This is the place that’s home to the Rocky Mountain Ranges, the Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Teton National Park, and many, many more awesome natural wonders. It’s Wyoming! The Cowboy State is the place to be if you love the great outdoors.
And it’s not small either. Wyoming is the 10th largest state in the USA and with a population of just 758,759 (as per the 2019 census), it’s also among the least populated states. Spread around 97,914 square miles, you might be a little overwhelmed with the sites that this state is home to.
Other than the magnificent views and museums, Wyoming has much more to offer when it comes to people starting a new chapter in their lives here. The distinct culture of food, housing, settlement, and community is the best part of this state. So what should you know before moving to Wyoming, let’s find out!
Since Wyoming is a state full of wide-open stretches and no large cities, the lack of urbanization directly translates to a low cost of living. To give you a scale, the average cost of an apartment in the center of Cheyenne, the capital city, is $77.50 per square foot, as opposed to the national average of $219.10 per square foot.
The economy of Wyoming is greatly dependent on three industries – mineral extraction, tourism, and agriculture. The biggest employers in the state, however, are federal and government-based. The unemployment rate in Wyoming is below the national average as well. This means there are plenty of job opportunities available in the state.
Low State Tax Burden
The government in this state skips out on a lot of taxes that other states might usually levy on their residents. This not only helps the residents of Wyoming save some of their hard-earned money, but it also makes tax day immensely easy.
Low Crime Rate
Wyoming is known to have a very low crime rate. Statistically, the number of violent crimes in Wyoming is 60% less than the rest of the United States, with the number of property crimes dipping way below that in many cities. Some of the safest cities and towns in Wyoming are Worland, Sheridan, Douglas, and Laramie.
Wide Open Spaces
There are two huge factors to the free and uncongested feeling of this state – low industrialization and a low population. The population of the most crowded city, Cheyenne, is just about 62,000. Other than that, gigantic natural sites like the Yellowstone National Park and The Rocky Mountains make this place a paradise for everyone wanting to run from the crowds.
Cowboys And Rodeos
Yes, the Western cowboy culture is still strong and flourishing in the state of Wyoming. Cowboy boots, leather vests, and big trucks are the biggest testaments to that statement, as are ranching and rodeos. You may find some towns hosting proper rodeos in the summer season.
Wyoming sees a lot of thunderstorms during late springs and early summers, along with heavy lightning strikes. Other than that, the southeast region of this state witnesses tornadoes very frequently.
No Large Cities
The entire state of Wyoming has a very small-town feel to it. Yes, there are a lot of job opportunities and affordable housing solutions. But the lack of big cities means that you could miss out on the ease and convenience of all the amenities that a metropolitan area holds. Limited shopping spaces, lack of amenities, and a small number of higher education institutions mean that a lot of the folks in this state tend to move out.
Limited In-State Schooling
Wyoming has a decent number of options, both private and public, for school education. But there are only seven in-state community colleges along with one public university – The University Of Wyoming, and one private college – Casper Catholic College.
Relatively High Cost Of Living
While the state enjoys a lower tax burden, the cost of living is still a little over the national average, with the overall cost being approximately 9% higher, compared to other states in the US.
Since two-thirds of the state is surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, the winds coming into the state can have hazardously high speeds. The capital city of Cheyenne, along with the second-largest city in the state, Casper, are both a part of the top ten windiest cities in America. So maintaining your hair might get frustrating!
Lack Of Diversity
Wyoming does not see a lot of migration. Meaning, a lot of the people here are from White backgrounds. Statistically, more than 90% of the population in this state are from a White background or of European descent.
Weather In Wyoming
The weather in Wyoming can be divided into four seasons: Summer, winter, fall, and spring. The summers in Wyoming are generally very hot and humid while the winters are starkly opposite with snowfalls and harsh winds. The season of spring sees a high amount of thunderstorms while the winters call for heavy snowfall, especially as you go up in elevation.
The temperature average for the state for the summer season falls in the bracket of 86°F and 69°F while the average for the winters falls in the bracket of 42°F and 28°F. Another thing to note is that Wyoming is very dry and very windy. This means it can act as a factory for forest fires.
The cost of living among other things attracts a lot of young adults to the state of Wyoming. The average cost of living in Cheyenne, the capital city of Wyoming, is 5% lower than the rest of the country.
Buying A House
The median cost for buying a house in Wyoming can be around $261,745 for a normal family house. The average for the entire state does not differ vastly. Also, given the wide-open spaces, Wyoming is also a great choice if you want to live off the grid!
