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desmodus's avatar

Where should we move to in the USA?

Asked by desmodus (158points) June 21st, 2010

We are thinking about moving to the USA, we are a Dutch family of 4 (2 kids under the age of 6).

I have lived in the US myself, Chicago and Iowa. I have enjoyed Chicago, but the reason we are moving is to get to a better climate and get more square footage in our house… So living downtown somewhere is not really an option.
We are also looking for a place that is safe, for us and our kids (no tornado’s, earthquakes and violence).. And where we can find a job.. both of us work in graphic design.

Did I just scratch out all options in the US, or are there some area’s left where a European family could settle?

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40 Answers

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Check out northern New England (Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine). Land and housing prices are relatively low. The climate is like Scandinavia. Schools are good and there is an active cultural life even in rural areas. Major crime is rare, no earthquakes or tornadoes, only a few winter storms that shut everything down for a few days. The area I live in is populated by artists, writers, academics and farmers. Unlike Europe, an automobile is a necessity here; no public transportation worth mentioning.

YARNLADY's avatar

There are several best place to live sites online you might want to try.
I would suggest the midwest states, Illinois, Ohio, and Nebraska

jazmina88's avatar

Nebraska may have those tornadoes…you are welcome here in Louisville.

augustlan's avatar

How about a suburb of Washington, DC? I lived in Frederick, Maryland for many years, and loved it. Near enough to commute to DC, but far enough to feel downright rural in many areas. Lots of culture and history there, too. A big emphasis on the arts. Very family friendly.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I would suggest that you carefully research how life in the USA differs from life in Holland. Of course, there is a big difference in population density. Look at issues like the cost and access to medical care, the relative frequency of violent deaths, the range of tolerated political beliefs, life expectancy and many other social factors you take for granted in your country of origin.

You may want to compare the USA to Canada as a place to relocate.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@YARNLADY Ohio may not be the best choice if OP is looking to avoid tornado prone areas. :) Our weather is absolutely terrible, and definitely a tornado zone this time of year.

jazmina88's avatar

You know, the weather can get you get about anywhere, cant it? Hurricanes in FL and around the coasts…maybe MN if you like cold??? Connectict

I do love Asheville as much as Louisville. small, cultural…not much crime.

cookieman's avatar

I’ll second northern New England for all the reasons mentioned. And if you want to visit a major city, Boston and New York are only a few hours away.

aprilsimnel's avatar

The Northwestern portion of the US (Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; San Diego, CA, etc.) has a lot going for it as well.

jfos's avatar

South Jersey (Southern New Jersey) The weather is inconsistent, but there are no earthquakes or hurricanes. There are plenty of businesses, developing neighborhoods, and diversity.

john65pennington's avatar

Anchorage, Alaska. good town, low crime, clean and plenty of room to expand.

jenandcolin's avatar

I agree with @augustlan. DC suburbs are a great place to raise children. I grew up in Annapolis and loved it. I had so many forms of art and culture in my young life! Museums, music, unique food, this was just the beginning. The only issue might be size (you want to increase the square footage of your home). Many DC suburbs can be very (VERY) expensive. I know Annapolis is and most of Northern Virginia. I am sure there are other areas right outside of DC that aren’t and are still safe.

gemiwing's avatar

I agree, Louisville is lovely (even though we do get the odd tornado/heat wave/blizzard/freak wind storm).

I would ask what sort of community do you want to live in. What’s important. Do you want a small town? Suburbs? Do you want tons of hustle and bustle or something quiet? What about museums, restaurants, farmers markets, big name stores, mountains or beaches etc.What is ‘good’ weather to you? How big of a house are we talking?

More details would be helpful.

skfinkel's avatar

I love the Pacific Northwest, but you could get an earthquake here.

ETpro's avatar

I used to live in Virginia Beach before moving to Boston. It is a pretty area with great recreation for a family, good schools and very reasonable real estate prices. I would recommend it. Nice warm summers and rare snow in the winter.

jerv's avatar

I second @stranger_in_a_strange_land on this. The New England area (Northeastern US) has a generally low crime rate and much of it is rural; I used to live on five acres in the woods about 15 miles from a small city (population 25,000).However, the weather can be iffy so expect the occasional blizzard or remnants of a hurricane. No tornados and far from any fault lines so there are no earthquakes though.

