Buffalo, New York is probably one of the most underappreciated cities in the United States. Almost everyone knows of it, but no one really knows about it or chooses to go there.
Buffalo, New York is the second-largest city in the entire state of New York, beating out Yonkers by almost 70,000 people. Even though many people live there, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t move there. We have listed 17 of them below.
17. Quality of Life Score
What if we just give a score to every city in the USA based on the quality of life and see where Buffalo ranks? It has the lowest score of any city in New York. It is also the 32nd worst in the nation. That is not a good start for Buffalo.
16. Buffalo Shooting (May 2022)
Despite being in a location not typically known for racism, a shooting at a local Target in Buffalo led to the death of 10 people, 8 of them black.
The tragic event highlights many of the problems with the culture and systems employed in Buffalo.
The shooter, an 18-year-old white male, morbidly live-streamed the shooting on Twitch and was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. In total he shot 13 people, 11 of them black.
The shooting has only amplified that emotion during a time of racial tension States United Stated and has had major disruptions upon the community of Buffalo, New York.
Buffalo is not known for having great high schools. It is ranked 671st out of 720 New York school districts. I literally laughed when I found out just how bad it is.
If you have kids, it is in your best interest to go find a better school district or simply not move to Buffalo. The further into the suburbs of Buffalo you are, the better the schools will be.
14. It’s Boring
There really isn’t much to do in Buffalo. The Falls are a good one-time event, and there are bars everywhere, but those are probably there to help pass the time between work and sleep.
There’s a National Historic Site about Teddy Roosevelt, but I don’t know anyone who has gone to it. There’s the Martin House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, which is cool, but not really something that can entertain you more than once.
You’re going to have to turn to Darien Lake Amusement Park or Bills/Sabres Games. All three of these are just going to make you pay much more than the entertainment is worth.
13. Better Options Around
When you choose to move to New York, you have many different options, and Buffalo is not one of your best options. The six biggest cities in New York are:
- New York City
Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse are compared often because of their similar populations and locations. While Buffalo has a bigger population than the other two, the other two cities are much more loved. Rochester has a rich history and economically is booming, while Syracuse has everyone’s favorite college and is fun to visit.
If you have to move to New York, do yourself a favor and move to the more intriguing and lovable cities of Rochester or Syracuse.
12. Drunk Driving
Buffalo is known for having many bars and many occasions for drinking. If you love drinking then that is a great thing to know, but if you enjoy your safety, that is very very bad. There are about 2400 DWI arrests in Erie County every year, a dangerously high level.
11. High Unemployment and Job-market
The unemployment rate in Buffalo is currently at 5.3%. The national average is at 3.6%, which is not a good sign.
Buffalo also isn’t really known for anything in the business world. M&T Bank is headquartered there, but it isn’t really something anyone knows or cares about. Its main employers are businesses like banks, insurance companies, and engineering companies.
Buffalo’s next-door neighbor Rochester is a much better place for business and is literally the optics capital of the world. Buffalo is just a stepping stone needed to get to better cities. Maybe you have to move here for a job, but I’m sure eventually you will move to somewhere better.
10. Historically Uninteresting
Buffalo really didn’t become a well-known city until the Erie Canal was completed in 1821, and outside of it being the terminus of that canal, it really isn’t interesting. The revolutionary war didn’t take place there, no battles almost ever have taken place there, basically no one famous is from Buffalo, and it isn’t the site of any great invention or cultural revolution.
The most famous thing to happen in Buffalo is the assassination of President William McKinley, which is not a great reason to be famous. It’s also not very easy to capitalize on the assassination to make it a tourist attraction.
9. Declining Population
There are basically four reasons a city’s population declines:
- Low fertility rate
- High mortality rate
- A large number of people leaving
- Few people moving in
All of these things have contributed to Buffalo’s population declining since 1970. The metropolitan population peaked in 1970 at 1,084,000 and now sits at 884,000, a 0.23% decrease from 2021.
One of the main reasons is that it is becoming obsolete in one important way: transportation. The Erie Canal is one of the main reasons Buffalo became a popular city. But now, with the Erie Canal losing so much foot traffic, there are fewer and fewer jobs available.
Erie and Niagara County are, respectively, the 7th and 5th most crime-ridden counties in the entire state of New York. You would think that New York City would dominate in the crime world, but these counties are not far behind.
In 2021 there were at least 67 homicides, 601 robberies, 37 cases of rape, 1564 cases of assault, 5372 cases of larceny, 1258 burglaries, and 1240 vehicle thefts in Buffalo.
