I am considering moving to the United States. I've had an offer of employment from a company that I do occasional consulting for, and they support telecommuting, which means I can choose where to go and live in the US.
My sister lives in Pennsylvania, so something along the eastern seaboard would be first prize.
My wife and I have two small children (3 and 6), so our concerns are both around what is a reasonable place for us to live as atheists, as well as where can we live that won't discriminate against our children because we are unbelievers.
We are thinking of Vermont, although in the back of my head I also have Austin Texas (home of the ACA), as well as San Francisco or Seattle (if we can't find anything we like in the east.
Any ideas, feedback, comments, advice would be most appreciated.
If you want to live in a state that offers the widest range of choices and possibilities, you can't beat California.
If you want to live in a state that looks to the future (green economy, high tech industry, etc.), you can't beat California.
If you want to live in a state that accommodates all religions and philosophies, you can't beat California.
If you like the beach - California; the desert - California; the mountains (where I live) - California.
If you like running all year round in shorts, it's California. Surfing? Where else?
If farming is your thing, the San Joaquin Valley is the most productive agricultural region in the world.
If you're gay - San Francisco.
If you're NOT gay - Orange county.
If you are a techno-geek- Silicon Valley.
If you want to see celebrities - Hollywood
If you want to see hookers - Hollywood.
If you're into science - Cal Tech, JPL, Mt. Palomar, and Scripps Institute.
If you're NOT into science - Institute for Creation Research, San Diego; Crystal Cathedral...never mind!
If you like traffic - Los Angeles. If you don't like football - Los Angeles.
If you like big cities, L.A. is the largest in area in the world.
If you like small towns, try Arrowbear (where I live) - 700 people (if they were all here at the same time; 300 if they aren't).
If you like forest fires, earthquakes, mud slides, wind storms, etc., try California. If you ESPECIALLY like forest fires, try Arrowbear.
If you like snow - come and shovel my driveway.
If you like municipal parks, Griffith Park is the largest in the world.
If you like things named after Ronald Reagan - California has a freeway (118), a library, and - no doubt -plans for many more.
If you thought Richard Nixon was a great President, we have Whittier College (my alma mater).
If you don't like Woody Allen, you won't run into him in California.
If you don't like homosexuals, they can't marry each other in California, YET!
Finally, you say you are an atheist; California does provide the only avowed atheist in the 535 member Congress - Pete Stark. Otherwise, move to Finland, because the UInited States is the most insanely religious country in the world. Atheists here are the most despised of all minorities. You can't get elected dog catcher anywhere in the U.S. if you are an atheist. You automatically become a dirty word. If you put a sticker, like "Don't Believe in God? Join the Club," on your bumper, expect a God-loving Christian to trash your car. You don't say where you are moving from; but I can assure you, no state in my country will be as welcoming of you as a non-believer as wherever you came from. That being said, your chances are probably best in San Francisco. Caveat: if anybody in your family is gay, San Francisco's supervisor was murdered for being gay, as was the mayor who supported him. Not only that, but the murderer, in effect, got away with it because he ate Twinkies.
Bottom line: if you want to live in a state that is truly non-conformist and idiosyncratic, you can't beat California. And when the rest of the country collapses for clinging to an ideal of 19th Century economics it is forward-looking California that will remain standing.
Whatever you do, don't live in any of the southern states. They still believe slavery was a noble institution. They've even formed a grotesque entity called the "Tea Party," who's wet dream is to lynch the President for being an uppity black man.
Seriously , though, Vermont is not a bad choice. It has the wisest lawmaker in Congress - independent iconoclast, Bernie Sanders. But if you are truly looking for a region or locality that welcomes atheists, lots of luck!
Growing up in Vermont, I can tell you that it is a great place to live. I will admit that the cost of living is pretty high, mainly from rather high property taxes. The weather can also be pretty rough if you're not used to living in an area that gets hit with a lot of snow in the wintertime, but if you like the snow then it's pretty sweet. The school system is pretty good throughout the state except in some of the more rural areas, but around the greater Burlington area you can find many towns with good education systems (just watch out for Rice Memorial High School, a private catholic high school in Burlington).
Religion definitely isn't big in the area either; I figure that's somewhere on your list of important qualities. Even those who do go to church aren't up in your face about it. And if I remember correctly, Vermont has one of the highest percentage of atheists in the country.
I know I'm a little biased trying to sell my home state, but it is a good place to be and it's not too far from PA. Although Pittsburgh and western PA is a bit of a haul, it's all pretty much a one day drive from Burlington to get anywhere in PA.
Hope that all helps!
Stay away from New England if you don’t like long, cold winters, hot and humid summers, abysmal diversity, generally cold people or bland food. Although, if you can put up with that stuff and rather rural living, Vermont is ideal for atheists. Amherst/ Northampton Massachusetts are cool liberal towns too. The West is much better all around in terms of living conditions, mild climate and diversity, although the cost of living can be quite expensive depending on where you live. Avoid the South like the plague. I’ve lived on both coasts and in the south, my recommendation come from my personal experience. Everyone’s will be different, however.
You should stay far away from Indiana. People are not tolerant at all here.