What You Need to Know Before Moving to Wyoming

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With rodeos, sheer mountain cliffs, Class V River rapids and foot-upon-foot of pristine snowpack, no state better embodies the wildness of the west than Wyoming. For every 111 acres in the Cowboy State, there is only one single human being, making it the second least populous state in the union. But the 500-plus species of wild animals that populate this rugged terrain — from the Grand Tetons to the Devil’s Tower — make it truly unique. Bison, wild horses and bears are just a few of the state’s larger beasts that draw crowds of tourists to Wyoming’s national parks every year, while meadowlarks and cutthroat trout attract birders and fisherman in droves.  

Also known as the Equality State, Wyoming was the first state in the union to grant women the right to vote. This achievement was enshrined in the state seal, where the state’s most powerful industries — oil, mining, livestock and grain — are also emblazoned. Even today, these continue to be the state’s economic strongholds.   

Wyoming is serious about its cowboy culture, and the state’s iconic “bucking horse and rider” is almost as old as the Cowboy State itself. It first appeared on license plates in 1936, but its roots are even older. If legend holds true — that the featured horse is the unrideable rodeo stallion, Steamboat — it would certainly be an apt metaphor for this seemingly untamable state, where brawny ambitions have always pushed back hard against the bridle.  

In no area is this clearer than in the laxness of the state’s tax policies, which are indicative of Wyoming’s broader independent ethos. No income taxes are levied on individuals or corporations, and the government is adamantly pro-business. 

If you are similarly self-determined and looking for a state with low population density, an embrace of adventure and acres of wilderness between you and your neighbors, the 44th state may be the state for you! 

Get a quote on moving to Wyoming. 

Living in Wyoming

According to United Van Lines 46th Annual National Movers Study, newcomers to Wyoming cited retirement and lifestyle as their primary reasons for relocating to the state. Both factors drove a higher percentage of inbound traffic to the Cowboy State than outbound traffic.  

Wyoming’s low cost of living is certainly another attraction to this western wonder. While groceries are ever so slightly higher, housing and utilities in the state fall nearly 20 points below the U.S. average, while transportation and healthcare are both more than three points below national costs. The median home value in Wyoming is $237,900 — that’s $10,000 below the national average and more than $100,000 below neighboring Utah’s average home values. The median gross rent ($878/mo) is on par with Montana’s, and it’s significantly below Idaho’s, but it’s hundreds less than the national average. 

The Tax Foundation proclaims Wyoming to have the most business-friendly tax climate in the nation. There is no state tax on personal or corporate income, and the state sales tax is a mere 4%. The Wyoming government prides itself on being accessible to business owners and entrepreneurs. It offers a variety of incentive programs, including business grants and loans through the Business Ready Community program.  

The low cost of living and tax-friendly climate have made the state the top destination for retirees.  

But Wyoming has also been an attractive prospect for the working-age set. Since 2021, the state has added 14,000 civic jobs, and more than 30% of inbound movers to the state said their careers prompted their move to the state. While the traditional economic powerhouses of agriculture, tourism/leisure and natural resources still pull more than their weight in the state, the government is trying to bolster new industries, like advanced manufacturing, professional services and tech, which already has a strong base in Cheyenne (more on that below). Other initiatives involve diversifying the robust energy industry — a decidedly carbon-centric sector that is now embracing renewables like wind. It’s also investigating carbon capturing technology, such as Exxon Mobile’s CO2-sequestration operation in LaBarge, which has captured more carbon than any facility in the world. Many of these initiatives represent partnerships between the state of Wyoming, corporate parties and the University of Wyoming in Laramie. 

Wyoming Weather

It’s difficult to categorize the weather in such a vast state, but Wyoming is generally a dry and windy place. The ruggedness of the Cowboy State’s terrain is matched easily by its atmosphere, which is kept cool by its high elevation.  

In Wyoming’s few hot spots, which include the Big Horn Basin and low-lying areas in the central/eastern reaches of the state, summertime highs average in the low 90s F, but the air is still cool at night. In the high mountains, on the other hand, even summertime lows can dip below freezing, so keep that in mind if you’re hiking.  

January is reliable the coldest month, and the average low is below 10 F. It’s not at all uncommon for temperatures to drop below zero.   

Rain is paltry across the state, ranging from just a few inches to around 16 inches, except for a handful of outliers that can receive up to 40 inches. Snow is a different story. The driest areas will get 15-20 inches a year, but the mountains can see over 260 inches. The snowfall in Yellowstone is particularly magnificent.  

Severe weather in the warmer months plagues the state of Wyoming. Hail can be particularly destructive, sometimes wiping out whole crops. Dramatic thunderstorms do visit the area, especially in June. Plus, tornadoes sometimes touch down in the state, but they are usually short-lived. Flooding is an ever-increasing concern, especially during the confluence of winter snow melt and spring rains.  

