I lived in the greater Dayton area for the first 18 years of my life, and spent a lot of my time in the city. Growing up next to Dayton, I was able to experience firsthand why some people like living there, but also why many people don’t.
I was able to talk to my friends who still live in the area, as well as draw on my own experiences to give you a clear idea of what living in Dayton will look like. If you’re looking at moving to the Midwest, here are 17 reasons why you shouldn’t pick Dayton, Ohio to be your future home.
17. Seasonal allergies
This year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America rated Dayton as number 15 on the list of most challenging cities to live in if you have seasonal allergies source. The main source of springtime allergies come from the plethora of plants and trees in the city that flower simultaneously. This creates a huge hit of pollen every year, giving many people a stuffy nose, headache, and other uncomfortable symptoms.
In addition, the humid Ohio weather combined with old and neglected buildings makes a perfect breeding ground for various types of mold and spores. Anyone with a mold allergy could find it difficult to live in Dayton.
16. Humid and overcast weather
Typical weather in Dayton will be overcast and cloudy, and if it isn’t raining it will definitely be humid. If you are moving from a more arid part of the country, the mugginess will be a big adjustment, especially in regards to hair and skin care.
Humidity often makes joint pain worse because of the changing levels of fluid in the joints. If you have a condition like arthritis, a humid environment can make your symptoms intensify. People with asthma may also struggle living in Dayton, since humid air not only tightens your airways, but also traps irritants like dust and pollen in the air.
Having the sun constantly clouded over can be very discouraging, especially for those with seasonal depression. If you love having sunlight in your life you will want to purchase an artificial sun lamp, or choose somewhere else to live.
15. There’s not much to do
If you are looking for something fun to do in Ohio, you’re going to look at Cincinnati, Columbus, or Cleveland. Dayton doesn’t have much to offer entertainment wise, especially compared to the Big 3 Cs.
If you love going out on a Friday night, be prepared to make a lot of drives. Cincinnati and Columbus are both about an hour’s drive away and Cleveland is pretty much out of reach, taking over three hours to travel one way.
14. It’s a dying city
Dayton hasn’t seen an increase in population since 1960. The city declined rapidly for half a century before finally stagnating in recent years, currently with a population of 140,000 source.
Ever since the original industrial boom, Dayton has failed to draw in new life. The plants and factories that helped establish the city are steadily becoming outdated and unnecessary. Closures have been detrimental to the population and to the unemployment rate.
Dayton is not the place to go to become a success, as the economy is not growing. In fact, if you do not already have a promised job there, you will be hard pressed to find something suitable.
13. Noisy local airport
The Dayton International Airport is located within Dayton city limits. This can be convenient if you are a frequent traveler, but is otherwise a nuisance. The noise of flights just above you day and night can quickly become irritating.
Many people are unaware of the possible health complications associated with aircraft noise. Many studies have found that loud noises in your environment can disturb sleep, impair cognitive function, and generally increase stress source. Most concerningly, airport noise has been associated with an increase in hospitalization for cardiovascular disease source.
Also remember that in conjunction with those flights, comes the travelers creating traffic and filling hotels. This can cause unpredictable traffic patterns on your local streets and interrupt your plans.
12. Lots of political conflict
Ohio is a swing state in US elections, and being in the city augments the conflict between parties. Every election season is met with a smattering of lawn signs and some guaranteed neighborly friction.
Growing up, I witnessed a lot of intense arguments and hurtful divisions. Local and national politics consume much of the daily conversation in Dayton. Be prepared to have your opinions and beliefs challenged as part of your daily routine.
If you don’t like conflict or care about politics, Ohio is probably not the right home for you, especially not a city like Dayton.
11. College town
Dayton is home to three universities, the University of Dayton, Sinclair Community College and Wright State University. This welcomes a large population of college students into the community.
College students tend to be some of the most annoying and disruptive types of neighbors. Dealing with the late night noise from parties will become a frustrating part of your lifestyle.
With three colleges all in one city, there will be plenty of large events throughout the year. Conventions, graduations, and forums will cause parking issues and traffic clogs in the neighboring areas. Living next to a university necessitates making plans around their events. Balancing the three universities’ events with your own schedule can become very complicated.
Additionally, people in their young twenties are notorious for being bad drivers. By living next to all of these campuses, you would be exposing yourself to a higher threat of auto accidents. Adding in the complication of all the parties where college students will get drunk, the roads will become very dangerous, especially late at night.
10. Part of the “rust belt”
The rust belt stretches through the Midwest to New York, characterized by all the cities that were once dominated by manufacturing, steel, and coal. Ohio is right in the center of this area.
This area switched from being the “factory belt” to being the “rust belt” in the late 1970s when their monopoly failed and the industrial economy took a huge hit. This left factories abandoned and exposed, often turning rusty.
