19 Pros and Cons of Living in Missouri

Updated On November 6, 2023

Missouri, also known as the Show-Me state, actually has a lot to show off.

Located in the Midwest, the state has plenty to keep tourists and residents alike intrigued.

Knowing the pros and cons of the state will help you to decide if it is the kind of state you should be living in.

Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri

Pros of Living in Missouri

A variety of pros exist if you choose to live in Missouri, whether you choose to live in the city or out in the country.

1. Housing Costs are Low

Buying and renting a home in Missouri is less than in many other parts of the country.

Rent is approximately $200 less a month.

The average home sells for about $227,000, which is about $100,000 less than the average in the U.S.

Every city is different, though you will find some of the most affordable options outside of the major cities of Kansas City and St. Louis.

2. Great BBQ Food

BBQ is highly sought after, and Kansas City is known for delivering barbecue.

The sauce is unique – and many people from around the country will recognize Kansas City barbecue as its very own food group.

You will find many restaurants throughout the state promoting themselves as the best.

Enjoy the pork, the ribs, and the amazing sauce that is drizzled onto all of it.

3. Public Transportation

It is easy to get around Missouri because of public transportation.

It is not a big deal if you don’t own a vehicle as there are buses and light rail programs.

The Metro Transit in St. Louis is particularly helpful as there are stations all over town.

It can be an affordable way to get to where you want to go.

The best part is that you will never have to search for a parking spot.

4. Low Cost of Living

Missouri’s cost of living is lower than the average in the U.S.

You will find that housing, healthcare, groceries, utilities, and more are all lower here.

This allows you to save money and live your best life without going broke.

The overall cost of living index is 85.9 compared to 100 for the U.S. as a whole.

5. Always Something to Do

You will always find something to do in Missouri, whether you want to stay indoors or have an adventure outdoors.

There are botanical gardens, art galleries, museums, and national parks.

You might want to visit Silver Dollar City for some history or the Lake of the Ozarks to enjoy the great outdoors.

Countless festivals and fairs take place across the state every year, too.

6. Lots of Farms

Agriculture is a huge industry across the state, so you will see farms when you are driving around.

Some of the products include corn, soybeans, cotton, and rice.

Some of the farms also raise beef, hogs, and turkey.

You will find plenty of fresh, local items at your nearest farmer’s market so that you can enjoy what the state is harvesting.

7. There’s Beer & Wine

You will find that there is a lot of beer and wine throughout the state.

In addition to Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, there are a lot of microbreweries opening up.

Missouri is also home to its very own wine region.

Actually, there are seven of them in Missouri, though four are categorized as viticultural areas – two in the Ozarks, one in Hermann, and one in Augusta.

8. Sports Teams are Abundant

Missouri is ranked as one of the most sport-friendly states in the country.

This includes Major League Baseball as well as a football team and a hockey team.

Even Division 1 college football is a big deal.

Regardless of the time of year, there is a game that you can catch.

You will want to show your team spirit with apparel as almost everyone in the state does.

9. There Are Lots of Random Objects

Whenever you are looking for a road trip, you can stay within the state of Missouri.

There are random oversized objects that you can drive and see.

They are perfect to fill your Instagram page with or simply take selfies with.

You will find a 12-foot-long pecan, the world’s largest chess piece, and even a 42-foot-tall rocking chair.

10. Lots of Outdoor Recreation

You will find that there is plenty of things to do outside.

Many people get their hunting and fishing licenses because of the opportunities to partake in both.

You will also find a lot of hiking and mountain biking trails.

The River Scene Trail is a wildly popular area as is Castlewood State Park.

The state’s Park & Recreation department does a lot to encourage people to get outside and enjoy what Missouri has to offer – and much of it is free.

Cons of Living in Missouri

Some of the cons can be deal-breakers, so it is best to know what they all are before you pack your bags.

It can help you determine if you can overlook them and enjoy all that the state has to offer.

1. It’s Hot

There is the ongoing joke that Missouri is nicknamed “Misery” in the summer because of the hot, humid weather.

It can feel like it’s stifling outside in June and July.

It is not uncommon for the temperature to reach 100 degrees, and it can be a lot to manage, especially if you have not grown up in that kind of heat.

