(Because this midwestern gem is really rockin')
So, you're thinking of moving to Ohio, but you're a few pieces shy of a complete, confident decision. It just so happens that you're in the right place - we've done a good bit of the research for you, and compiled a bit-sized, super-awesome little guide to some of the biggest points of consideration for people contemplating a move to a new state.
Ohio is so cool, it has not one, but four state nicknames: the "Buckeye State" (because of all the buckeye trees that used to line the streets), "Mother of Presidents" (because it's the birthplace of eight different U.S. presidents), "Heart of it All" (kind of because it's somewhat heart-shaped, but mostly for tourism purposes due to its central location between densely populated areas) and the "Birthplace of Aviation" (because the Wright Bros. were born here).
The Buckeye State ranks 10th in the nation for population density, with 850,000 residents currently in the capital, Columbus, alone. The state is also home to a very famous house - from A Christmas Story. Cleveland also houses the most rockin' museum in the country - the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Intrigued yet? Well, there's plenty more where that came from, friend. Read on to discover more tasty tidbits about Ohio to see for yourself if you can envision yourself as an Ohioan (or a "Buckeye", as they're also called), and if it's really earned the nickname, "Heart of it All".
About 36,055 people move to the "Mother of Presidents" every year. The slow growth rate is consistent with that of the Midwest region of the country. Despite this, Ohio still has a pretty impressive population of 11,694,664, according to worldpopulationreview.org. So then, what's the job market like in this place?
For starters, the state's unemployment rate is 4.7%, which has been on a fairly steady decline since 2009, when it was 10.8%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state's minimum wage is $8.30/hour, according to minimum-wage.org.
Some of the fastest-growing job fields, as listed by zippia.com, include occupational therapist, home health aid, physical therapist, statistician, nurse practitioner and operations analyst. The highest-paid positions include anesthesiologist, orthodontist, surgeon, OB/GYN, CEO, psychiatrist and dentist. There's certainly plenty to choose from for those with a love of the medical field.
After moving to a new state, you'll naturally want to find a new place to live (that is, unless you were planning on living in a van down by the river). Considering the somewhat-sluggish growth rate of the state, what exactly could the housing market be like?
Well, zillow.com says that the median home value in Ohio is $130,659, with homes currently listed on the market at an average of $149,900. The median price of homes sold is $133,700, and median rent for a house is $995/month. Home values have also increased 6.4% in the past year.
As far as apartments go, average rent for the state as a whole is just $579/month for a one-bedroom and $757/month for a two-bedroom. You'll pay a bit more in the state's bigger cities, though - Columbus has one-bedrooms going for an average of $885/month, Cleveland for $959/month and Cincinnati for $829/month. Overall, a very affordable state to live in, as far as housing is concerned.
Don't let the slow growth-rate fool you into thinking there's not an abundance of new construction popping up, either - there is, and quite a bit at that. According to zillow.com, the major pattern of new construction flows in a diagonal line upwards across the state from Cincinnati, to Columbus, all the way up to Cleveland. So, no matter which major city starting with a 'C' appeals to you the most, there'll be plenty of new places to choose from.
The origin age of housing, as shown by zillow.com, is mainly from the '50s - most homes still standing were built between 1950-1959. If older homes don't float your boat, stick to that southwest - northeast diagonal line of new construction to find the new home of your dreams.
Culture and Natives
The people of the Buckeye State claim that they're some of the nicest you'll ever meet, and that they make the friendliest neighbors. In fact, one Ohioan stated on movoto.com that it feels "sort of like Leave it to Beaver, across the whole state". Everyone wants to be your friend, in Ohio.
The world's largest Amish community lives in Ohio - with about 70,000 members. So it's not uncommon to be out and about and see a horse-drawn buggy (or 12). Some of the state's more traditional residents are crazy for all kinds of festivals, including music, art, culture and food. They also order "pop" instead of "soda".
Speaking of food, Ohioans are super passionate about their aptly-named "buckeye" candy - a combination of peanut butter fudge partially dipped in chocolate - resembling actual buckeyes. They're also passionate about Skyline chili (AKA Cincinnati chili) - a combination of meat, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and chocolate overtop of spaghetti noodles topped with cheddar cheese - we can feel the heartburn starting.