Renting A House
When it comes down to rent, Wyoming is known to be one of the cheapest states in the country. On average, one can rent a modern place in one of the bigger cities in Wyoming, with all the amenities for about $1,150.
Taxes In Wyoming
Wyoming is arguably one of the easiest states to steer through when it comes to the tax policies. The state charges no income tax. This means you only have to worry about sales and property taxes. The sales tax levied through the state is at 4%. However, counties have the freedom to increase it by a maximum of 2%. The property taxes, on the other hand, are only 0.57%. This makes Wyoming one of the least taxed states in the USA!
Utilities And Other Expenses
The cost of utilities is calculated on a ranking system with 1 being the lowest. The national average of the USA is 100 and all the places inside the country are ranked relatively. That being said, the cost of utilities in Wyoming is a little expensive in some aspects. The cost of basic utilities like electricity, water, and garbage disposal are at 94.3, barely missing the national average of 100. The cost of healthcare is at a much higher spot at 131.3. Lastly, the cost of groceries comes very close to the national average, ranking 99.2.
Wyoming also ranks very well when it comes to crime rates. According to NeighborhoodScout, Wyoming has fewer crimes committed per 1,000 residents compared to the national average. The same number of residents is also the scale used to measure and rank crime rates.
Crime rates are ranked from 1 to 100 and the national average for property crimes is 21 and the average for violent crimes is 4. On the other hand, Wyoming scores 15.7 when it comes to property crimes and 2.17 when it comes to violent crimes. These numbers make the total crime rate in Wyoming come to a mere 17.8, making Wyoming a relatively safe state to live in.
Even though the economy of this state is heavily driven by mining, extraction, and tourism, the highest-paid and most in-demand jobs are actually in the offices. Office and administrative support jobs top the list with construction and extraction occupations taking a close second.
Other than that, thanks to the increasing tourism in addition to the already present industries, jobs in fields like transportation, food service, and sales make the most in-demand jobs in the state of Wyoming. All of these industries and jobs have brought the annual GDP of the state to $39.2 billion, as of 2020.
Wyoming also hires a lot of personnel for jobs in the education, medical, and law sectors. Jobs in the disciplines of art and entertainment are also surprisingly high in the state. The small population of this state is actually beneficial to those looking to move here and work in such fields.
The lowest you can be paid in this state is $7.25 per hour. This amount translates to becoming around $15,080 per year.
Education In Wyoming
Wyoming took over the spot of the 6th state in terms of rankings of K-12 education quality in 2019. That is, from the position of the 7th state in the same list in the previous years. This means Wyoming is equipped to provide all sorts of education to its students, just with lesser options when it comes to colleges and universities.
There are still very good options for all levels of education in this state. Here is the list of the best ones.
Sagebrush Elementary, Sheridan
Glenn Livingston Elementary, Cody
Woodland Park Elementary, Sheridan
South Side Elementary, Powell
Snowy Range Academy, Laramie
Big Horn Middle School, Sheridan
Sheridan Junior High School, Sheridan
Powell Middle School, Powell
Jackson Hole High School, Jackson
Sheridan High School, Sheridan
Laramie High School, Laramie
Riverside High School, Basin
Colleges And Universities
University Of Wyoming, Laramie
Sheridan College, Sheridan
Casper College, Casper
Traffic And Transportation In Wyoming
Wyoming is one of those states wherein you need to own or rent some sort of vehicle for any traveling, whether it be to the store or the other end of the state. There is no train system that comes into the state and very limited bus services ply throughout.
Roadways: The Greyhound buses do go to all the major cities in Wyoming, but they mostly stick to the highways. This means reaching remote locations could be a task. There are bus services that run in the bigger cities, though. You’ll have to research their routes and fares online.
While taxi services are on the rise throughout the state, only the bigger cities have fully functioning services. Some of these aggregators use fixed fares while others use a meter. One peculiar thing is you won’t see taxis running around town looking for fares. You’ll need to call the taxi services to call for one. Thankfully, most of the service providers are operational 24/7.
Airways: Wyoming has a total of eight airports. Out of these, two are international – Jackson Hole and Casper/Natrona County International. The rest of the airports are national and/or regional and have decent connectivity with the rest of the country.
Places To See In Wyoming
1. Yellowstone National Park
Established in the year 1872, Yellowstone is the world’s first national park. It’s spread across 3,471 square miles and is known as a geothermal marvel. You can drive through the park but the best way to appreciate the beauty of this park is to take the many trails and stay in the campgrounds laid around the park.