When the temperatures get particularly hot, you also have to worry about such things as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

2. Wages are Low

It is important to look at what you can earn in any state that you move to.

Missouri’s median income is about $6500 less than what it is around the rest of the U.S.

Some of this has to do with the lower-than-average minimum wage.

For some companies, they do not have to pay the state’s minimum wage, so people will earn lower.

3. High Taxes

The sales tax looks reasonable at first glance.

The state’s sales tax is 4.225 percent.

However, when you add the local sales tax, it can be as high as 8.29 percent – and that is quite dramatic considering that the wages are lower within the state.

You may feel as though you are spending more on tax than anything else.

4. Quality of Life

Many people do not consider the quality of life to be high in Missouri.

Some of this is attributed to the gangs that are found on the outskirts of some of the major towns.

Others determine it is because of the low-income earners.

More people are moving out than moving in – and even professional sports teams have chosen to leave the state in search of better areas to play.

5. Severe Weather

The weather can change at any moment with little to no notice.

It can be difficult to plan any kind of outdoor event.

You may even find that you go through all four seasons within a single week.

It will get cold (and even snow).

It will get really hot.

You will also deal with wind and thunderstorms that can lead to a significant amount of rainfall (and flooding) in a short period of time.

You will also have to worry about the occasional tornado.

6. Inclusivity is a Problem

There are a lot of reports about Missouri not being as inclusive as they need to be when it comes to healthcare and education.

CNBC actually ranked the state as 49th out of 50 in terms of the worst place to live, which is because of the inclusiveness and tolerance.

You will find that many races, when polled, do not consider themselves to achieve equality within the state.

7. Pests are Abundant

There are a lot of pests that you will have to contend with when you live in Missouri.

It can feel like a full-time job if you do not hire a pest company to set the necessary traps.

In addition to bugs, you may also encounter rats, squirrels, armadillos, and more on your property.

You will want to discover the problem as quickly as possible so that they do not do serious damage.

8. Public Education is Lacking

The public education system is not the best in Missouri.

While it is not the worst, it does typically rank in the bottom half of the states.

The high school graduation rate is only 87.6%.

Additionally, the college graduation rate within the state is only 26.2%.

There is not a lot of state-level funding for education, either, which means that they do not invest as much per student as other states do.

9. It’s Commonly Forgotten

Believe it or not, many people forget about Missouri every year.

When people attempt to list out all 50 states, Missouri is the most common state left off of the list.

Much of this is because it is not very memorable.

It does not have a long list of tourist attractions and it stays out of the news a lot.

You may find yourself explaining why you chose to move to Missouri of all places.

Jefferson City, Missouri
Jefferson City, Missouri

Pros and Cons of Living in Missouri – Summary Table

Pros of Living in MissouriCons of Living in Missouri
1.Housing Costs are Low1. It’s Hot
2. Great BBQ Food2. Wages are Low
3. Public Transportation3. High Taxes
4. Low Cost of Living4. Quality of Life
5. Always Something to Do5. Severe Weather
6. Lots of Farms6. Inclusivity is a Problem
7. There’s Beer & Wine7. Pests are Abundant
8. Sports Teams are Abundant8. Public Education is Lacking
9. There Are Lots of Random Objects9. It’s Commonly Forgotten
10. Lots of Outdoor Recreation

Missouri Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Missouri Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the biggest cities in Missouri?

Some of the bigger and more populated cities of Missouri include Kansas City and St. Louis, which are both over 300,000 people.

Lee’s Summit is also relatively large at 100,000 people.

What is the minimum wage in Missouri?

The minimum wage across the state is $11.15, which is higher than many other states in the country.

What are the top tourist attractions?

If you want to play tourist in Missouri, you will want to explore a few different things.

This includes the Arch in St. Louis, the Lewis & Clark Trailhead Plaza in Jefferson City, and the Fantastic Caverns in Springfield.

Which are the top employers of the state?

Some of the top employers in Missouri include Anheuser-Busch, Edward Jones, BJC HealthCare, and Express Scripts.

What is the crime rate in Missouri?

The crime rate varies depending on where you live in Missouri.

