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Raising A Family In Indiana, The Pros And Cons

At the Indiana State Fair

At the Indiana State Fair

For a 37 year old, I guess you could say, I've been around. I grew up in a primarily blue-collar steel town just East of St. Louis in Illinois, went to college in northern Indiana at Notre Dame with a great assortment of classmates from all over the country. I went to graduate school in Texas, lived in central England for six months, and Tucson, Arizona for two years before settling down in central Indiana.

Why Indiana? Well, the main reason is my husband's job, but I thought I'd take a minute to list the pros and cons of raising a family in Indiana. 


Pros of Raising a Family in Indiana

  • People are friendly. I think it is easier to teach good morals to your kids if you don't have to worry about someone giving you the finger while you are driving them to school. Most people will hold the door for you when you enter a building instead of slamming it in your face. And when you say "Hi!" to an unknown person walking their dog, you can pretty much count on a friendly greeting in return.
  • It's relatively safe. Watching the news in Indiana is not very exciting. Every once in a while there is a shooting or a stabbing, but they are infrequent.  A winter storm weather forecast will dominate all the channels for hours, probably because it seems there really is not much else to report.
  • Our big city are just the right size. Chicagoans and New Yorkers would chuckle at the concept of our largest city, Indianapolis, being a major metropolitan. We may have a handful of skyscrapers - if you could call them that. Indianapolis does seem to have enough of the good things to make it attractive like a symphony, a convention center, nice city-wide shopping mall, a zoo, several museums, a variety of restaurants and two professional sports teams. Yet, we are spared some of the negatives of bigger cities - smog, traffic, and crime.
  • Cost of living. A large family house with a nice back yard in a quiet subdivision is nearly 1/5 the cost of the equivalent house in California. This allows for more money to save for college and possibly a stay-home parent.
  • Four seasons. Kids love summer sunshine, jumping into big piles of leaves, and making snowmen and sledding. The most delightful thing about Indiana weather is just when you get tired of it, it's the next season.
  • We're right in the middle of the country. Cross-country travel is never too long.
  • Lots of grassy parks and big back yards - When I lived in Tucson, yards were very small with little grass and thorny bushes all around. Indiana has lots of grassy yards - great for pick-up backyard kick-ball games, picking dandelions (or "wish flowers" as my son calls them), picnics, or just laying on the lawn and watching the clouds.
  • Go Hoosiers! Go Irish! Go Boilermakers! - Three world-class universities, known for a variety of specialities including medicine, business, and engineering, are right in our backyard - not to mention many terrific smaller universities and colleges like Butler, Ball State, and Marian.



Cons of Raising a Family in Indiana

  • Lack of Diversity With the possible exception of the Indiana University town of Bloomington, you are probably not going to be within walking distance of a good Thai restaurant or an Ashram. If you are wanting your children to be exposed to a myriad of cultures, religions and backgrounds, Indiana may not be the state for you. However, the Children's Museum in Indianapolis has many interactive exhibits that may help with cultural awareness.
  • Landlocked If you are a family of beach bums, the best we can offer you are the Indiana Dunes - no ocean breezes, fresh seafood, or surfing either.
  • It is COLD in the winter While kids may love the four seasons, this Indiana adult does not enjoy -2 degree wind chills, ice covered streets, and dry and cracked hands and feet. Cold and flu season tends to be worse here than in warmer climates, too.
  • Environmental newbies It's probably not the least green state, but it definitely seems a behind when it comes to the environment.  In Forbes Magazine's 2007 study, Indiana was ranked the 49th greenest state.  Indianapolis has no subway or metro system like most big cites. However, public buses do run throughout the metropolitan area. Recycling is catching on, as well as, organic produce, but reducing your carbon footprint tops your list of priorities please come to Indiana to help "green" us up.


Jess on December 30, 2015:

The first pro on the list says that people are friendly. I guess that depends on what part of Indiana you live in. I live on the west side of Indianapolis and all I hear on the news is about the lastest crime including shootings, murders, kidnappings, etc on the east side. And the part about being able to drive without getting the middle finger is somewhat true but it depends on who is in the cars around you and again, what part of Indiana you decide to live in.

Brooke on November 28, 2015:

Indiana is a great place. but I think you forgot to mention the bugs, Espically mosquitos. You really should add that during rainy season mosquitos are everywhere. For pros you should also add beautiful, camp grounds and don't forget to mention it gets VERY humid. Anyways loved the article and I would agree Indiana is a nice calm place to raise a family!!

William McCracken on January 11, 2010:

Indianapolis is a wonderful city, but, as I think you seem to infer, thanks to IU, Bloomington is the most cosmopolitan city in the state.

Now if they could only do something about the deer.

bk on January 06, 2010:

Nice job on the Hub, Don't forget Indy also has the best Football team in the country over the last decade.

Indy is a wonderful place to raise a family

Donna Jones on January 05, 2010:

VERY right on the mark, Chrissy. You forgot the traffic/crowding issue of some of the larger cities/costal states. We really has very little traffic in the greater Indianapolis area, and the stores and streets are much more crowded (in California, for example) elsewhere than in Indiana.

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