2. Grand Teton National Park
Formed millions of years ago because of tectonic activity, the Grand Teton National Park is nestled right at the heart of the Teton Mountain Ranges. The park is home to about 60 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, and a bunch of freshwater fish. While open throughout the year, people avoid visiting the park in the winter season.
3. Hot Springs State Park, Thermopolis
The one thing that makes this place so special is the fact that it’s built around the world’s largest single mineral hot spring. This hot water is used in the State Bath House present in the park. You can also visit the hiking trails, petroglyphs, Rainbow Terrace, and the Bighorn River.
Some other notable places to visit in Wyoming are:
This is the city that the fabled showman Buffalo Bill funded and founded. Cody is approximately 50 miles away from the east entrance of the Yellowstone National Park but has a few gems like the Shoshone National Park as well. The total crime rate in Cody is about 49.25% lower than the national average. The unemployment rate is the third-lowest in the state and the average commute to work is just 13 minutes.
Median Home Value: $236,900
Monthly Median Rent: $915
Annual Median Household Income: $53,598 Per Annum.
Located just below the Grand Teton National Park, Jackson is a haven for the ones that love the outdoors. Multiple recreational activities, historical sites, and museums along with a few wildlife refuges make Jackson a treat for a growing family.
When it comes down to the nitty-gritty of it, Jackson is known as the most expensive city to live in Wyoming. The median income of this city is $73,411 per annum. However, the rising population, opportunity for a great social life, and easily accessible healthcare are enough to convince people to live here. If moving to Jackson, Wyoming, sounds good to you, just make sure that you have a good job in hand before you make the move.
Median Home Value: $652,100
Monthly Median Rent: $1,427
Annual Median Household Income: $64,345
If you’re somebody who is trying to start their adult life in the company of people around the same age, Laramie is the place for you. Located about 50 miles east of Cheyenne, Laramie is home to the University Of Wyoming. Laramie is known to have a mix of sophisticated shops and restaurants in the downtown area.
Laramie is known as one of the safest cities in the state with the crime rate being 50% less than the national average. So you don’t have to worry about being carjacked! And cars bring us to the last point that the average commute in Laramie takes a mere 11 minutes.
Median Home Value: $216,300
Monthly Median Rent: $797
Annual Median Household Income: $38,451
Gillette is located in the center of the most active gas and coal regions in the country, which gives this city the name of ‘The Energy Capital Of The Nation’. Gillette is among the best places to start a family in Wyoming. The gas and coal industries are giving rise to a strong local economy. The crime rate in Gillette is low and the local schools are decent. The best part is that it’s centrally located to a lot of eastern Wyoming’s natural splendors.
Median Home Value: $216,400
Monthly Median Rent: $898
Annual Median Household Income: $73,426
Located in north-central Wyoming, Sheridan is the hub for the cowboy culture in the state. King’s Saddlery And Museum with their old-west artifacts and Buffalo Bill’s Inn are testaments to that statement. Other than the big boots and bigger trucks, Wyoming is also home to mind-blowing mountainscapes.
While all of this will intrigue you to go there, the impeccable public school system, low unemployment rate, and poverty rates in this city will make you buy a house. It’s admittedly a little costly compared to the rest of the state. However, rent in Sheridan is lower. So if you’re looking to move alone and start a career, Sheridan might be for you.
Median Home Value: $228,200
Monthly Median Rent: $821
Annual Median Household Income: $49,314
Moving to Wyoming, either alone or with a family, is a very good decision to make given the affordability, the great K-12 schooling system, and the healthcare stats of the place. However, one thing to be mindful of is that the state is a conservative one. That means a lot of the people follow one faith and do so devoutly.
To sum it up, the ups and downs of living in Wyoming are ones that complement each other. While there is a certain level of peace and independence, the lack of metropolitan cities brings the accessibility down. While you do get off easy with the taxes, your neighbors are mostly retirees. If you can find a balance that works for your life, move to Wyoming without a second thought but with a steady job.
Is Wyoming A Good Place To Live?
Wyoming is an excellent place to live if you’re looking for affordable home prices, no state income tax, clean air, and boundless opportunities in the great wide-open outdoors.
Is Wyoming Expensive To Live In?
Generally, the cost of living in Wyoming is low, but certain cities offer far much cheaper rent. The cost of living in Wyoming is relatively affordable for renters and the employment rate in the state is high. As such, Wyoming is a great state to live and work in.
What’s Bad About Wyoming?
Wyoming has the highest rate of traffic fatalities in the country. It also has the second-highest rate of fatal occupational injuries and the second-highest suicide rate in the country.
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.