Missouri's welcoming atmosphere, cultural richness, and scenic beauty are complemented by job opportunities, affordable housing, despite some challenges like lower wages, making it a captivating destination for those seeking a balanced blend of charm and opportunity.Missouri's welcoming atmosphere, cultural richness, and scenic beauty are complemented by job opportunities, affordable housing, despite some challenges like lower wages, making it a captivating destination for those seeking a balanced blend of charm and opportunity.Lifestyle

25 Pros and Cons of Living in Missouri

Back To Index

One of the most wonderful things about Missouri was the fact that it was the home of Samuel Clemens, who wrote under the pen name of Mark Twain. “Mark Twain” was slang used as a call out by riverboat workers checking with a rope and a weight for the depth of the river. Twain means two fathoms (about 12 feet) of water, making that part of the river passable.

Before he was a writer, Samuel Clemens worked as a riverboat pilot traversing the Missouri River that runs down the middle of the state. His work as a riverboat pilot came to a halt because of the Civil War. This was lucky for those who enjoy his books about Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, and Ole Jim. Twain became more famous for his wonderful stories using his river experiences as the backdrop.

Some of his quotes are hilarious, such as “Never argue with stupid people; they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

Missouri is the “show-me” state, which means the people are naturally skeptical and want things that are reliable. The phrase is attributed to Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver (1897 to 1903), who did not take things for granted and, instead, demanded that his opponents stop blabbering rhetoric and show him proof.

Another name for the state is the “Cave State” because it has magnificent caves. If you are a spelunker (cave explorer), you will love the terrain full of natural caves formed in the dolomite and limestone. If you like rivers and lakes, you will love living here. Even though Missouri is landlocked, it has the Lake of the Ozarks with more shoreline than is found in the entire state of California.

The state is around the middle for many things. Missouri is the true heart of America in the Midwest, surrounded by eight states. It was the 24th state to join the United States. It is the 21st state in terms of size and 18th in population.

The state has historical significance and was part of the Lewis & Clark expedition in the early 1800s that spanned the Midwest from St. Louis to pass down the Yellowstone River and reach the limits of the northwest at Ft. Clatsop on the Pacific Coast. The expedition began in 1804 when President Thomas Jefferson asked Meriwether Lewis to explore the land west of the Mississippi River, acquired during the Louisiana Purchase.


Missouri has great people, great food, and great natural beauty. The economy is strong. There are plenty of jobs, and the cost of living is manageable. With terrific local wine, superb hand-crafted beer, casinos, and world-class entertainment in Branson, what’s not to like in this state?

1. Friendliness

There are many deserving accolades to note about Missouri, but by far, the friendliness of the people who live there is the best characteristic of the state. If your car breaks down on the highway in a blizzard, don’t be surprised if someone stops to help you. That is just the natural way Missourians like to act. They have a good attitude and try to be helpful in general.

2. Jobs

There are plenty of jobs in Missouri. The unemployment rate is 3.3%, which is lower than the national average of an unemployment rate of 3.7% (Jan. 2024). The industries offering the most jobs are mining, logging, construction, mills, professional services, financial, leisure/hospitality, education, and health services. The fastest-growing sectors in terms of employment are information technology, healthcare, and mills.

3. Affordable Housing

The cost of housing is very affordable at a median sales price of less than $250,000, which is about $200,000 lower than the national average. Rental homes and two-bedroom/one-bath apartments are available for less than $1,000 per month.

4. Low Cost of Living

Consumer Affairs ranks Missouri as the 7th most affordable state. The low cost of living comes from modest housing costs and lower prices for other goods and services, such as utilities and groceries.

5. Slower Pace of Life

The relaxed lifestyle and friendliness of the people create a mixture of Midwestern politeness with a dollop of Southern-like charm. It is easy to live here and get along with others. A healthy work-life balance is embraced by most.

6. Natural Beauty

Missouri is naturally beautiful. There are the Ozarks, lakes, forests, plains, farmlands, rolling hills, and scenic landscapes. There are six national parks and almost a hundred state parks. The national parks are Gateway Arch National Park, Ozark National Scenic Riverway, George Washington Carver National Monument, Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, and Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

7. Outdoor Recreation

At the state and national parks, there are many recreational opportunities that include hiking, mountain biking, camping, fishing, hunting, boating, and canoeing. You can go swimming, and there are rivers you can float down on an inner tube. Hunters go after deer and wild turkeys in premium hunting areas. The freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams are loaded with catfish, bass, trout, crappie, and walleye.

