Moving to Tennessee | 2021 Cost of Living and Relocation Tips
Everyday, hundreds of people move to Tennessee, which only means there are a hundred different reasons to move here. Maybe a spontaneous road trip to Tennessee in spring is all it takes to know that you’d love to see yourself moving there. If that doesn’t do it, there’s the temptation to enjoy the tax-friendly benefits that come along with living here. By that we mean no tax on income and severely low property taxes as well!
If you decide to move here, you’ll have 94 miles of the stunning Appalachian Mountain range on your east, while you can catch a glimpse of the beautiful skyline with the Mississippi river in the backdrop on the western side. Sounds good, right? However, by giving out the beauty of landscape, we’re not implying that these are the only things that you should consider when moving to the state. In this blog, we will help you understand the other things you need to consider and know about before moving to Tennessee.
Weather in Tennessee
The state isn’t located in the deep southern regions, but still happens to share the weather conditions of the southern states in the country, such as having four distinct seasons – Autumn, Summer, Winter and Monsoon.
Autumn here accentuates a burst of orange, red and yellow leaving an impressive view across the state. And the temperature is most pleasant at this time. The beauty of Autumn is experienced early October, and the change in scenery could probably begin only by mid-October. Most people head to visit the Smoky Mountains during this time of the year, to capture the stunning color display.
Summer in the state lasts from May to September with July being the hottest month. It can be as hot as Indian summers – that is the way people of Tennessee express the summer heat, especially in the month of July. The temperature on a daily basis could very much be above 81°F, but you could always escape the heat in the mountains if you feel like ir. Boating, fishing and hiking are the uncontested popular summer activities.
Winters last here from November to February and the temperature could be below 56°F. Don’t be scratching your head though, since we’re considering just an average temperature. Of course, the winters can get even more harsh depending on the ever fluctuating climatic conditions the world is experiencing. However, Tennessee winters do tend to have less snow.
Lastly, from early March to mid-August, the state experiences rains. Tennessee is actually the sixth rainiest state! So, you would need to prepare for a wet, cloudy and rainy atmosphere.
It’s possible that you’ll enjoy the weather from mid May to mid June the most here. The atmosphere from early August to mid October is also pleasant. Although, that’s not to say the rest of the months will be totally miserable because everyone has varying degrees of tolerance and fondness of different kinds of weather. So it really just boils down to your preference at the end of the day.
Transportation in Tennessee
The state of Tennessee has the most convenient east to west highway known as Interstate 40. If you are going to move to Tennessee, chances are you would mainly be using this highway to get around. The I-40 takes over the whole state of Tennessee and the road runs from the Mississippi river on the east side of the state border upto the Great Smoky Mountains. It is the most practical way to visit the big cities of Tennessee (i.e Memphis, Knoxville, Nashville, Clarksville and Chattanooga). Another interesting fact is that this same highway also has access to 8 interstate highways. Tennessee and Missouri are the only two states in the U.S that share its borders with 8 different states. So, remember to take advantage of this roadway and make your way to exploring 8 of the surrounding states here.
See also: Tennessee DMV Change of Address
Nashville International airport is the biggest airport in the state of Tennessee. Other than this, the state also has one more international airport which is the Memphis Airport. This is where the world’s largest air cargo operation happens. Mainly because all the major FedEx operations take place from here itself, which is why it’s also declared to be the world’s busiest airport. Rest assured, flying out from Tennessee for a Spring or Winter break break sure won’t be much of a hassle.
Now, depending on the city you would be living in, you would be able to take advantage of different bus facilities available. You would find this information useful pertaining to the city you’ll reside in.
In the city of Memphis, you’d find green buses covering three main routes in the downtown area. The bus ride passes by all the significant city points such as South Main’s Historic Art District, Sun Studio and the famous Beale Street. The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) would be your go-to public transportation option in the bustling city of Memphis. It has 33 different routes and takes stops all around the city, it’s hard not to spot one of them in Memphis.
The free Knoxville Trolly rides are undoubtedly the most convenient mode of transportation available in the city of Knoxville. Residents, students and tourists can all use three of the free trolley lines, and each of them are identified on the basis of the color.
- The Green line runs between Gay Street, Market Square and the Old City.
- The Blue line runs to Civic Coliseum.
- The Orange line runs to the University of Tennessee campus.
