Great Place to Live - 7/17/2009
From someone who has family scattered all over the country and has lived in the South, East, and Japan for a year, Cedar Rapids Iowa is as good a place as any.
There are various nice things about the city. I consider it the perfect size, first of all. It's not so large that you've got to worry about sitting in traffic, but it's large enough that there's a lot of things to do and see.
The weather could be better, but I don't mind it. The summers are generally mild, with this summer (2009) being extremely nice weather. As I write this, the forecast says it will be sunny and in the mid 70's this weekend. The summers can get pretty hot and humid sometimes, but it hasn't really happened this year. The winters aren't horrible, really. We usually don't get any snow until at least December, but most of it comes in January and February. In March, it starts to heat up again and we'll have a few days in the upper 30's and low 40's to melt off some of the snow.
Our unemployment rate is historically low in comparison to the rest of the country, even during the longest lasting recession since WWII, our unemployment rate is at 6.2%, which is 5th best in the nation. There is not a lot of poverty here, because our earnings are pretty comparable to the United States average, but our cost of living is significantly cheaper.
The crime here is not bad at all. Just like any city, there are a few hot spots for crime, but I would say that for 90% of the city, crime isn't a concern in the slightest, other than the simple small things that you see everywhere (kids tee-peeing peoples' yards, etc).
In the summers, there's lots of entertainment in Cedar Rapids and the surrounding smaller towns. Lots of festivals, weekly concerts downtown for $5, farmers markets weekly around the city, movies, bars, etc. It's not the excitement you get in a larger city, but you can usually find something to entertain yourself with. In a 20-minute drive, there's a couple lakes for fishing and recreation.
As far as education goes, there are lots of great high schools in town and the nearby state colleges are very highly regarded.
So, from someone who has lived in other areas of the country, I like it here. Lots of people who have lived here their whole lives tend to complain that they want to go somewhere more exciting, with better weather, etc. But most of these people end up moving away and realizing how great of a place the midwest is at a later point in their lives.[read more...]