Thinking about moving to the “Show Me State”? There are plenty of reasons why Missouri is a great place to live and work. As for its unofficial nickname, that’s widely attributed to a remark made by Missouri Congressman Willard Van Diver at a formal banquet back in 1899: “Frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.” This no-nonsense, “just give me the facts” philosophy is as true of Missourians today as it was over a century ago.
Missouri was the eastern starting point for the Pony Express and the birthplace of the ice cream cone. Appreciate natural beauty? You’re in luck. It has also been dubbed the “cave state” for its 5,500-plus subterranean wonders.
From country music extravaganzas in Branson, the “live entertainment capital of the world,” to architectural wonders like the 630-foot Gateway Arch, a national park known as the symbol of St. Louis, to the unsurpassed natural beauty of the state’s numerous lakes, rivers, mountain ranges and caverns, there’s always plenty to see and do in Missouri. Add a thriving economy, a low cost of living and a neighborly, laid-back lifestyle and you’ll soon understand why Missouri appeals to people from a wide range of backgrounds and interests.
Whether you move to Missouri for work, to raise a family or to retire comfortably, you’ll find that living in the state of Missouri has a world of employment, recreational, cultural and lifestyle options to enjoy.
Quick Stats About Missouri
Missouri is much more than Mark Twain, championship sports teams and mouthwatering barbecue. Here are a few quick stats to get you acquainted with your new state.
For starters, Missouri has plenty of wide-open spaces. The state’s population density is just 87.1 people per square mile, meaning there’s plenty of room to roam — despite a 2.8% growth in population over the last decade. (According to the 2020 US Census Bureau, the population of Missouri in 2020 was 6,154,913.)
What brings people here? According to the latest United Van Lines National Movers Study, the top reasons for moving to Missouri in 2021 were for family (42.8%) and jobs (41.7%). A significant number of people 65 and over (32.9%) also chose Missouri as a retirement destination — no doubt due to its friendliness, numerous housing options, good healthcare system and affordability.
Weather in Missouri
A true four-season climate, Missouri has hot and humid summers, cool and rainy springs, crisp autumns, and snowy winters. Missourians experience the full range of weather conditions. In winter, temperatures often go below freezing. Come summer — especially in July and August —- it’s common to see temperatures hover around 100 °F.
If you’re thinking about moving to Missouri, you’re likely wondering the best time of year to relocate. This would be during the fall months — September through October — after the summer weather gives way to cooler fall temperatures.
Advantages of Moving to Missouri
There are a host of compelling reasons to call Missouri home.
For starters, life In Missouri is very affordable. In the first quarter of 2022, the state’s cost of living(1) index is 90.5, well below the national average. In fact, Missouri comes in below average in every cost-of-living category. Groceries stand at 95.8 of the national average, housing at 83.2, transportation at 89.6 and health care at 93.7. And if you’re thinking about moving here, you’ll be glad to know that the cost of a home is fully $50,000 below the national average.
Appreciate a dose of music history? Good news: Missouri’s impact on American culture is significant. It is the birthplace of ragtime, Kansas City jazz and St. Louis blues — and the home state of musical artists and composers that include Scott Joplin, Charlie Parker, Sheryl Crow, Tina Turner and Chuck Berry. Beyond its musical greats, the poet Maya Angelou was born here, as were fashion designer Kate Spade, film actor Jean Harlow and former U.S. president Harry S. Truman.
Like your food fresh and local? Missouri has a proud agricultural tradition and is home to nearly 100,000 farms — second only to Texas — which cover two-thirds of the state’s total acreage. And unlike many other states, an overwhelming percentage of the farms In Missouri are family owned and operated. The state’s Farm Bureau has recognized the growing desire for farm-to-table food choices and now regularly releases a list of farms that sell their products directly to consumers.
Demonstrating a lust for learning, Missouri’s education system is dedicated to student success. In addition to a well-regarded public school system for grades K-12, the state’s top-ranked colleges and universities include Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Missouri at Columbia and Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. Among two-year colleges, WalletHub recently named State Technical College of Missouri in Linn the best community college in the entire U.S.
Further adding to its appeal, as of June 2022, Missouri’s unemployment rate was a low 2.8% with healthcare the largest employer and registered nurse the state’s number-one occupation. The technology sector is experiencing an unprecedented boom. A new report from the Brookings Institution named Kansas City and St. Louis among nine “rising star” metros that are adding new tech jobs at a brisk pace.
