Thinking About Making the Move to Connecticut? Read This Guide First.
Table of Contents
- Where Are The Best Places To Live In Connecticut?
- How Is The Job Market In Connecticut?
- How Much Does It Cost To Live In Connecticut?
- How Is The Connecticut Real Estate Market?
- Is Connecticut A Good Place To Retire?
- What Are The People And Culture Like In Connecticut?
- Some Of The Coolest Things To Do In Connecticut
- The Pros And Cons Of Living In Connecticut
- Connecticut Fun Facts & Strange Laws
Connecticut sits in the southern reaches of New England and is home to just over 3.5 million people. This makes CT the third smallest state in the nation, but that doesn’t mean it is short on things to offer to those considering making a move to this small but interesting state. With a mix of cosmopolitan cities, coastal tourist towns and rural communities, there’s a little bit of everything to be enjoyed in the ‘Constitution State’.
Making a move is a big life decision, and one that takes careful planning to pull off right. This guide was created to help those considering the move (or who already have their eyes set on the state) find out everything they need to know to make the transition. Let’s dive in and see if CT is the right state for you…Want a free online moving quote? See our recommendations (May 25, 2020)
Where Are The Best Places To Live In Connecticut?
Connecticut might not be big, but it still brings a lot to the table. Although the “best” place to live is largely subjective, below are a few of our favorites. From bustling city life, to laid back rural living, we tried to include something to appeal to everyone. That said, nothing beats an adventure. Consider using these picks as inspiration to hit the road or pull out the atlas to find your perfect little nook in CT.
In no particular order, let’s get to it…
A classic New England community just west of the state capital, West Hartford has a fairly diverse population of just over 62,000 people, a strong economy, plenty of jobs, and no shortage of entertainment, arts, and culture. The town sits inside the Connecticut River Valley and is surrounded by leafy suburbs and rolling green hills. As far as towns go in Connecticut, it’s on the larger side, blending a bit of Connecticut charm with a faster pace of living.
The average family home on the market in West Hartford today can be purchased for an average of $293k, and the prices are higher than average for this part of the state because the town is highly desirable.
This popular suburb of Hartford is home to almost 24,000 people and has a city feel all of its own. It’s a relatively affluent area, where the median household income clocks in at over $100,000 a year, making it an attractive proposition for those in high paying careers.
Individuals with families will be happy to know that the school system in Simsbury is one of the best in the state, and the crime rate is 8 times lower than the national average, making it a great place to lay down roots.
As you might have imagined, home values in Simsbury come in above average for the Hartford area, and are currently priced around $329,000 on average.
New Canaan is situated just a short 40-mile drive from NYC. It’s proximity to New York City technically classifies it as a suburb of the Big Apple, despite sitting firmly in Connecticut state lines.
It’s a highly-exclusive neighborhood, popular with high earning commuters. Families often make the move here to take advantage of the excellent public school system, green open spaces and safe neighborhood community feel.
But living in New Canaan doesn’t come cheap; the median home value come in at…wait for it…a whopping $1.3 million on average. That said, those with lucrative careers or aspirations of advancement in the Big Apple might find this city aptly positioned to uniquely meet their needs.
The gorgeous coastal town of Old Greenwich is steeped in history and is home to beautiful original colonial homes amongst its tree-lined streets. The small downtown area is a comprised of a condensed block of charming mom and pop shops, and the picturesque coastline is just a short stroll away.
The town sits less than an hour by train or car to downtown Manhattan, and is just a quick five-minute drive from the city of Stamford.
Unfortunately, Old Greenwich is off-limits for the vast majority of people; homes in this exclusive, upscale neighborhood go for around $1.4 million. But if you can afford it, you’ll no doubt fall in love with this quaint little area just a hop and a skip away from the amenities of the big city.
This little Hartford suburb has a population of just 3,000 people. It’s a close-knit community where people get to know their neighbors, and there’s a relatively diverse mix of people; everyone from retirees to young families and millennials.