Lastly, another overlooked way of getting around is the WeGo Public Transit system available in the city of Nashville. WeGo offers its residents 46 bus routes to connect to all the neighborhoods in the area. The fare for an adult is $1.70 and it’s only $0.85 for senior citizens.
Job Market in Tennessee
In some of the more successful cities of Tennessee like Nashville and Memphis, you are bound to find bigger job opportunities, which means a good paycheck too. The healthcare and tech industry in both these cities are the ones that provide the city with the most number of jobs. Next in line would be the hospitality industry. There are around 71,000+ jobs here linked to this industry. It surely goes without saying that different roles and positions have a strong command over the wage you could receive. But salary surveys conclude that a nurse, project manager or a database administrator are among the top paying job roles in this state.
FedEx, HCA Healthcare, LifePoint Health and Dollar General are some of the big companies that have headquarters in the state of Tennessee, and are key players in helping residents find a career and lucrative job opportunities.
For most rental spaces in Tennessee, the average median cost of rent is $808 per month. However, there’s room to debate this since the rent cost would depend on the locality, number of rooms and of course, the square foot of the house you select. But we’re only trying to convey that it is very much possible to rent a house even in the most popular districts for less than $1000 per month. You can rent out some exceptional homes for around $1,200 – $1,900. It’s only in some cases that you would need to shell out more than this amount per month to rent a house in the state of Tennessee.
Cost of Living in Tennessee
As we’ve mentioned earlier, you pay zero income tax and extremely low property taxes when you live in Tennessee. That is a big chunk of money that anyone who moves here would be able to save all year round. The amount saved throughout the year from taxes helps you afford a high quality lifestyle that Tennessee is ready to provide you with. The state has the 5th lowest cost of living when compared to the national average. Which only means that your expenses will be way lesser for the food, clothing, utilities and miscellaneous things purchased when compared to another state. For instance, you could be spending $2 more for a carton of eggs in California in comparison to Tennessee. In addition to that, the value of homes in Tennessee is approximately $200,257 (as per data on Zillow), while the national average of homes in the US is approximately $284,600. So, you have more room to make bigger investments.
No tax on pension makes it a perfect place for retirees to see their money last longer. Overall, your financial resources in Tennessee could go further because of the decent home values. If you wish to look at it another way, it could mean you have a better chance of affording the lifestyle you only could dream about. But this of course depends on the cost of living in the state you currently reside in.
Top-Rated Tennessee Colleges
1. Vanderbilt University, Nashville
2. Rhodes College, Memphis
3. Sewanee – The University of the South, Sewanee
4. Union University, Jackson
5. University of Tennessee, Knoxville
6. Lipscomb University, Nashville
7. Johnson University, Knoxville
8. Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville
9. University of Memphis, Memphis
10. Christian Brothers University, Memphis
Top-Rated Tennessee Schools
1. Collierville Schools, Collierville
2. Greeneville City Schools, Greeneville
3. Maryville City Schools, Maryville
4. Johnson City Schools, Johnson City
5. Williamson County Schools, Franklin
6. Germantown, Germantown
7. Kingsport City Schools, Kingsport
8. Alcoa City Schools, Alcoa
9. Oak Ridge School District, Oak Ridge
10. Arlington Community Schools, Arlington
Top Cities To Move To in Tennessee
The city of Memphis has a population of 651,073 people, making it the second-most populated city in the State of Tennessee. The city has an extremely vibrant music scene and mainly attracts residents because of the low cost of living. $1648 is an estimated monthly cost of living for a single person in the city. If you ask us, that sounds like some nice soothing music to ears, considering how amazing a deal it is for a great standard of living. AutoZone, International Paper and FedEx have their headquarters here too. Downtown Memphis is the central business district of the city while the international airport here is the world’s second busiest cargo airport.
Some interesting facts that people love about the city is that it has a beautiful skyline. The city is also famous for its own Memphis style barbecue and the prominent blues music playing at Beale Street.
Median price of homes sold: $103,782
Median rent: $850
Although the city of Nashville is admired for its music, the people who actually move here begin to enjoy the fact that it is the most centrally located city in the state of Tennessee. Among the growing neighborhoods in the city, Brentwood is a favorite pick for those relocating to Tennessee. The neighborhood is friendly and has a suburban atmosphere. If music is your thing, of course Nashville does have many opportunities for musicians.