The Pacific Northwest is nice, but you are stuck between eitehr living in the city or being so rural that it is a 2-hour drive to the supermarket; no real in-between that I have seen so far. Also, the crime rate is considerably higher and there is the risk of earthquakes killing you in your sleep. Also, the unemployment here is notably higher than in, say, New Hampshire.

All of my friends from the Midwest complain about drug issues and bad/no jobs, so I would not recommend moving there. And the South and Southwest have issues I won’t get into except to say that you are better off within 200 miles of the ocean and in the upper half of whichever coast you choose.

Haleth's avatar

I grew up in the DC suburbs. It’s kind of pricey, but places like Montgomery County and Fairfax County are great for families. You have a lot of access to culture here; as kids, we were always going to the Smithsonian museums (which are free), and a lot of the people living here are international. My best friends growing up were from Russia, China, and Guatemala.

The downside of living here is that some of the more affluent suburbs don’t have much personality. When I lived in Arlington, I seemed to meet the same kind of people over and over again- conservative, driven, upper middle class people going to grad school or working for government agencies. The good thing about this is that we’re kind of insulated from the bad economy because the government is here to always provide jobs. As for the weather, we hardly ever have anything extreme. The winter is usually around 20–40 degrees fahrenheit, and usually we only get an inch or two of snow, but this winter we got about four feet of snow and everyone freaked out. The summer here is hot and humid, usually around 80 or 90 degrees.

omglykhi's avatar

Tucson, Arizona is cheap, and PLENTY of things to do. But it is getting SERIOUSLY crowded so if you’re looking for somewhere not so city I advise against Tucson! Good luck!

Nullo's avatar

Generally, it’s safer in the rural parts of the country.

You might try the Pacific Northwest. A suburb, perhaps. It rains a lot, and they get snow in the winter in places. The summers tend to be mild. They have good hiking.

jfos's avatar

@omglykhi Then why did Jo Jo leave his home in Tucson, Arizona?

downtide's avatar

@jfos for California grass, of course. (And I don’t think it was the sort that makes a lawn).

rooeytoo's avatar

I love the south, Charleston, Savannah, even Miami. There are hurricanes but just don’t live directly on the coast. The weather is mild and the history rich.

There is crime everywhere, so I would not worry about that. I lived in a lot of cities and tried to be smart, don’t walk down dark streets in the middle of the night, use your head and you will be safe.

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo Last time I looked at the numbers, the crime was considerably higher down there than up North though. By comparison, NH had fewer firearms-related violent crimes than Japan (where firearms are practically illegal)!

The OP also mentioned kids and, no offense, but the South is known to have the worst school systems in the nation while the Northeast has the best. The entire South also compares poorly when it comes to poverty rates and unemployment rates.

It’s a real pity too since the South does have a rich history as does the Northeast; it’s really an East coast thing and the people down there are generally nicer than they are elsewhere.

Nullo's avatar

@jerv Probably off-topic, but Switzerland has a gun crime rate in the low zeroes, and every citizen owns a gun.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo Like they always say, “Guns don’t kill people, assholes with guns kill people!”.

rooeytoo's avatar

@jerv – I lived in NYC and DC and Baltimore, Md., all have relatively high crime rates. I still maintain that if you use your head you probably won’t become a statistic.

If my parents had taught me to live my life fearing statistics and never taking a chance I would be bored to tears and would never have had the amazing experiences I have had. I know a lot of very intelligent folks who came up through the school systems in the south and some really dumb ones from the north.

Nullo's avatar

@jerv Doesn’t suggest nice things about us, does it? :D

Aster's avatar

It sounds like a lot of people think Illinois winters are no big deal?
That amazes me.
To answer the question we’d have to know what kind of weather, population and shopping you want.

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo I was stationed in San Diego for a few years, spent most of the weekends of my childhood in Boston, have been alone, unarmed, and white in Oakland at 2AM, and didn’t always stick to the “good” part of those towns so I get what you are saying. However, I have also had quite a few things go missing so even if it’s safe from the standpoint that I won’t get mugged, raped, and/or killed (possibly not in that order), so it’s still something to bear in mind, at least for a family guy. I agree that you should not be a slave to statistics, but I know that I take a lot fewer chances now that I have a wife than I did back when I was flying solo.