When you rank the states as safest for most criminals, Missouri ranks 44th in violent crime and 38th in property crime.

However, there are plenty of cities that are very safe to live in throughout the state.

11 Comments on 19 Pros and Cons of Living in Missouri

  1. A
    Anonymous says:

    I have lived in Missouri for 23 years now moving from Vermont.

    Found Missouri to be much more friendly and Christian based than Vermont.

    Much better quality of life to live in a Republican state than a Democrat state.Much more freedom of speech and Religion.Not so controlling.

    I rather live with the threat of a tornado or hot weather than consent to cold rainy weather in Vermont.

    The cost of living is so affordable I can live on social security and have money left over each month.

    You can be outside most of the year doing different activities and not be stuck inside with tons of snow to shovel.

    The towns are nice and rural and you can have plenty of space for yourself.

    Moving to Missouri was a great move for my husband and I.

    A great place to retire.

    1. Good grief it’s the worst state.

      1. C
        Chris banday says:

        Try Illinois! Horrible!

      2. A
        Anonymous says:

        We retired to Missouri after 2 years of research. We are lake lovers and we enjoy Table Rock Lake. We live in rural country on the lake but only 30 min to Branson . Low cost of living, very friendly people and like minded.

    2. A
      A Johnson says:

      I work as a bartender at an airport hotel restaurant in Kansas City, and I repeatedly hear guests comment on the friendliness of our city. As a Kansas City resident, I disagree with public transportation being regarded so high, as we are a very geographically spread out city with an extremely limited (only 3- 4 miles north & south) high speed transit system. There isn’t even public transportation available from the inner city to the airport. On the other hand, I can tell you the cost of living is relatively low, and that I, as a single woman, can fearlessly drive anywhere in Kansas City and surrounding suburbs without fearing for my life. We don’t have the racial divide that other large Midwest cities have experienced, and people are generally just neighborly & keep an eye out for each other. Rich history with performing arts, live music, art institute, festivals, cultural heritage celebrations, 5 star restaurants, museums, fountains, agriculture, rivers, lakes & parks for outdoor enthusiasts, 4 seasons, as well as several large companies and continued growth makes it a great place to live.

    3. Missouri is the worst. Live off of ssd is impossible. Can’t afford meds or taxes. Life is short because of stress.

    4. I disagree. I’m curious what area you live in MO. I don’t see tolerance or love for others or care for the vulnerable in this state. In progressive churches within KC there is definitely a love and caring for the marginalized but the state legislature is not thinking about helping the poor, marginalized people.

  2. D
    David Chenault says:

    I have traveled all over the U.S. and have always found Missouri the best.

    Traveled the Appalachian Mountains last year and enjoyed them. Going to Louisiana later this year.

    Other places are nice for a visit but Missouri is home.

  3. A
    Anonymous says:

    Coming from a teenager’s point of view on Missouri, I think it’s okay as an adult. Yet, as a teenager bullying is a huge problem. There is also not much diversity here and many children find different people hard to treat nicely. The bullying people receive in these schools is such a big problem that teens will like while in a suicide prevention assembly. The children here need to be taught right from wrong and understand their faults. Most people are friendly here but teenagers are the problem. I cannot walk home peacefully without getting screamed at, called slurs, or harassed by them. They drive by me with their cars and shout things no one wants to hear. At the same time, some people like me can handle it, some can’t. Additionally, the school systems I have gone through are questionable, and many students are failing. I live in Kearney Missouri, so maybe keep your distance from here.

  4. M
    Michelle Preciado says:

    I moved to Missouri a little over a year ago. I think this state gets a bad rap. I left Illinois which we cal hellinois one of the worst states ever. I liked the area I lived but compared to Missouri it can’t hold a candle to it. Property taxes are real low in Mo, food, gas, clothing etc. Lots of wonderful places to go. People are very friendly, I also like the fact Missouri is a freedom state. Kansas city and St Louis ran by Democrats aren’t the best places to live but to visit is alright. Missouri is a good state to raise a family and has good strong , God fearing people there. Not much good to say about Illinois other than most cities and towns outside the “Ball and chain” Chicago aren’t bad but few. If they could have gotten that city to become a District Illinois would flip red. Glad I am gone from there.

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