Interestingly, the city is also seeing investment from the tech industry with companies like Amazon and Apple setting up quarters here. This could increase the number of jobs in the city but also make it more expensive to live in. Currently, Nashville is the most expensive city of the state, with rent prices and home values constantly increasing as the number of people moving here increases.
Median price of homes sold: $298,039
Median rent: $1,428
If you choose to move to Knoxville, it’s most likely that you would be able to enjoy a high standard of living for the money you put in. It’s possible to live comfortably because the cost of living here is comparatively low when put up against Memphis and Nashville. The city is neat, less crowded, has an old city vibe with very few of the tall corporate buildings lurking around. Instead, you would mostly come across historic buildings in the area because it was actually the old capital of Tennessee. The city is in close proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains, which is just one hour away, making it an excellent getaway for active residents.
Median price of homes sold: $213,420
Median rent: $1,082
Here’s the interesting thing about Clarksville – you get to enjoy the big city vibes, as Nashville is just around the corner. But at the same time, you can also unplug from the city noise to the quiet residential lifestyle back in Clarksville. The city has recently been witnessing a growth in the number of millennials moving here. It has now been ranked among the top 10 leading cities for millennials to buy their own homes. The cost of living, income and real estate is attractive here. And if escaping high income taxes by moving here helps you afford a better lifestyle, why not? Other than millennials, retirees are also attracted to the pace in Clarksville and low property tax.
Median price of homes sold: $209,288
Median rent: $1,200
While researching the top cities to live in Tennessee, you would definitely not want to cross out the city of Chattanooga. This city has grown to become the fourth largest city of the state. It’s believed that most of the success came to the city because of the high internet speed that attracted capital and entrepreneurs to the city. It slowly came to be known as the Gig City because it beat Seattle, New York and even San Francisco in building the first fastest and inexpensive internet provider. The city still has a growing tech industry but healthcare, tourism and insurance are also the major contributors to the economy of the city. It is home to the University of Tennessee and is also becoming a bit of a tourist destination because of the tons of things to do here. If you ask us, that’s probably the best for the economy of the city.
Median price of homes sold: $185,747
Median rent: $1,003
See also: Best States to Live In
FAQs about Moving to Tennessee
Is moving to Tennessee a good idea?
With Tennessee as your home state, you have the opportunity to take advantage of both low property taxes and not having to pay state income tax. If this doesn’t cut it for you, there’s also the fact that it’s among the few regions in the US to have 8 neighboring states. This allows outdoor enthusiasts to travel in and around to their heart’s content. Southern charm, great weather, beautiful landscape, all thanks to the Appalachian mountain range and Mississippi river makes moving to Tennessee a good idea.
What should I know before moving to Tennessee?
In Tennessee, low property taxes and no state income tax allows you to save considerably. However, do note that the high sales tax evens things out.
Other than that, you have to be prepared to experience plenty of rainfall, as it is the 6th rainiest state in the US. For jobs, among others, the hospitality industry is big in Tennessee. The three most popular hubs for jobs and a fast paced lifestyle goes to Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis.
Is it expensive to live in Tennessee?
Most of Tennessee, including big towns, have a cost of living that is much lower than the national average. If we had to give a rough idea, a single person would need roughly 50k to 60k annually to reside comfortably in well-developed cities like Nashville and Memphis. Costs would be even more affordable, if you move further away from these big cities.
Moreover, residents save drastically on income tax and this keeps expenses low. But they also end up bearing a high sales tax which falls in the range of 7% to 9%.
How much do you need to live comfortably in Tennessee?
If you want to live in an extremely nice apartment in one of the most thriving cities of Tennessee, like Nashville, then you’d need to earn close to 6 figures annually to live comfortably. But if you’d rather venture into affordable neighborhoods, then you’d be able to live fairly reasonably with an annual salary of 50k to 60k.
What are the benefits of living in Tennessee?
One of the main benefits is that you have access to the mighty outdoors. Tennessee is home to the stunning Appalachian mountain range and the magnificent Mississippi river. The state’s endless sightseeing options and 56 state parks inspires one to embrace the outdoors. This can be a refreshing change of scenery for those tied down to urban spaces.
Living in Tennessee also means that you don’t have to deal with freezing temperatures. Among others, Healthcare and Hospitality are the two booming industries here. Good number of music venues and getting to interact with international communities in Nashville are few other perks of living in Tennessee.
Is it cheaper to live in Tennessee or Florida?
