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Have you wondered about the pros and cons of living in the USA? You are not the only one.
With the diversity in culture, food, and nature within the country, it can be hard to keep track of all the advantages and disadvantages a move to the USA would bring.
Only a year ago I was faced with the decision of living in the USA myself. To make this choice easier for you now, I’ll provide you with an overview of all the advantages and disadvantages of living in the USA.
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1. Pro: Beautiful and diverse nature
The thing I love most about living in the US is the beautiful and stunningly diverse nature.
From endless deserts to stunning lakes and impressive mountains – there is something for everyone.
This is one of the biggest pros of living in the US – an incredible amount of choices of things to do and places to see in nature.
2. Con: Extreme weather
The United States has some of the most extreme weather in the entire world.
This is one of the biggest negative aspects of America.
People are faced with blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes and with extreme heat and dryness.
For many people, this is one of the biggest downsides of living in the USA. With ongoing climate change, the weather is bound to become more extreme over time, so this will become more and more of an issue in many places in the US.
Florida is a good example of a state suffering from hurricanes. North Dakota and Minneapolis can have extreme temperatures of – 39°C (-38.2 F).
3. Pro: Diverse climate
Especially because there are so many different climates in the United States, it can be easy to pick the perfect one for you to live in.
While some people prefer the heat over the cold, others prefer humidity over dryness.
An upside of living in the USA is that you can pick a climate that you are most comfortable with.
4. Con: Bad public transport system
One of the negatives about America is the public transport system.
Outside of the major cities, public transport is greatly underdeveloped.
America is built with the idea of everyone having access to a car, so the highway system is in great shape.
This is a con of living in America you have to consider before moving.
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5. Pro: Great air traffic system
Traveling via airplane is amazingly easy in America.
There are airports in most American cities, even the relatively small ones.
This makes domestic flying easy and you can reach almost any destination within the US within a couple of hours.
Airfare is cheaper in the US than in other countries, like Canada.
6. Con: New measurement system
One of the biggest downsides of moving to America is their obsession with the imperial measurement system.
The rest of the world uses the metric system.
This means you have to create entirely new habits of describing many things in your daily life, such as weight, distance, and temperature.
7. Pro: Economic strength
The entire economy is very strong.
This results in a strong currency, as well as a smaller risk of economic disasters. The authorities have means and measures to soften the effects of the currently ongoing recession.
8. Con: US dollar is a strong currency
The fact that the United States Dollar is a very strong currency is one of the pros and cons of living in the USA simultaneously.
If you are moving from a country with a less strong currency, you will experience the cost of starting your new life in America as quite steep.
Everything is suddenly going to feel much more expensive, and with the money you have saved, you will not be able to buy as much as I could back home.
Luckily, this will mean less and less over time, once you start earning income in USD.
9. Pro: Spacious and affordable housing
A definite pro of living in America is the huge offer of spacious and affordable housing. The United States ranks second in average house size globally.
You have a big choice of houses outside major cities. The United States does not suffer from a scarcity of building ground, so houses are on average bigger than anywhere else in the world.
Spacious houses, luxurious interiors and big yards make for a good quality of life in America.
10. Con: Unstable political climate
America has a two-party political system that is responsible for a massive political division between supporters.
This is one of the biggest disadvantages of living in the USA. The state discrepancy in law leads to a great deal of political and social division within the country.
The legal system does not exactly inspire trust and security. By giving the president power to choose and appoint Supreme Court justices, the legal system is not safe from political influence.
11. Pro: Relative safety
Even though the political system in America is not ideal and there is a great division between the citizens, America is not at risk of a domestic war.
The US is currently ranking 129th regarding safety.
This means, there is currently no civil war going on in America. Gun violence, drug related crimes and sexual violence against women are sadly common, especially in the bigger cities.
12. Con: Gun violence
Gun violence is a huge downside of living in the US.
In 2020, 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the United States.
Compared to most other developed countries, the United States is doing extremely poorly where gun violence is concerned.
Gun regulation is sadly not strict in the US, and the current culture there is not likely to allow a change either.
The right to carry a firearm is one of the American amendment rights, which makes it a core value of the country.
13. Pro: Friendly and outgoing people
American people are very friendly and outgoing by nature, which is a great advantage of living in the United States.