The state's capital, Columbus, is said to be a weird/hipster college town. Ohio State University fans are often called crazy and obnoxious - but they are some of the proudest and loyalest fans around.
The Birthplace of Aviation was also the birthplace of the first ever ambulance service, which took place in Cleveland in 1865. In addition, Ohio is the birthplace of the Wendy's restaurant chain and 24 of the country's astronauts, including Neil Armstrong and John Glenn. Ten additional astronauts called Ohio their home at one point in time.
The state has many ancient burial mounds from the Hopewell and Adena civilizations. Those who have seen one-too-many horror movies may have some anxiety after moving here, knowing this. Here's another historical trivia tidbit for you - Ohio was once a major destination of the underground railroad.
We briefly mentioned already that the state has some crazy sports fans - and none are crazier or rowdier than those of the Cleveland Browns'. These fans are so beyond dedicated to their favorite team that they've established a special bleachers section, referred to as the "Dawg Pound", at the Browns' home field for the loudest, most energetic (and often intoxicated) fans of them all. They have calmed down over the years, though - they used to throw all kinds of things - including batteries, eggs and even dog food - at the visiting team.
The Mother of Presidents gave birth to these former US leaders: William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William H. Taft and Warren G. Harding. So, a child born here automatically has a much better chance at one day being president than in he/she would if born in your current state, we'd wager.
As if having four different nicknames wasn't enough for Ohio, they are also the only state in the country with a non-rectangular flag. The flag is described as a pennant, and has a "swallowtail" design. It also looks super cool hanging in dorm rooms, or from flagpoles at the houses of those diehard sports fans.
Can't-Miss Ohio Fun + Activities
Whether you're a crazed football fan, a hipster college student or a friendly housewife straight out of a '50s sitcom, the Heart of it All has got something for you.
Here just a few of the state's main attractions:
- Hocking Hills State Park: Located in Logan, this state park features multiple caves to explore, cabins to camp in, waterfalls to marvel at, ziplines to whoosh across, trails to hike and lakes to canoe/kayak. There are also plenty of annual festivals and other events to keep you coming back.
- Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo: The Columbus Zoo no doubt offers an amazing daytrip experience with its 9,000 animals and 650 species from around the world (according to experiencecolumbus.com), but the real attraction happens during the holiday season - the wildlights (also referred to by locals as "zoolights"). Colorful lights are strewn throughout the entire zoo and lit up after exhibits close down in the evening. There's even a lightshow or two set up in synch to music.
- Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Cleveland has the largest house of rock 'n roll in the country - the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame celebrates and archives the legacy of some of the most well-known and influential artists, producers and other historical figures who have inspired the development of rock 'n roll. 2018's inductees include Bon Jovi, Dire Straits, Nina Simone, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Moody Blues and The Cars - so after you leave, you'll be saying, "A trip to this museum was Just What I Needed".
- A Christmas Story House Museum: You can explore Ralfie's house in the flesh and witness original props, costumes and memorabilia from the film. The museum also offers hundreds of rare, behind-the-scenes photos of the cast and crew. You'll see toys from Higbee's, the pink bunny suit and, of course, the infamous leg lamp. Just don't touch it - remember, it's "fra-gee-lay" (and must be Italian).
- Pro Football Hall of Fame: Football fans, rejoice - the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton features shrines of the biggest names in NFL history - from players to coaches, to franchise owners and front-office personnel. The museum's mission is to "Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values and Celebrate Excellence Everywhere". Put on your cleats, plan a visit and see for yourself.
Pros and Cons of Living in the Birthplace of Aviation
We know that the excitement is mounting and you're more ready than ever to get yourself a new life in Ohio - but, don't take off just yet, Neil Armstrong. Before you pack up and move cross-country, it might be beneficial to peruse a little list of some pros and cons to living in the Mother of the Presidents. Get your pondering expression ready.
Some Buckeye-approved PROs to living there:
- Low cost of living: For a single adult, only $10.75/hour is required to live comfortably, according to livingwage.mit.edu. Many locals state that one reason they love living here, or that they moved here from out of state, is due to the super-affordable cost of housing. So, unless you're planning to invest your entire savings account into a farm of buckeye trees, your dollars may go a lot farther in this state.