Weatogue is a relatively rural area and the neighborhood has a village-like feel to it. There’s a good selection of coffee shops and restaurants to choose from, as well as the sprawling Weatogue Park, with two soccer fields, a football field, a softball field, and a playground, so it’s a great place to be during the warmer months of the year.
The average home price in Weatogue sits at $324,000.
Weston is another NYC suburb that’s popular with commuters, but there’s also a wealth of job opportunities in the immediate local area. It’s an affluent neighborhood where the average income is over 215k per year, and the houses are generally large spacious single-family homes with plenty of land attached.
There’s not much in the way of restaurants, nightlife or shopping opportunities in Weston, but with NYC practically on your doorstep, it’s easy to hop in the car and head into the city.
The average home price here is a hefty $700k.
Named after the famous town in Somerset, England, the Hartford suburb of Glastonbury has been a settlement since as far back as 1636. The area is full of classic New England style homes set in scenic surroundings, right on the banks of the Connecticut River.
The school system is arguably the best in the entire state, with over 46 outstanding schools in and around the vicinity to choose from.
The median home value sits at around $332,000.Need cheap moving supplies? Fast free delivery (May 25, 2020)
How Is The Job Market In Connecticut?
The Constitution State is known for being a generally affluent part of the country, with plenty of opportunities for work. The state’s overall unemployment rate sits at a healthy 3.6%.
Even low skilled workers get a pretty fair deal here; the minimum wage is $10.10 per hour, which is a heck of a lot higher than the federal minimum.
When it comes to finding work, you’re in luck if you’re job hunting in one of these industries:
Finance and Insurance
Connecticut has a reputation for being the insurance capital of the nation, and the city of Hartford sits at its center. This sector accounts for over 9% of the states GDP and boasts the highest payroll and relative employment in the whole of the US.
Healthcare and Bioscience
Connecticut has one of the country’s highest concentrations of scientists and medical researchers and is at the heart of bioscience research and advancement, and has some of the country’s biggest and best private hospitals.
Supply Chain Manufacturing
Although the Constitution State doesn’t produce much in the way of final consumer goods, the smaller components that make up these products, like washers, screws, etc, are produced here in huge quantities.
Other Notable Industries Featuring High Salaries and Employment Numbers in the State Include:
- Architecture and engineering
- Education and training
- General business
- Community and social service
Top Employers in CT
Some of the biggest employers in the state are Pratt and Whitney, the American aerospace manufacturer based in East Hartford, who have over 8,000 employees on their books.
Coming in at a close second is the Stratford based Sikorsky Aircraft Corp, with over 7,000 employees. Yale New Haven Health System is also a major employer, with well over 5,000 staff. And let’s not forget the ever-present Walmart, who, like in many states, reign supreme.
Quick List of the Top Employers By Total Employees in CT:
- Pratt & Whitney
- Sikorsky Aircraft Corp
- General Dynamics Electric Boat
- Hartford Hospital
- Foxwoods Resorts & Casino
- Eversource Energy
- Yale New Haven Health System
- Collins Aerospace
- Hartford Financial Svc Group
- Waterbury Board of Education
- Francis Hospital and Medical Center
- Covidien-Surgical Devices
- Aetna Inc
- Travelers Indemnity Co
- Ceci Brothers Inc
- Pfizer Inc
- Talcott Resolution Life Insurance Co
- Boehringer Ingelheim Corp
- Bozzuto’s Inc
- City of Hartford Connecticut
- ESPN Inc.
How Is The Connecticut Real Estate Market?
If you’re making the move up to Connecticut, you’ll need a place to live. It’s no secret that the cost of housing in The Constitution State is pricier than much of the rest of the country, with a median average home listing between $260,000-$309,000.