Not only is making friends a lot easier, but getting help and advice is not a problem.
American restaurants have some of the best service in the world, which makes eating out a pleasure.
Servers interact on a personal level and usually attend to a customer’s every need.
14. Con: Corporate Culture and income equality
Many jobs in America demand long working hours with very little pay.
Unions do not have as strong of a stance and there is no good workforce protection.
Employee rights are minimal, and hustling yourself up the corporate ladder is expected.
Low minimum wages lead to greater income equality. The income of the top earners in America is on average 13 times higher than the low-level workers.
The minimum wage in America is $7.25 USD per hour.
15. Pro: American dream
The American dream is a definite pro of living in the United States.
Everyone loves a “rags to riches” story – and no dream is too big.
This mindset can be incredibly motivating, and it is no surprise that some of the most successful people in the world are US citizens.
Americans enjoy a great quality of life in regards to entertainment, food and living.
16. Con: Expensive education
Education in America is costly.
The price tag of higher education at colleges and universities is forcing students to drown themselves in debt before they even start their first job.
If you are planning on pursuing education in the US or moving there with children, this is a disadvantage of living in the United States that you need to think about.
17. Pro: High standards of schooling
While schooling may be expensive in the United States, they also have some of the best institutions for education worldwide.
Harvard, Yale, and MIT are a few of the great American schools that people all over the world apply for.
Not only is the education there great quality, but the social network you build in these schools can set you up for life.
18. Con: Racism
Racism has always been and still is a great problem in America.
The poor treatment of South Americans and Indigenous people are examples of a greatly poisoned society against minorities and different cultures.
About 64 percent of Americans see racism as a great disadvantage of living in the USA.
19. Pro: Diversity
The United States has more immigrants and non-nationals than any other country in the world.
This makes for an extremely diverse population and a nice mix of different cultures, languages, and food.
Mexico is the top origin country of these immigrants, which explains the big Latino influence on the Southern States.
20. Con: Obsession with entertainment
Americans are obsessed with entertainment.
This is a point that could be categorized as both a pro and con of living in the USA.
This need for entertainment manifests in mental health problems, smartphone obsessions, and more superficial interactions between people.
Hollywood and the Super Bowl are two examples of America’s obsession with entertainment.
While these things seem very over the top, they are fun to experience.
21. Pro: Travel opportunities
One of my favorite pros of living in the USA is a large number of travel opportunities.
Both domestic and international travel is super easy and affordable because of the high average household income in the US.
Within the USA there are so many different cities, national parks, and attractions to visit.
For more avid travelers, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America are literally around the corner.
Canada is also a great destination for an adventure holiday from the US.
22. Con: Tipping culture
A not-so-obvious downside of living in the USA is the tipping culture.
While eating out in a restaurant might seem not too expensive at first glance, people are still expected to add roughly 20% tip to the total amount.
It is great that hard work is appreciated with a nice tip. Employers underpay their workers structurally, and the consumer is supposed to make up for it.
23. Pro: Diverse food culture
With the diversity in culture and people also comes a great selection of food.
people from different cultures brought their recipes and food habits to America.
Nowadays visitors can enjoy a great variety of food and restaurants in the United States which makes eating out and shopping for food a delight.
24. Con: Unhealthy food
Many parts of the food industry in America have notoriously lax rules about how food needs to be processed.
Antibiotics are added. Hygiene and health standards are not up to par., Americans enjoy a diet consisting of fatty, high-cholesterol food, and way too much salt.
People eat less fruit and veggies than they are supposed to.
This leads to a culture of overweight and unhealthy people.
25. Pro: Best healthcare in the world
Luckily for all the unhealthy people in America, the US healthcare system is one of the best in the world.
Many of the best doctors and researchers in the world are known to be USA based.
Some of the most advanced healthcare facilities are in the United States of America.
26. Con: Expensive healthcare
While healthcare might be up to a high-quality standard in America,it isn’t affordable.
Very few people have universal healthcare insurance and are left with massive debt after a bigger sickness or injury.
The United States has the most expensive healthcare system in the world.
27. Pro: No language barrier
English is the most widely spoken language in the world with 1.5 billion speakers.
This makes the United States a great place to live for ex-pats and immigrants who speak English.
If you don’t speak English yet, English is relatively easy to learn compared to other languages.