8. Centralized Location

Because the state is in the middle of America, it is easy to travel to other states. All the major cities are within driving distance. Driving from the western border at Kansas City via I-70 is only 248 miles to get to the eastern border of St. Louis. You can drive across the state from west to east in less than four hours. The same goes for the north-to-south direction, which is 294 miles from Kirksville, MO (north) to Branson, MO (south).

9. Delicious Food

The most famous delicious food is Kansas City-style barbecue. Restaurants have a family-style menu where a large group can chow down on massive amounts of slow-cooked meats and side dishes. Comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes with gravy, and gooey butter cake are popular. Toasted ravioli is deep-fried. St. Louis-style pizza has a thin crust and is cut into squares.

10. Cultural Experiences

Cultural experiences include plays and musicals in theaters. There are museums, historical monuments, and vintage architecture to explore.

11. Wine

In the past, Missouri was the second-largest producer of wine in America. Prohibition destroyed the wine-making industry in Missouri because of the many years needed for vineyards to grow and mature. It took a long time for the state to regain its reputation for producing fine wines. The varieties of Norton, Vignoles, and Chambourcin are now considered some of the best Missouri wines made from local grapes.

12. Beer

Many immigrants from Germany came to Missouri during the 19th century. Along with them came the expertise in producing delicious beer. More than 6% of the state's gross domestic product (GDP) comes from beer production. The Missouri company, Anheuser-Busch, has a market share of about 40% of the American beer market. It has the largest beer manufacturing facility in America.

On top of manufacturing beer for the mass national market, there are plenty of local craft beer breweries that make tasty beer. Have a mug with a bratwurst (sausage) at a local Hof Brau (brewery and restaurant) for a fun time.

13. Light Traffic

You will want to own a car to get around; however, there is not much traffic in the state except in the big cities. Even in Kansas City, the traffic is manageable, with an average commute time of 23 minutes. Be sure to leave a bit of extra time to figure out the crazy highway exits or have a good GPS guidance system to navigate them.

14. Thriving Arts Scene

There are many local artists and a thriving art scene in St. Louis and Kansas City. Enjoy the art museums, the vibrant private galleries, and the art centers, which host many art festivals and exhibitions. Two “must-see” places worth visiting are the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. Both museums feature extensive collections of art.

15. Music

Missouri is known for its thriving music scene and for being the birthplace of uniquely American musical styles such as Kansas City Jazz, St. Louis Blues, and Ragtime. St. Louis and Kansas City produced many famous musicians, such as Chuck Berry, Miles Davis, and Charlie Parker. Today, these cities continue to attract musicians and music fans from around the world. You can enjoy venues ranging from small jazz and dinner clubs to large arenas hosting concerts by world-famous musicians.

16. Educational Institutions

Missouri has many respected universities, including the University of Missouri, Missouri State University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Webster University, Southeast Missouri State University, Columbia College, Drury University, and Park University.

17. Four Distinct Seasons

There is the enjoyable change of seasons that go from warm summers to colorful autumns to snow-filled winters and to a blossoming springtime after the winter thaws. Each season has its own fun activities to enjoy.

18. Affordable Utilities

The lower cost of utilities is generally appreciated when you heat your residence in the winter and cool it off with air-conditioning in the summer. There is plenty of low-cost water if you need to fill your swimming pool or water your lawn in summer.

19. Scenic Drives

One pleasant thing to do in Missouri is to take a long drive on the state’s scenic byways. It is fun to explore the backroads and visit the small towns.

20. Festivals

There are plenty of annual music festivals to attend, such as the ReKinection Festival, Bluegrass in The Bottoms, Boulevardia Festival, Dancefestopia, Back Forty Bluegrass Festival, Crossover Music Festival, and the Mid-America Music Festival. There are also county festivals and the Missouri State Fair.

21. Business Opportunities

Missouri's business climate is strong, and the state is home to several famous businesses, which include Panera Bread, Emerson, Enterprise Holdings, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Edward Jones, Bass Pro Shops, Anheuser-Busch, Hallmark Cards, and Monsanto.

