17 Reasons Not to Move to Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Voted by the locals!)

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA downtown city skyline on Lake Michigan at twilight.

Are you thinking about moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin? Think Again! Milwaukee is located right on the west coast of Lake Michigan, which sounds nice, but there are plenty of cons to moving to Milwaukee.

Milwaukee is known for a host of things that you won’t want to deal with if you choose to move there, and we will talk about some of them below.

1. Midwest Weather

Milwaukee may be right on the west coast of Lake Michigan, a great alternative to not living by an ocean, but you need to remember that Milwaukee is cold most of the year. You will only be able to truly enjoy the benefits of living close to a lake about two months out of the year, in July and August, when it is warm enough to go swimming, boating, and enjoy other lake activities.

The midwest is known for its absolute brutal and bipolar weather. You never know what you are going to get and have to prepare for several different seasons throughout the day in the fall and spring. In the winter it is freezing, and in the summer it is humid and unbearable. In the winter, temperatures will get to 0 degrees FahrenheitOpens in a new tab., sometimes lower, and average out to temperatures in the teens. In the summer it will get to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and averages out to 70 or 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Most People Have Always Lived There

Not many people in the United States are choosing to move to the state of Wisconsin, so most people who live in Milwaukee have lived there for their whole lives. This creates the perfect environment for cliques, even in the adult years. Recent residents of Milwaukee say it is hard to get into friend circles and find the right group of people when they have all known each other since the early years and aren’t very receptive to newcomers.

Milwaukee is home to over 600,000 people, so even with so many other people in your new home, you may feel lonely for the first few months because everyone already has the friends they want and aren’t necessarily interested in making new ones.

3. Reckless Driving

Locals sayOpens in a new tab. that there are way too many reckless drivers in this city, and it’s like cops don’t even enforce traffic rules. They say that they have seen more people run red lights in Milwaukee than in all other locations combined. Of course, this is an exaggeration, as every city has reckless drivers.

However, reckless driving is a huge problem and is very life-threatening. Milwaukee is home to the fifth-worst group of drivers in the country. It’s annoying when you are doing your part to keep the road safe when everybody else around you doesn’t seem to care about anybody but themselves.

4. Property Taxes

Property taxesOpens in a new tab. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin are currently at 2.53%, while the national average is only 1.1%. Milwaukee may have a low cost of living, but they make up for it with extreme property taxes. This adds a whole other payment to add into your yearly budget. It’s like having an extra mortgage payment, depending on the size of your home.

Taxes are already annoying, so why would you purposely move somewhere just to pay more of them? Property taxes are often overlooked when people research a potential new city to call home, but it’s important to consider.

5. Difficult to Find Housing

The demand for housingOpens in a new tab. is at an all-time high in Milwaukee right now with an increase in home values and a decrease in rental properties available. It is not the best time to move to Milwaukee when it comes to buying or renting a home.

The number of homes listed at the beginning of the calendar year was the second-lowest in the past hundred years. In addition to a low number of listings, the average home value in Milwaukee has increased by 14% in the past year and by 75% in the past five years.

With a low number of homes available to buy, new residents are resorting to rental homes, but they get snatched up quickly. The demand for rental property is the highest it’s been in the past decade. There is a lot of competition for housing in Milwaukee, so get ready for a fight if you want to move to this city.

6. Homelessness

Poverty and homelessness are also huge issuesOpens in a new tab. in the city of Milwaukee, especially since it’s a frigid city. Due to a high amount of unemployment, many residents end up on the streets. Not much effort or money has been put into programs to help these people, so it doesn’t seem like it will be getting better anytime soon.

7. No Room for Career Growth

Milwaukee does not have much room for career growthOpens in a new tab.. There aren’t many new job opportunities, and many people are unemployed. Several long-time locals have had to move out of Milwaukee to a bigger city where they could advance their careers and grow their skillsets. It’s essential that before moving to Milwaukee, you have a job lined up. Once you are there, there is no guarantee you will find one.

8. Unreliable Public Transportation

Many locals say that almost no one chooses to take the buses availableOpens in a new tab. in Milwaukee unless they are desperate. The buses are often late, they are expensive, and it is oftentimes way too cold to wait at the bus stop. It also takes up so much more of your time as opposed to driving your own car, especially when the buses are late.

When moving to a large city like Milwaukee, you want it to have reliable transportation so that you can easily get to work and other locations throughout the day without using a car. If you want to be on time and get everywhere you need to go, you better keep your car on hand.

9. Pollution

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA at Hoan Bridge and Lake Michigan.

PollutionOpens in a new tab. is also known to be extremely horrible in the city of Milwaukee. This pollution affects the people, the land, and the air, but it also pollutes nearby Lake Michigan. There are only five great lakes, so we need to make sure we are taking care of them, not ruining them. Milwaukee has made great efforts to clean up its environment, but it hasn’t been enough.