- Roller Coasters: Ohio is home to many beloved amusement parks, including Cedar Point and Kings Island. Cedar Point, in Sandusky, is self-proclaimed to be the "Roller Coaster Capital of the World" - with two of its world-famous coasters being the "Top Thrill Dragster" and the "Millennium Force". Kings Island, in Mason, is the largest amusement and water park in the Midwest - and, here's the story - this amusement park was featured in a 1973 episode of The Brady Bunch called "The Cincinnati Kids". The park had a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the episode's filming in 2013, with two of the original cast members making an appearance. Far out, man.
- Proximity to Major Cities: Ohio is halfway between Chicago and New York City. This is one reason for its "Heart of It All" nickname. Locals think it's pretty cool to be smack-dab in the middle of two major metropolises of the country, and that so much of the U.S.'s population is so close to them - yet, they're far away enough from it all to avoid the major traffic and anxiety.
- Amish County: The largest Amish population in the world resides in Ohio, and Amish County is a big tourist draw. Visitors can catch a glimpse into the culture and experience a simpler way of life, for as long as their visit extends. It offers lodging as well as plenty of events and activities, festivals, tours, shopping, restaurants and of course plenty of history-rich culture. Grab your horse and buggy and trot or gallop on over.
Now for the resident-consensus CONs:
- Harsh Seasons: Locals complain of extreme weather in all seasons here - the summers are hot and humid with heavy rain and storms, and winters are cold and somewhat brutal, with lots of snowfall and blizzards. Tornadoes have also been recorded in every month of the year.
- Battleground/Swing State: Known as a "battleground" or a "swing" state, meaning the state could go either way (Democrat or Republican) in an election, Ohio gets bombarded by political campaign ads around every impending election. Politicians also love to visit and try to butter up residents and coax them into voting for them. Locals don't appreciate it, either - they know that once their vote has been (presumably) secured, they won't be hearing from those politicians directly in their hometown again.
- Obnoxious Sports Fans: We know that Ohio sports fans can be rowdy and downright dangerous, but apparently it's to such an extreme that the Princeton Review even named them to be the nation's "most obnoxious" legion of fans. We don't really want someone with a painted face throwing batteries and screaming at us, thanks.
- Serial Killers: Ohio is the birthplace of many things, this we already know - but, sadly, it's also the birthplace to many infamous serial killers, including (but not limited to) the "Cincinnati Strangler", Donald Harvey, Anthony Sowell, Thomas Dillon, Gary Heidnik and some lunatic who used the alias "Dr. No". You may want to brush up on your self-defense skills before moving here.
We know you came to get the goods regarding all-things Ohio, 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 from onlyinyourstate.com:
- It's illegal to throw a snake at someone in the town of Toledo. You'll just have to work out your difficulties like rational adults - and throw rocks at each other, instead.
- It's illegal to kill a housefly without a license if it's within 160 feet of a church. Because even the smallest of creatures are not to be harmed...or something.
- Your duck may not parade down Ohio Avenue in the city of McDonald. Seriously, he would just draw too much of a crowd.
- It's illegal to catch mice without a hunting license in Cleveland. How big are the mice there, that they require a hunting license? ...We're not sure we want to know.
- It's illegal to sell Corn Flakes on a Sunday in Columbus. Y'know, it's the day of rest, and chewing Corn Flakes is anything but restful.
- It's illegal to honk your horn "excessively" in Fairview Park. We're not sure what exactly the limit threshold on "excessively" is, but you'd better keep it to five or less, just to be on the safe side.
A Home in the Heart of it All
Well, there you have it, folks - a handy little easy-reference guide of all-things Buckeye State, served up with a side of Cincinnati chili. We won't pretend that it's possible for us to deliver you the complete spectrum of every single thing you'd benefit from contemplating before a big, life-altering, cross-country move (we've got other stuff to do), but we hope that we've given you a nice springboard from which to catapult into the beginnings of a decision pool.
It's over to you, now, to decide if you'd like to start referring to yourself as a "Buckeye", sporting a rebellious, anti-rectagonal flag, rocking out at the coolest museums in the country, screaming on the craziest rollercoasters and trying to explain to your out-of-state friends the origin of all four of your new home's nicknames. We've thoroughly enjoyed ourselves by sharing these tidbits of Ohio trivia with you, and hope that you've had your fill.
Good luck, and may your next destination feel like home.