So, you're considering moving to Indiana, but feel like you're a couple of confidence blocks short of a decision tower. Well, friend, you've come to the right place - we've done some of the hard work for you, and compiled a handy-dandy little guide to some of the biggest points of consideration from people looking to move to a new state.
Indiana means, "Land of the Indians" and is home to about 8,000 Native Americans. The official state nickname is "Crossroads of America", due to it having more interstate highway miles per square mile than any other state in the country. Its residents are referred to as "Hoosiers", and it's kind of an inside joke, as well as a national unsolved mystery, as to why - there are many theories in circulation, but none has ever been proven to be the official origin.
Much more than just a "fly over" state (as it is often jokingly referred to), Indiana also has more to see than just cornfields and flat plains. The state is home to state parks and state fairs, a highly anticipated annual sporting event - the Indy 500 - and a town called, "Santa Claus". There's plenty of quirkiness and small town charm here to make you want to actually land that plane.
No matter where you choose to move in Indiana, make sure you're covered with an affordable home insurance policy.
Not convinced yet, eh? Well then, read on to find out why about 6,699,629 people are currently calling themselves Hoosiers (according to worldpopulationreview.org). Hope you're hungry for some trivia - with a side of corn.
About 20,285 people moved to the "Land of the Indians" in 2016 - which continued the trend of the state's slowest population growth in three decades. Apparently, there's been a massive exodus of people from the Midwest to the South and especially the Southwest in recent years - due to weather, job opportunities, etc. With that said, what could the job market possibly be like, in this place?
For starters, the state has a low unemployment rate of 3.4%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Minimum wage is pretty unimpressive, however, matching the Federal limit of $7.25/hour, according to minimum-wage.org.
As far as career fields are concerned, some of the fastest-growing jobs in Indiana are occupational therapist, web developer, physical therapist, music therapist, nurse and home health aid. Some of the highest-paid positions include anesthesiologist, surgeon, psychiatrist and dentist.
Indiana was ranked #2 on the usnews list of "The 10 Most Affordable States" in 2018 - this place has a crazy-low cost of living. So, don't let that minimum wage worry you too much - you won't have to do much penny-pinching here.
One thing you'll probably want to do after moving to a new state is seek out a new home to live in (unless you're planning on sleeping in a tent). We know that Indiana's population isn't exactly growing at epic proportions lately, so what's the housing market like, then?
Well, the median home value in Indiana is $132,304, with homes on the market currently listed for an average of $167,400. Home values have increased a nice 8.3% over the past year. The median monthly rent price for a house is $1,000. You can fetch yourself a nice one-bedroom apartment in the state's capital, Indianapolis, for a crazy-affordable $731/month, or even go all-out for a two-bedroom at just $849/month.
They're not too far behind with their construction, either. Most homes still standing in the state were built between 1990-1999. However, there is an impressive amount of new construction popping up all across the state, mainly in central Indiana - in and around Indianapolis. There's also plenty of new stuff emerging around La Porte, Fort Wayne and New Albany.
Culture and Natives
Residents in the Crossroads of America like to say that there's a "small town vibe that follows you throughout the state", even in its biggest cities. Locals pride themselves on being friendly and maintaining lifelong friendships with the people in their hometown.
Those who have relocated to the state say that it can feel a little alienating at first to be the outsider when everyone else knows each other, but that you work/buy your way into those friendships eventually (perhaps by baking them some tasty treats or something).
Locals also boast that they feel safe in Indiana, and don't feel the need to lock their doors at all hours. Neighbors provide excellent hospitality to each other, as well as to outsiders. The state is home to massive amounts of country music fans, religious protestors and those Hoosiers who are just overflowing with state pride. So, the people here are a bit of a mixed bag.
There are plenty of residents who like to say that it rains/is overcast almost all the time, and that the sun hardly ever comes out. (It seems that it officially does rain about half of the year, with bestplaces.net reporting an average of 186 sunny days per year in Indianapolis.) There are plenty of other residents, still, who say that the state's weather is some of the best and mildest in the country - and that they wouldn't trade it for the world.
The Hoosier State is home to the first city to ever have been lighted by electricity - Wabash. More than 10,000 people gathered to witness this event in 1880. Another first that claims its home in Indiana is the country's first professional baseball game, which was played in 1871, in Fort Wayne.