As for the end products of the school systems, I won’t deny that there are some dumb motherfuckers up North, but most of the smart Southerners I know are old enough to have gone to school in an era where the disparity in the quality of the education system was less than it is today.

@Aster Winter is relative. In some places, they freak out if a snowflake lands in the next town over. Personally, I am no stranger to waking up for work an hour earlier than normal, spending a few minutes of that hour just trying to find my car in the driveway, and the rest of the hour digging out enough to open the door.
Great answer though.

Aster's avatar

Climate is so important to ME. We lived in northern Colorado for 7 years and I loved everything about it except the winters. Same thing with south Jersey except I didn’t know about mountains back then.
I’d probably Love northern California but not the cost of living or the threat of The Big One. I dunno….

jerv's avatar

@Aster Cost of living is a hassle in any place worth living. Put another way, if a region is cheap to live in then there is a good reason why. As for the threat of The Big One… personally, I don’t have that on my radar since there are many other types of disaster that could kill me. I mean, have you ever seen how they drive around Seattle? besides, in the 4–½ years I was in San Diego, I never felt the ground move once.

Aster's avatar

@jerv You don’t think there are nice places to live that are cheap? I do: Hot Springs Village, Arkansas; Tyler, Tx (east Texas in general); Wyoming and Montana.
Yukky places that are costly: Newark, NJ; Camden, NJ; bad sections of Chicago; bad sections of New York. I think Seattle, which I visited once, would be Utopia were it not for the mist.

jerv's avatar

@Aster “Nice” is rather subjective. The only place on that list that I might agree with is Montana, but I admit that I am biased towards cool, temperate climates with green trees. However, I will agree that parts of NJ are not fit for human habitation. I also would not want to live in CT, RI, or the lower part of NY despite all of the nice homes and all since, for the most part, they are not my kind of people. Buffalo is out though, simply because I prefer my snow drifts to be (at most) as tall as me, not as tall as a two-story house!

I stand my my opinion that the places I know of that best fit what the OP is looking for are found in the Northeastern, Mid-Atlaitic, and Northwestern regions of the US (including Northern CA).

As for the Seattle mist, I haven’t seen that in a while. Right now, it’s sunny and in the 70s, and it looks like it’ll stay that way for at least the next few days :)

YARNLADY's avatar

@Aster I agree that many of the places you have mentioned would be characterized as nice or not nice, but in my experience the nice, cheap places are also places with no jobs, poor schools, and few opportunities for a young family. I am not familiar with the specific places you mentioned.

jerv's avatar

@YARNLADY Correct. The places that are expensive to live are also places where a person can reasonably expect to be able to afford living there. I mean, the WA state minimum wage is considerably higher than the national minimum wage, and I haven’t even seen a job that pays that little around here. Some places in the US that have a high cost of living also have a higher minimum wage (a Living wage, if you will). See here for more details on that.

Just for giggles, I looked up where @Aster mentioned and compared them to where I live and even though the dollar amounts are bigger, the typical hourly wages where I am means that there was a lot less red at the bottom of the page, meaning that it’s easier to actually earn enough to pay the bills.

augustlan's avatar

It’s all relative.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Every region/state has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. You basically have to pick which weather/ geological phenomenon you want to deal with and live there.

Even in tornado prone areas you are unlikely to get hit by a tornado. I would suggest instead of looking at what to avoid, you look for a place that has what you desire. You will quickly learn how to prepare and act in whatever natural disaster strikes the area you live.

YARNLADY's avatar

Akron, Ohio

jerv's avatar

@YARNLADY I have a friend there who is constantly completing about the strip clubs, crack houses, and the crime rate in general, so my opinion of Ohio in general is a bit low. I’ve heard the same from other people in Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri as well.

YARNLADY's avatar

Like any town, Akron, Ohio it has it’s good and bad, but there are jobs available there, the cost of housing is relatively low, and the neighborhood around the University has a good school system and shopping.

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