10. Segregation and Racism

Unfortunately, Milwaukee is known to be a very segregated cityOpens in a new tab.. Racism is a huge issue in Milwaukee, and not much has changed in the past few decades according to locals of the city. Many of the main neighborhoods are separated by race and different cultures. If you are looking for a variety of cultures, you will find it, but only in certain parts. Milwaukee is known to be one of the more racist cities in the United States.

11. High Crime Rates

Milwaukee is knownOpens in a new tab. for cars being broken into. Crime rates are extremely high in Milwaukee whether it is gangs, drugs, gun violence, or robberies. If you don’t have a living space with a garage, your car is likely to be broken into more than once.

Milwaukee has one of the highest crime rates in the country. If you have a family of small children, it’s better to live outside of the city in a suburb or rural area. Hundreds of crimes are reported every day, and it doesn’t seem like anything is being done to reduce those numbers anytime soon.

12. Constant Construction

The average yearly snowfall in the United States is 28 inches a year. Can you guess how much the yearly snowfall in Milwaukee is? I’ll give you a hint. It is almost twiceOpens in a new tab. as much.

The average yearly snowfall in Milwaukee is 45 inches per year. If the city is prepared, they will salt the roads before a giant snowfall to prevent car accidents and promote road safety the best they can. Due to a large amount of salt, when all the snow melts it reveals a variety of different potholes, decorating all the roads just in time for summer. The potholes are revealed just in time for construction workers to come and fix them all. Of course, we are extremely grateful for our construction and road workers. But it gets annoying when there is constant construction on the road.

13. Poor School System

If you have a family with young children, I assume you are considering the kind of school system that Milwaukee houses. Unfortunately, Milwaukee does not have a great public school system. The student-teacher ratio in Milwaukee is 22:1, which means there is only one teacher to teach and take care of 22 students. In middle school and high school, this may not be an issue, but in elementary school, students need extra care and attention whether it is for academic or emotional reasons. The national average student-to-teacher ratio is 16:1.

The test scores of students in Milwaukee are 50% lower than in the United States. Only 78% of studentsOpens in a new tab. in Milwaukee then go on to graduate high school. College is not for everybody, and sometimes high school isn’t either, but it is still important that everybody graduates high school, whether it is with a public school or a GED program. Of course, test scores aren’t everything, as some people are extremely smart and test poorly. It is not always a true indicator of a student’s potential. However, testing 50% lower than the rest of the county is significantly negative.

14. ‘Beer City’

After all this negative talk about your potential new city, you may be wondering what it is known for. Milwaukee is known for its breweries, giving it the nickname ‘Beer City’. This would be great if you are into beer, but if you aren’t, you may not have much else to do. All of the breweries may be a contributor to the reckless driving that I mentioned earlier.

15. Small Dating Pool

Remember when I said it was hard to make new friends since everybody already knows everybody? This makes it harder to dateOpens in a new tab. as well. Luckily, if you are already married with a family you won’t have anything to worry about. However, if you are young, single, and looking for your person, you may just have to wait a little bit longer.

The dating pool is small in Milwaukee, and with most of the year being freezing cold, not many people want to go out. Most people resort to takeout and Netflix so they can stay warm on the couch. Meeting someone new in the city of Milwaukee takes much more effort than you may be used to when moving from other, larger cities.

16. Home to Multiple Colleges

Milwaukee is home to not one, not two, but ten universities and collegesOpens in a new tab.! There is the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Alverno College, Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Cardinal Stritch University, Mount Mary University, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and several more. It is already enough when a city has one college, but ten? That adds up to thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of college students running around the city, taking over the restaurants, bars, and anything else there is to do in Milwaukee, which isn’t much.

For those looking for a quaint and quiet lifestyle in this lakeside Wisconsin city, think again. College students are looking to party all night long and make lifelong memories, even though they probably won’t remember it in the morning.

17. Great Food and Nothing Else

Milwaukee has plenty of places to get drinks on a Friday night and plenty of restaurants to eat at for your weekly Sunday brunch, but that is pretty much it, besides the river walk and boating in the two good months of summer.

Just like many midwest cities, you will need to get creative to entertain yourself. There aren’t mountains to hike or beaches to relax at. It is mostly man-made lakes and flat-running trails. Sure there are zoos and museums, but every city has one of those, and you can only visit a zoo or museum before you memorize all of the animals or exhibits.

Related Topics:

If you like the article above, here are some other similar articles you should check out!

9 Famous Celebrities Who Live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Opens in a new tab.

Is there Public Transportation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin?Opens in a new tab.

13 Best Family Neighborhoods in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Opens in a new tab.

Recent Posts