Over the last year, the state has seen a positive real estate appreciation of 1.4%. However, the state is projected to experience a -2.3% drop in prices in 2020, providing a great opportunity to those looking to buy a home at a discount.
If you’re looking to rent, rather than buy, prices are still above the national average but you can find some pretty affordable houses and apartments depending on where you choose to live.
The average rent across the state is $1,202 per month, based on a 796 square foot apartment, or $1,800 per month for a larger house. There are some serious to be found in the cheaper areas of the state, like Hartford, Bridgeport, and New Milford.Want a free online moving quote? See our recommendations (May 25, 2020)
How Much Does It Cost To Live In Connecticut?
Although the cost of living in Connecticut comes in at around 7.8% higher on average as compared to the national average, with housing prices and utility costs being the primary driving expense behind this discrepancy. Further, as compared with some of its neighbors (such as the likes of NYC and the upper New England states), Connecticut is comparatively affordable.
Groceries / Food
We all have to eat, and if you have a growing family food can make up a significant portion of your monthly budget. Expect to pay 6.6% higher for groceries as compared to the national average.
Healthcare and Medicine
Healthcare costs in the state, including doctors’ visits, hospital fees, and dental work comes in at 2.3% lower than the national average.
Utilities and energy costs, including those for heating and cooling your home using gas, electric and other fuel sources comes in at 18.5% higher than the national average.
Covering the cost of vehicles, upkeep and maintenance, insurance, registration, taxes and public transit comes in at 12.4% above the national average.Need cheap moving supplies? Fast free delivery (May 25, 2020)
Is Connecticut A Good Place To Retire?
Financially speaking, the short answer is no. Connecticut is one of the nation’s least tax-friendly states; social security and all other forms of retirement income are subject to taxation.
But, if the idea of paying a little extra tax doesn’t put you off, there are some great reasons to spend your retirement years in The Constitution State.
All seniors are entitled to tuition-free degrees
If you want to keep on learning in your golden years, Connecticut is the perfect place to do it. The University of Connecticut allows over 60’s to take undergrad courses for just $15 per semester.
There’s plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors
The Constitution State is a beautiful place to be any time of year. You can spend your summers on the picturesque coastline and enjoy boating, fishing and simply relaxing on the beach, and there’s no shorting of hiking and walking clubs to join when the weather cools off and the blazing fall foliage appears.
It’s a safe place to be
Connecticut is known to be one of the safest places to live in America, with a crime rate way below the national average.
Big Cities and Small Towns
It’s both convenient and easy to take a day trip to NYC or Boston, as well as exploring the cosmopolitan larger cities within the state. There’s also a wealth of traditional small towns with a real community spirit away from the action if you prefer a slower pace of life.
You might even live longer
Connecticut has the third-highest life expectancy in the whole country, and cancer rates have fallen by 21% in the last three years alone.Want a free online moving quote? See our recommendations (May 25, 2020)
What Are The People And Culture Like In Connecticut?
Connecticut is known for being a well-educated state. It is home to Yale, one of the most respected Ivy League Universities in America., and there is a large concentration of scientists and researchers working to change the world for the better here.
A significant portion of the state neighbors New York, and to an extent has adopted the culture and attitudes of the locals in NYC. But in the rural areas of the state, there’s also a down to earth vibe, where people live in close-knit communities and work blue-collar jobs.
The state is, in general, a fairly liberal place to live; it was the second state in the nation to legalize gay marriage, after it’s neighbor Vermont. There’s also a large call for stricter gun control here, and the population is vocal and active when it comes to marching and demonstrating for these values.
One thing that seems to unite the residents of Connecticut is a love for the great outdoors. This beautiful state has something to offer in every season, and people tend to be interested in activities like hiking, mountain biking, fishing, skiing; anything that gets them outside and enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings.Need cheap moving supplies? Fast free delivery (May 25, 2020)
Some Of The Coolest Things To Do In Connecticut
If you’re moving to the Constitution State, you’re going to want to explore all of the best sights and attractions it has to offer. There are tons of things to do and see here in Connecticut. Below we’ve put together a shortlist of a few of our favorites. We hope that you get to experience them for yourself.
