Ohio has much to offer, earning it four illustrious nicknames. Whether you know it as the “Buckeye State,” the “Mother of Presidents,” the “Heart of It All,” or the “Birthplace of Aviation,” friendly people who love their sports and politics fill the state of Ohio.
As the birthplace of several presidents, aviation, and special chili, Ohio often experiences extreme climate and political mood swings, but you can still find a lot to see and do regardless of the season.
Boasting a great school and university system as well as a low cost of living, Ohio can seem like a Midwestern promised land with its outdoor activities and thriving arts and culinary scene. However, if you think Ohio might be the right move for you, we’ll give you 25 pros and cons of living in Ohio to help you make your decision.
Pros of Living in Ohio
There are many reasons why you should consider living in Ohio. We’ve outlined 18 of the best reasons below.
1. Low Cost of Living
Compared to other states, Ohio residents enjoy an affordable, low cost of living. Based on the national average score of 100, Ohio’s cost of living scores 82.6, putting it well below the national average. In fact, Ohio ranks as the 9th cheapest state to live in.
In Ohio, the median price for four-bedroom homes comes in at $150,000. With the median price for renting the same size at just over $1,000, you can invest in the financial security of a brand new home at a much cheaper rate than renting. Actually everything from housing to groceries to healthcare costs can be found cheaper in Ohio.
2. Booming Job Market
The Ohio economy has been making a comeback, sparking growth in the job market. If you’re looking for work, particularly in the medical, IT, manufacturing, and tourism sectors, Ohio may very well have an opening for you. Top employers include Berkshire Hathaway, Walmart, Cleveland Clinic Hospital System, Giant Eagle, and Honda Motor Company.
Positions experiencing growth currently include occupational therapist, home health aid, physical therapist, statistician, nurse practitioner and operations analyst. The highest-paid positions include those in the medical field, and the average hourly rate comes in at over $27. So if you’re looking for opportunities, especially in healthcare, see what Ohio has to offer.
3. Awesome Theme Parks
Ohio doesn’t just love theme parks, it takes pride in its theme parks. Cedar Point theme park in Sandusky, Ohio, has some world-class rides and has earned the title “Roller Coaster Capital of the World.” With 71 rides, including 18 thrilling roller coasters, you can find a variety of rides and fun for the entire family in one of the oldest and beloved theme parks in the country.
If you want a more centrally located park, King’s Island in Mason, Ohio, boasts the largest theme and water park in the Midwest. With 364 acres of thrills, food, and fun, you can spend an entire weekend at this park and find plenty to do every day. This park does an excellent job of providing rides for every age in both the theme park as well as the water park.
Ohio theme parks house amazing rides, but you can get your fill of delicious food as well as enjoy wonderful entertainment right inside the parks. You can always find shows, concerts, haunted mazes, and more that the whole family can enjoy.
4. Friendly People
The people in Ohio live up to the Midwestern tradition of nice, courteous, and polite. Unpretentious and understanding to a fault, you may find a stranger strike up a conversation with you while waiting to check out at the supermarket or offer help if you’re stranded on the roadside.
Genuine kindness and humility describe the citizens of Ohio. They will compliment you for the smallest thing and really mean it, and don’t be surprised if they bring over baked goods and casseroles when you first move in and if they find out someone feels ill.
When it comes to bringing food over, Ohioans can be pretty passionate about an Ohio namesake candy: buckeyes. Someone will bring you buckeyes. Actually, many people will probably bring you buckeyes. Thank them profusely and pig out on the peanut-butter fudge, chocolate-covered treat. One bite, and you’ll be just as passionate about this delicious Ohio treat. Of course, stay away from them if you’re allergic to nuts.
5. Amazing Food
You may not believe that you can find culinary delights in Ohio, but Ohio has a thriving food scene. Ohio cuisine brings diverse offerings to restaurants large and small across the state.
The rest of the country has begun to discover the dining destination that puts Ohio on the culinary map.
Restaurants in every major city, such as Toledo, Cincinnati, and Columbus house innovative chefs who churn out diverse menus and delightful food. You can taste incredible food from a wide variety of world cuisines in all parts of the state, and you can enjoy a great local scene as well. Large and small towns alike offer up classic comfort food favorites with Midwestern flair.
We can’t talk about food without mentioning Skyline Chili. The reason so many foodies have ignored Ohio for so long centers on Ohio’s love for Skyline Chili. The recipe originated with a Greek immigrant living in Cincinnati, and for decades, Ohio residents can’t think of chili done any other way. While some snub the city over its love of Skyline, we advise you don’t until you try it for yourself.
