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Why Is Connecticut So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)

Hartford, Connecticut, USA downtown city skyline

 

The state of Connecticut may be small, but it’s mighty when it comes to the bill.

When you visit or move to Connecticut, you are just a short drive away from both tranquil, luxurious country living and bustling cities.

Each breathtaking scene gives you memories that will stay with you for a lifetime, but how do the leaders justify the price for the experience?

We will cover the top 10 reasons Connecticut is so expensive (and why that might start to change).

 

1. Education

Yale University

 

Many people associate Connecticut with a high-end education, and they wouldn’t be wrong.

According to US News, Connecticut ranks sixth out of all 50 states in education, taking both K-12 and higher education into consideration.

Westport, CT, has the best public school district in the state: the Westport School District.

However, most school districts exceed the national average.

If you move to Connecticut, you generally don’t need to worry about picking a house in the bad school district, because they are far and few between.

Where Connecticut really stands out is the popular colleges in the area, most notably Yale, the third oldest and (arguably) second-most prominent university in the country.

See some of the popular colleges in Connecticut (as well as average tuition):

  • Yale University: $59,950
  • Wesleyan University: $61,370
  • The University of Connecticut: $41,192
  • The University of Hartford: $44,885
  • Quinnipiac University: $51,270

Since people come from all over the country to get an education in Connecticut, the out-of-state tuition can quickly become inflated.

However, for many people, the East Coast education is worth every penny.

Thanks to the good school system and colleges, most of the people you run into will speak more eloquently and be more informed on political events than random people in other states.

While people say that Connecticut doesn’t have a distinct accent, one can argue that many residents speak with a “snooty” accent.

Some people enjoy the battle of wits and mental stimulation that comes with the exaggerated drawl, while other people find it somewhat pretentious.

 

2. History

Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford, Connecticut, USA during autumn

 

American Revolution

Connecticut is one of the original 13 colonies and the fifth state to join the Union, meaning it played a significant role in the development of the country and the government we have today.

People made fun of the rebels at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, as we see in the popular Yankee Doodle song created as an insult but taken back by Connecticut residents with pride.

That pride led to new ideas and a new government, and Connecticut helped every step of the way.

In fact, four delegates from Connecticut signed the Declaration of Independence:

  • Samuel Huntington
  • Roger Sherman
  • William Williams
  • Oliver Wolcott

However, Connecticut was already ahead of the curve by that point.

It has been known as the “Constitution State” since 1639.

Connecticut’s state government wrote a document known as the first written constitution, the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, 148 years before the finalization of the United States Constitution.

Connecticut not only provided delegates and revolutionary ideas but also some traitors.

One of the most notorious traitors of all time, Benedict Arnold, came from Connecticut.

Arnold served as a member of the Revolutionary Army but secretly met with British soldiers.

When one of his colleagues was captured, American soldiers found documents that proved Arnold’s betrayal.

Washington spared Arnold’s life, and Arnold ended up fighting for the British.

That brings us to Nathan Hale, a spy for the American army and the state’s hero.

You may remember him most by his famous last words: “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

Unlike Arnold, Hale’s loyalty never wavered.

 

Authors

Even Mark Twain saw something beautiful about the state since he lived in Connecticut for 20 years.

You can even visit the Mark Twain House to see the house of a genius.

He wasn’t the only genius author in the area, though!

Harriet Beecher Stowe, the woman behind “the book that started a war”, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, also lived in Connecticut.

Literary and history buffs may want to visit her former home as well.

 

Periodicals

Everything in the state seems steeped in history, even when you pick up the newspaper.

Of course, the Connecticut Courant has been in publication since 1764, making it one of the oldest continuously running newspapers in the country.

Fun Fact: Thomas Jefferson once sued the paper for libel over an unfavorable article, but he lost.

 

Prohibition

It seems that the rebellious spirit stuck throughout other large moments in history.

When it came to voting on the 18th Amendment (Prohibition), Connecticut and one other state (Rhode Island), opposed the amendment.

As we know, it didn’t last long.

 

 

Current Politics

Today, Connecticut is considered a “blue state”.

The last Republican president endorsed by Connecticut was George H.W. Bush in 1988.

Connecticut only has so much pull in the larger scheme of things since they only have seven electoral votes out of 538 total.

California, on the other hand, gets 55 electoral votes.

That means California’s vote carries almost eight times as much weight as Connecticut’s.