The term “rust belt” gained popularity mainly as a derogatory term to refer to the severe economic failure. Living in the rust belt also means living in a place that people associate with abandoned factories and poverty.
9. Far from any vacation destinations
If you live in Dayton, Ohio your vacation expenses will be much higher than many other parts of the country. A plane flight or long and boring road trip will be part of any decent vacation.
Whether you prefer a beach getaway or a city tour for your vacation, you will have to travel through at least a few states before reaching your destination.
8. Bad for raising a family
Dayton is definitely not a family town. The economic decline makes it much more difficult to provide for a family and also makes it difficult to find a quality home. Large backyards are replaced with abandoned buildings and the community is full of rowdy college students.
Additionally, the school systems in Dayton are struggling to avoid closure. Your kids would not get a very high quality education if you send them to public school.
Living in Dayton can be very dangerous for kids. Crime rates are high, and the city is a hotspot for drug, human, and sex trafficking.
7. Low home value
The home value in Dayton is much lower than the national average, with a median property value of just 66,500. The lack of growth and people willing to live in Dayton keeps the value low source.
Although you can get a home for cheap, you are definitely getting what you pay for. Many Dayton homes are not maintained, mainly due to the low income of the previous owners.
If you’re not looking for a fixer-upper, it may be difficult to find a house you like. The lack of maintenance can potentially cause health complications as well. As I mentioned earlier, the weather makes this area predisposed to mold, which is especially dangerous in your own home.
6. High unemployment rate
One in every ten Dayton residents are unemployed source. The various factory closures over the years repeatedly reduce employment opportunities in the area. In 2008, the closure of the General Motors plant removed 2,400 jobs source. Closures of this magnitude were not unprecedented and will certainly happen again as manufacturing continues to evolve.
One of the largest and most stable employers in the area that keeps the city alive is the Wright Patterson Air Force base, but that is only helpful if you are part of the military. Generally, jobs in Dayton are in high demand but are still disappearing. Moving to Dayton would be a risky move if you don’t already have a job lined up.
5. Low income area
Because of the high demand for jobs, employers can build a staff on much lower pay. Median pay in Dayton is $31,395, about half of the national average source. It is very difficult to live a comfortable life on such low wages.
Most people will find it necessary to hold multiple jobs to support themselves, especially if you have any dependents. In a low income area, you will find ill maintained public spaces and a much higher crime rate.
4. Bad school systems
Public schools in Dayton go through cycles of threatened closure and narrowly avoiding it. It would be risky to send your kids to such an unstable school system, where any given year you may have to suddenly change schools. About 16% of adult (over 25) Dayton residents have not even graduated High School source.
In a local news article, Trotwood-Madison schools(from the Dayton area) celebrated a “D” on the state report card simply because they could stay open another year. Dayton Public School scored an “F” that same year, again putting them in jeopardy of closure.
If you are looking for good schools in Ohio, you will be better off looking in suburbs outside of Dayton like Centerville, Oakwood, Mason, or Springboro.
3. High drug use and availability
Since Dayton is located at the crossroads of two major interstates, it sees a lot of drug movement and availability. Looking at the drug abuse trends from 2018, OSAM rated common drugs on an availability scale from 0(not available) to 10(extremely easy to get). Crack cocaine, heroin, opioids, and marijuana all scored a 10 in Dayton source.
Even living in a neighboring suburb to Dayton, I saw many friends and their families be devastated by drug use, even to the point of overdosing and death. If you live in Dayton, your kids will undoubtedly be exposed to the ugly side of drug use.
Remember that high drug use can also cause problems for you in the workforce with unreliable coworkers.
2. High crime rate
Dayton has a very concerning crime rate, especially compared to the rest of Ohio. Dayton was rated as safer than only 4% of all US cities. Statistically speaking, nearly 1 in 100 of Dayton residents will become a victim to a violent crime source.
Living in Dayton is signing yourself up for a life full of fear and precautions. It is dangerous to go out at night or to go out alone, especially if you are not prepared to defend yourself.
1. Human and sex trafficking hotspot
I-70 and I-75 intersect next to Dayton, making it a hotspot for human trafficking as well as sex trafficking. With Ohio being a big manufacturing state, it also has more truck stops than any other state in the US.
The high availability of drugs are used to create dependence among vulnerable individuals, who then become trafficking victims. Children, teens, women, and immigrants are at the highest risk. Living in Dayton may put you or your loved ones in jeopardy.
The infrastructure in Dayton and throughout Ohio makes it easier for criminals to commit these crimes and get away quickly. If you are in a high risk category for human trafficking, you will want to reconsider your move to Dayton.
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