a sneaky expense that surprises many new Vermont homeowners. 
While rates here aren’t as high as in New Jersey (2.49%), Vermont’s property taxes are still much higher (1.9%) here than in 45 other states.

Consider instead: Rhode Island

Property taxes and cost of living are lower in Rhode Island. In RI, you still enjoy access to the cultural hubs of New England, but you’ll pay less to live there. 

6. Economic opportunities may be limited 

While Vermont has a high number of
job postings per person
, these opportunities are primarily limited to urban areas. If you can telecommute, or if you already have a job, then this may not be a major concern. But what if you want to switch careers?
You may also find that jobs here are confined to key industries like agriculture, forestry, tourism, and food and beverage production.
Of course, Vermont could be the perfect place for starting a new brewery or small
cheese brand. But if you don’t already have a job—and you hate the thought of entertaining tourists or working in ambulatory healthcare services (Vermont’s largest industry after real estate)—you may want to seek your fortune elsewhere.

Consider instead: New Hampshire or Colorado

New Hampshire’s economy is
ranked fifth
in the country. All the same jobs are available here as in Vermont (food, tourism, forestry) along with jobs in healthcare, high technology, and retail. 
Colorado is another great choice, as it’s one of the top destinations for Americans relocating within the US with plentiful jobs in varied industries.

How to save on car insurance in Vermont

Whether you’re already a
or just considering a move to Vermont, you definitely need car insurance in this car-dependent state.
Lucky for you, Vermont is already one of the
cheapest states
for car insurance. But if you want to save extra money to spend on a snowmobile or a tree tapping kit, try using the
app to find low rates.
Use Jerry to update your new address or to find a new policy if you buy a car when you move. Jerry handles the paperwork and phone calls so you can explore your new state with confidence (except Smugglers Notch in January—do not recommend). 
“With little to no work on my part,
saved me $70 a month in Vermont. The process was simple and flawless. I will be working with Jerry in the future!” —Emmanuel K.
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