6. Best Beer Scene in the Midwest
Ohio takes beer very seriously. In fact, Ohio has nearly 300 breweries dotted across the state, offering a wide variety of pilsners, ambers, IPAs, and more. Think top shelf when you think of the beer scene in Ohio.
Unparalleled in the Midwest and rivaling the rest of the country, the beer scene not only boasts variety and size but also contributes greatly to the Ohio economy. The fourth-largest craft beer producer in the nation, Ohio continues to maintain an innovative network of brewers who have blazed a literal beer trail through the state.
7. Great School and University System
Ohio doesn’t just rank high in education, it ranks number 10 for its primary and secondary education programs. Primary and secondary students consistently test above the national average in STEM, reading, and writing.
If you ask the folks in Ohio why their education system ranks so high, they’ll point you to their immense, highly rated university system that attracts high-quality students who then populate the ranks of educators in the state.
Ohio can definitely boast some top-notch universities. With the likes of The Ohio State University, University of Dayton, Miami University, and University of Cincinnati, Ohio has plenty to offer for in-state higher education.
8. A Treasure Trove of History
Ohio has a rich history to explore. If you enjoy history, you can find plenty to check out around the state that covers major moments in world and national history. Check out the ancient mound builders of the Hopewell and Adena civilizations or pop over to the museum for the Wright brothers to learn more about the famous men who were the first to fly.
Since Ohio was the birthplace of seven different U.S. presidents, you can discover more about those men as well as visit the extensive stops for the Underground Railroad that ran through the state. Ten astronauts also call Ohio their birthplace, including John Glenn and Neil Armstrong. You can learn more at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum.
9. Ohio Residents Take Hot Dogs Seriously
Hot dogs may not sound like haute cuisine, but in Ohio, you will find a passion for hot dogs that comes straight from Ohio’s diverse culture. Large Polish, German, and Hungarian populations have made a home in Ohio over the decades. These cultures have helped shape the culture in the state, and have made hot dogs a regular sensation in this state.
From a simple dog in a bun at the ballpark to the elevated, innovative versions you can find in upscale restaurants, you can always find some form of a hot dog or sausage to eat around the state.
10. Extensive Parks and Outdoor Activities
Ohio provides a diverse landscape in every direction, offering a perfect environment for a wide variety of natural escapes and outdoor activities. Enjoy the shoreline of Lake Erie in the northern part of the state or check out the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains to the south.
With the amount of hills throughout the region you can take in the autumn colors, go biking in the spring, hiking in the summer, or tubing in the winter. The extensive national and state park systems offer breathtaking views and innumerable spots for outdoor activities, picnics, or simply hanging out and enjoying the weather.
During the spring, summer, and fall, you can take bide rides on the islands off the coast of Lake Erie, tour around them on a ferry, or swim and boat in the lake. While life in the Midwest may not make you think of island life, you can certainly enjoy it, Ohio style, in this state.
11. Amazing Amish Country
Home to the largest Amish population in the world, prepare to see horses and buggies pass you on the roadside when you’re close to Amish country. Although Amish country draws a lot of tourism, locals love to visit Amish country for quality handmade goods.
You can visit festivals, tour the country, share in the Amish experience, or eat at an Amish restaurant for a huge helping of from-scratch, belly-filling food. Find a local market for fresh farm offerings, or stop in a shop for a handmade basket, quilt, furniture, and more.
12. Accessible to Major Cities
Although Ohio has wonderful things to do and see, sometimes you just want to get away, especially in winter. Ohio’s easy access to major cities make it easy to hop a plane to Orlando, New York, or L.A., and the accessible interstate system conveniently cuts through the state, making driving to your destination even easier.
Located halfway between Chicago and New York, Ohio has earned its nickname, “Heart of It All,” reminding residents that although they can reach major cities with world-class offerings, they can avoid the everyday hustle and bustle that accompany these major metropolises.
13. Beautiful Architecture to Appreciate
For architecture lovers, Ohio presents a diverse list of interesting architectural visits. Ohio may not house castles and cathedrals that rival the likes of Scotland and Paris, but Ohio has some impressive architecture that Ohioans rightfully take pride in.
Springfield, Ohio, in particular, possesses some of the finest architectural examples in the country. Wealthy businessmen who lived in Springfield in the late-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century left their mark by building in styles that include Romanesque, Renaissance Revival, and Italianate.
Springfield also boasts the Westcott House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and just a quick glance around both large and small cities, and you can find anything from grand, classic cathedrals to unconventional architecture, such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
14. Thriving Arts Scene
Much like the food scene, outsiders seem surprised at the vibrant, robust arts scene in Ohio. Considering the amount of different cultures that immigrated to this state over the decades, people shouldn’t be shocked over the elevated level of arts available around the state.