One of the best times to move to Wyoming is in the early fall, from late August through early October, when the threat of summer storms has passed and winter has not yet arrived.  

Where People Live in Wyoming

Only 581,381 live in Wyoming’s 97,088 square miles, making it the second least populous state in the country. The state hasn’t seen a lot of growth over the past decade: Since 2010, Wyoming has added only 17,755 new residents. It doesn’t have a single town with more than 100,000 residents.  


In Wyoming’s largest city, Cheyenne, the population is a modest 65,051. Despite the appeal of this capital city, Cheyenne has added only 5,000 new residents over the last decade.  

The transcontinental railroad helped put Cheyenne on the map. For that reason, the city is widely thought of as the railroad capital. With warm brick buildings, a working street trolley and historic signage like at the Wrangler store, today’s Cheyenne maintains much of its historic, frontier-town charm.  

The stately Capitol building stands out among the humbler structures nearby — this national historic landmark was finished in 1890 — just in time for the state to become a state. The Capitol offers fascinating tours to the public. A historic walking tour through town or a visit to the Wyoming State Museum also helps bring the city’s interesting history to life.   

Unlike the architecture, Cheyenne’s economy is anything but old-timey. Microsoft established a base in the city in 2012 and has expanded several times since then. The NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center is in Cheyenne, which institutions all over the world rely for earth science research. The city is also home to F.E. Warren Air Force Base — one of only three nuclear deterrence bases in the country. It provides a stable source of jobs and a sense of community in the region. Tourism is also a major economic driver in the capital.  

Incomes and educational rates are above the national average in Cheyenne, and the poverty rate is low at only 8.7%. Housing in the capital is only nominally higher than the state average — the median home value is $241,100 and rent averages just over $900 per month.  


Casper is the famous “Oil City” of central Wyoming, perhaps best known as the heart of the Teapot Dome scandal during Warren G. Harding’s presidency. The plentiful oil reserves discovered in the region in the early 19th century — or “tar springs,” as they were once quaintly called —made Casper the regional oil and gas king by 1922. But the volatility of the market did not make for success in perpetuity. The industry is still vital to the region, but mining — particularly for uranium, coal and bentonite — has helped balance the scales. The mining/logging industry saw a 25% year-over-year increase from February 2022. Sheep and cattle ranching are also important to Casper and the state. Wool is one of Wyoming’s most important products.   

Small businesses populate the historic downtown district, where there are a surprising number of museums, a planetarium and plenty of historic sites. Spectacular countryside surrounds Casper, so residents have access to prime wilderness for hiking, biking, fishing and snowshoeing.  

This city of 58,656 has increased by just over 3,000 new residents since 2010, and housing in Casper is below state and national averages. The median home value is $215,400 and rent averages below $900 per month. 

If you’re considering a move to Wyoming, though, don’t discount the numerous other small cities across the state. 


Gillette (pop. 32,884), located in the northwest corner just outside Black Hills National Forest, has welcomed just shy of 3,000 new residents since 2010. The median home value here is $224,000 and rent averages $836 per month. Mining is a critical industry to this coal town, as is tourism. Gillette is only an hour from Devil’s Tower National Monument. Really, every city on the way to Yellowstone or the Tetons has an opportunity to benefit from the influx of out-of-state visitors. Just outside of town, the Durham Bison Ranch — one of the largest outfits of its kind in the country — is a cool place to take the family for a tour and see these incredible animals from a safe distance.  


With a population of 31,659, Laramie is the fourth-largest city in the state. This snowy, windy town northwest of Cheyenne is nestled into some of the most eye-catching natural wonders in the state. And it’s also home to the University of Wyoming, whose student body (plus resident faculty and staff), comprise nearly a third of the city’s population. The University has several notable museums, including the American Heritage Center, the UW Art Museum and the UW Geological Museum. If you’re hoping to see wildlife, nearby Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge offers a good chance of viewing everything from pronghorn to foxes and, of course, irresistible prairie dogs.  

Fun Things to Do in Wyoming Year Around

Wyoming’s landscape is rugged and has a rocky terrain, embodying a spirit of independence and adventure. It’s not hard to see why the state has been a Hollywood darling for so many years, giving us silver screen standouts like “Shane,” “The Outlaw Josie Wales “and even “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” But it’s even better to see the natural beauty of this landscape in real life. With two national parks, five national forests, 12 state parks, numerous Native American landmarks and vast public lands to hunt, fish, bike and hike, you’ll never run out of reasons to love exploring Wyoming.  

Summer is the most popular time to visit Wyoming’s national and state parks and get outdoors, but in the winter, the locals have their fun. Parks are less crowded and open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The daring members of your family can strap on their crampons for some incredible ice climbing and those family members who have mastered the art of patience and wool layering can embrace the art of ice fishing.  