Both Tennessee and Florida lack state income tax, but Tennessee still turns out to be roughly 7% cheaper than Florida. This is when all bases of cost of living are taken into account. In Tennessee though, you witness lower property taxes to deal with in comparison to Florida.
What are the dangers of living in Tennessee?
Dangerous is a perhaps a strong word to use for Tennessee. But there are some truths you must get acquainted with if you choose to live here. For instance, you could come across a lot of rash drivers so you have to be extra careful while driving. Other than that, you have to be prepared to see the clouds get super gloomy often, since thunderstorms followed by heavy rainfall is not uncommon. Lastly, there’s a vast variety of bugs which can be a big nuisance in the summer months.
What is the most dangerous city in Tennessee?
The city of Memphis has the highest crime rate in Tennessee. It is the second most populated city, but still holds the label for being most dangerous. Not all of Memphis is dangerous, but just like every other densely populated city, there are sketchy neighborhoods you must avoid. Germantown, Arlington and Bartlett are some of the good suburbs in Memphis.
Where is the cheapest place to live in Tennessee?
If you’re looking for affordable places to live in Tennessee, then the city of Chattanooga is worth looking at. Many people are attracted to Chattanooga because of its high internet speed and this aspect particularly sets it apart. Do note that the median value of homes here is $185,747. If you wish to live in close proximity to Nashville, then Murfreesboro, White House and Springfield are also good affordable options.
What is a good salary in Tennessee?
A good annual salary in Tennessee is 55k to 60k for a single person. However, the state average median household income stands at roughly $50,972. So, if you earn anywhere over 50k annually, you can consider yourself lucky to be earning more than the state average.
Why is it so cheap to live in Tennessee?
The state of Tennessee lacks state income tax and this is the driving force behind keeping the cost of living cheap. Beside that, Tennessee doesn’t have an ocean on its border. Rather, it is blessed with majestic mountains, and this makes it much cheaper than metropolis coastal cities.
What is a livable wage in Tennessee?
For a single adult, the liveable wage is an annual salary of 25k to 35k in Tennessee. But if you wish to live less frugally and in a central hub of the state, then ideally, an annual salary of 55k to 60k would allow you to live a big-city lifestyle.
What is considered middle class in Tennessee?
If you’re a single adult and your typical yearly expenses fall between 23k to 70k, then it is considered that you’re possibly part of the middle class in Tennessee. You can consider this as a mere classification of the middle class and nothing more. Things will surely vary based on an individual’s personal definition of middle class.
What is considered low income in Tennessee?
The minimum wage in Tennessee is $7.25 per hour for a single working adult. If you’re earning an amount that is way lower than $6 per hour, then it can be considered a low income in Tennessee. Annually, this would mean earning less than 23k a year.
Where in Tennessee does it snow the most?
Clingman’s Dome is a mountain that sits at an elevation of 2,025 meters and is the highest point in Tennessee. So, it’s no surprise that it receives the most significant amount of snow in the state. Gatlinburg is the other spot that similarly receives an average of 9 inches of snow per year. As the city of Knoxville lies in close proximity to these areas, it is prone to more snowfall. Besides places of elevation, it doesn’t snow much in most parts of Tennessee.
Our Take On Tennessee
The state of Tennessee does have the charm of the southern states and shares its border with 8 states! If you love exploring, this is a big plus point, simply because it’s easy to plan road trips to Alabama, Virginia, Georgia and Kentucky with Tennessee as your home state. When you move here, you would need to get used to the fact of seeing some gorgeous churches popping everywhere you go. It should be no surprise because Tennessee’s capital is part of the Bible belt with over 700 churches.
Other than that, you might also enjoy the fact that Tennessee is home to the songwriting capital of the world and has its own music highway (also known as Interstate 40). The state in general has contributed largely to American country music. Chances are, you’d love taking the music highway (Have you listened to Tennessee Line by Daughtry?) that connects you to cities where you can discover all about blues music.
The state has a satisfactory cost of living and if you resonate with the music and little facts about life in Tennessee you can surely call it your future home someday. All in all, Tennessee sure has much to offer to anyone considering a move here. It all depends on where your interests lie, which stage of life you’re in and of course, your reason to consider moving to a new city. If our blog has managed to give you enough reasons to move to Tennessee, make sure you first narrow down on a city that would suit you best. You can also read our guides on Moving to Nashville and Moving to Memphis to help you make a more informed decision.