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Wrap-Up: Pros and Cons of Living in the USA
While there are certainly quite a few cons to living in America, overall there are more upsides to living in the USA than downsides.
Amazing natural beauty, a strong economy, and friendly people are some of the biggest advantages of living in the USA.
I believe these factors make up for the downsides, such as the corporate culture and expensive healthcare system.
Overall, the USA deserves the reputation as one of the greatest countries in the world. Moving there will be an amazing experience.
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Living in the USA Guides
- Pros and Cons of Living in North Carolina
- Pros and Cons of Living in South Carolina
- Pros and Cons of Living in California
- Pros and Cons of Living in Washington State
- Pros and Cons of Living in Montana
- Pros and Cons of Living in Chicago
- Pros and Cons of Living in Dallas
- Pros and Cons of Living in New Orleans
- Pros and Cons of Living in Los Angeles
- Pros and Cons of Living in Las Vegas
- Pros and Cons of Living in Iowa
- Pros and Cons of Living in Vermont
- Pros and Cons of Living in Seattle
- Pros and Cons of Living in Maine
- Pros and Cons of Living in Phoenix, Arizona
- Pros and Cons of Living in the USA
- Pros and Cons of Living in Colorado
- Pros and Cons of Living in Texas
- Pros and Cons of Living in Alaska
- Best Pros and Cons of Living in Oregon
- Pros and Cons of Living in San Antonio
- Pros and Cons of Living in Colorado Springs
- Pros and Cons of Living in Nashville
- Pros and Cons of Living in Florida
- Living in Toronto vs. Chicago: Which is the Better City?
- Living in Puerto Rico Pros and Cons: Should You Move to PR?
- Pros and Cons of Living in Georgia, USA: Is Georgia a Good Place to Live?
- Pros and Cons of Living in Hawaii
- Pros And Cons Of Living In New York City
- Pros and Cons of Living in Arizona
Living Abroad Travel Planning Guide
🚑 Should I buy expat travel insurance?
100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Safety Wing!
🌎 What is the best country to live in as an expat?
It depends – the best country to live in as an expat will depend on your unique needs. I developed this free quiz to help you figure out where is right for you!
📍 How do I pick a country to live abroad?
It depends – picking a country to live in is hard. That’s why I developed this $7 course to share all of the steps I’ve taken when deciding to move to 20+ different countries, and how I handle homesickness when I get there.
Ultimately, making the choice of where to move is going to be hard. But the hardest thing is deciding to move abroad at all!
💼 How do I get a job as an expat?
You can find work abroad via local job boards or temp agencies. My favourite way to work is remotely, so I always look for jobs on FlexJobs.com when I live abroad. They hire for 100% remote roles only.
If you’re looking to teach English abroad, Premier TEFL has the best online course to get you great work!
💰 How do I open a bank account abroad?
Wise.com offers free global accounts, and the cheapest money transfers. Since it can be a headache to open bank accounts in different countries (it took me 2 months in the UK!), Wise.com is a great solution.
I actually use it as my primary bank now worldwide due to the multi-currency debit card. (Read more)
👯♀️ How do you make friends abroad?
Meetup.com – Meet likeminded people who share a similar hobby with Meetup! It’s free to join, but some activities may cost money, like if you go to a cafe and get a coffee.
🙀 I don’t speak the language. Can I still live abroad?
Learn languages in no time with iTalki! Moving abroad is an opportunity to learn the language. You don’t need to know it before you leave home.
💻 Do I need a VPN?
Yes! – VPNs allow you to access more of the internet. From US Netflix in the UK to social media sites banned in Asia. It’s a really helpful and cheap thing to ensure your online activities aren’t restricted.
🧳 What’s the best luggage for living abroad?
🏡 How do I tell my friends and family I want to live abroad?
Take this $7 course and learn the exact script I used to tell my family I was moving abroad … and then when I did it again. I even include tips for prepping your family, and for how to handle family who aren’t supportive.
✈️ What’s the best site to buy cheap flights?
🏨 What’s the best site to find cheap hotels?
Or stay for free with Trusted Housesitters!
🚗 What’s the best site to rent cars abroad?
To find cheap rental cars, I recommend Discover Cars.
🚗 What’s the best site to find tours?
To find epic tours, I recommend Viator.