Where to live in the USA?


To my surprise a topic like this was not yet started here - or I just have not been able to locate it, could also be the case ;). Whether if already exist or not, here is my thing. As I do have plans to move to the USA within now and 3,5 years (I set myself a deadline summer 2015), people ask me - when I tell about my future plans - 'where do you want to live in the USA?'. I usually tell them that I'm not in that particular phase of emigrating yet and just thinking about it (and starting to read more about it), but off course I also thought about it. I understand that this is not a very objective question and that it depends on what you want, but I'm curious about what people living there think about it. I have a preference for the west and the south, so states like California (Pacific), Colorado (mountainous) or Arizona (desert). An exception to this is Florida, which is still in the race for me. Well, so far my preferences. I'm really curious about what you regard as 'a good place to live'. Hope to hear from you! Thanks!


Hi Birdwatcher85,

I would also like to point out the idea of moving to New Mexico as an option since we are also officially considered to be a part of the southwestern region of the U.S. This is where I live and I love it here. NM has a culture that is unlike anything else you will find. We have the desert environment throughout most of the state, but we are also part of the Rocky Mountains and there are parts of the state covered in lush forests as well. I recommend searching through a few web sites and blogs to see if you might like it here :)

If you decide that NM isn't for you, then I will address the options you did happen to list. My main deciding point for anywhere I might want to live is the weather but all of the states that you mentioned are beautiful in their own ways and each of them has their own annual events that give you things to do throughout the year.

Florida is very warm and humid with no snow in the winter. Because of this warmer climate, they tend to grow a lot of citrus in Florida. You would also need to think about the hurricane season that effects Florida (mostly July-August). Florida seems to be the place that the previous two generations have desired to retire in so there is quite a considerable elderly community there. Florida is pretty heavily populated though and there are plenty of younger crowds hanging out on the beaches as well.

Arizona does get some snow in the winter in the northern half of the state, but it's mostly known for extreme, sweltering heat in the summer. It is definitely a desert environment. For some reason, from what I have experienced, Arizona has become the place to go. Arizona's population has been growing at a phenomenal rate over the last ten years. That means that their economy and educational institutions are doing some growing and opportunities are popping up all the time.

California has a wide variety of weather. The farther north you go there is more snow in the winter. The farther west you go there is the salty sea air. California is known for being one of the main trend setters of our nation. They truly started the wave of recycling, fish tacos, and the smoke free attitude that the rest of our nation seems to be adopting over the last ten years. They are known by the rest of the southwestern region for having entrepreneurial attitudes.

Colorado is the coolest option from what you listed. Their summer weather is fairly warm, but not as bad as the other states mentioned. The winter offers some real snow levels compared to the other southwestern states as well. The fishing and camping in the mountains in the summer months can be absolutely relaxing and beautiful, or it can be exciting and adventurous depending on your preferred level of activity. Out of all the choices you mentioned, I myself would without a doubt pick Colorado for its weather and beauty. They have a good healthy mix of age groups in their population. There are ample opportunities for winter sports in Colorado if that is your sort of thing. There is something to be said for the fresh mountain air if you live in the outskirts of a town or city.

Each state has its own unique economic situation. Each of them has its own cost of living, its own tax rates, and its own minimum wage rates. Also, the various towns and cities within each state have different wages and such too. Usually the minimum wage rates and tax rates are indicative of the cost of living. $500 will get you more in one state or town than it could in another. I am not an expert on this by any means, but I will list for you the states in order of the lowest cost of living (cheapest) to the highest based on the opinions of others that I have heard by word of mouth.

1) New Mexico
2) Colorado
3) Arizona
4) Florida
5) California

I can't really tell you much about the crime levels. I can tell you that New Mexico in general is pretty safe. In my small town (Edgewood) I never lock my doors or windows except when I go to bed at night. I only lock my car doors when I park in a public place but I could probably get away with not doing it here at all. Within the bigger cities it's different of course. Like any city on the planet, Albuquerque and Santa Fe have their "bad" parts of town. I always lock my car doors when I go to either of these cities.

It's just a matter of asking around if you choose to look at any specific location. I would be more likely to ask a gas station attendant for an honest opinion instead of my landlord. The only reason I'm saying this is because your potential landlord has a personal motivation to make their property look as appealing as possible to you.

One bad thing in general about the southwestern region of the U.S. We have been dealing with drought or near drought conditions for years now. This means that we have an issue with forest fires in the summer months. This can lead to pollution from the smoke in the air and asthma patients end up taking trips to the emergency rooms. Homes and lives are lost every year. Also, there are issues with having enough energy to go around. California has had rolling blackouts and brownouts through the summer months for a few years, and it's starting to effect other surrounding states now too.

Anyway, that's all I can think of for now. I hope all of this helps you in your decision making process!

Dear Edgewynne,

Thank you so much for your nice input! I will definetely consider New Mexico also and will look upon more information about Colorado. Hope more people will share their opinion here now. In the meantime, I'll hope to learn more about the USA!

Kind regards,

All of the states mentioned are beautiful.  I love Washington state, it has everything.  I live in Chehalis, Washington and it takes an hour to get to the beach where people surf, fly kites, build amazing sand castles, etc.  I also go an hour drive to Mount Rainier which is breathtaking and that area allows for hiking and mountain climbing.  I go an hour another direction and find the desert if you enjoy dune buggying, outside concerts or hydroplane races.  If I go yet another direction there are plenty of places by rivers and lakes to go camping.  And you can't forget Seattles Pike Street Market and all the night life in that area.  It's the best of all worlds.  Good luck on whatever you decide.