I was watching this YouTube video of Joe Rogan talking about why Connecticut sucks and I nearly spit my coffee out all over myself laughing because it was so funny and so spot on (but obviously over the top).
"CT sucks" and "Connecticut sucks" are pretty popular search terms because Joe Rogan is right. People who live there kind of know it sucks. Sure, it's got it's beauty and charm in it's own way and there are definitely worse places to live. But Connecticut could be a lot better.
Joe says Connecticut has a weird vibe. He says it has a feeling of despair, hopelessness and sadness and that it's just a highway between New York and Boston. That, it's not a real state and that it's a fifth world country.
For context, both Joe Rogan and Dave Chappelle were heckled in CT and now refuse to do gigs there. While Rogan's statements on CT are very harsh, the underlying message is true. Connecticut kind of sucks and here are my eight reasons why as someone who grew up there.
1) Economic downward spiral
I majored in accounting and finance as a 20-something at the University of Connecticut. School was so expensive (and has only gotten worse - A US problem not specific to CT) I was having the Air Force reserve pay for my tuition so I could get out ahead financially by being able to land one of those good jobs.
As such I was able to land a position with PricewaterhouseCoopers (now PWC). If I would have been located somewhere else being exposed to technology and websites I would have likely more learned a tech oriented trade instead of a trade that literally serves me no use now as a full stack marketer who works online and lives abroad.
Connecticut is a state with no tech oriented jobs. Just old, boring companies like banks and insurance companies run by the boomer generation who are stuck in their ways. If you want to live in Connecticut and make enough to live you're basically going to need to be an engineer, work in some financial capacity in a cubicle or learn a trade (which is good advice for any state).
If you have no talent for numbers and you consider yourself more of a creative type then Connecticut is not for you as you're going to be broke as the state lacks opportunities outside these narrow areas of banking, insurance or finance.
The state is also in this weird downward spiral because there is just a lack of high paying jobs, people can't make enough to live which then leads to increasing taxes to pay for things. Particularly on the shrinking middle and upper middle income people as well as companies who actually pay taxes. This eventually drives these productive people away (see General Electric leaving CT for Boston - yes Boston, because Taxachusets is so well known for being a low tax state).
Creating a state like California with a small portion of the populace earning a high income and the rest struggling to stay above water.
Next, Connecticut has some of the best universities yet the state experiences a major brain drain simply because again the state only offers boring jobs working in cubicles in the areas of finance and accounting and has high taxes and a high cost of living.
Connecticut is one of the few states that experiences a population decline. Why? It's just not a place where young people can get on with living their life. Jobs pay too little, taxes are too high and the cost of living is even higher.
2) Low value for your money
Connecticut is a high tax state but what do you get for your money? Nothing. You get to live in the dark woods of Connecticut surrounded by either rich people or the poor people that work for the rich people. If you want to see a fifth world place go to Waterbury Connecticut. A pit if i ever saw one.
Ugly city layout, crime and no jobs besides working retail at Target. A damn shame because it does not need to be like this. One of my biggest issues with the state is that you get so little for your money. Rent in Connecticut is outrageous. $1600 a month for what?
Yeah you can probably find somewhere a place for $800 a month but you'll be living in an unsafe area like Waterbury where your stuff will be stolen while you're at work. My condo in Thailand by contrast which had two rooftop pools and a gym cost me $350 a month in rent.
When I ask a good friend who is from New Mexico "how much does a place in Albuquerque cost" they told me a safe, normal no-frills apartment costs around $500 to $600 a month.
A place like that literally does not exist in Connecticut. Also how are you supposed to afford $1600 a month for an apartment, utilities, insurance, food and going out if you're making $38,000 a year working in accounts payable in the bowels of some bland insurance company.
At least with other high tax places like California you get nice beaches, big cities and lots of fun events going on. Connecticut is sleepy, boring and expensive (though having all 4 seasons is pretty great).
3) People are stuck in their bubble
In Connecticut people are either in their work bubble, their car bubble or their home bubble. It's challenging to network, meet new people and make new and interesting friends simply because Connecticut people stick to their friends from high school or from work.
It's lame, it's a cultural thing and I don't know why it's such a big deal to go out and socialize. Yet it is. If you land a good job in the state good luck trying to build out a quality social circle. People just don't go out and do stuff partly because there actually is nothing really to do in Connecticut other than drive long distances in your car or wander around a bleak mall that's stuck in 1992.
Just stay home, go to work or drive around. If you like being alone (and some people do) then Connecticut is the place for you.
4) Lack of Connecticut culture
Connecticut in general lacks things that are uniquely Connecticut. Want to go to a bar? Most of the time you'll have to go somewhere lame like an Applebee's or some other big generic brand where that can put up with the high cost of living.
Want coffee? Well Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts is basically it in most parts of CT. To put it in perspective, my parents moved to Rhode Island and they love it there. They actually have their own local culture and business. Narragansett beer, Dells Italian ice, local restaurants, and beautiful beaches.
Connecticut only seems to have big box stores and generic companies. Starting a local business is extremely expensive in Connecticut and it's just not worth the headache. Particularly when you consider the population decline and the overall brain drain.
Connecticut could turn this around though and embrace what makes New England cool in it's own way. Mystic CT is a lovely port town with things to do, Clydes Cider Mill is a must visit in the fall and Louis Lunch in New Haven is famous for inventing the American hamburger.
