Pros and Cons of Moving to Kelso, WA

Located in Cowlitz County, about 40 minutes north of Portland, is Kelso, WA, a picturesque city rich in small-town charm. Yes, Kelso is a tiny town, with less than 13,000 residents calling it home. While that might be a drawback for some, Kelso has many more pros than cons that you need to learn about. Read on if you are considering moving to Kelso, WA to find out what those pros are before you arrive!

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Where is Kelso, WA?

Kelso is located in the heart of Washington, just north of Portland and about 90 minutes south of Tacoma and Seattle. Kelso is also about 2 hours from the coast and the lovely town of Tillamook, an envious location that puts the town in the middle of one of the most adventure-filled areas in the United States. You can enjoy, for example, the mountains (including Mount St. Helens), unique arboreal forests, and Washington’s fantastic coast when you live here.

Is Kelso a Good Place to Move To?

Many people living in Kelso would agree it’s a great place to move! They would likely say that the outdoor activities are fantastic, the weather is pretty good most of the year, and the nightlife and diversity are pleasing to the palate. Kelso, WA, has top-rated activities, which include skiing, fishing, hunting, and much more. Although, for entertainment, there’s not a lot in Kelso, but in nearby Portland, the nightlife, food scene, and, of course, beer scene are some of the best in the U.S.!

Kelso also offers the best of small-town living. People know their neighbors well, and most communities in the town are safe. However, there’s no way to sugarcoat one glaring problem: property crime. With a score of 76 / 100, over ¾ of the people who live in Kelso have had something stolen. Thankfully, violent crime in Kelso is lower than the national average at 20.6 / 100.

What is the Cost of Living in Kelso?

Couple looking at finance papers with a laptop on the table

Kelso isn’t the cheapest town in America by any means, but with a cost of living index of 98.6, it’s still slightly lower than the national average. Housing costs are the one cost index that keeps the town from getting a lower overall score as it’s 113.3, almost 14% higher than the national average. From Best Places come the following cost indexes for Kelso so you can compare them to similar towns. Please note that the national average is shown as 100, so any cost index higher than 100 is higher than the national average and vice versa.

  • Overall- 98.6
  • Utilities- 67.2 (Fantastic!)
  • Transportation- 90.8
  • Groceries- 99.5
  • Healthcare- 101.7
  • Miscellaneous- 101.7
  • Housing- 113.3
  • Median Home Cost- $330,600 (The US average is $291,700)

Reasons to Move to Kelso, WA

There are many reasons to move to Kelso (and several that might make you stay away). Below are the pros and cons of moving to Kelso for your viewing and comparison.

Pro- Washington has no state income tax

Want to give less money to the government? If so, Kelso is perfect, as Washington has no state income taxes.

Con- There’s Not a Lot to Do in Town

Like many small towns, Kelso can be a little sleepy. Of course, being close to Portland helps, but you can’t go to Portland every day for entertainment.

Pro- The Air Quality

Kelso’s air quality is excellent most of the year, thanks to the surrounding forest, and it is relatively close to the coast.

Con- The Risk of Dying by Volcano is Higher than in most Towns

With Mount St. Helens nearby and a history of volcanic activity, the risk of being injured or killed (or at least inconvenienced) by a volcano is high in Kelso.

Pro- The Best of Small-Town Living

Kelso is a certified small town with all the good things about small towns, like low violent crime rates, heightened community pride, and low traffic.

Con- Only about ½ of Kelso’s Residents Own their Home

Fewer homeowners mean that Kelso’s population is more transient. (That might be why property crime is so high.)

Pro- Kelso is Close to Portland

Portland, as we mentioned, is only 40 minutes away from Kelso, including its world-class beer, food, and funkiness.

Con- Kelso’s School System Needs Help

With a C+ grade, it can be said that Kelso’s public school system needs some after-school tutoring to get up to speed with other towns.

Make your Move a Breeze with Northwest Self Storage

If you’re moving to Kelso, WA soon and need storage when you arrive, Northwest Self Storage is on the job! Whether moving cross country or short distance, ensure your move is smooth by using Northwest Self Storage. Need vehicle storage when you arrive in Kelso? No problem, we also offer that and have various storage unit sizes to fit your needs. To find storage when you get to Kelso, call Northwest Self Storage or reserve your storage unit online before you arrive. (It takes mere minutes.) Whatever your move date, we’ll help you store your things safely and securely when you arrive. Until then, best of luck moving to Kelso, Washington, one of the state’s best small towns!

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