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The Pros and Cons of Living in Missouri

Ever wonder what it was like to live in the Show Me State? Is the 24th state one of the best places to live in the United States? Well, I’ve got the pros and cons of living in Missouri so you don’t have to wonder any longer.

Disclaimer: I do not live in the state of Missouri. However, one of my really good friends grew up there, making her a perfect person to share both the good and the bad aspects of living there.

The Pros and Cons of Living in Missouri

What are some of the good parts of living in Missouri? Well, every great place to live should have culture, arts, a lively downtown area and affordable places to live. The good news? Missouri has much of that!

Local Live Music Scene

In Columbia alone, there are usually no less than three live shows to choose from on any given night. So many venues, both indoor and outdoor. Kansas City and St. Louis have even more options.

These three cities all have a great metro area that still can have a small town vibe, which a lot of people love because the top big cities in the U.S (like New York or Los Angeles) can be more expensive, and we love a low cost of living in this economy! 

The Art/Creator Scene

Local artists work is displayed everywhere you look, from sculptures, street art, elaborate mosaics, functional public seating, displays in the churches, government buildings, restaurants, everywhere.

There are also many amazing ways to be inspired as a creative–whether you want to spend time at an art museum or around the natural beauty of the state.

State and National Parks

There are many easily accessible and beautiful opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, swimming, adventuring. This include Rock Bridge State Park, Mark Twain National Forest, Finger Lakes State Park, The Pinnacles, Johnson’s Shutins, Elephant Rock, Ha Ha Tonka State Park.

Heck, the lake of the Ozarks is the Midwest’s premier lake resort destination and the Missouri river passes by St. Louis and Kansas City.

True/False Film Festival!

A yearly week-long documentary film festival in Columbia, premiering a wide array of documentaries, exclusive parties, live music before/after each film, beautiful displays of art – probably my most favorite event in Missouri, I could talk about it for hours.

Roots & Blues & BBQ Festival

An annual festival that brings blues artists and bands together from across the country as well as the most famous Missouri BBQ vendors from across the state.

Plenty of Space 

There are many rental houses as well as apartments usually have outdoor space allotted to them, yards and pools are very common, driveways, garages are also extremely common, even in apartment/condo complexes.

A Sense of Community

You feel a sense of community where you live – whether it’s rural or “in town.” No matter if you’re in a big city, small city, or anywhere in between, there are friendly people everywhere in MO.

In the words of my friend, “I am from a rural area, but our distant neighbors will always stop in if they see one of us out in the yard to say hello and catch up on life. Everyone usually knows everyone directly or indirectly.” So A+ to Missouri residents for their kindness!

Many Local Breweries and Wineries 

Some favorites include Logboat Brewing, Flatbranch Brewery, Waves Cider Co., Les Bourgeois Winery, Serenity Valley Winery, Mother’s Brewing, and 4 Hands Brewing.

Colleges and Universities 

There is a wide variety of accredited colleges and universities—both private and public schools. College sports are also huge here, especially the University of Missouri.

Some More Perks: 

  • Everywhere is very drivable, parking is usually not a hassle
  • The cost of living is lower than that of some other states
  • You experience all four seasons
  • State and county fairs are always a great time
  • Vast agriculture industry
  • Professional Sports teams: Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals (with 13 world series wins between the two teams for Missouri!)
  • Slower pace of living

The in-between, depending on your political views: 

  • The larger cities like St. Louis and Kansas City and Columbia have a pretty progressive mindset.
  • Missouri is a very red state except for the larger cities, and even in the larger cities, you have your radical conservatives.
  • Large in part due to Missouri being split on union and confederate issues during the civil war, you’ll see confederate flags in yards, on trucks, tattoos, and many people in more rural areas will be very up front about their deeply rooted confederate beliefs.
  • Conceal and carry is a very real thing: don’t mess with gun owners’ second amendments. You can easily buy a gun at Walmart without a background check.

Now, what are some of the negatives? To be fair, these are cons of any city, not just in a major city but in the small cities, the towns, and for a state over all.

Crime Rate 

St. Louis in particular recorded highest homicide rate in 50 years in 2020; 2020 was worst ever year for gun violence in Missouri. There is also gang activity and gang violence/territorial groupings. Between the violent crimes, property crimes, and gang activities, the crime rate is definitely something to be aware of.


Meth/heroin/opioids are a HUGE problem – in 2018, 1 out of every 56 deaths were due to opioid overdose resulting in 1,132 opioid overdose deaths in 2018 alone.

Career Growth 

Unless you are in St. Louis or Kansas City, there are less career and professional growth opportunities. Additionally, there is not a great public transportation and a low minimum wage.

The national average for a single-person’s salary in 2021 is $53,490 per year, where as the state average salary for a single person in Missouri is $40,258.

However, the state unemployment rate is 4.3% compared to the national unemployment rate of 5.9% and the top industries in Missouri are aerospace, food processing, chemicals, printing/publishing, electrical equipment and beer, and specifically a growing science and biotechnology field.

Resources Can Be Hard To Find 

Resources are difficult to access for those who need them. Many people in rural areas have no access to transportation for doctors visits, financial aid departments, or domestic violence resources.

Additionally, abortion and birth control access and/or general female reproductive health care access is extremely limited.

Some other negatives: 

  • Extreme humidity, cold winters with extremely cold temperatures 
  • Limited airports if you like travel

Overall there are pros and cons of living in Missouri. Is it a place that appeals to you?

About the Author

Michelle Ioannou

Michelle graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelors of Arts '13 and a Master of Arts '14. She's currently working in corporate America with a side of freelance writing. She wants you to learn from her experiences and mistakes so your 20s can be your best decade. When she's not working, she's likely planning her escape to a tropical island.