What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Wisconsin?

Pros And Cons Of Living In Wisconsin

Wisconsin is one of those states that people tend to make jokes about, even though they don’t really know much about it. Though the state is famous for its cheese and sports teams, the truth is that most people don’t really know what it’s like to live here. Is it really all about cheese in Wisconsin? We did a little reading to find out what the truth about life in Wisconsin is all about.

Hyper-friendly and hyper-affordable, living in Wisconsin means that you will be able to make lots of friends fast and also get a job quickly. However, the extreme weather, higher tax rates, and lack of arts centers can make it hard for people who are used to city living. 

In many ways, Wisconsin is considered to be a very “middle of the road” type of state, with most of the state featuring scenes from the idyllic smalltown America people love. But, there’s still so much more to be understood about this state. Here’s the scoop.

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The Perks Of Living In Wisconsin

Wisconsin is so underrated on so many levels, it’s a little bit messed up. If you are wondering why Wisconsin is starting to become more popular among real estate investors, here’s why…

1. Beer, Cheese, Brats!

The reputation for making tons of beer, cheese, and brats isn’t just hot air. The Badger State is one of the biggest makers of cheese in the world, not to mention a highly celebrated brewery hotspot. If you’re a fan of tailgating foods, then it’s safe to say that you’re going to fit in just fine among cheeseheads.

2. Moderate Prices Across The Board

One of the more interesting things about Wisconsin is that the state ranks almost perfectly in the median when it comes to the cost of living. This means that almost everything will be close to the national average for price. The median home is priced at $191,300, which means that you have a lot of options compared to something like San Francisco.

Moderate prices also happen to be a thing when it comes to rent, healthcare, and other stuff. If you’re a renter, then you’re going to find your housing bills to be remarkably low.

Rental Size Price
Studio $520
1 BR $587
2 BR $758
3 BR $1006

3. Excellent Schools

When most people think of great schools, they tend to assume that it’s going to be a state in the Northeast. Believe it or not, Wisconsin is an exception to the rule. Wisconsin currently ranks as #13 in the nation when it comes to public school quality. Most towns have excellent, safe schools that also feature a ton of cool afterschool programs.

Along with good public education, academics will be happy to know that they also get a very nice selection of universities in-state. The Univesity of Wisconsin is the most popular college. If you are looking to relocate to Madison, Wisconsin, check out What Are The 7 Best Neighborhoods In Madison, Wisconsin?

4. A Lit Sports Scene

Wisconsin’s culture is one that is totally focused on sports, and that’s great if you’re a fan of football. It’s not unusual to see entire neighborhoods celebrating local games, or having sports bars go a little crazy whenever the Green Day Packers win. If you and your family dig football culture, the Badger State is for you.

5. Nature-Filled Attractions

Like much of the Midwest, you will love having so much access to nature. Wisconsin is home to several major national parks and even has some beach shores along the Eastern side of the state. Top places to check out include the Taliesin Preservation and the Cave of the Mounds—two seriously impressive parks.

Overall, there are plenty of places where you can go hiking and biking. Camping? Oh, you betcha! Camping is basically the unofficial pastime of Wisconsin, so you’re never going to be low on finding buddies who want to join you. Happy trailblazing!

6. Festivals

A lot of the locals in Wisconsin joke about it being “the festival state” due to the sheer number of celebrations they have. During the spring, summer, and autumn, you can enjoy literally hundreds of festivals. They range from carnival-like events that celebrate certain foods (like cheese), local heritage festivals, as well as music festivals.

Be forewarned, food tends to play a very large focal point of all Wisconsinite celebrations. If you’re on a diet, you might want to arrive hungry and plan a cheat day for those decadent meals.

7. The People

Even if you are from the midwest, there are going to be very few regions you’ll see that are as friendly and outgoing as the state of Wisconsin. It almost feels like everyone here’s constantly out on the lookout for new friends. Having a random conversation with people who you barely know is the norm here, as is getting an invite to the local church event.