22. Historical Sites

A notable historical site is the Gateway Arch. It was built to commemorate the role of the city as the gateway to the west during the westward expansion of the United States. There are also plenty of historical sites. Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield and the Battle of Lexington State Historic Site are important parts of the history of the Civil War.

23. Entertainment

Branson, MO, offers major casinos and calls itself the “live entertainment capital of the world.” Rivaled only by Las Vegas and, to a lesser degree, Atlantic City, Branson is a destination location for plenty of adult fun.

24. Arts & Crafts

The Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View is a living history museum featuring traditional Ozark arts, crafts, and music. Many communities preserve traditional arts and crafts like pottery making, quilting, and folk music.

25. Riverboat Ride

You can still take a ride on the Mississippi River in a riverboat and have a great time, especially along the St. Louis Riverfront, with fine dining onboard and a marvelous view of the Gateway Arch.


It may be helpful to know about the potential downsides of living in Missouri, so you can avoid the problems and be better prepared to move there. Some people love small-town USA communities for the friendly people and the slower pace. Others hate it for the same reasons. Friendly people can also be nosy people trying to find out your vulnerabilities, so they can gossip about them to others. A slow pace may also be interpreted as a town with nothing to do. The point is that some characteristics are interpreted differently by people with diverse opinions. All of these generalities may not represent everyone's direct experience and unique circumstances.

1. Low Wages

The low cost of living in Missouri generates economic conditions that depress wages, so what you may earn for the same job in this state is lower when compared to other states. The difference between somewhat lower wages and the benefits of having a low cost of living needs to be analyzed together to create a full financial picture of what you may experience while living in the state.

2. High Crime Rates

There are parts of the state and bad neighborhoods in the big cities where the crime rate is very high. It is best to search for the crime rate on a system like Areavibes to determine how dangerous it may be where you are thinking about living.

3. Gangs

Gangs are active in the big cities of St. Louis and Kansas City. Illegal drug labs are a problem in the rural areas. Because of its centralized location, it is a criminal hub for the transport of illegal drugs and the unlawful export of American-made guns sent to the drug cartels in Mexico.

4. Rural Poverty

Another reason for the crime in the rural areas is the poverty. The poverty rate in the state is 13.2%, which is a bit higher than the national average. Some counties in the southcentral and southeastern parts of the state have poverty rates higher than 20%. Three counties in the Bootheel area have poverty rates greater than 25%. For comparison, the big city of St. Louis has a poverty rate of 22.8%.

5. Natural Disasters

Missouri has floods, tornadoes, and, surprisingly, earthquakes. From December 1811 to April 1812, more than two thousand earthquakes hit the Mississippi River Valley, which were some of the strongest in American history, reaching up to 8.8 on today’s Richter scale. They were so strong they caused a fluvial tsunami on the river that made the river current temporarily flow backward. There are still earthquakes in contemporary times; however, they are mostly little ones that cause no harm.

6. Bad Weather

Missouri has the change of the four seasons, which some find delightful. Others dread when spring turns to summer because that means it is going to get humid and hot. It seems like it rains all the time, and thunderstorms frequently turn into tornadoes. If you hear the tornado warning siren, take it seriously and find the nearest underground storm shelter. Don’t think that your car will protect you because you may be taken up by a tornado and thrown back down miles away. Winters in Missouri are thought by some to be a beautiful winter wonderland. Others hate the below-freezing temperatures that are so cold your car won’t start, and the roads may close when the snow and ice hit.

7. Worst States List

A 2018 survey by CNBC ranked Missouri as one of the worst states in America. CNBC gives a ranking score by measuring crime, environmental quality, health care, worker protections, anti-discrimination laws, voting rights, childcare, and reproductive rights. The state was 4th on the list of the worst states that year, which is better than 2016 when it ranked as the 2nd worst state after Texas. The 2023 report lists Missouri as the 6th worst state in America, so it is still bad but improving. Missouri scored poorly because of the high crime rate, the lack of reproductive rights, and the lack of equality.

