17 Reasons Not to Move to Columbia, Missouri (Voted by the Locals!)

I lived in Columbia, Missouri (also known as CoMo by the locals) for six months, and while that might not seem like a long time, I met a ton of people and I got to know the city quite well. I lived on the outskirts of the northern side of the city, and so if I wanted to get anywhere, I had to drive through the ENTIRE city to get there. By the time I left, I knew the main roads, the back roads, and everywhere in between.

I interviewed my old roommates from Columbia and they shared their reasons why they think people should not move there. I also asked some friends that I met in Columbia (who had lived there for much longer than me) their thoughts on the matter, and they shared with me their opinions on why you should not move to CoMo.

17. People aren’t Too Social

If you are the type of person who loves to know everything about everyone, then Columbia is probably not the place for you.

While the people there are nice enough usually, they tend to keep to themselves. 61.3% of people in Columbia agree that the folks in their neighborhood would rather keep to themselves than be extremely social.

So, if you are a social butterfly, you might not want to live in Columbia.

16. Midwest Allergy Season is Killer

One reason you might be considering moving to Missouri, and specifically Columbia, is because you heard about all of the luscious plants that grow from all of the moisture in the air. While this is true, Missouri is known for its greenery, this benefit also has a huge downside: allergies.

Most everyone struggles during allergy season for one reason or another, but Columbia allergies hit hard.

I lived there during the fall and winter, but my friends who have lived in Columbia during the spring and summer seasons attest that their allergies have never been worse. There are many trees found in Missouri, and local trees such as oaks and elms are particularly bad during the hot seasons.

If you are one who tends to struggle during allergy season, then Columbia might not be the place for you.

While an abundance of plant life might be nice otherwise, if you don’t want to be sneezing your head off for 6 months out of the year, I’d suggest you move somewhere else.

15. Bad Traffic

Downtown traffic can be brutal if you hit it at the wrong time of day.

The college kids trying to get back to their housing and the professors trying to go home for the day can really clog up the streets.

14. Downtown Parking is a Nightmare

Most of the places to be or see are in downtown Columbia. While downtown has a good variety of shops and restaurants, there is very little street parking. You can park in a few parking garages, but those are a pain. And no matter if you are on a street or in a garage, you will have to pay for parking. Every time.

The city will definitely take your money when it comes to parking. So even if you can find a spot to put your car, you will always have to pay for it out of your pocket. It can get obnoxious.

13. Poor Road Conditions

The City of Columbia took a community servey to determine the overall satisfaction of the population and how the city could improve.

According to this survey, most of the residents of Columbia are not happy with the road conditions. The survey said that 79.4% of people were either neutral, dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied with the road conditions.

12. Plenty of Humidity

Missouri (and the entire midwest in general) is as humid as can be.

Daily HumidityMorning HumidityAfternoon Humidity
Average Yearly Humidity

From experience, this much humidity is almost unbareable. If you are outside at all, you will be dripping wet from all of the moisture in the air.

11. It is Hot in Columbia

In the summers, it is perfectly common for temperatures to reach over 100 degrees.

The average is either high 80’s or 90’s, but combined with the humidity it always feels like it’s over 100 degrees, whether it actually is or isn’t. So, if you are not a fan of the heat, CoMo is not for you.

10. Poor Snow Removal

While the midwest isn’t known for its abundance of snow, as they say, “when it rains it pours.” If it does snow in Missouri, it dumps hard. There were multiple occasions while I lived in Columbia that it snowed so hard that my driveway was completely blocked and I was stuck at my house for days.

While the city does a pretty good job of plowing the main roads, they do not do a good job at plowing residential roads. Your neighborhood might have to wait a week before the city finally gets to you to plow you free from the snow.

9. Street Racing is not Uncommon

In the area where I lived, it wasn’t unusual to be woken up at 3 in the morning by extremely loud engines. Street racing is a thrilling crime that is not uncommon in Columbia.

Yes, it is illegal, but there are plenty of groups that find the risk is worth the reward.

I personally had a friend who loved to participate in these races, even though he was a mid 40-year-old man with better things to do. He and his buddies were often caught by the police, but most of these street racers had plenty of practice getting away before they could be punished too harshly.

If loud cars at late hours are not your cup of tea, you should consider doing heavy research about your neighborhood before moving to Columbia.

8. Not a Ton of Job Opportunites

If you work for the university, then you are set. If you have a medical degree, you might be set (there are a ton of doctors and dentists already in CoMo).

But otherwise, the job market is not great in Columbia. If you aren’t a professor or a doctor, you might have a hard time finding a good-paying job.

7. It is a College Town Through and Through

The biggest feature of Columbia is the university found smack dab in the middle of the city.

The University of Missouri, otherwise known as Mizzou, is in Columbia, and you might say that it IS Columbia. The city revolves around the university. Mizzou is a party school, with crazed football fans camped out with plenty of booze miles away from the stadium on game days.

