Northern America

Dwelling on Location

Introduction

A home is likely to be the most expensive purchase one will ever make, but it's importance isn't due to the hefty sum --it's due to the location. Where you live influences the kind of life you will live, how safe you will be, what taxes you pay, et cetera.


I want to live near my family, who primarily live in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I also happen to like the climate of New England. However, I would be willing to vary that climate a bit, and a different country could be a refreshing change.

Fact File



Climate


One of the major variables that one looks at when choosing a place to live is climate. If you don't like the heat, stay away from Arizona. If you don't like snow, don't live in Canada. I actually like snow and the cold, so I'll be looking at that while deciding on these three areas. For the most part, I'm also indifferent about rain, but I would enjoy clear skies.


Recreation, jobs, and economy are affected significantly by climate as well. After all, if one has a colder climate that lends itself to winter sports, that opens up more jobs and revenue from tourism. On the other hand, people might not exactly flock towards a place that's usually blanketed in rain clouds.

Recreation


Due to their close proximity, these three areas have many similar recreational opportunities, especially the outdoor kind. There are opportunities to ski, snowboard, snowmobile, and snowshoe in the winter. Hunting, swimming, and hiking are other things one can do. Each place also has their own history, and with it, their own historical museums and sites.


However, while Canada primarily boasts its beautiful landscape, which both states also have, Massachusetts wins in the category of recreation. While it shares many activities with New Hampshire, Massachusetts is home to Boston. While I don't particularly like the city atmosphere, I adore the museums that are scattered throughout the state, specifically the Museum of Science, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Demographics


The people that live in the surrounding area also make a major impact on one's desire to live in a particular place. A population can be divided by many things, from age to gender to race. Humans tend to prefer to live near people who are like them. It isn't necessarily racist to which to live in a white community if one is white --not everyone wants to stand out. There's comfort in similarity.

While I don't mind most of the standard measures by which one segregates a population, I do mind what language the majority speaks. Currently, I only speak one language. I plan to learn a couple more, though, one of those is not French, which over 6,000,000 speak French in Quebec. Those six million make up over 85% of the province's population. Compare that number to the average of 600,000 that speak English.


In Massachusetts, over twenty percent do not speak English at home. On the other hand, only eight percent of NH speak a non-English language at home. While this isn't a direct indicator of what language(s) the person speaks and is fluent in, I think I'd be more comfortable where the more spoke English as their primary language. (At least, until I learn those two that I mentioned before.)

Education and Crime


Although I will not very worried about education for me by the time I look for places to live, if I am to have children, I would like to know about the schools in the area. While the statistics below do not directly point to the quality of the school, they do give some hints as to the general teaching and motivating proficiency of schools there.


The crime rate of an area determines about how safe the place is. Most people want to live in a safe place, unless their job deals with combating safety hazards, but even then, most want their family out of the danger that they are trying to reduce.

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Economy
The average income of a person in a particular area gives a general indication of what one is likely to receive themselves if they are employed in a particular area. It is likely that prices of local goods would also be based off of what the average population could afford.


I don't often pay taxes. I'm not used to them, and he only time I would encounter them would be as a sales tax, which is absent in NH (excluding meals taxes, but I don't pay at restaurants anyway). I think it would be an awkward transition to go from not having a sales tax to having one. New Hampshire may have a higher property tax than Massachusetts and Quebec, but I value familiarity when assessing my comfort level.

Conclusion

As I stated at the beginning, I want to live near my family. Talking to my parents, I found that they chose to live in New Hampshire for that reason. There's a good chance that's the reason many live here. Many, but not all, as I'm also sure that some did do the research and looked into things further, like the general demeanor and governing method. Still, many people are willing to deal with high property taxes and the cold weather (not that they don't complain) in order to be in close contact with their relatives.


The high percentage of educated people in NH is a plus, as is the low violent crime rate. The lower tax on gas per gallon in comparison to Massachusetts as well as the lack of a sales tax is another reason. However, my main reasons for staying in NH are family and familiarity.