Something interesting we believe that more states should adopt is that Connecticut practices electoral fusion.

Essentially, electoral fusion means a candidate can put their name on multiple parties’ ballots, minimizing the polarizing effects of bipartisanism (marginally).

 

3. Geography

Downtown Hartford, Connecticut Skyline seen in Summer by Drone

 

Size

Connecticut has the 29th largest population among the 50 states, but it’s also the third smallest state in square miles.

It requires money to accommodate so many people in such a small amount of space, especially when people want spacious suburban houses.

Over the last 15 years, the average number of households that lived in a house was 68.2% of the state’s total population.

However, many people rent, helping to save space by living in multi-dwelling units.

The current rental vacancy rate is 6.1%, which is significantly lower than the national average.

 

Optimal Location To Other States

Connecticut rests in between New York on the west, Massachusetts to the north, and Rhode Island to the east.

It’s only about a 2.5-hour drive from the capital of Hartford to New York City, and it’s only about a 1.5-hour drive from Hartford to Boston.

While not close enough for most people to commute, it’s great to have such interesting cities within arm’s reach for a fun day trip or weekend vacation.

Many people in Connecticut cities closer to New York do commute every day.

The proximity to jobs in NYC means that people in that area generally have more money than residents in the southwest corner of the state who don’t have such ready access to work.

 

Nautical Life

The southern border of Connecticut enjoys both the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

Not only does this mean beautiful beaches and delicious seafood, but it also makes Connecticut valuable when it comes to transporting goods, especially before planes became popular.

Many people can picture the lighthouses and waves rushing up against the cliffs.

The image is even better in person.

Two of the most popular beaches include Silver Sands State Park in Milford and Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme.

For a more authentic seafaring vibe, you can visit old seaport towns New London and Groton.

For people who don’t like saltwater, the state boasts numerous freshwater lakes, too.

The water in this part of the country will most likely be cold for most of the year, so don’t expect to go swimming like you would at the beach in Southern Florida.

 

Forests

Forests cover more than 50% of the state’s land.

About 70% of the forests are made up of oak or hickory trees.

Connecticut does a lot to care for the public forests, but 72% of the CT forests have private owners.

Luckily, they seem to be taking care of the trees and other wildlife in the forests as the forest numbers have remained relatively stable over the last decade.

Unfortunately, the forests can’t last forever.

At this time, 84% of the trees in Connecticut are older than 60 years old.

When these trees die, we will need to replace them or risk the deforestation of a beautiful state.

Are you still not convinced we should protect the forests?

Visit in wintertime after a mild yet prominent snow to walk in a literal winter wonderland.

 

4. Safety

policeman wearing police uniform smiling happy

 

As a state, Connecticut had the fourth-lowest amount of violent crime in 2020.

Certain cities and communities rank even higher in safety.

Newton, Connecticut, and Ridgefield, Connecticut, in particular, rank highly when it comes to safety.

If you want to be a law enforcement officer yourself, Connecticut is a great place for the job.

It was recently ranked number two in a list of the most “police-friendly” states.

The study used 30 factors to come to their conclusions, including income and police deaths per 1,000 officers.

Of course, the government needs to pay these brave officers, and that comes from taxes.

 

5. Taxes

Close-up Of Person Hand Using Calculator With Tax Word On Wooden Blocks

 

Connecticut residents pay taxes to the state and local municipalities, and they have the second-highest tax incidence in the country after New York, which considers a number of types of taxes, such as property tax and income tax.

The combined state and municipal taxes equal 12.8%, significantly higher than the average of 10.9%.

Connecticut’s sales tax is 6.35%.

The high taxes derive from the nagging requests from residents for high-end amenities.

However, with people unable to live comfortably thanks to the high taxes, the government may make a shift.

However, what parts of the budget can they cut?

 

Tolls

Despite a majority of the population screaming for tax relief, some leaders want to collect tolls on some of the most popular highways to help provide the funds for the high demands of the people.

Almost 60% of residents don’t support the polls.

 

6. Beautiful Architecture And House Design

American traditional Colonial house front view in summer

 

Many homes and buildings in Connecticut will take you back in time with their nostalgic and cozy designs.

Stone, wood, and brick are common building materials in houses and cabins.

Colors usually gravitate toward neutrals to allow the natural beauty of the landscaping and beautiful backdrops to sine.

However, you will see plenty of red, especially in a farmhouse design.

The classic churches in the state are elaborate and show that the state still remembers its proud religious beginnings.

