A Guide to Moving to: Connecticut

(Everything you need to know - and more)

Downtown Hartford Connecticut Skyline

Maybe you’ve been toying with the idea of moving to Connecticut, but just a few pieces of the puzzle are still missing. Not to worry, friend, you've come to the right place.

No matter where you choose to move in Connecticut, make sure you're covered with an affordable home insurance policy.

We've taken the liberty of compiling this little guide to things we think you might like to know when contemplating a move to Connecticut. It’s full of facts, history, trivia, pros, and—yes—even some cons. So, without further ado, let’s talk about Connecticut.

Connecticut 101

Love nicknames? So does Connecticut. The 5th state earned the nickname The Provisions State due to their selfless behavior during the Revolutionary War, when they provided an abundance of materials to help keep the American Dream alive. 

Then there’s the nickname The Land of Steady Habits, which could be the most indifferent nickname ever given. It was coined due to the state's long-standing tradition of repeatedly electing the same officials to office. 

And let’s not forget The Constitution State, which was given because Connecticut’s Fundamental Orders of 1638/1639 where actually the first written constitution in history, not that other one from 1776—pfsh. 

But if you’re a pumpkin spice lover in the fall, like every other American millennial, you’ll love their nickname The Nutmeg State. They landed this one based on their storied nutmeg-peddling days. 

Connecticut already seems like a winner. After all, there’s gotta be a reason Meryl Streep, Daniel Day-Lewis and Ron Howard all live here. And, speaking of great American treasures, Connecticut is the birthplace of the hamburger, invented at Louis’ Lunch in New Haven in 1900. 

But it’s not just burgers and A-Listers here—no, no, no. Connecticut’s also home to the oldest published newspaper in the U.S., the Hartford Courant, former president George W. Bush, the first ever speed limit (which was 12 mph) and the oldest state house in the nation, which was creatively called the Old State House.

That's a lot of impressive history for the third smallest state in the country at only 5,543 square miles. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in neighborly proximity. They’re ranked fourth in population density with their 3,588,683 inhabitants. So rubbin’ elbows is definitely easy—hopefully with Ron Howard (he was Opie on The Andy Griffith Show, you know.)

Well, if that doesn’t quench your appetite for Connecticut info, don’t worry. You’re about to move on to our next course, JOBS! So clock in and sit tight, this is going to be fun.

Job Market

It’s pretty common knowledge that Connecticut is quite the well-to-do state. In fact, it's ranked sixth wealthiest for 2018. Still, the reputation for being expensive is legit, the cost of living here is sky-high. But luckily there are a number of things that help make life in this pricier state manageable. 

First, the current minimum wage is $10.10/hour, according to minimum-wage.org. And although it’s not the highest in the country, it’s still considerably higher than the federal minimum. With the increase of the minimum wage, the state's unemployment rate of 3.9% has been on a steady, though slight, decline over the past several years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Then there’s the job market overall. Some of the fastest-growing jobs in Connecticut these days include: operations analyst, web developer, nurse practitioner, business analyst, personal care assistant, software engineer and industrial mechanic.

And if you’re looking to sit really pretty, the highest-paying jobs include: anesthesiologist, OB/GYN, psychiatrist, surgeon, dentist, CEO and pediatrician. So while those in the medical field are currently making the most bank, it's good to see that several other fields are on the rise. 

With all that money you’ll be making in Connecticut, how are you gonna spend it? Let’s talk the housing sitch.

Housing

Now, chances are good that if you DO move to Connecticut, you'll need a place to stay. But with the high cost of living and population density, what’s the housing market like, you ask? Well, let's check it out. But get ready, we’re going to be spitting a bunch of numbers at you in hopes that it gives you an idea about whatever it is you’re looking for.

To start with, the median home value in Connecticut is currently $240,300, with home values 4.5% higher than the past year. Homes on the market are currently listed for an average of $327,950, and the median price for homes sold is $238,900. Or, if you just want to rent a house, the average is around $1,800/month.

But if you fear mortgages and real estate agents, you can always rent an apartment. You can find one-bedrooms for an average of $1,116/month in the state's capital, Hartford. 

On the higher side would be one-bedrooms in New Haven and Stamford for around $1,513/month. And then, on the lower side, you’ll pay around $996/month in Bridgeport or even $881/month in New Milford. The cost varies quite a bit, and unfortunately, where you live may not always be in your control.