Moving the Buffalo entails always being on the lookout for crime and buying reliable home security to make sure you are not one of the thousands of victims of crime that happens every year.
Buffalo’s location is a great reason why it is so forgotten. It is an hour and a half from Rochester, over 6 hours from New York City, over 6 hours from Philadelphia, and 2 hours to Toronto. Niagara Falls is nearby, but it’s not really something you go to see multiple times.
Buffalo is typically just a town you have to pass through in order to get somewhere else. Living there will mean either being stuck there for most of your life, or you could instead spend great amounts of time and money leaving it to go find somewhere more interesting.
6. Toll Booths
This is by far one of the most annoying parts of Buffalo and to a greater extent, New York State. If you’re moving inside the state be grateful they have finally removed the last toll booth, but it doesn’t mean you’re paying any less.
Toll rates used to be as low as 50 cents over 40 years ago, but now they are as high as $5.75 in New York, and prices keep rising.
While everyone in the state has to pay tolls, Buffalo is in an especially bad place that forces locals to pay tolls much more often than in other cities. This is also just another deterrent for you to leave Buffalo. Even if you wanted to take a nice little weekend road trip, tolls will constantly be the little devil on your shoulder convincing you to stay home.
The greatest mystery is what happens with all that money that is collected. The money is supposed to go towards maintaining the roads, but you can be easily convinced that that is not what’s happening. Enjoy paying to drive on a run-down road.
5. Love Canal
Everyone who grew up near Buffalo, New York knows this story and/or watched a documentary about it in school.
Starting in the 1970s, several claims of a black liquid and other suspicious activity were reported coming around the Love Canal, a chemical waste site. Schools and homes were built nearby, despite caution from safety experts.
Activists protested the inhumanity of living amongst 11 different toxic chemicals and the whole ordeal blew up in the press.
The saddest part was that those who lived there couldn’t move out of that dangerous area because no one was willing to move in and buy those homes. Many of the residents were either stranded or had to move out at a huge financial loss.
4. Niagara Falls
Why isn’t Niagara Falls a benefit in our eyes? A natural wonder of the world surely should be a benefit. It might be fun the first time, but it gets old really quickly. Is it better to have a no-attraction or a disappointing one? Plus, it attracts many tourists and the boats are often crowded.
3. The Weather
Lake effect snow is a term that you will learn to fear if you move to Buffalo, New York. Due to Lake Erie and Lake Ontario bordering the city, snow is an annual monster. I hope you have a good snow plow.
Every year Buffalo gets pummeled with snow. One particularly bad storm in November 2014 killed at least 26 people and dumped over 5 feet of snow on the ground in a week’s time. The snow finally melted after an astonishing 8 months. It canceled or moved the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bill’s respective games and caused thousands of people to lose power.
Along with the brutal winters is the damage it causes on the roads. It’s called pothole season for a reason. Every year thousands of tons of salt are used on the roads in Erie County in order to combat ice. Every year around April when the snow clears, thousands of potholes are left behind. Dealing with them is a nightmare.
2. The Sports
It is hard to understand why popular cities like San Jose, San Diego, San Antonio, Jacksonville, and Indianapolis have fewer professional sports teams than Buffalo, despite having at least half a million more people. Every year the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills give residents more and more reasons to abandon those losing franchises.
The Sabres have only reached the Stanley Cup finals twice (1974-1975 and 1998-1999), haven’t won a playoff series since ’06-’07, and haven’t even qualified for the playoffs in 10 years.
The Bills hold two famous NFL records. They are the only team to go to the Super Bowl four years in a row (1990-1993)! They are also the only team to lose four years in a row! Do you know what’s worse? Their first appearance is the only time kicker in the history of the Super Bowl that a kicker had a game-losing missed field goal and the next three losses weren’t even close.
Buffalo has hope in Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and Von Miller, but if it doesn’t happen soon Buffalo might have another 24-season drought of failing to win a playoff game.
The taxes are a very real and tangible problem in Buffalo as well as the rest of the state. Taxes are the number 1 reason people want to leave New York.
Erie County has a sales tax of 8.75%, the highest in the entire state besides counties in New York City. Property tax is a similar story. Look at this interactive map to see just how high Erie County is compared to the rest of the nation. It’s not pretty.
If you live in the city limits of Buffalo, it’s only going to be worse. Upstate New York is notorious for its high taxes despite a declining population. School budgets are also continuing to increase despite a declining population, so if you don’t have children I hope you love paying more and more every year for kids you don’t have.
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