Tell me about the Midwest - jobs, housing, etc

ssampier

First Post
I am a recently unemployed IT professional from Utah. Hi gang! I am currently looking at graduate schools in the next 1-2 years. I'm looking currently looking at the Midwest region to focus on.

I have looked at Arizona, Colorado, and Utah for jobs and possible graduate schools. I currently live in a small town of about 10,000 residents. Ogden is the largest city I have ever lived in (Go Wildcats!).

Utah, it's absolutely beautiful. The people are generally nice. The weather is generally cold and wet in the Winter and hot in the Summer. It usually doesn't get frigid cold (below 0 F) or super-hot (over 95).

The problems? I have lived here all my life. I'm nearly 30, so it's time to get serious about work and career. And I am interested in dating, but I don't think single women in Utah exist over 21. I'm joking, of course.

More importantly I just don't see myself in Utah for the long-haul. I'm looking for change.

So, tell me about the Midwest. I know that's a tall order, since cultures vary from North to South.

I have mostly focused on the Midwest. I figure that would less culture shock for me since I am somewhat sheltered. But if I missed out on a region, let me know!
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Crothian

First Post
Ohio is pretty basic I think. We have large cities but plenty of rural areas. Getting a job here would be tricky as our unemployment is high though I don't know the IT job market. Ohio has a good sized population so you can have the many pro sports teams, museums and parks. The feel of the cities is different from each other and the rural areas of the north are not quite like the ones in the south.
 

JiffyPopTart

Bree-Yark
Can't speak for Utah...never been there.

1. If you live in the midwest you must learn to occasionally eat at buffet. Its mandatory.

2. All restaurants have free refills (but not for the premium drinks).

3. Cincinnati is an IT job wasteland. I wouldn't suggest moving to the area if you are wanting to start a decent career in the field.

DS
 

ssampier

First Post
That's the nice thing about Utah. Its unemployment is relatively low.

As for buffets, I thought that was a Utah thing. I have to been to Golden Corral in St. George a couple of times; I don't mind it.

I have heard about Cincinnati Chili. I am not sure if I'd like it or not.:blush:
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
Speaking as a native Louisianan and Army Brat, you might want to give Texas a good, hard look. I've lived here for most of my life, in San Antonio, Austin and the Dallas/FW Metroplex.

1) The economy here is pretty good, relative to the rest of the nation.

2) We don't have a state income tax, and, if it matters, this is a community property state.

3) 3 of the top 10 biggest cities in the USA are here: Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Each has its own charms. Houston has a bit of the Louisiana flavor. Austin is a liberal oasis in a conservative state. Dallas is the most "Eastern" city in Texas...something neighboring Fort Worth makes a great deal of fun of.

Since you're in IT, you should know that the Dallas/FW Metroplex is among the most wired areas in the nation- lots of tech companies and US or International HQs for a lot of businesses across all industries, computer game companies, pro-level sports teams in every league in the USA and so forth call the Metroplex home.

4) For grad schools, consider Texas has SMU, Texas A&M, UT Austin, Univeristy of Dallas, Baylor, and UT Arlington among a wide variety of other schools, covering all kinds of graduate and undergraduate programs. UD has the #2 Sports MBA program in the nation. UT Arlington is a robotics center. SMU is in the process of building up their "Guild Hall" computer gaming program. UT Austin has Law, of course.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Ohio is pretty basic I think. We have large cities but plenty of rural areas.

I think that depends on what you call a "large city". I've spent some time in Columbus (the largest metropolitan center in Ohio). By my measure, it isn't "large". But I live in Boston, by way of being a New Yorker.

The thing to know about the Midwest isn't just that culture varies north to south, but that it is a *huge* area - we are talking about a dozen states here. It covers major metro areas (like Chicago), to places where you can drive for hours and not see a building (say, in the Dakotas).

So, not so homogeneous that you can talk about jobs and housing and economy in one fell swoop.
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
The midwest has some very hard hit industrial urban centers (Detroit, Cleveland). Housing prices there are amazing for buyers.

Chicago holds it own as a Metropolis with a 24-hour downtown and to many comes close to New York in its vibe (to midwesterners), lots of corporate headquarters here. But it is also Illinois, higher than average unemployment and one of the worst budget crisis in the country rivaling California's budget problem. Home prices are higher than other metros for equal stock.

There are a good number of college towns that have become growth centers, typified by Madison, Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin has turned into a tech industry jobs creation factory, plus being the state capitol doesn't hurt job growth any in these times. College towns in the midwest can give you that smaller feel you are used to and are still very much vibrant jobs centers for your field. College towns are probably your best bet to target. Long had good housing prices but are climbing fast due to growth.

North Dakota is undergoing a boom, old oil fields in the state are being tapped with newer drilling tech, drawing jobs, creating a boom all over that state. Unemployment there rivals pre-recession levels of other states. You WILL get a job in North Dakota. It is North Dakota though. Awesome prices for homes even still.

I know most about Minneapolis/St. Paul (I live here) It has had remarkable almost Sun belt level growth until the recent downturn, still has below average unemployment. It's a world center of medical tech (Medtronic, others). Numerous corporate HQs (Target, Best Buy, 3M, General Mills, Cargill, Supervalu). You seem familiar with swingy weather, Minnesota gives that up to 11. As some of us tell ourselves, there is never bad weather, only the wrong clothing! ;) Wasn't as badly hit on housing prices as other cities, but home prices are quite a ways down from a few years ago.
 
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ssampier

First Post
Thanks all for the advice.

1) Texas, I was already looking at UT of Austin McCombs School of Business - both MBA and Management Information Systems.

I do like red meat; just kidding. I am sure I can find whatever food I want there. How's the gaming crowd in Texas?

2) Yes, I am familiar with the so-called "Rust Belt", sad...

3) North Dakota, I don't know. Utahns can be an odd bunch sometimes, but at least I have good natural sights to adventure in. What is there to do in ND?

4) Minnesota, interesting. I may freeze my buns off. We definitely get snow in Utah, but I have a feeling Minnesota gets more.

Umbran, you're right. The Midwest is very large. I am trying to get a sense of where most EnWorlders live in the Midwest so I can look at their communities more closely.

In Utah you can drive for hours and see only mountains in the distance and flat desert areas.

I'm not a very good photographer, but here's other people's pictures I'll borrow:


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AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
3) North Dakota, I don't know. Utahns can be an odd bunch sometimes, but at least I have good natural sights to adventure in. What is there to do in ND?
That's the thing. I'm sure a North Dakotan could give you a list. Many I know who live there are avid hunters. What's there to do? Exactly. Stack sand bags in spring in Fargo when the Red River floods yet again. ;) The internet, however, lessens the sense of solitude, and bars are attractions, FWIW. Minneapolis draws a lot of North Dakotans to sports events, long drive certainly but the Twin Cities is the closest major sports market.

4) Minnesota, interesting. I may freeze my buns off. We definitely get snow in Utah, but I have a feeling Minnesota gets more.
Not sure, the mountains of Utah has Minnesota beat for snow accumulation, but when it snows in November in Minnesota there is a good chance it stays around until March. This winter was amazing for snow levels for us. However lake-effect cities along the Great Lakes put us to shame for snow amounts, it just melts off there not long after.

I wish I could offer more insight to other cities you could put on your list.

Kansas City, HQ to Garmin and Sprint.
Indianapolis, excellent housing prices, diverse and stable job market (compared to neighboring Rust Belt cities).
Omaha, wikipedia can tell you tons more than I. All I know is Berkshire Hathaway is HQ'd there and homes are cheap.
Oklahoma City, lots of energy-related companies or business with the Federal government.
 

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