In addition, there's no shortage of new construction in the Nutmeg State—it’s everywhere. The newest wave of development, however, is happening along the southwest strip—from Greenwich to Bridgeport and New Haven, with quite a bit going on near Waterbury and Hartford, too. The least happenin' part of Connecticut at the moment appears to be the east side, where you won't find a whole lot of new excitement. But hey, maybe that’s your thing.

Culture and Natives

The consensus about Connecticuters is that they're wealthy and well-educated. Of course, that’s what you get when you’re home to Yale University, one of the finest Ivy League schools–depending on who you ask. Apparently, half the population identifies more with New York, and the other half with New England. You'll find a mix of people here – from the “uppity” to the "down to earth" flannel fans.

Many would say that the hoity-toityness is pretty real, though. And the state can at times give off a strong highfalutin vibe (depending on where you are, of course). One real-life Connecticut resident complained about the "wannabees in green pants who act like they're in The Great Gatsby." But hey, chances are that you can find that in nearly every state. Or, if that’s your scene, then pack your bags, Jay Gatsby.

The vast majority of the population is made up of liberals. Connecticut was, in fact, the second state in the country to legalize gay marriage, just behind their fellow New Englanders in Vermont. The state's also a hot spot for ghost hunters—paranormal activity is on fire here. You can even see it in the film The Haunting in Connecticut, which is said to be based on a true story. 

You'll find a mix of "quintessential New England towns, ritzy suburbs and large inner cities" in Connecticut, according to the locals. You'll also be right on the doorstep of some gorgeous views with meadows, streams, fields and trees everywhere. Like all New England locals, they’ll rave alllll about the scenery, especially in the fall. The state only has about 100 days of sunshine annually, though. Summers are said to be hot and humid, and winters are very white. 

The small-town game is strong in Connecticut. The TV series Gilmore Girls featured a fictional small town called "Stars Hollow", set right in Connecticut. And from what “our friends” have seen, their representation of Connecticuters and their tight-knit townfolk wasn't too far off. So if that’s what you’re all about, get packin’, pal.

Constitution State Trivia

Connecticut's population is largely made up of people from other states. It's got one of the highest migration rates in the country. And being the meat inside of the Boston/New York City sandwich, you'd expect some pretty strong accents. However, surprisingly, that ain’t the case. Apparently the only area with a super-distinct accent of its own is Hartford. 

Along with the beautiful lush green flora comes the fauna. So careful on those highways, because deer don’t always follow traffic signs—they’re silly like that. Seafood is a huge diet staple among locals—especially clam chowder (New England style, of course) and lobster. Pizza is also huge in Connecticut, and there's a consensus that Hartford actually makes the best in the nation. 

There's no shortage of famous people born and/or bred here, too—aside from all the fictional characters of Gilmore Girls. Connecticut birth certificates were given to Meg Ryan, Katharine Hepburn, Glenn Close, Mark McGrath and Michael Bolton, just to name a few. With so many talented people hailing from the same place, this state seems like a potentially very smart option for starting a family. 

Speaking of movie stars, a fair number of movies were born right here too, including: The Stepford WivesRevolutionary RoadThe Thomas Crown AffairThe Stranger and Christmas in Connecticut.

Can't-Miss Connecticut Fun + Activities

No matter whether you're on the hunt for famous celebrities or just some really good pizza, there’s tons to see and do here.

Here just a few of the state's main attractions:

  • Lake Compounce Amusement Park: Opened in 1864, this is the longest-running theme park in North America. Lake Compounce has the highest-ranked wooden roller coaster in the world, the Boulder Dash, which opened in 2000. The amusement park also features Connecticut's largest water park, to help cool your jets after screaming your head off on the Earth's best wooden roller coaster. 
  • Mark Twain House/Museum: The former dwelling of the famous author Mark Twain is ranked among the best historic houses on the planet. This is the place where Twain wrote Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Even if you're not a fan of classic American lit, the Gothic architecture might still appeal to you. The tour features a glass conservatory, Twain's personal library and a billiard room. 
  • Gathering of the Vibes Festival: This annual four-day event, held in Bridgeport, celebrates the life of Jerry Garcia, the late lead singer of The Grateful Dead. Deadheads gather for multiple days of concerts, remembrance, and of course, to spread some good vibes.
  • Mystic Seaport Museum: The largest maritime museum in the US features ships, a seaport village with real buildings from the 1800s, art exhibits and a working shipyard. There's plenty of history to be absorbed, and when that wears thin, there’s shopping and dining, too. 
  • Gillette Castle: Located in East Haddam, this seriously cool castle was the home of the late William Gillette, the actor who played Sherlock Holmes on stage for many years. The castle has been preserved as a state park and sits above a beautiful hiking trail. The castle has some cool spy-ish surprises, too, like a set of mirrors that allowed Gillette to see into the main room from his bedroom (apparently so that he knew when guests arrived, and could make a dramatic entrance, what a diva). 