Wherever you go, remember these are wild territories, and you should be prepared for encounters with the residents here: bears, snakes, bison, mountain lions and coyotes, among others. This is their home, and we are mere visitors.  

Grand Teton National Park is one of the most majestic parks in North America. With several crystalline lakes, boating and fishing are favorite activities in the Tetons. But the notoriously unpredictable Snake River also wends its way through this park, so if your family is into white water adventures, they will certainly find their joy on its waters.  

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most popular attractions in the United States. Campers, backpackers and bikers travel thousands of miles each year to visit the thermal basins, bask in the mist of waterfalls and catch a glimpse of bison, black bears, grizzlies and maybe even the elusive grey wolf.  

Rising like a beacon out of the siltstone cliffs of the Black Hills, Devil’s Tower National Monument is a sacred site to Plains Indians and a geologic wonder to all. This confounding outcropping of phonolitic porphyry, and its signature columnar jointing, lends tantalizing clues about its formation millennia ago, but no single theory has yet to satisfy all scientists. Other important Native American sites to visit include Medicine Wheel, Sacajawea’s Gravesite and Castle Gardens, where you can see ancient petroglyphs. 

Learn more about these destinations in our National Parks of the West guide.  

Of course, if you’re moving to the Cowboy State, you’d better be ready for a serious dose of Western culture: we’re talking cowboy boots, Stetson hats, lassos and some mountain man attitude. At the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, you’ll find five separate museums dedicated to Western life and history, from the Draper Natural History Museum — where dinosaurs loom large — to the Plains Indian Museum and the Cody Firearms Museum. 

But to immerse yourself in the Wyoming lifestyle, you’ll need to attend a rodeo. Not everyone rides horses here, but rodeo is the official sport of the state. Cody is the self-proclaimed “rodeo capital of the world,” and rough-riding cowboys and cowgirls have competed in the Cody Stampede for over 100 years. If you want to see the largest outdoor rodeo on the planet, you’ll have to attend Cheyenne’s famous Frontier Days. This 10-day event features the Championship Bull Riding Finals, an airshow, a gunslinging reenactment and a carnival.  

To dive deep into winter adventure, there’s no better place to visit than Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Almost 600 inches of snow fell on these mountains in 2023, which made for truly epic skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing. When you want to get off your feet, the park offers charming sleigh rides and thrilling dogsledding adventures. The park is equally fun in the summertime, when you can show off your tricks in the bike park or test your strength (and stomach) on the ropes course and bungee trampoline. Or take the plunge and make this the year you cross paragliding off your bucket list. Wait — don’t literally take the plunge into paragliding — save that for the mountain coaster.  

What to Eat in Wyoming

Wyoming’s cuisine is steeped deeply in its culture — most of what you eat in the state is local flavor. Wild-caught river trout, bison or beef raised on local ranches, chanterelles, morels and porcini mushrooms (if you’re lucky enough to spot them) and smoked sausages and jerky made from wild game like elk, antelope and moose.  

If you’re not a hunter but still want to enjoy the spoils, processing outfits like Wyoming Wild Meats often make their own in-house goods, and they are also a great source for hard-to-find ingredients like beef and pork fat. Piemakers and French friers know to use the good stuff. 

Although you’ll find great eats across this vast state, Jackson Hole corners the market on fine dining in Wyoming. Start your day with an almond croissant or cinnamon brioche from Persephone Bakery, have the salami bagel sandwich and a “wild tribe” (Wyoming’s coffee frappe) from Pearl Street Bagels, and finish your day at The Blue Lion where the savory elk tenderloin or bison short ribs will complete your day of decadence. 

Eating on a ranch is another must in the Cowboy State, and cowboy attire is always welcome at the Turpin Meadow Ranch, where you’ll find woods-to-woodfire creations like braised elk potstickers and juicy bison burgers.   

When you need a break from beef and bison, head to Sweet Melissa in Laramie — you’ll find nothing but wide-ranging vegetarian and vegan fare on this menu, from black bean nachos to banh mi to cauliflower chickpea tikka masala.   

How to Move to Wyoming

Are you ready to move to beautiful Wyoming? Get a moving quote from United Van Lines. 

When you work with a professional moving company like United Van Lines, your move can be as stress-free as possible. No matter where you’re moving from in the U.S., United Van Line’s professional movers can help you move to the Cowboy State. We’ll handle all the details so you can relax into your new home in Wyoming.  

If you’re moving long-distance to Wyoming, United Van Lines’ long-distance movers can help you move cross country to Wyoming. We can manage all of your moving needs, from packing and unpacking to storage needs, car shipping, debris pickup and more

Are you moving locally in Wyoming? United Van Lines’ Wyoming movers can help you move from one city in Wyoming to another independently under their own businesses and brands.  

Need a little extra help with your DIY move? Even if you’re moving by yourself, we can help plan and simplify your move. Check out United Van Lines’ moving tips, checklists, packing tips, regional guides and other resources.   

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