What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Columbus, Ohio?

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by Upgraded Home Team

Do you remember the 80s television series called Family Ties? The Keaton family lived in a Columbus, Ohio suburb. I remember the family home being divided between Alex’s Republican conservatism and his parent’s liberal ideals. Even though the television show was filmed in Hollywood, it accurately portrays the wholesome Midwest values associated with Columbus.

Living in Columbus has many pros like affordable housing, a great job market, an amazing downtown, and awesome fairs and festivals. Additionally, Columbus is the home of the Ohio State University, which offers excellent education and job opportunities. On the flip side, the cons include bad drivers, terrible traffic jams, lack of sidewalks in many neighborhoods, and not as much diversity as other locations.

In addition to being called the Biggest Small Town in America, Columbus has had other nicknames over the years, including Buggy Capital of the World and Cowtown. At one point, Columbus was called the Arch City due to dozens of arches line High Street to help power streetcars.

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Pros of Living in Columbus

Columbus was ranked the 55th best place to live by US News & World Report. The media company gave Columbus an overall rating of 6.7 out of 10. This ranking is based on the desirability, value, job market, quality of life, and net migration.

Affordable Housing

For a city of its size, Columbus is surprisingly affordable! The median income is $67,207, up 3.06% since 2019. This income is both higher than the Ohio and U.S. medians.

Those seeking to own a home may be happy to hear that the median home value is $151,600. Of course, living downtown will cost more, but the suburbs offer very reasonable housing options. There are plenty of desirable and yet affordable suburbs in Columbus, with median home values ranging between $90,000 and $165,000. The average home price in the Reynoldsburg suburb of Columbus is 14% lower than the national average.

Apartments can be a little more expensive. An apartment in the neighborhood of Hilltop can be as cheap as $713 a month. You can also find apartments in Beechwold, Berwick Manor, Leawood, and Beaumont in the $700 range.

Getting an apartment in neighborhoods like Far North, the Peach District, and Weinland Park is more expensive, coming in at an average of $1,762 a month.

Great Job Market

Finding a job shouldn’t be a problem in Columbus. It is the home of at least 20 Fortune 1000 companies such as Kroger and Anheuser-Busch.

If you work in healthcare, you will be glad to know there are several nationally recognized healthcare systems in Columbus. OhioHealth has been named one of the top five large healthcare systems by Truven Health Analytics six times.

The University of Ohio is a massive employer in the area with approximately 37,228 full-time employees, the majority of which reside in Columbus. As a part of the university, the Wexner Medical Center generates $7.3 billion and supports almost 22,000 jobs.

An Amazing Downtown

An effort to revive Downtown Columbus started a few decades ago. There’s plenty of green space with gardens, playgrounds, and stages with the Columbus Commons and the Scioto Mile.

The nightlife scene is alive, with plenty of places to eat, drink, and hear live music. Beer fans will love the fact that Columbus has over 30 microbreweries, many of which can be found downtown. There are also several LGBTQA friendly bars and nightclubs scattered throughout downtown Columbus.

If you find yourself downtown, you won’t have to worry about transportation. The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) offers commuter services within Franklin County and part of surrounding counties. CBUS is COTA’s free downtown circulator bus that runs every 10 – 15 minutes.

If you prefer a more environmentally-friendly form of transportation, there’s the COGO bike share network and BIRD and Lime scooter services. Scooters make it easy to get from one place to another without worrying about traffic.

Awesome Fairs and Festivals

Due in part to its mild climate, Columbus has events throughout much of the year. I mean, who could not love a Chicken and Beer Festival? This annual festival promises the best wings, fried chicken, brew, music, and all while raising money for a good cause.

The Doo Dah Parade has been held for 38 years to celebrate “Liberty and Lunacy, Freedom of Speech and Humor.” And you will know all the politicians because they are required to wear a funny hat!

Summer months offer the most community fun with celebrations for Juneteenth, the arts, Pride Month, and you can even attend the Ohio Eggfest.