Pros and Cons of Conn

Now look, we could talk all day about the beautiful scenery and Gilmore Girls reruns, but wouldn’t you rather hear about Connecticut from ACTUAL Connecticotians?

Pros (as voted on by real Connecticut residents):

  • Well-educated people: Connecticut is the home of Yale University, the University of Connecticut and the United States Coast Guard Academy. Yale alone is one of the most prestigious universities in the world, and five former U.S. presidents went there. And all together, Connecticut was ranked number three on the list of the "10 Most Educated States in 2018" by CNBC. 
  • Close proximity to Boston and NYC: Should you get tired of the small town feel, you'll be within a day's drive to two of the country's biggest major metropolises—Boston and NYC. The convenience of getting your major city quota filled and then heading back to your quiet hometown within a day sounds like a pretty nice little perk, wouldn’t ya say? 
  • Natural beauty: Connecticut enjoys all four seasons each year. The warmer months bring cherry blossoms, the fall brings beautiful foliage, and come winter, the place looks like an ad for Christmas. We also need to mention the state's picturesque coastline, and the beautiful beaches and lighthouses that come with the turf. Totally gorge.
  • Vintage feel: With construction dating back to colonial times, cobblestone roads and picket fences, exploring Connecticut can feel like you've landed in a time warp. A few days of sightseeing here and you just might be asking yourself, "What year is it?"

Cons (as also voted on by real Connecticut residents):

  • High cost of living: Connecticut was ranked the 49th "worst state for taxes" in 2016, coming in next to last to New York. Gas prices here are among the highest in the country, in addition to the crazy property taxes. Wages are higher in Connecticut, but for many, that's not enough to make it affordable. 
  • Traffic: Connecticut’s highways are ranked among the worst in the nation. Aside from just the highways, other roads and bridges are getting pretty worn out, which contributes to a bad traffic problem. As if that wasn't enough already, Connecticut's drivers were voted the worst in the country in 2017 by EverQuote Insurance. Combine all of this with the state's proximity to the major metropolises of Boston and NYC, and you've got yourself one not-so-tasty recipe for terrible traffic. 
  • Cold: Many people who leave the state do so because of the cold. Winters in Hartford average 17.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Connecticut also sees a lot of snowfall each year. On the coastal side, Stamford has an average of 15.7 snow days, with 31.2 inches of snow accumulation. As for inland Connecticut, the area with the highest snowfall was Norfolk, averaging 40.1 days of snow each year and 78.4 inches of the powdery stuff. But that shoveling reeaaally helps keep that winter weight off.

Weird Laws

We’ve gone through some history stuff, some job things and all that. So to thank you for hanging out with us, we’ve got a nice little treat for you. And it’s a bit weird. These are actual Connecticut laws that we found too good to leave out. So enjoy.

  • Politicians can't campaign at a town dump. Too bad, it would certainly be an ironic choice of venue, though.
  • You can't walk backwards after sunset in Devon. They're probably just looking out for your safety. We have to wonder, though, is moonwalking at night allowed? (There doesn't seem like a more appropriate time.)
  • No eating in the car in Bloomfield. Well, at least there won’t be anymore stray French fries stuck between the seat and the center console.
  • It's illegal to dress like a clown with the intent to cause alarm. Considering the high amount of clown phobia that exists in the world, this law seems like it's trying to spare some people from years of trauma, nightmares and therapy. 

Bring on the Nutmeg (State) 

Alright folks, there you have it—our list of all things strange and awesome about Connecticut. We won't pretend we hit on all of your concerns, but we hope to have provided you with enough fuel to help rev up your decision-making engines.

So now it's up to you to decide if the beautiful scenery, smarty pants population, and all that cool colonial stuff is right for you. Just make sure you're covered with an affordable home insurance policy.

And hey, if not, we’ve got a whole series of these guides. Just pick a state and we’ll tell you all about it. Eventually you’ll find your perfect fit. And learn some great pub trivia answers, too.

NOTE: if you decide Connecticut isn't right for you, we've got a whole series of these guides to help you find the perfect spot. Ever thought about Texas?

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