This re-creation of a historical coastal port city is one of the most famous maritime museums in the country. There’s an impressive collection of floating craft which includes Charles W. Morgan, the world’s only remaining whaling ship made from wood which dates back to 1841.
There are 19 acres to explore here with various exhibitions where you can learn about the history of shipping and the design and craft of these vessels.
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
If you’re in the Yale University area, make sure you take a visit to this awesome natural history museum. It’s a fascinating day out for both kids and adults alike, with exhibitions featuring everything from dinosaurs, aboriginal art, Greek and Roman artifacts and wildlife through the ages.
The Native American exhibits are a particular favorite, with art and artefacts from Apache, Sioux, Navaho, and Blackfoot traditions, just to name a few. There’s even an Egyptian Mummy in their “Echoes of Egypt’ exhibition which is always a favorite with children.
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
The ever-changing exhibits at Ridgefield’s Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum are a must for any art lover. There are no permanent exhibits here, instead, the collections are changed and rotated to reflect themes in contemporary art across the world.
There’s also an impressive two-acre sculpture garden which is perfect for strolling around on a spring or autumn day.
Mystic Aquarium & Institution For Exploration
This is not just an average Aquarium; there’s also an exciting XD Motion Deep Sea 3D theatre, which takes you on a journey through the depths of the ocean making you feel like you’re in a real submarine.
There’s also an impressive collection of rays that you can reach out and touch, as well as Beluga Whales, African penguins and Northern Stellar sea lions.
Lake Compounce Theme Park
This is the oldest theme park operating in the US today and still provides an awesome day out for fun thrills, with a little bit of history thrown in. There’s a gorgeous antique carousel dating back to 1911, and if you’re feeling brave, you can take a ride on the original 1927 wooden rollercoaster.
There’re tons of modern rides and attractions here too, including Connecticut’s biggest water park, Crocodile cove, with a wave pool, waterslides, and a lazy river.
Gillette Castle State Park
This medieval fortress style home looks like something straight out of European history, but it’s right here in East Haddam, Connecticut. Built in 1919, it was once the home of William Hooker Gillette, the actor who originally played Sherlock Holmes.
You can stroll around the grounds and marvel at the towering turrets, and explore the lavish interiors with hand-carved woodwork and imposing wooden doors, all designed by Gillette himself.
In the warmer months, you can arrive here on the Hadlyme Ferry, which offers stunning views as you approach the castle.
This Gothic Revival style summer house in Woodstock dates back to 1846. With bright pink exterior walls, It’s facade is unlike any other. The interiors are beautifully preserved, giving you an insight into what it was like to live there back in the 19th century when it was frequented by high profile guests including US presidents.
Don’t forget to explore the surrounding grounds with pristine gardens, an icehouse, and even an indoor bowling alley.Want a free online moving quote? See our recommendations (May 25, 2020)
The Pros And Cons Of Living In Connecticut
Now that we’ve taken a look at what Connecticut has to offer to new residents, let’s examine some of the pros and cons of moving to The Constitution State so you can weigh your options.
Pros of Living to Connecticut
Neighboring Big Cities.
With Boston and New York just a stone’s throw away, if you want a taste of the big city and a slice of excitement, it’s quite convenient to jump in the car and spend a day, or a weekend in either of these major world cities. This also opens up the doors to additional work and career opportunities within commuting distance, while still living outside of the expensive city limits.
There are three major educational bodies in the state; The University of Connecticut, The United States Coast Guard Academy, and of course, the prestigious Ivy League Yale University. The community as a whole is comprised of an educated workforce with a motivated, career-oriented, white-collar vibe.
If you’re looking for a place to give your kids the best start in life, or if you simply like being surrounded by well-educated, driven, people, then Connecticut is the place to be.