Fastest Growing Cities in Missouri
The state capital is Jefferson City, and its largest cities are Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield and Independence. It’s also important to note that many quaint, historic and friendly small towns can be found throughout the state, including Booneville, named one of the “20 Best Small Towns to Visit” by Smithsonian Magazine.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Springfield and Columbia were Missouri’s fastest growing metro areas. Columbia, the state’s fourth largest metro area, grew 16.6% in population in the past decade and has a cost of living nearly 10 points below the U.S. average. Springfield grew 6% over its 2010 population and was named by Kiplinger among the 25 cheapest U.S cities in which to live, with major employers that include CoxHealth, Mercy Hospital Springfield and O’Reilly Auto Parts.
Rounding out the top four, Kansas City, Missouri’s second largest metro area, had a 10% increase in population in the last decade. Major employers in the state are in the government, health services and electronics manufacturing sectors. Sports fans will also be pleased that it’s been selected as one of 16 cities hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Interestingly, growth in St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis was essentially flat between 2019 and 2020. It is, however, home to many Fortune 500 companies, including Centene, Emerson Electric, Edward Jones and Reinsurance Group of America. Moreover, it has the highest average weekly wage in the state.
Fun fact: United’s parent company, UniGroup, is headquartered in Fenton, just outside St. Louis city limits.
If you’re exploring the state, check out our road trip playlist to get you from point A to point B!
Fun Things to Do in Missouri
Missouri has more than enough sports, cultural and recreational attractions to show you a great time. From baseball to the Blues, there’s a little bit of something for everyone.
From the Royals to the Cardinals, the Chiefs to the Blues, there’s plenty to cheer about in Missouri.
- Baseball fans have two professional teams from which to choose: The St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis and the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Both teams have an enviable track record of World Series wins.
- Football fans can cheer on the Kansas City Chiefs, 2021 Super Bowl champions, whose home field is the Arrowhead Stadium. Incidentally, Arrowhead recently set a world record for having the loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium.
- Hockey fans have St. Louis Blues, who rule the ice at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis and won the Stanley Cup in 2019
Feel like hiking the great outdoors? The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail winds nearly 4,900 miles through the homelands of more than 60 Tribal nations. It follows Lewis and Clark’s journey from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to the Pacific Ocean, a large portion of which passes through the state of Missouri.
If kayaking or scuba diving appeals to you, a day trip to the Bonne Terre Mine should definitely be on your list of must-dos. One of the world’s largest manmade caverns, this former lead mine was abandoned in 1962, eventually flooding into seventeen miles of lake which you can explore by boat or scuba diving. Now lit with over 500,000 watts of stadium lighting that illuminates the mine’s walls and equipment, it’s the largest freshwater scuba diving venue in the world.
For fans of culture and history, Missouri offers plenty of fascinating — even unusual — choices. Check out the Penitentiary Museum. Located on the banks of the Missouri River in Jefferson City, it offers a wide variety of history and “ghost” tours. You can also walk through historic housing to see the cells that held many of the prison’s most infamous inmates.
If you’re more into literature, the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum is a chance to explore the Hannibal home of Samuel Clemens and learn about his surprising life as an inventor (among other things, of the bra strap). In addition to his boyhood home, the property features two interactive museums that house 15 original Norman Rockwell paintings.
If you want to learn about Missouri’s enormous contribution to American music, the St. Louis National Blues Museum is a great place to start given it’s dedicated to preserving and honoring the history and legacy of the genre. While you’re at it, round out your knowledge by hitting up the many festivals around the state, like the Old Webster Jazz & Blues Festival or the Roots N’ Blues Barbeque Festival. And be sure to also swing by a club or two, like St. Louis’ BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, The Beale on Broadway or perhaps The Blue Room at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City.
Outdoor Things to Do in Missouri
Missouri has many beautiful areas to explore scattered across the state. For outdoor lovers, virtually any of Missouri’s 52 state parks are well worth a trip. Among the best are:
- Elephant Rocks State Park in Belleview, where you can fish, rock climb and view spectacular elephant-shaped granite outcroppings that were formed 1.5-billion years ago
- Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, near Middle Brook is famous for its rocky “shut-ins,” volcanic formations home to some of the St. Francois Mountains’ most desirable swimming holes and natural water slides, in addition to horseback riding, camping, hiking, and trails for biking
- Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton features many natural wonders, including sinkholes, caves and a natural bridge — not to mention the incredible ruins of the Ha Tonka Castle, conceived in 1905 by Kansas City businessman Robert Snyder as a full-scale European castle; completed in the 1920s, it sat proudly atop a bluff until 1942, when it was destroyed by a fire
Many Missouri residents also enjoy spending time on the water during the state’s hot and humid summers, and there’s no better place to do it than storied Lake of the Ozarks. Sprawling over 54,000 acres, it’s widely considered to be the Midwest’s premier lake resort destination, offering boating, golfing, shopping and fishing, as well as a wide variety of lodging, restaurants and other recreational activities.