 

7. City Life

Downtown Bridgeport at night

 

Just minutes away from the traditional country estates, Connecticut has multiple large(-ish) cities with plenty to do and a surprisingly active nightlife.

 

Bridgeport

Bridgeport is the most populous city in Connecticut with 143,653 people in a 16-square-mile area.

Many people consider Bridgeport the birthplace of Frisbee, which makes sense with all of the beautiful parks.

Bridgeport property taxes are notoriously high, and they are some of the highest property tax rates in Connecticut.

It didn’t help that property taxes went up by a dramatic 29% in 2016.

 

New Haven

Home to Yale University, New Haven is very proud of housing the prominent school.

Numerous museums in the area are run by Yale, including an art museum and a history museum, and you can walk around campus.

New Haven has 134,023 residents, not including the students.

To support the population (when school is and is not in session), New Haven has particularly good infrastructure, such as energy plants and a bus system.

Buildings on Yale’s campus are only the beginning of the beautiful architecture in the area.

You will see more classic architecture as you walk around town.

 

Stamford

Stamford, the state’s third-largest city, is only about 40 miles away from Manhattan, so transportation to New York is a breeze.

Easy transportation to Wall St. probably helped establish Stamford as the largest financial district outside of New York.

Not everyone in Stamford focused on business and finance, though.

Numerous public figures have called Stamford home, including:

  • Harry Houdini
  • Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Dan Levy
  • Christopher Lloyd
  • Meatloaf

 

8. Family Fun

Autumn at Connecticut

 

Mystic Seaport Museum

Instill a love for the sea in your child by taking them to the Mystic Seaport Museum where you will feel like you are a maritime worker yourself.

You and your family can walk on restored ships and look at artifacts and art found on the ships.

You and your family can even get pirate souvenirs!

Mystic also has an impressive aquarium, and they host ship outings.

 

Lake Compounce

Lake Compounce is the country’s oldest amusement park.

Its claim to fame is the exciting Boulder Dash, the world’s #1 wooden roller coaster, and it also has a waterpark.

 

Connecticut In Fall

Some people argue that Connecticut has the best fall foliage of any other place in the country, and it’s definitely a contender.

Instead of visiting in summer, consider visiting in fall instead.

You and your family can gaze in awe at the beautiful colors of nature and jump in leaf piles before picking apples in an orchard.

(Many orchards also have wine for the adults.)

 

9. Industry And Career Trouble

Portrait of sad businessman

 

While Connecticut has a lot to offer, it doesn’t provide residents with the best work opportunities.

The major industries are finance, insurance, and real estate.

However, while residents can find work, it’s not as readily available as many jobseekers would like.

People who do work don’t get appropriate raises for the high costs of living in the area.

Unfortunately, this only forces the government to spend more money to help support people who need assistance.

However, they need to do something to make up for the expenses.

That means the cost of living gets higher.

Before Connecticut was a financial center, it was a manufacturing and maritime hub.

In fact, 50% of Connecticut residents worked in manufacturing in the 1950s.

Many jobs went overseas or relocated to more centralized locations.

 

10. Memorable People

Angry and rude man driving road rage

 

Connecticut residents usually fall into one of two categories: average beer-drinking fisherman/factory worker or bank tycoon with four other houses.

Both groups can be mean or welcoming, depending on the person.

However, no matter how much money a Connecticut resident has, you can assume they drive aggressively.

However, one person may be wearing a $1,000 pastel pink polo and Armani sunglasses while the other person drives in a regular tee-shirt and jeans.

You can expect that both people know each other due to the cozy feel the state gives off, and you can expect them to get into each other’s business if they get into an argument.

Both will adamantly deny that New York City is better than their beloved Connecticut.

When people have pride in where they live and don’t want to go anywhere else, prices go up.

 

Conclusion

Connecticut has a unique swagger that includes sweatshirts tied around the shoulders and overly proper elocution.

You can feel the money around you when you find yourself inside this state’s borders.

Not only do you sense affluence, but you also get to enjoy the amazing sea views and forest scenery.

Even the buildings will make you gawk in amazement.

With that being said, more and more people in Connecticut who don’t make the same amount of money as the nation’s 1% want to see some change to accommodate them.

While the cost of living may go down, the state may not have the same feel if drastic change does take place.

Limiting old traditions or risk losing a special identity? We will just have to see what happens.

However, it’s probably best to just visit for now.

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