8. Bugs and Pests

The hot, humid summers, along with abundant wetlands and woodlands, are the perfect breeding grounds for biting insects like mosquitoes, ticks, and horseflies. They are disease transmission vectors. Mosquitoes spread the West Nile virus. Ticks cause the spread of Lyme disease. Using insect repellant, wearing protective clothing, and checking for ticks after walking outside in the woods is important. Spiders are abundant also, including poisonous ones like the brown recluse or black widow. If you live in a rural area and have chickens or livestock, you will find yourself in a constant battle with mice, rats, shrews, snakes, squirrels, foxes, raccoons, and even armadillos.

9. Lack of Professional Sports Teams

If you love professional sports, you will be disappointed about Missouri because many of the professional teams left the state for better deals elsewhere. Four football teams left, including the Rams, who went to Los Angeles. Three basketball teams, two hockey teams, and two baseball teams also left. The former Missouri teams that moved include the Braves, Cardinals, Scouts, Hawks, Pistons, Barons, Colts, and the A’s. Sports fans in Missouri mostly must make do with expressing their team spirit for the few remaining professional teams, minor teams, and college sports.

10. Poor Health Care System

Missouri’s public health care system ranks poorly. Healthcare is better and more available in the big cities. Access to healthcare is terrible in rural communities. Many of the rural hospitals and clinics have closed. Prenatal and postpartum care for pregnant women is lacking, especially in low-income areas with sparse populations. More than 11% of the state’s residents do not have any health insurance coverage.

11. Unhealthy Obese People

People who live in Missouri are more likely to have health problems than residents of other states. Nearly 20% of adults in Missouri are smokers, resulting in many excessive deaths from cancer. This problem with cancer, along with the rates of heart disease and stroke, are all higher than the national average. The lack of access to quality healthcare exacerbates these problems. There are many who live in the state with no treatment for their chronic diseases. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and morbid obesity are common. Missouri ranks 12th in the nation for the number of these life-threatening conditions.

12. Allergies

The high amount of seasonal allergies experienced by people living in Missouri is not as bad as other chronic conditions, yet it is still annoying. Missouri is the 15th worst state for those with allergies. During spring, the pollen count can go sky-high. You can see the profusion of pollen in the air that covers everything with a yellow cloud of dust. People have allergic reactions to pollen from trees such as oak, ash, and hickory. When outside, eyes will water along with the sneezing and congestion that comes from reactions to grasses and weeds. The high humidity levels in Missouri encourage mold growth, which negatively impacts indoor air quality, also contributing to allergy symptoms.

13. Property Taxes

Housing costs are reasonable and good value; however, property taxes are 1% of the tax assessor’s value, which can be a big annual payment or add considerably to your monthly mortgage payment.

14. Low Median Household Income

Missouri’s median household income is $65,982, which is approximately 11% less than the national median of $74,606.

15. Conservative Politics

Missouri is a red state, which means it is heavily in favor of Republicans. Republican voters make up the majority of around 57% of the registered voters. Although the people are friendly, if you bring up politics in casual conversation and you are not a Republican, you will probably quickly feel unwelcome. It is best to keep your political opinions to yourself unless you are amongst your “kind.”

16. Higher Income Taxes

Missouri has a progressive income tax system. The more money you earn, the more taxes you will pay. State taxes are low for low-income filers but rapidly increase to 4.8% for higher-earning filers. The top state tax rate of 4.8% applies to anyone earning a decent wage. It also applies to retirees. Any withdrawal from any retirement account is fully taxed. Earnings from a public pension are partially taxed, and earnings from a private pension are fully taxed.

17. High Sales Tax

The Missouri sales tax rate is more than 4%. You must add to this rate the average local tax rate, which is another 4%. This means you pay more than 8% of sales tax on purchases. While the cost of living is lower than the national average, you still pay more sales tax than many other states.

18. Poor Road Conditions

Missouri has an active transportation system, with lots of big trucks hauling stuff on the highways because of its centralized location. However, the road conditions are poor, and the infrastructure lacks adequate maintenance. It is on the “needs repair” list as the 10th worst state in America for bad roads. Around one-quarter of the roads are in terrible condition.

19. Limited Public Transportation

Missouri has very little public transportation in rural areas. The larger cities have bus systems and ridesharing. Some have light-rail trains. However, the rural communities have nothing in terms of public transportation. You need to have a car to get around in rural Missouri.

20. Landlocked

Missouri is landlocked and surrounded by eight other states. It has no access to any ocean. The state’s geography is made up of rolling hills, wide flat plains, and dense forests. People who enjoy outdoor water-based activities like swimming or boating are restricted to using the lakes and rivers.

