By Tamara Sykes
Posted On: May 28, 2021
It's no secret that moving to a new state can be scary. However, I've discovered that Ohio is a great place to put down roots.
In August 2006, I immigrated to Columbus to further my education and now, a couple of years later, I've started my family in a state that I'm proud to call home. We get to enjoy all four seasons, are able to easily travel by car or plane to any location, and we're a creative hub, ranking. In fact, we're actually considered the third largest fashion capital in the United States.
Nevertheless, If I was to narrow it down, I'd say there are six main reasons why Ohio is a great place to settle down.
1. Unique Neighborhoods to Call Home
These areas have their own unique architecture. For example, in German Village, you can expect to see many red-brick homes surrounded by trees with brick streets. In Italian village, you can expect to see the influence of the Irish and Italian immigrants that resided there in the 1890s. On the other hand, Franklinton, one of our oldest communities has an industrial feel.
However, if you want to be in the middle of all the action, consider downtown housing close to the Columbus Commons.
2. Low Cost-of-Living
On a scale of 1-100, 100 being the most expensive, Ohio is approximately 82, and Columbus is 85.5. According to a recent study by Sperling's Best Places, you can rent a one-bedroom apartment for under $1,000 and you can purchase a great house between $250,000-$290,000.
And I can attest to these facts!
These aren't just numbers.
When my husband and I got married in 2016, we rented a two-bedroom home for $750 per month that was a comfortable commute from the downtown area. Now, in 2021, we rent a beautiful upgraded, two-bedroom apartment for $1,200 with utilities included a little closer to our jobs.
We're also looking to buy a home and those that we've visited are exactly within the $250,000 to $290,000 range for a three bedroom, two bathroom layout. Some are even as low as $225,000!
All this to say that living here is affordable.
3. Variety of Safe School Options for Kids
If you have young kids as I do, you'll also be happy to know that Ohio requires all daycares and preschools to go through a licensing protocol by the state. A part of this licensing is called Step Up to Quality, something that I personally learned about recently from a friend who is a teacher.
After going through the process, a school is given a ranking between 1 to 5 (5 being the best) and they usually display this on a banner outside of the school or mention it on their website.
Trust me, that offers some peace of mind as your babies grow up!
4. A Strong, Diversified Job Market
It's well known that Columbus is home to big fashion brands like The Limited, Victoria Secret, and Abercrombie & Fitch. However, I don't think people realize that our city is also home to some great places to work like Cover My Meds.
Even small businesses like Postali, the marketing agency I work for, and Ricart Automotive, a family-owned car dealership that was founded in Ohio, treat their employees well, which in turn results in great experiences for their customers. I mean, my family has purchased two used cars from Ricart within the past three years and it was stress-free.
But that’s not all!
At a glance, especially since the pandemic, Columbus' unemployment rate has stayed below 5.5% and a recent report by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has shown that we're adding jobs at a fast rate, even in industries that were negatively impacted by the pandemic.
That doesn't mean you couldn't pursue other employment options here. If your dream is to own a business, Columbus is a great place to get started.
Ohioans love to support small businesses.
I’m actually a part of an amazing Facebook group called Columbus Black Owned Businesses, which was established during the pandemic and serves as a way for Black business owners to promote their products and services. All you need is at least $99 to file for an LLC.
5. Thriving Food Scene
As I mentioned before, I'm a proud immigrant. I was born and raised in Barbados, a small Caribbean island, so it's safe to say that food is a big deal to me.
Columbus has an amazing range of options! There's soul food available from restaurants like Vante's Kitchen, Caribbean cuisine from my favorite spot, Ena's Caribbean Kitchen, and amazing high-end dining at steakhouses like Hyde Park.
I've eaten at all of these restaurants and the food is delicious!
But that's just the tip of the iceberg!
Our city boasts authentic Indian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, African and Vietnamese cuisine. Honestly, all you have to do is ask or look at sites like Yelp to decide where you'd like to visit, and most restaurants offer a dine-in, carryout or delivery options.
6. Amazing Shopping Options
Last but not least, Ohio is a place where you can find amazing pieces whether it's a thrift store or luxury retailer.
Ohio Thrift offers a 50% off sale on the last Wednesday of every month, which is right after the Volunteers of America (VOA) sale that occurs on the last Tuesday of every month.
Not to mention that since we have so many fashion designers that live here, you can most definitely get a stylish look that is made for you. And I mean, whether it's an amazing wedding dress like those created by Joan's Bridal Couture or your new favorite bag from either Tonē Bekka or B.Eclectic.
The possibilities are endless! Even for the small things like my family's monthly candle shopping trip at Marshall's. I could go on and on.
But here's the tea, besides the obvious lack of Caribbean sea, Ohio is great place to live, work and raise a family.