Eat Local Missouri Cuisine
The cuisine in Missouri is completely “American,” eclectic and absolutely delicious.
Known for its slow-roasted, ultra-flavorful burnt ends, Kansas City Barbecue is made from beef brisket slathered in a distinctly sweet-spicy BBQ sauce. If you’re in St. Louis, it’s well worth a trip to Pappy’s Smokehouse on Olive Street to sample some of the best.
St. Louis-Style pizza is thin and crispy, with a cracker-like crust that’s made without yeast. Favoring Provel cheese, the pies are cut into squares or rectangles instead of the more widely recognized wedges. Piazza Imo, originally located in The Hill, a neighborhood in St. Louis known for its rich Italian culture, serves up a fine St. Louis-style pie in an ornate setting, with tournament-size chess tables and the “La Fontana della Famiglia Frisella,” an enormous fountain hand-sculpted from Carrara marble imported from Italy.
Another St. Louis favorite, toasted ravioli, is breaded, fried and served with marinara sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. If you only try one, look no further than Charlie Gitto’s On The Hill, where it was invented back in 1947. This St. Louis institution also serves a wide selection of homemade soups and salads to go along with your main course.
Have a sweet tooth? Be sure to score some gooey butter cake, a flat, moist and dense finale made with wheat cake flour, butter, sugar and eggs and dusted with powdered sugar. It was invented during the Great Depression by a St. Louis-area German-American baker, who was trying to make regular cake batter but reversed the proportions of butter and flour. It can be found across the state of Missouri, and quite notably at Park Avenue Coffee in St. Louis. There, you’ll contend with more than 70 varieties of gooey butter cake; however, its top seller is still the original “Mom’s Traditional,” which won a distinction from Food Network.
“The King of Beers,” American-style Budweiser lager, is a St. Louis original that has been around since 1876. It is also one of the best-selling beers worldwide. Learn the backstory at the Budweiser Experience in St. Louis, which offers guided tours. Looking for something a bit less production line? Missouri boasts a wide variety of craft breweries, a number that’s ever on the rise.
Although the best restaurant finds can look unimpressive at first glance, those in the know consider them undiscovered culinary gems. Such is the case with Espino’s Mexican Bar and Grill in Chesterfield, which serves authentic Mexican food, supplemented with dishes that are as delectable as they are unique.
Need a little refreshment? Located in Hermann, Stone Hill Winery was once the second largest winery in the United States. Take a tour of the winery’s underground cellars and enjoy its award-winning Missouri wines and German-inspired lunch and dinner menus. The restaurant’s “Free Live Music on the Hill” events feature live performances from popular local artists.
Since 1913, Crown Candy Kitchen — a popular St. Louis “sweet spot” — has offered a menu full of exciting treats, all of which are made in-house. Besides the soda fountain and candy, it serves great food for lunch and dinner. Be sure to wash your order down with a malted milkshake, given the spot is often named one of the best places to indulge in St. Louis.
If you’re passing through Jefferson City, a visit to the Central Dairy Ice Cream Parlor is like taking a step back in time. Serving ice cream cones, sodas, malts, shakes, sundaes and faves like the banana split, you can also take home hand-packed ice cream by the pint and quart.
Prepare for Your Move to Missouri
As experts in the moving business, plus resources designed to deliver you a smooth, worry-free move experience, you can count on United. Our full-service moving packages can handle everything from packing your belongings to cleaning your new home before your things arrive and making sure your car arrives safely in your new driveway.
Moving cross-country to Missouri? Our long-distance movers can help. When moving with us, you’ll have your dedicated move coordinator and the personalized MyUnited Move Portal to streamline your moving experience, track all major moving milestones, organize contacts and more.
If you’re moving within the state of Missouri, our interstate agents also provide local moving services independently under their own businesses and brands.
It all starts with a free, no obligation moving quote from United. Get a quote!
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