Work/life balance is always relevant but even more so now. So we updated this post on September 21, 2021 with new stats and fun facts.
Most everyone needs to work to pay the bills – but does that mean it’s the only thing that you should be doing with your life? No way.
It can be hard, but it’s vital to maintain a healthy work/life balance. When your work/life balance gets out of whack and you find yourself overworking, it can affect your performance work and your mental health.
Luckily in the Midwest, there's plenty of things to do to keep us refreshed, motivated, and excited about life. In addition to having many job opportunities, especially at rising startup and tech companies, Midwest cities offer plenty of opportunities to be yourself and do the things you love outside of work.
Why the Midwest is great for finding work/life balance
1. So many job opportunities
If you are searching for a new job, definitely consider some of the startups and tech companies hiring in the Midwest. These companies are rapidly growing and offer some amazing opportunities to grow your career and work hands-on in an emerging tech hub.
Per Crunchbase, Michigan had the largest percentage growth in venture capital investment between 2016 and 2020 (885.8% growth). There's also been a 37% growth in high-tech employment in Michigan since 2010.
In Columbus, the city is making a name for itself as an emerging tech hub. With a rise of unicorn startups like Olive and a historic IPO from Root Insurance, Columbus, Ohio, has proven itself to be a fertile environment for some of the country’s top startups. And many Columbus startups are hiring for open jobs.
2. You Can Afford to Live Here
The Midwest has some of the best cities for cost of living. Detroit is the 52nd most expensive city in the U.S., Milwaukee is the 56th, Indianapolis is the 57th, and Columbus doesn't even rank in the top 100.
You might think that with a lower cost of living comes a lower a salary. And in some cases, yes, that's true. However, the cost of living is so low that you will still come out with more money in the end. For example, for a software engineer in Columbus, the average salary is about $73,634. In San Francisco it's about $115,822. Seems significantly higher, but in order to have the same standard of living as you would in Columbus with your Columbus salary, you’d need to be making $162,629 — almost $50,000 more than what you're actually making. In New York, you’d need to be making $207,004, which is over double what you’d actually be making.
3. You’ll Never Run Out of Things to Do
Like the beach? We’ve got you covered, with beaches (yes, beaches) in the middle of the country, even in the city (we're looking at you, Milwaukee). The woods? Put on your hiking boots and take a walk into the 20 million acres of forest which cover more than half the state of Michigan. You can catch a concert in one of our many cities or take off for a weekend getaway to Mackinac Island where the horse and carriage hasn’t been replaced by cars. You can check out over 230 craft beer breweries in Michigan, climb one of our many lighthouses, go to world-class art museums, or head over the border to visit Canada. Living in the Midwest offers a pretty much never-ending “We gotta do that!” checklist.
Lake Michigan beach in Milwaukee
And chances are, with the affordable real estate prices in the Midwest, you may even be able to own a getaway cabin, to escape the city every weekend. Doesn’t that sound pretty rad?
4. We’ve Got Sports – Lots and Lots of Sports
Say you’re a sports fan and say you live in Michigan. If you’re up for the challenge, you will be able to take in (or enjoy from a local brewery) a game year-round. The Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, Detroit Pistons, and Detroit Lions are our pro teams, and nothing beats game day.
Prefer soccer? In Columbus, you'll find some amazing die-hard Columbus Crew fans. Many in city love to enjoy a good game at the new Lower.com Field.
If you're a big basketball fan, Milwaukee is home to recent NBA champions, the Milwaukee Bucks. And in St. Louis, well, we'll use the words of St. Louis native and boomerang Brooke James: "a St. Louis Cardinal fan is no joke."
5. Travel at a Moment’s Notice
If you’re the type of person who likes to travel a lot or needs to travel for work, Michigan has great accessibility to the rest of the country. Being pretty much right in the middle it’s a quick flight to either coast, and you can start any overseas travel right from our international airports without having to connect three times just to leave the country.
Amtrak train service, which runs three lines through the Wolverine State, can get you anywhere on a comfortable, scenic trip. Add in our growing public transportation system and over 2,300 miles of bike lanes and pathways, and you’ll be able to get around – and out of – Michigan quite easily.
6. Real Seasons Beat “Seasons”
One season all year round is boring. In the Midwest, you get four beautiful seasons that all bring their own joy. You have a real Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter to explore, enjoy, and look forward to each year. So whether it’s mountain biking in the spring, boating in the summer, hiking in the fall, or skiing in the winter, you can do it all right here in the Midwest.
7. Eat Your Heart Out
Foodies, rejoice! The Midwest is home to an amazing craft beer scene, and our restaurants and coffee houses are just as good. From top Michelin star restaurants to mom and pop diners, there's a lot of good food to be had.
Many immigrant communities settled in the Midwest to work industry jobs, and because of that, many communities in Midwest cities are still churning out delicious, authentic ethnic food. You can find amazing Mexican food in Southwest Detroit. Milwaukee is home to some amazing German food. And Chicago's Italian immigrants left a pasta legacy.
8. Bonus — You’ll Be Mostly Safe from the Apocalypse
Earthquakes. Mudslides. Floods. Hurricanes. Tornadoes. While these types of disasters can happen almost anywhere, science says you would be less likely to have to deal with them in the Midwest. Take a look at this map of natural disasters across the United States. Looking pretty good for Michigan, right?
And on top of being a safe(r) place to avoid natural disasters, it turns out that everyone might be moving to our area by 2100. PopSci says that by then, based on weather patterns, temperatures, and natural disasters, it may be the best place to escape the effects of climate change. So, now may be a good time to get set up here, invest in some real estate, and stake your claim in one the safest places to live for the foreseeable future. Plus, I don’t think we have zombies here, so that’s always a win.
Now that you know why the Midwest is one of the best places to live and work, now's the time to dive in. So many startups across the region are looking for talented folks to join their team. So whether you’re already a local looking for a new opportunity, an ex-pat who wants to come home, or a talented person searching for purpose and lifestyle, check out our list of the best places to work in the Midwest, or create a free profile and apply for hundreds of tech and startup jobs with one click of a button.