The state is home to a few famous figures, from all ends of the spectrum, including the "King of Pop" Michael Jackson, country music star Crystal Gale, talkshow host David Letterman, retro badboy actor James Dean, rocker John Mellencamp (who still resides here) and infamous gangster John Dillinger. The town of Peru has an interesting and rich history with the circus business - both the Ringling Brothers and Buffalo Bill's Wild West shows originated here.
Also, the mystery about what it really means to be a "Hoosier", or more specifically, where the term originally came from and why, is real.
"Whatever its origin, the name of 'Hoosier' has had a lasting appeal for Indiana people and has acquired a quite enviable aura. For more than 100 years, it has continued to mean friendliness, neighborliness; an idyllic contentment with Indiana landscape and life,” said Walter Havighurst in his 1962 novel, "The Heartland".
In addition to having their own secret language, Hoosiers also have their own preferences and firmly held beliefs - for example, Steak 'n Shake is better than McDonald's - they'll argue this one to the death. There's rumored to be a Steak 'n Shake spotted on every street corner throughout the Crossroads of America.
As if that wasn't enough cultural spirit for you, there are also diehard sports fans living here. Notre Dame, Ball State and Indiana University all have fiercely loyal fans and supporters. The Indianapolis Colts have their own cult following, despite their last Super Bowl win having been back in 2007. Those Hoosiers never stop rooting for their home team.
Can't-Miss Indiana Fun + Activities
No matter your specific flavor of quirkiness, you can probably find something to do in Hoosierville. We've assembled a small list of top must-sees to prove that this is more than just a "fly over" state.
Here just a few of the state's main attractions:
- Indiana Dunes State Park: Consisting of "2,182 acres of primitive, beautiful, historic and unique Hoosier landscape," this park houses more than three miles of beach along the southern shores of Lake Michigan. The sand dunes took thousands of years to form and are a big draw for visitors. The park also features a black oak forest, wooded wetlands and a marsh - and claims to have "some of the most diverse flora and fauna in the Midwest". The park is located in Chesterton.
- Turkey Run State Park: The park's official website boasts that a trip here will allow you to "see how Indiana was shaped by ancient forces" and "discover ancient Indiana's remains". The park has ravines, sandstone gorges, hiking trails, campsites, bridle trails, historic sites and a nature center. There are long bridges and tall ladders to help provide a feel of real exploration. There's also a river that provides canoeing and fishing. This park can be found in Marshall.
- Covered Bridge Festival: The largest festival in Indiana is located in Rockville. The town has brick-lined streets and antique shops that offer a certain charm, and the festival features a large tent on the courthouse lawn as well as vendors and crafters along the surrounding streets providing shopping, entertainment and (of course) food.
- Lotus World Music + Arts Festival: Held in Bloomington, this annual festival spans four days of music and art. The festival's official website states that the mission of the event is to "create opportunities to experience, celebrate and explore the diversity of the world's cultures through music and the arts". The town's streets are lined with visual art, while visitors' ears are filled with the music of its many performers.
- The Indy 500: Known as the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing", 2018 will hold the 102nd iteration of the annual sporting event in Indianapolis. The race is 200 laps long, spanning a distance of about 500 miles. IndyCar drivers compete at an average speed of 117 mph for the chance to win a giant trophy - and to partake in the tradition of kissing the brick finish line. Indianapolis Motor Speedway also offers a museum and daytime tours, so visitors can get their own opportunity to "kiss the bricks".
- The World's Largest Ball of Paint: A roadside attraction sure to stop you in your tracks in Alexandria is noneother than the world's largest ball of paint. It all started with a simple baseball...that got coat after coat of paint applied to it, day after day, year after year - finishing at more than 25,000 coats. It now hangs from a chain and is 14 feet tall, weighing a whopping 2.5 tons. If you pull over to see this lumpy mass, you're sure to have yourself a ball. (See what we did there?)
Pros and Cons of Living in Hoosierville
We know you're already gassing up your Indy car, about to embark on the fast track to the Crossroads of America - but put on the brakes for a pit stop, Mario Andretti. Before you make your move, it might be worth mulling-over some pros and cons to living in Indiana - and make a quick tire rotation, while you're at it.
