New Orleans natives will be the first to tell you that the city is not for everyone. You may be drawn to the lively energy of the city, but Leslie Heindel is a fifth-generation New Orleanian here to warn you. She personally admits to loving her home, but firmly thinks no one should move there without knowing what they’re getting into.
Everyone expects cities to be a little dirty, expensive, and crowded, but New Orleans is a different story. They are notorious for massive amounts of bugs; it’s not a place for the faint of heart. The city is also extremely loud. It’s not the safest city to live in. However, the city does offer genuine charm in its diversity, parties, music, food, and so much more. New Orleans can make a fantastic vacation destination instead of a new home.
Onto our third Texas city, Waco. The city’s reputation has suffered for years. In 1993, David Koresh started a cult that ended in a deadly standoff with the ATF. Men, women, and children all lost their lives that day in Waco. This tragedy is what most people think of when they hear “Waco,” but it’s known for plenty of other reasons. For instance, it’s known for its steadily raising rates of violent crime. The town with some of the highest crime rates in the country, Bellmead, is right next to Waco.
Waco has very high poverty rates and many abandoned buildings. Texas brings inconveniences like heat, allergies, and pollution, and Waco is no exception. The city is known particularly for being covered with litter. If you love Texas, want to live there, and are stuck between cities, almost any place will be better than Waco.
For a city renowned for its progressiveness, native Californian Mimi found it surprisingly hostile. It quickly became clear to her that Portlanders resent outsiders. The reasoning is unclear, but it’s most likely because a big influx of newcomers raises rent for everyone. Mimi heard over and over “Go back to California.” A man at the DMV made fun of her California license plate. Her partner, who was from New Zealand, experienced the same rejection. Everyone not born in Oregon is an unwelcome outsider.
Portland is limited in jobs. If you work in the service industry, you’re golden, just remember that as more people move there, rent continues to rise. Furthermore, Portland is predominately white and offers little diversity. If you enjoy drinking clean water, Portland probably isn’t for you. The water is fluoride-free and multiple times has suffered a pathogenic bacteria infiltration. Portland has quite a positive reputation, but in reality, it comes with many downsides.
Nashville has exploded with growth over the last few years. It’s always been the dream destination for up-and-coming musicians, but now it’s a melting pot of newcomers from all over the country. Ryan Waggoner, an NYC native, moved to Nashville for 3 years, then moved back to New York. He expected something similar, if not perfect, to New York, but he was in for a total culture shock.
The first surprise was the cost of living. Being from New York, it was cheaper than what he was used to, but still far higher than he expected. Second, it wasn’t nearly as walkable as he expected. The walkable parts are always crowded, and large portions of the city don’t even have sidewalks. Getting around town requires a car. The last, and worst reason, is Nashville cannot handle the growth they currently experience. The constant building of infrastructure worsens traffic, there aren’t enough houses for everyone, and everything is crowded. Nashville has its charms, but Waggoner sincerely regretted moving out of New York.
Atlanta rates as the 4th worst city in the country for bugs, and if that’s not reason enough to stay away, I don’t know what is. Another unwalkable city, you’ll need a car to get around the urban sprawl. Public transport is lacking; the city is massive and the few train lines don’t cover much of it. If you come from the coast, you’ll struggle in Atlanta. There are very few water features near the city.
The bugs harbored in Atlanta are more than just a fun fact. In every article citing the downsides of the city, bugs are always mentioned. No matter how clean you keep your home, bugs will find a way in. The cockroaches you’ll be rooming with can grow unusually large, and a heavy cloud of mosquitos settles over the city in the summer. If you can’t handle sharing your home with some critters, you better pick a new moving destination.
Our second Florida city is surprisingly Miami. The city is popular with tourists and college kids, but it is far better as a vacation than a permanent residence. Newcomers struggle with several things, the first being “Miami Time.” You will have to accept that no matter what time you set plans, your Miami friends will be late. This can be frustrating for the naturally punctual. Speaking of Miami friends, good luck trying to make some. Miamians are not known for being friendly.
On a more serious note, Florida is hit far more by hurricanes than any other state. Buying investment property here is risky; you have no guarantee that it won’t get washed away. Speaking of weather, you won’t experience the seasons change here. It’s hot and it’s humid year-round, with summer broiling you alive. Miami is party city central, come enjoy it on your summer breaks, but think twice before packing up and moving there.
Do you enjoy insanely long commutes to your workplace? Then Riverside, California is the city you want to be in. Out of 330,000 residents, 1/3 of them leave the city for employment. Due to the commute to L.A., the traffic is insane. To top it all off, it is notorious for its ugly, urban sprawl and endless rows of strip malls. Speaking of L.A., the smog the city produces rolls over to Riverside on top of the smog it already produces. This creates a vast cloud of air pollution. If you want clean air, you’ll have to drive outside of the city.
Unemployment is very high in Riverside; at times its even worse than in Detroit. . Riverside’s best quality is its short distance from L.A. Whether you’re looking for a job, nightlife, activities, better food, or almost anything else, you’ll commute to L.A. Riverside is also comparatively cheaper than other parts of California. At the end of the day, Riverside is only worth living in if you love L.A., but don’t want to live in its heart.
St. Louis has long been known for its grand arch, but lately, its been known for something new: violent crimes. Your chances of being a victim of a violent crime in St. Louis is 1 in 50. That’s one of the highest rates in the country, making it one of the most dangerous cities in America. This is not a place you want to move to with your wife and kids.