Considered “fly-over country,” Ohio boasts a sophisticated and thought-provoking arts scene. You can view art at both the Toledo Museum of Art as well as the Columbus Museum of Art, and some hotels and convention centers even have installations scattered around their site.
Home to America’s largest resident theater company, Ohio also offers all kinds of performing arts that you can enjoy year round. From ballet to Broadway shows or jazz bands to full orchestral performances, you can always find something to do in the Ohio arts scene.
Ohio takes family-friendly to a whole new level. Not only can you find amazing outdoor activities to enjoy for all ages and abilities regardless of the season, but also, you have quality education, including primary, secondary, and university programs.
Considering the low cost of living, positive job rates, and the accessibility to quality healthcare, such as the renowned Cleveland Clinic, Ohio makes a great spot to buy a house and raise a family.
16. Millennials Love It in Ohio
The median age for Ohio residents happens to fall right into the Millennial range, and we don’t think it’s a coincidence. With the great university system and job opportunities, Millennials can come to Ohio to get advanced degrees or find jobs.
Considering the amazing beer and culinary scene, Ohio has much to offer the Millennial crowd. From hipster Columbus, the thriving arts and cultural scene, and an immense array of outdoor activities, the Millennials can find plenty to keep them busy after work.
With the rush of campaigns descending on Ohio each political cycle, this swing state offers Millennials the opportunity to engage in politics in ways that are meaningful to them and impactful to society.
17. Football Has a Cult Following
Just like football in the South, the sport has a passionate following in Ohio. As an unwritten rule, you cheer for The Ohio State every weekend. Like all sports fans, you can enjoy a sense of camaraderie whether you tailgate on Saturday afternoon or hang out in a bar to watch the game. Just don’t ask your neighbor to help you on a project when the Buckeyes play. Everyone stays glued to the TV.
The same cult-like following applies to the professional football teams. Ohio actually has two pro teams, and the fans all think they cheer for the best one. Whether you fall in line with the Cleveland Browns or the Cincinnati Bengals, you must pick a side if you live in Ohio.
18. Cool Things to See and Do
No matter where you go in Ohio, you can find plenty of cool things to visit. Whether you enjoy sports, music, animals, or the great outdoors, Ohio has something for you.
Check out a few of the coolest things to do around Ohio:
- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- Pro Football Hall of Fame
- A Christmas Story House Museum
- Columbus Zoo
- Hocking Hills State Park
- Put-in-Bay Island in Lake Erie
Related: Advantages to Living in Akron, Ohio
Cons of Living in Ohio
On the other hand, there are also some reasons why living in Ohio may not be for you. These include harsh weather in both the summer and winter, political division and low ethnic diversity.
19. Political Division
Known as a swing state, Ohioans treat politics pretty much like they treat their sports teams. The political machine sees diehard Republicans and Democrats setting up clear boundaries in this battleground state.
Because this battleground state can swing federal elections one way or another, Ohio receives a hefty dose of political ads and campaign hopefuls making their way through the state every election cycle. However, while the political divide brings national attention to the state, it also provides a diversity of thought and political ideas.
20. Equally Harsh Summers
Summers make you feel like you’ve entered winter in reverse. Instead of frigid temperatures, you contend with weeks filled with high heat and humidity. Residents of Ohio can even experience triple-digit temperatures in the summer. The harsh conditions usher in thunderstorms, often with torrential rain, and the occasional tornado.
21. Harsh Winters
Like the political climate, the seasons in Ohio can swing just as brutally. While many complain that winters in Ohio tend to be severe, to be fair, every season has its share of extreme conditions. Winters, however, see especially harsh conditions with plenty of snow, especially in the north with lake effect snow. You may also fight the occasional blizzard and extremely frigid temperatures.
22. You Must Say, “Pop,” Not “Soda”
Okay, so this may not seem like a big deal. Every region has its own customs even in language, but seriously, don’t order soda unless you actually want to be served soda water. Carbonated drinks must be ordered as “pop.” Although you will find Ohioans to be some of the nicest people you ever meet, you may get a weird look if you ask for “soda” when you really want “pop.”
23. Quirky and Downright Weird Laws
We doubt anyone will get arrested for killing a housefly near a church without a license or for getting fish drunk, but the point remains clear. Ohio has some weird laws. So before you go out to roller skate, let your local law enforcement know. It would be illegal not to.
Now you know everything you need to make an informed decision about moving to Ohio. Maybe you’re inspired by the famous people born and raised in the Buckeye State, and you want to give its low cost of living and great job opportunities a try.
Regardless of how you decide, Ohio definitely has a lot going for it. With a beautiful landscape, friendly people, and so much to see and do, Ohio makes a great option as a place to live or just visit.