If you’re from a place that’s known for being more standoffish, like Boston, you might need a little time to get used to it. People even describe this area as “aggressively friendly,” and they mean it in the best way possible.

The Pitfalls Of Living In Wisconsin

While Wisconsin does have its perks, there is something to be said about the reasons why rent and ownership are so low. The state isn’t exactly perfect, and actually can be pretty terrible for the wrong person. These pitfalls are noted as being the worst.

1.  Extreme Weather

During the summer, Wisconsin is hot as heck. During the winter? Well, you’re not going to be shocked to find out that Wisconsin is one of the chilliest, most snow-ridden states in the Union. It’s not uncommon for temperatures to dip as low as the single digits during February and March.

If you’re not a fan of snow, Wisconsin is a terrible place to live. Depending on where you live, you might face annual snowfall totals between 31.5 to 125 inches. (No, that’s NOT a typo!)

2. Income Could Be Better

The median income of a typical Wisconsin resident is around $31,000. This is actually smack-dab in the middle of the United States, which goes along with the theme of having a perfectly average income. So while the cost of living isn’t that bad,  you also won’t be able to get the extra income you were hoping for.

3. Transit

While the cities in Wisconsin do have a fair amount of public transit, and there are AMTRAK trains that go through the state, the truth is this is not a place to go if you don’t have a driving license. The vast majority of the state requires a car to get place to place, and public transit isn’t always very reliable.

The good news about this is that parking is a breeze and that most areas have pretty affordable car repair shops.

4. Obesity

There are a lot of jokes about obesity rates in Wisconsin, but they’re no laughing matter. Obesity is a real issue here, with around 41 percent of all adults being medically classified as obese. While this doesn’t have to be your fate, you might end up finding yourself feeling a little weirded out by the heaviness if you come from a more slender state.

5. Lack Of Diversity

If you are used to a highly diverse area like New Jersey or California, then Wisconsin is going to be an extreme culture shock for you. Diversity is something that Wisconsin doesn’t really have—at least, not on a state level. People who come from different backgrounds might feel a little out of their element at first, even if the Badger State locals are pretty friendly.

Race Population Percentage
White 85.43
Black 6.41
Asian 2.71
Other 5.45

6. The Non-Diverse Food

While Wisconsin does have an active food scene, the truth is that it’s not quite like most other states. This is a state that really prides itself on its German food. That’s great, if you’re in the mood for German food. Unfortunately, outside of American and German food, you might have a harder time finding an authentic place to eat.

Even if you do live in an area where diverse options are available, you might find yourself hard-pressed to have an exceptional selection. With that said, bigger cities are much better about this than most of the typical small towns.

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Related Questions

What is Wisconsin most famous for?

Wisconsin’s unofficial nickname is “America’s Dairyland,” primarily because of all the dairy farms that exist within the state’s limits. There are approximately 1.5 million dairy cows living in farms within the state—currently the largest dairy cow population in America. With all those cows, it’s not surprising that Wisconsin also happens to make 15 percent of all milk sold in the United States.

The dairy farming fame also comes with another major export: cheese. Wisconsin cheese is one of the best in the nation. The locals actually go so far as to embrace the nickname of “Cheesehead” for their local sports teams.

What are the best places to live in Wisconsin?

Most small towns in the state are pretty great for people who want to raise a family. If you want to enjoy living in larger cities, we strongly suggest checking out Milwaukee, Eau Claire, and Appleton. All three cities have been ranked as some of the best places to live in the state, and the school systems are pretty decent, too.

How much money do you need to live in Wisconsin comfortably?

Comfort is a relative term, but the good news is that it’s not that high a wage you need. A typical family of four would need to have a minimal paycheck of $48,000 a year to support themselves without too much problem. However, if you want to live in one of Wisconsin’s bigger cities, you may have higher than average bills.

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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