Some Hoosier-approved PROs to living there:
- Low cost of living: For a single adult, only $10.70/hour is required to live comfortably, according to livingwage.mit.edu. So, unless you're spending all your hard earnings on baseballs and cans of paint in attempt to show up the current world record holder, chances are very good that a life here won't be financially difficult.
- Good weather: Indiana residents love to brag about their four distinct, mild seasons. Summers are not too humid and winters are not super snow-heavy. It may be overcast often, but the temperature is usually pleasant. This makes it all the easier to sit outside and watch racecars whizz past - for hours on end.
- Museums and Historical Sites: Indiana is home to several history-rich museums and sites, ready to satisfy all those with a thirst for knowledge. Included here are, to name just a few: Angel Mounds State Historic Site, Auburn Cord Dusenberg Automobile Museum, Brauer Museum of Art, Buckley Homestead Living History Farm, Eitelljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art and two different children's museums.
- Proximity to Major Cities: Hoosierville is just a day's drive away from Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, Nashville and Cleveland. In just a few hours, your day's itinerary could shift from watching the wind blow through the cornfields to watching an awesome concert of a big name artist in one of these major cities.
- Road Trips: Because there isn't too much traffic from major attractions or congested big cities, locals say that Indiana is great for local road trips. Just pick up a few of your closest friends, pack your favorite country music playlist and hit up the nearest Steak 'n Shake drive-thru, and prepare yourself for the start of an epic(?) adventure.
Now for the resident-consensus CONs:
- Not Much to Do: Outside of Indianapolis, residents have to own up to the fact that...there's just not a whole lot to do here. Big name music acts and other celebrities typically don't make pitstops in the Crossroads of America. The appeal of the state isn't towards the type who want to be constantly on the move from one activity to the next, though. In fact, many who move to the state probably do so because it's not as fast-paced as other places. (That does appeal to some people, ya know.)
- Public Transit is a Joke: Residents here agree that their public transit system leaves much to be desired - if you move here, you can expect to have to drive yourself wherever you want to go. On the plus side, there won't be much traffic.
- Drugs: In 2014, Indiana was named the "Meth Capital of the U.S." - with meth labs seized in every county in the state ...except for one. Currently, the state has fallen to the third-hottest spot for meth labs in the country. Looks like those people are starting to find other things to do, afterall.
- Corn, Corn (and more) Corn: Anyone who's ever been to, through, or over Indiana can tell you this - it is chock-a-block FULL of corn. Jampacked, literally. You can't drive very far without a cornfield sneaking into view from at least half of your windows. It makes for some rather dull scenery - but on the plus side, there are some pretty epic corn mazes in the fall.
We know you came to get the goods regarding all-things Indiana, and don't worry - we're here to deliver. That's why we've compiled a list of a few of the cookiest, gnarliest and downright "...Wha?" laws still in existence, for your enjoyment.
Here are a just few:
- You may not kiss AND possess a mustache - it's one or the other, dude. People here are really serious about not getting whisker-burn on their face.
- Forging a check is punishable by 100 flogs. Forget about the jail time - THIS is what you should be afraid of when you commit fraud.
- Horses have the right of way and it's illegal to pass them. Well, after you, your majesty.
- It's illegal for a man to stand in a bar. Sit down, fellas - you wouldn't want to cause a scene... and shave that 'stache, while you're at it.
- It's illegal to chuck a couch at your neighbor. Sorry, but no matter how many of your things that they've borrowed and never returned, you'll just have to vent your anger in a less extreme (and amusing) manner.
Back Home Again in Indiana
So there it is, folks - your go-to, hors d'oeuvre style guide of Hoosier tips, tricks and trivia to get you started. While we can't lie and say that we could bring you absolutely all of the super-important details to consider when making a major (and possibly permanent) move to a new state (we just can't type that much), we hope that we've given you some basic, tasty goodies that'll help get those decision engines revvin'.
Now it's in your hands to decide if you want to relocate to the Crossroads of America - with its supersonic racecars, cool covered bridges, awesome weather, Hoosier pride and fields upon fields of corn. Just make sure you're covered with an affordable home insurance policy. We've had a grand ol' time sharing this little sneak-preview of the state with you, and hope that you've enjoyed yourself, too.
Good luck, and may your decision be thorougly-contemplated and ultra-satisfying.