5) Mediocre cities
I get it, not everyone is a city person. But after living abroad in Bangkok, Saigon, Seoul South Korea, Mexico City, and visiting Boston and NYC regularly it's something that is lacking in CT. I guess you could simply commute to NYC or Boston from CT but your a 3 hours drive away from both places.
So what about Connecticut cities? They are pretty much non-existent unless you consider a 90,000-person population a city. The capital of Connecticut is Hartford, known lovingly as Fartford is a shrinking city with a population of about 120K with minimal shops and eateries. During the weekend unlike other cities, it's totally abandoned you won't see anyone walking around.
Why you may be wondering? Because no one who works in Hartford lives in Hartford. Hartford is simply a place residents drive to for work, then leave back to the suburbs.
Also as a city there is not a whole lot to do and it's surrounded by poor and dangerous neighborhoods. Nothing wrong with being on the lower socioeconomic ladder. I've been to places like that in other parts of the world, but people in Hartford don't take pride in their property and there is too much crime to the point where it deters anyone from living there if they don't have to.
So you end up with a capital city that's not particularly attractive for young people. If you went to college or learned a trade and want to work hard and make a living. You want to be around like other like minded, hard working people. Not the gang banger, tough guy west coast rapper wanna be.
What about New Haven?
Yale is there so it must be nice right? New Haven is a somewhat dangerous city with decent nightlife, a beautiful but small downtown area near Yale with excellent bars and restaurants and this weird dichotomy of a world-famous university located in a place with poverty and crime.
Don't believe me?
It was at one point ranked as the 4th most dangerous city in the United States. I'm from Connecticut, I'm not just making things up.
Waterbury as previously mentioned is a pit and should be avoided all costs. New Britain is filled with aggressive tough guys. It has a high crime rate and assaults. Bridgeport is an old rust belt city that is now like all our cities crime ridden. So if you're looking to get mugged or to buy some heroin then I guess you could go check out Bridgeport
Connecticut honestly does not have a single nice city. Not even one city where people are just walking around, shopping, going out with their friends or family. There are nice spots in our different cities. A couple of gems for restaurants and bars. But it's more the exception than the norm.
6) Traffic and everything is far away
It takes forever to get anywhere in Connecticut. All the major roads have way too much traffic, partly because the highway system in New England have these stupid left-hand exits so you end up having people that are in the passing driving lane driving fast having to slow down because they get stuck behind the guy who's exiting.
Also everything is just far away. It takes 30 minutes to drive to get food, then it's another long trip to the bank, then another long trip home. In CT, it's just the norm to live 40-60 minutes away from everything. People live in the suburb, home bubble.
This obviously contributes to the congestion because when people who want to leave their home bubble it's off for a 40-minute journey in the car bubble as I previously mentioned about Harford. People live in the suburbs and commute so no one who is middle class actually lives in the cities of Connecticut. Who am I kidding, there is barely a middle class anymore in Connecticut anymore.
7) Reputation of being rich due to one area
Easily the most annoying thing about being from Connecticut is that we have this reputation of all being rich, white east coast liberals. The lecturing white liberals sure are here, but not so much the rich part.
Only one area of Connecticut has a lot of wealth. It's all concentrated in that little nose section near New York. There you'll find mansions and literal estates as well as boarding schools for rich families.
Connecticut used to have no state income tax so the state was able to attract high net worth people who worked in New York City, but perhaps did not want to live in New York. Instead opting for a big house with a yard in Connecticut.
It then gives the state this annoying reputation that everyone from Connecticut is rich or at least comes from money. In reality, most of Connecticut is pretty rural. My dad was a bricklayer my mom worked as a nurses aid. Combined they made about $70,000 a year and raised four kids.
I really do not come from money at all, but I know I know, I'm white and I'm from Connecticut so my life must have just been so easy and everything was handed to me on a silver platter. In reality Connecticut is a tough state to live in. It's way too expensive, it's hard to find gainful employment and you don't get value for your money.
Connecticut is boring. It's fine for a visit, but overall you'll find that there is not a whole lot to do here. There is nowhere to go other than malls and wandering around a Dick's sporting goods store, looking at hockey sticks and guns, contemplating ending it all there.
Connecticut lacks nice vibrant cities, everything is far away, people are nice but not friendly and don't socialize. It's expensive and it's just hard to have discretionary income. On top of that, all the surrounding states do something better.
You want a big city well you got New York City. You want a cool historical city with great sports teams, you got Boston. You want a relaxing beach then you have Rhode Island. You want to ski or snowboard then you have Vermont and New Hampshire.
You want an outdoor lifestyle and a good, small capital city then you have Maine. In Connecticut you have wasted potential.
You may be wondering, "wow you really hate your home state." No way, I like Connecticut! It's just I'm from there and I can see the problems that are not being fixed.
The positives of Connecticut are that living in the suburbs while boring is actually quite safe. Perfect if you want to raise a family and are more of a homebody.
Connecticut is also very beautiful year round with four seasons. After traveling around I always appreciate how pretty and laid back CT is.
To wrap this up if you're a person who wants a peaceful and boring place to raise a family and you're making the kind of money where you could actually afford to raise a family then Connecticut may be the state for you.
Oh, and the pizza is the best.
Hey, if you've not yet done so consider checking out The Haunting in Connecticut.
I also like this book from the previous state historian on a bunch of critical moments that shaped the state (witches, Nutmeggers, Mark Twains' house, the hangging of Nathaniel Hale and more) called "Creating Connecticut."
Thanks for reading! -David
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