Ohio State University

If you are looking to further your education, you have come to the right place! Columbus is the home of Ohio State University. The university is said to have the largest population of college students in the U.S.

Ohio State has 14 colleges with 175 undergrad majors and 240 masters, doctoral, and professional degrees available. Faculty post and present have included Nobel Prize laureates, Rhode Scholars, Fields Medalists, and Pulitzer Prize winners.

The number of living OSU alums (580,000) is almost half that of the current population of Columbus. Attend OSU, and join notable alumni such as golfer Jack Nicklaus, author R.L. Stine, olympian Jesse Owens, singer/songwriter Dwight Yoakum, and Wikipedia founder Larry Sanger.

The campus area is called the University District and is only two miles from downtown. This area includes High Street, where you can find plenty of boutiques for shopping, live music, dance clubs, and bars.

Cons of Living in Columbus

Traffic Jams

No one loves being stuck in traffic, but with a population of close to one million, Columbus has its share of traffic woes. While it only takes the average commuter 22 minutes to get to their job, it can be an extra-long 22 minutes.

While traffic congestion has decreased as of late, INRIX ranks Columbus as the 87th most congested city in America. It is estimated that drivers lose as much as 8 hours in traffic with a cost of $125.36 per driver.

The worst time to be on the road is Wednesday between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm. However, the good news is the peak speed for drivers has increased from 29 in 2019 to 39 in 2020, so there is always hope.

Bad Drivers

Going hand-in-hand with traffic, Columbus is notorious for bad drivers. Every city has bad drivers, but Columbus drivers seem to be determined to take it to a completely different level. I suppose it happens when you combine almost a million people into one area and they all have somewhere to go.

You are likely to see some type of accident or at least encounter bad driving while on the streets of Columbus. Google Bad Drivers in Columbus, and you will even find YouTube videos displaying the worst Columbus drivers.

QuoteWizard’s 2021 Top 10 Worst Driving Cities in America report ranked Columbus in fourth place based on insurance quotes. It seems the numerous accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, and citations ensured the city’s high ranking.

Lack of Sidewalks

The City of Columbus estimates that approximately 50% to 60% of the city does not have sidewalks. Some neighborhoods don’t have sidewalks because they were established when it wasn’t a requirement.

It still makes neighborhood walking difficult and somewhat risky, given Columbus’s worst driving ranking. You can request a sidewalk be built if you fill out a request with the city and meet the required criteria.

Not a Lot of Diversity

Despite it being the home of a huge university, Columbus is not as diverse as many cities. The majority race is white, with 58.6%. African Americans make up 29% of the population. After that, diversity dwindles to 5.8% Asian, 4.2% two or more races, and 6.2% Hispanic or Latino.

THE Ohio State University

Move to Columbus, and the locals won’t let you forget you live in the midst of THE Ohio State University! While it may seem obnoxious to outsiders, the university name really is The Ohio State University. There are 61,170 students attending the university, so plan to run into many of them around town.

Buckeye fans can be rabid with their love of the OSU sports teams. At times, you may feel like the entire world has turned red and white. But, the Buckeyes have played in the NCAA Final Four ten times (with one win) and won eight national championships in football, so their enthusiasm is understandable.

The Weather

Thankfully, Columbus is far enough away to avoid the snowmaggedons that a Nor’easter can cause, but it does get about 30 inches of snow each year.

You won’t see a lot of sun in Columbus. Move.org found Columbus to be the eighth cloudiest city in the U.S. based on cloud coverage from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data.

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Related Questions

Is Columbus a safe city?

There are some neighborhoods in Columbus with higher crime rates, such as Franklinton, Linden, and Hilltop. But, Downtown is a surprisingly safe area as are many other areas.

What is the Snowiest Month in Columbus?

The majority of the snowfall occurs in February, where you will see around 10 inches in 3-4 days.

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