The entire downtown area is often overflowing with college kids, and they can definitely get in the way of your afternoon shopping or late night bar hopping.

The City of Columbia provides electric scooters that anyone can rent, but you will be lucky if you find a scooter not taken by a college kid.

Young adults zipping around on scooters downtown can cause traffic jams, accidents, and can just be annoying if you are trying to avoid them.

6. Lack of Public Transit

As mentioned previously, the city provides scooters for rent that anyone can use, but beyond that, there really isn’t much public transportation available.

In 2019, 91.8% of people living in Columbia didn’t use any public transit at all.

This city isn’t small by any means, and if you don’t have access to a car, or if your car is in the shop for any reason, you are on your own. Good luck finding a bus to take you where you want to go!

5. Cost of Living

Depending on your budget, Columbia might be out of your price range. The median cost of a house is $283,499, and the median cost for renting an apartment is $888.08 per month. Now, this isn’t the average, but the median.

“Family of four estimated monthly costs are 3,253.22$ without rent. A single person estimated monthly costs are 894.16$ without rent.”


So, depending on your salary, Columbia might be too expensive of a city to live in.

4. It’s in the Middle of Nowhere

If you look at a map of Missouri, you will find a plethora of small towns. Right in the middle of the state is Columbia. Besides Jefferson City (which isn’t very large, despite being the state capitol) you have to drive at least 2 hours to get anywhere else worthwhile in Missouri.

It is a 2-hour drive to St. Louis, almost 3 hours to Springfield, and 2 hours and 22 minutes to drive to Kansas City. Any other place along the way is tiny.

3. Many Beggars and Homeless People

You might be surprised at how many people beg at corners in Columbia. While Columbia is no small town, it still isn’t a massive city either. You might expect to see plenty of beggars in Chicago, or New York, but not in a mid-sized city. Columbia has its fair share of beggars, and even some to spare.

Whether you are pulling out of the Walmart parking lot, driving down the main road, or cruising downtown at night, you will see beggars and homeless folk at all times of the day, during all seasons of the year.

You might see fewer when the weather gets colder, but not by much. At busy intersections, you might find a person at each corner.

It makes you wonder, why did all of these people in need end up in CoMo? Or is it because of CoMo that they ended up in need?

2. High crime rates in bad areas

I had a friend who lived in downtown Columbia and he testifies that the crime rates are not the best. The closer you live to downtown, the worse the crime becomes.

In 2018, the Columbia, MO crime rate was 360.88 per 100,000 population. The crime rate for the entire state of Missouri was 502.1 per 100,000 people and was ranked the 8th most dangerous state in the nation.

Because Columbia is right in between Kansas City Missouri and St. Louis Missouri, it is a huge stop for drugs. Another friend of mine from CoMo knew a man who worked for the FBI who claimed that they made drug busts frequently in Columbia.

This city is not the safest you could move to.

1. Huge Number of Bugs

We all hate bugs. At least, most people I know do not enjoy having too many bugs in their life. Columbia is a city full of bugs. The cicada will be the first bug you notice when you step out of your car. Actually, you will probably notice them even if you are in your car and your radio is turned down low.

Cicadas are the screaming bugs of the forests. Because there are trees everywhere, there are cicadas everywhere, and they are LOUD.

I am not kidding when I say that they scream. These little buggers are small but mighty! You will hear them all 24 hours a day in the spring, summer, and fall. Unless you live in a part of CoMo that is plant-less and tree-less, you will be dealing with cicadas.

You might be able to get used to the constant noise coming from the trees, but you might not.

Another common bug found in Columbia is the cockroach. In the more run-down parts of the city, these pests are common. Even if your neighborhood is nice, you might find a roach or two chilling on the floor in your bathroom one morning (yes I speak from experience).

I had friends who were doing some community service and they had to go to a cockroach-infested house and try to clear it out. It’s an impossible feat to try to do yourself. You really have to hire professionals to kill roaches. Those things are indestructible.

And last, but definitely not least, on the commonly found bug list are bed bugs.

Yes indeed, bed bugs are real and not just things found in nursery rhymes. Bed bugs are real and they are terrifying. You never know when they might make their way into your home.

I met a few different families that had bed bug problems while I lived in Columbia. They told me that the only way to truly get rid of bed bugs is to torch your house.

Not literally, but almost! You have to seal your house off and then raise the temperature to insane numbers in order to kill bed bugs.

One woman told me that when they did this to their house, they left their tv on the wall, and when the professionals were finished, their tv had completely melted. That’s how hot you have to get your house in order to kill bed bugs! Not worth it.

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Ashley Wadas

A little bit about me: I'm Ashley, I studied English in college which meant writing a lot! I wouldn't say writing is my favorite thing to do, but I do like writing about places I've lived. I enjoy reading and word puzzles. :)

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