All four seasons are stunning here in Connecticut. Christmas is picture-perfect, with its smattering of snow, and the spring brings some of the finest cherry blossoms in the nation. Summers are ideally spent by the over 100-mile stretch of coastline, and the fall is the perfect time for scenic drives and long hikes through the gorgeous foliage.
Cons of Living to Connecticut
The High Cost of Living.
When it comes to taxation, Connecticut ranks at 49th in the nation’s ‘most highly taxed states’, beaten only by New York. Gas prices can also be pretty high, and groceries and utilities are uncomfortably above the national average. Luckily, wages tend to be higher in The Constitution State which offsets the financial sting a little.
With its proximity to the sprawling urban hubs of NYC and Boston, much of Connecticut is blighted by traffic jams which can make your daily commute a bit of a nightmare. To top it off, neighboring states accuse Connecticut drivers as being some of the worst in the country.
The Cold Winters.
They may be beautiful, but winters in Connecticut can get pretty chilly indeed. Hartford sees temperatures plunge to an average of 17 degrees in the coldest months, and snowfall can be pretty heavy too. Make sure you’re prepared to shovel your drive pretty regularly for a few months a year.Need cheap moving supplies? Fast free delivery (May 25, 2020)
Connecticut Fun Facts & Strange Laws
Strange Laws in the State
Every state has a few weird and antiquated laws, and Connecticut is no exception. Let’s take a look at some of the stranger ones from the Constitution State.
It’s illegal to ride your bicycle at speeds over 65 miles per hour. But considering only two people in the history of man have ever achieved such a feat, it’s unlikely to get you pulled over.
Town records must not be kept in the same room where alcoholic beverages are sold. It’s also illegal to put them in a room which even has access to a bar or liquor store.
Pickles must bounce to be considered a pickle. That’s right, Connecticut lawmakers must take their pickles pretty seriously.
It’s against the law to dispose of used razor blades. What you do with them once they’ve been used, we’re not entirely sure.
It’s illegal to cross the street on your hands in Hartford. There must have been some rouge acrobats around in Hartford’s colorful history.
Beauticians in Waterbury are prohibited from whistling, humming or singing while providing services to a customer. Perhaps the hairdressers of the past had less than perfect pitch.
Christmas lights in Guilford must be white. The residents of this town feel pretty strongly about keeping Christmas classy.
Fun Facts About Connecticut
To wrap up our overview of moving to Connecticut, here are a few of the most interesting facts from the Constitution State.
- The first driving regulation in the nation was passed in Connecticut, way back when the speed limit was just 12 miles per hour.
- The author of the first-ever dictionary in the US, Noah Webster, lived in West Hartford.
- The first hamburger in the US was made in Connecticut.
- The Constitution State has a few other nicknames, including the Nutmeg State, the Provisions state and the State of Steady Habits.
- The oldest continually published newspaper in the US is The Hartford Courant.
- Connecticut is home to the smallest waterfall in the nation, Mill Pond Falls.
- In 1966 In Rocky Hill, CT, real-life dinosaur tracks were discovered.
Is Connecticut the Right Move for You?
There are many reasons to consider making the move to Connecticut. The state boasts a high standard of living, ample employment opportunities, small-town charm and natural beauty. From bustling city life to majestic mountain dropped landscapes and lush forests, the state has a little something for everyone.
Further Reading: Looking For More Moving To Connecticut Resources? Check These Articles Out!
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About the Author: Kris Lippi is the owner of ISoldMyHouse.com, the broker of Get LISTED Realty and an official member of the Forbes Real Estate Council. He actively writes about real estate related topics such as buying and selling homes, how-to guides for around the house and home product recommendations. He has been featured in Inman, Readers Digest, Fox News, American Express, Fit Small Business, Policy Genius, Lending Tree, GoDaddy, Manta as well as other major websites. Read more about us here.