21. Weird Laws

Missouri has some strange laws on its books. It is illegal for someone under the age of 21 to throw out the trash if it contains an open, empty alcohol container. They can be charged with alcohol possession for an open container. Four or more unrelated women cannot share the same rental apartment because of the anti-brothel laws. It is illegal to honk your horn because you might scare horses. Dancing is illegal in Purdy, Missouri. Do you remember the movie Footloose? This is the real-life version.

22. Farms Have a Stench

There are many farms in Missouri, easily more than 100,000. They spread across more than 28 million acres. Livestock and poultry account for more than half of the agricultural output. Driving through Missouri farm areas with the windows down is not recommended, especially on hot days. The stench from the animal manure can be overwhelming.

23. Hillbilly Mentality

Having a down-to-earth, kind nature can be short-circuited by those stereotyped hillbillies from the Missouri Ozarks who may also have small-mindedness and a lack of acceptance of diversity. Nearly 85% of the state’s residents are white people. Sometimes the richer “city” white people may look down upon the poorer, rural, hillbilly white people. Missourians don’t take the hillbilly mentality too seriously and like to make fun of it sometimes, as in this joke. Two hillbillies were sitting on the front porch sipping homemade moonshine when a flatbed truck passed by loaded up with grass sod. One hillbilly saw the truck carrying the grass and exclaimed, “There’s what I’d do if I win the dern lottery.” “Do wut?” asked the other hillbilly. “Well, if I was rich, I’d send my lawn out to git mowed.”

24. Boring Small Towns

Young people can be bored when living in a small Missouri town because there is nothing for them to do that they might consider exciting. Over 90% of the farms in Missouri are family-owned and operated. Youngsters do not necessarily want to grow up to be farmhands. Many can hardly wait for the time they are adults so that they can get away from a small town and the “everybody knows your business” attitude. There are interesting things to do in Kansas City and St. Louis, so that is often where they first move to escape the boredom of small-town life.

25. Flyover State

Show an average high school student a map of the United States. If they never visited Missouri, they may have a difficult time picking the state out on the map. Did you know the capital of Missouri is not Kansas City or St. Louis? It is Jefferson City, with a population of only 43,228 (2020 U.S. Census). A flyover state is slang used to describe the states in the middle of the country that are overlooked and may be disregarded by the people on both the eastern and western coasts. However, anyone who takes the time to get to know Missouri and the people who live there will probably discover many wonderful things.

Saying Goodbye

Do you get a good feeling that you know more about Missouri than you did before? We hope so. Here’s one more tip. When visiting friends and family in Missouri and it is time to say goodbye to them, there is an extended ritual made of the process. When you know it is time to leave, but also you will not go just yet, stand up and do the “welp.” The welp is halfway between saying goodbye to leave and staying just a little longer. By standing, you give the signal that it is time for hugs. Everyone gets a hug in the Midwestern goodbye, including grandparents, babies, uncles, cousins, strangers, and even the family dog. Hugs are heartfelt and drawn out. Only after you make sure that everyone in the room gets a big, warm hug is it permissible to make your way to the exit door. That is the true nature of a Missouri farewell, which is genuine, satisfying, and leaves no room for regrets.

Your Ultimate Guide to a Sparkling Home

Your Ultimate Guide to a Sparkling Home

Read More
Protect Your Wine Collection With These Storage Tips

Protect Your Wine Collection With These Storage Tips

Read More
Guide to Renting Storage Unit for the First Time

Guide to Renting Storage Unit for the First Time

Read More
Our Storage Locations:
USAFind Your State

Reach Out

Follow Us

All offers subject to change without notice. All fees are non-refundable. Special and discount pricing offered only on selected units and subject to availability. Special offer applies only to the rental fee. Other restrictions, taxes, tenant protection and fees, including an administrative fee, apply. See lease for full details. Special or discount pricing good for new customers only. Not available on transfers or additional spaces. Reservation and paid reservation fee required to guarantee price. Actual unit sizes may vary from approximate size estimate on website. Please inspect any unit before renting. Online pricing available only for online reservations and rentals. Lease is a month to month lease prorated the first month only, the final month runs until last day of the month.

Copyright 2024 © Storage Rentals of America. All Rights Reserved.