Maddie Simpson moved to St. Louis for a year and discovered that the majority of young people who grew up there planned to leave the city. The reasons for leaving vary, but almost no one was motivated to stay. In fact, some visitors to St. Louis say it feels “dead.” St. Louis was ranked as one of the top most hated cities in the U.S. St. Louis may have once been a bustling city, but it has lost its spirit, and now everyone can’t wait to leave.
You may know Anchorage for its snow and natural landscape, but the city has many qualities that would take you by surprise. For starters, a surprisingly high cost of living, especially if you come from the Midwest. It’s normal to pay $5-6 for a gallon of milk, $4 for a gallon of gas, and so on. Another thing, if you love dogs, this is the city for you. If you dislike dogs, stay far, far away: nearly everyone in Anchorage has a dog.
Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, Anchorage is not a fashionable city. Function is king over all. Considering the heavy snow, diverse landscape, and wild animals, practical clothing makes perfect sense. Alaska is also so separated from the rest of the states, newcomers remark it sometimes feels like its own country. If you crave familiarity, comfort, and ease, you will regret moving to Anchorage, Alaska.
This year, Salt Lake City locals voted on reasons not to move to Salt Lake City. They came up with 17 reasons, and I’ll list the best ones here. The top reason was the stigma that comes with being a permanent resident. People think Salt Lake is divided into two groups: crazy liberals and rich Mormons. While this is not the case, you will automatically be categorized into one of those groups if you move there. The second major reason is the ever-growing crime rate. Salt lake city has a property crime score of 95, and the national average is 35.
The next reason is the student population. There’s a large number of college kids in Salt Lake, and everyone knows young people can be rambunctious. Lastly, the Mormon population has a heavy influence on alcohol regulation. One of their core beliefs is no alcohol consumption. As a result, it is illegal to serve alcohol before 11 am, and alcohol can’t be purchased anywhere on Sunday. If you like to let loose and drink, this is not the city for you.
Just like Salt Lake City, locals voted on the reasons you should not move to Charlotte, North Carolina. While Charlotte is known for its excellent schools, the funding is coming straight from your taxes. Even if you don’t have any school-aged kids, you’ll be paying for other people’s. In North Carolina, a private school costs about $10,000 per year in tuition. Furthermore, Charlotte is lacking in job opportunities. Unless you specialize in finance or tech, you’ll have a hard time landing a job. Even if one of those is your field, the hiring companies are picky and only look for employees with previous experience.
If you love delicious, unique food, stay as far as possible from Charlotte. They are not known for anything food-wise. Charlotte is known for their brewery scene, but locals report it does not live up to the hype. The brewing market is oversaturated and is not unique from each other. Furthermore, the brewery scene used to be geared towards the older crowd, and now younger folks have taken over, much to the former’s displeasure. If you want a city known for brews, Charlotte probably won’t meet your expectations.
Hawaii seems like a gentle, tropical paradise. Everyone dreams of visiting at least once, and many others dream of retiring there. You should visit, but think twice before moving there. There’s more to Honolulu than a few pretty beaches. For one, people who try to change the existing culture are miserable there. The locals are set in their ways and will view any pushiness as an entitlement. Once you are perceived as rude, absolutely no one will feel pressured to help you out.
If you’re coming to Honolulu to retire, good for you. If you’re coming as a young person, you will be hard-pressed to find a job. Remote work and hospitality are your only main options. Raising children is difficult in Honolulu; they will most likely have to move away to find jobs. The last reason, Hawaii is isolated. You may be drawn into its beauty now, but you will be very far from your relationships on the mainland. Honolulu is a wonderful city, but it’s much harder to live in than most imagine.
Omaha is known for two things: a great zoo and being located in Nebraska. If you move there, prepare to be bored. The most exciting thing that happens is the tornados that pass through. In fact, Omaha is situated right on the main path of “Tornado Alley.” The winters are cold, and the summers are rainy. People come to Omaha to buy cheap property, then get hit in the face with a high property tax.
Even born and bred Nebraskans agree Omaha is not worth moving to. While it harbors some great universities, the public schooling system is actually quite poor. Lastly, Omaha is very isolated. Even with an airplane, it takes several hours to get anywhere worth going, and longer by train or car. If you have any interest in traveling, Omaha is not the place for you.
D.C. has experienced a serious exodus. In 2020, 18,000 more residents left D.C. than the year before. This was probably due to the freedom that remote work gave them during the pandemic. D.C. has no lack of critics; hundreds of people responded to this thread explaining why they hate D.C. The top complaint in every big city is traffic, and of course, D.C. is no exception. The people are also known to be cold and unfriendly. One user even reported out of all the places they’ve lived, they found D.C. the hardest place to make friends.
Another major flaw with D.C. is everyone is required to pay federal taxes, and they have no representation in congress. This is wildly unconstitutional. Furthermore, 18% of residents live below the poverty line. Last, and the worst reason, is that your school or workplace dictates your social class in D.C.. This attitude helps people float through life on nothing but their reputation.
Last, but not least, we have Memphis, Tennessee. Even locals freely admit that Memphis is a terrible place to live, and they don’t understand why people move there. They’ve got everything: high crime rates, high poverty rates, limited public transport, and a shrinking population. Many residents just shift on over to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Residents also note that it’s less developed than other cities, getting staple chain corporations like Trader Joe’s later than other cities. It is about a two-hour drive for any outdoor activities. However, Memphis is not completely without upsides. Locals love the food, the music, and the energy of the city, but if you didn’t grow up there, it’s probably best to stay away.