Cleveland’s low cost of living, outdoor recreation opportunities, and entertainment options can make it an appealing place for young professionals, but depending on what sector they’re working in, some might find it easier to relocate here than others.
In its early years as a city, Cleveland's location near Lake Erie and the Ohio River made it ideal for trade, which majorly contributed to its growth over the years. Today, Cleveland is a bit of a mixed bag and is recognized as a significant presence in the manufacturing, healthcare, and arts industries. It also has a lot to offer in terms of local year-round festivals, entertainment, and the arts.
What you need to know about Cleveland before you move
Cleveland is home to more than 383,000 people and sits on Lake Erie’s south shore. Its low cost of living can make it an appealing place to live, work, and play, especially for young professionals.
But is it the right place for you? Before you decide to pack up your bags, here are a few things you’ll want to know about living in Cleveland.
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1. You’ll probably enjoy the low cost of living
If you’re looking to live in a larger city with a low cost of living, Cleveland is worth your consideration. The cost of living in Cleveland tends to be substantially lower than the national average. The city has a cost of living index of 72.6, according to
Best Places, making it 27.4% less expensive than the national average.
Rent.com’s August 2022 report, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Cleveland is about $1,400 per month, compared to the national average of $1,770.
You could generally expect to spend anywhere from $1.50 to $3 on your average cup of coffee, while a pint of beer at a Cleveland pub could run you about $5. At the grocery store, you could expect to pick up a gallon of milk for about $4.70.
Ohio’s minimum wage rose to $9.30 an hour for non-tipped employees and $4.65 per hour for employees who receive tips. As of 2021, the
median annual income of a Cleveland area resident was about $72,732.
2. The job market could be better
Generally speaking, the job market in Cleveland could be better—its unemployment rate was higher than the national average in 2021. And with the lower cost of living could come lower average salaries.
However, it depends on the sector you’re working in. Some of Cleveland’s major employers are health care organizations, manufacturers, localgovernment, education, and insurance companies. Tourism also increases the number of retail and hospitality jobs available in Cleveland.
That means that before deciding to move to Cleveland, you’ll probably want to confirm you’d have a decent number of job prospects in the area.
3. Crime rates have been on the rise
Cleveland’s crime rates could stand to see some improvement, too—both violent and property crime rates are higher than the national average.
Car thefts are just one area of crime that’s seen a substantial increase over the last two years in Cleveland—
up 22% from 2020 to 2021—making it essential that you have the right kinds of home, car, and renters insurance protections in place to help protect your belongings if you decide to make a move to Cleveland.
Jerry makes doing this easier than ever.
4. You’ll get a taste of lake life
Few things can be as calming as living next to a big body of water. Lucky for you, Cleveland lies along the southern shore of Lake Erie, giving you easy access to lakeside trails, beaches, and plenty of water recreation opportunities, like kayaking, swimming, boating, fishing, and more.
You’ll also find yourself in close proximity to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
5. Driving is usually the best transportation option
Cleveland covers an area of about 82 square miles, so sometimes, having your own vehicle can make transportation a lot easier. And while traffic can be a hassle at times, you won’t find it as congested as in cities like
New York, or
As far as other transportation options go, you have the Cleveland
Regional Transit Authority (which has free trolley buses on weekdays, nights, and weekends!), taxis and ride-share options, and a number of bike paths and trails.
6. Expect to shovel your driveway a lot in winter
As a northern state, you can expect hot summers and cold winters in Cleveland. And thanks to Lake Erie, that lake effect snow brings an average of more than 50 inches of snowfall each year to Cleveland. Temperatures usually hover around the mid-twenties and thirties, which can make winter especially rough if you’re used to a warmer climate.
So, if you become a Cleveland homeowner, prepare to do plenty of snow shoveling!
On the flip side, you can expect summers in Cleveland to be relatively humid with peak temperatures extending into the 80s.
7. It’s a great city for sports enthusiasts
Some seasons are better than others but be careful what you say about them—Cleveland’s professional sports teams carry a loyal local following!
As a Cleveland resident, you’ll be living in a city that’s home to the Cleveland Browns, Cavaliers, and for hockey fans, the Monsters.
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Does Cleveland live up to the hype?
For a city of its size, Cleveland offers a pretty low cost of living and the chance to regularly enjoy Lake Erie, not to mention the thriving food and arts and culture scenes. And if your favorite holiday is St. Patrick’s day, few cities are more appealing than Cleveland when you’re looking for a spot to celebrate.
But you’ll also have to take all that in stride with a potentially lower salary, depending on the sector you work in and where you’re moving from, and it’s worth being aware that overall crime rates are higher than national averages.
If those are things you can work with, Cleveland’s definitely worthy of your consideration.
Finding a place to live in Cleveland
One of the most challenging parts of relocating to a new city is finding the right place to live. Luckily, Cleveland’s housing costs tend to be a lot more affordable than some of the country’s more expensive cities.
realtor.com’s Cleveland overview, the average median home sale price was about $142,000, as of July 2022. According to data from the 2020 census, the average Cleveland resident with a mortgage had monthly homeownership costs of about $1,000.
If you’re planning to rent an apartment rather than buy one, the location you choose as well as the home’s size and amenities will all have an impact on the price you pay. The average monthly cost of a one-bedroom is $1,400. A studio, on the other hand, could cost about $900 per month, while a 3-bedroom apartment could cost over $1,600.
To help narrow down your options, you can start your housing search by establishing a budget so you’re aware of what price range you can afford—then you can further hone that list by prioritizing the neighborhoods that cater to the type of lifestyle you’re looking for, whether that’s a lively nightlife scene, lakeside views, or a cozy neighborhood that suits your whole family.
As you search Cleveland’s 34 neighborhoods for your next home, here are a few areas worth looking into:
Most iconic neighborhoods: Downtown, Midtown, Edgewater, Ohio City
Best neighborhoods if you’ve got kids: Ohio City, Tremont, Edgewater
Best neighborhoods for foodies: Ohio City, Downtown, Tremont, Battery Park
Best neighborhoods to buy a house: Old Brooklyn, Kamm’s Corners, Riverside
Most affordable neighborhoods: Fairfax, North Broadway, Brooklyn Centre
If you’re able, it’s often a good idea to visit the neighborhoods you’re considering in person first. That way, you can get a better sense of each one’s atmosphere and whether it’ll actually be a good fit for you.
Pro Tip Rent costs in Cleveland tend to fall under the national average, but you could further cut down on housing costs by opting to share an apartment with roommates.
Moving to Cleveland checklist
Decided to make your move to Cleveland official? In that case, it’s time to start packing! As you prepare for your big move, here are some
moving to-do items you might want to add to your list.
Before you go
Ahead of your move to Cleveland, be sure to:
Reserve a moving date with a reputable
moving company to safely transport your belongings to your new home. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration offers
helpful tips for finding movers and avoiding moving scams.
If you’re preparing for a long-distance move, consider whether it’s ideal to
ship your vehicle instead of driving it.
Update your address and set up mail forwarding with the
USPS to avoid missing important communications.
After you get there
Once you arrive at your new home, in addition to unpacking that last box, there are just a couple more things you’ll want to take care of:
Explore Cleveland! Take your time getting to know all that your neighborhood and the larger Cleveland area have to offer, from the best parks to unwind to the local shops and restaurants that could become your go-to spots.
How to save on car, renters, and home insurance in Cleveland
Managing a move is expensive and time-consuming as it is—let the
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When it comes to car insurance alone, the average Jerry user saves over $800 per year on car insurance. Those kinds of savings can go a long way, especially in a low-cost city like Cleveland!
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