Is Johnson City, TN, a Good Place to Live? (16 Pros and Cons)

Pinterest Hidden Image

Before Moving To Johnson City, Important Things You Need To Know

I have summarized all the pros and cons for you today so you can answer the question: Is Johnson City, TN, a good place to live?

Let’s dive into today’s topic, including my top living in Johnson City, TN pros and cons.

Is Johnson City, TN A Good Place To Live?

Yes. Johnson City is a great place to live in Tennessee due to its high quality of life. Located in the heart of East Tennessee and part of the state’s tri-cities region, the area is known for pleasant small-town living, natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and good schools.

But, like anywhere you move, accepting the good and not-so-good is required. Thus, let’s dig into the pros and cons.

Living In Johnson City, Tennessee: Pros And Cons Comparison Table

Living in Johnson City ProsLiving in Johnson City Cons
1. Friendly residents10. High sales tax rates
2. Peaceful small town11. Few high-paying jobs
3. Scenic beauty12. Extreme weather
4. Outdoor recreation13. Seasonal allergies
5. Good local schools14. Limited shopping
6. Access to healthcare15. Nightlife is lacking
7. Modest cost of living16. Remote & isolated
8. Low property taxes
9. No state income tax
Table 1: Johnson City Pros and Cons Compared Head To Head

Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Next, let’s go through these important points about Johnson City one at a time.

exploring the pros and cons of living in Johnson City - Tennessee MapPin

Pros Of Living In Johnson City, TN

1. The Most Friendly People Live In Johnson City

Johnson City residents are friendly and hospitable.

Strangers will say hello, and people will wave as you go about your daily routine. However, the locals generally won’t butt into your business in an unwelcome way.

Thus, if you are moving from an area where people aren’t so friendly, you may find the hospitality takes a little getting used to.

2. Peaceful Small-Town Living Provides An Ideal Setting

Johnson City has a small-town atmosphere with a hometown feel.

The slow-paced environment is unlike Tennessee’s largest cities. For example, living in Memphis or Nashville has a much different vibe. Johnson City is located far enough away from the state’s major metro areas to avoid the drawbacks that come with them.

Downtown Johnson City offers boutique shopping, local restaurants, and live music.

Okay. We are just getting warmed up. Next, I have another one of the major perks of living in Johnson City…

3. Parks, Trails, And Mountains Will Surround You With Natural Beauty And Stunning Scenery

Johnson City’s proximity to the mountains is awesome. The location is one of the big advantages of living in East Tennessee.

The Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains are located nearby. Both are part of the Appalachian Mountain Range, and areas of the Appalachian Trail are easily accessible.

Streams, creeks, waterfalls, rolling hills, and wildflowers dot the landscape.

Johnson City’s outdoor setting is great for your mental state of mind. The immense beauty puts your small troubles in life in a better perspective.

Slow down and take in the stunning views as you go about your daily routine.

4. Residents Love The Outdoor Recreation Opportunities

is Johnson City TN a good place to retire?Pin

Johnson City is a great place to live for outdoor enthusiasts.

You will have plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, including:

  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Boating
  • World-renowned fishing waters
  • Hunting
  • Swimming
  • Bird watching

5. Excellent Education Opportunities For Students Of All Ages

Johnson City Schools has 11 schools, over 500 teachers, and nearly 7,000 students. The district’s mission is to empower students academically, socially, and individually.

The city’s school system exceeds state and national averages on standardized tests. It also earns high marks for non-academic metrics like attendance.

The greater Johnson City area is home to several colleges and universities, including:

  • East Tennessee State University (ETSU)
  • Quillen College of Medicine at ETSU
  • Milligan University in nearby Elizabethton, TN
  • Northeast State Community College in Blountville
  • Tusculum College

6. Convenient Healthcare Services Are Right Around The Corner

Johnson City is a regional medical center for northeast Tennessee, southwest Virginia, western North Carolina, and southeast Kentucky.

Top-notch healthcare facilities include:

  • Johnson City Medical Center
  • Niswonger Children’s Hospital
  • Woodridge Psychiatric Hospital

Next, let’s talk about the cost of living in Johnson City.

7. Johnson City Is One Of The Most Affordable Places To Live In Tennessee

Johnson City remains one of the inexpensive spots to live in Tennessee. Even though the city’s popularity is putting upward pressure on living expenses.

The median home price is nearly 30% less than the national average. You will find that prices are higher in the city versus the outlying rural areas.

Groceries, health care, and utilities run 3-7% below averages across the United States, according to Johnson City has a Publix and Walmart for groceries and basic shopping needs.

Pro tip: The cashback app from Rakuten is a great way to save money on all of your online purchases.

8. Low Property Tax Is A Bonus For Johnson City Homeowners

Johnson City’s real estate taxes are lower than in other parts of the country.

Most local homeowners pay less than three-quarters of one percent applied against the assessed value of their property.

9. Johnson City Residents Benefit From Tennessee’s Favorable Income Tax Environment

After moving to Johnson City, you won’t have to pay state income taxes. Earnings from your job, social security, and retirement income are free from this financial burden.

No matter where you live in Tennessee, including the tri-cities region (Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol), residents benefit from the state’s tax laws.

Furthermore, not paying state income tax is a great way to save money. It is one of the top benefits of moving to The Volunteer State.

Okay. That completes our discussion of the good things about living in Johnson City.

However, my pros and cons of living in Johnson City, TN, would not be complete without looking at some drawbacks.

Let’s do that now.

Pinterest image: pros and cons of Johnson City livingPin

Cons Of Living In Johnson City, TN

10. You Have To Pay To Play: Excessive Sales Taxes Are A Pain In The Wallet

Johnson City’s sales taxes are very high.

First, the state of Tennessee levies a sales tax. Second, Washington County, where Johnson City is located, adds more on top of it.

As a result, plan to pay nearly 10% on your purchases, representing one of the highest rates in the country. The sales tax adds up fast on top of your everyday expenses.

Next, I have another one of the negatives of life in Johnson City…

11. High Paying Professional Jobs Are In Short Supply

Johnson City does not have a lot of high-paying professional opportunities. Thus, banking, finance, marketing, and management consulting jobs are limited unless you can work remotely.

However, Johnson City’s job market has several positive attributes you should be aware of.

First, the unemployment rate is low. At the time of this writing, unemployment is below the national average and less than the average across the state of Tennessee.

Second, there is a limited supply of quality doctors and nurses. Thus, healthcare professionals see high demand for their services.

Third, there is plenty of need for important but lower-paid work in construction, hospitality, and retail.

Here is another bad thing about Johnson City living to consider. Of course, this point all depends on your perspective.

12. Extreme Weather Conditions May Try Your Patience

Johnson City experiences a wide variety of weather. The conditions may make for the perfect place for you, but not for many others.

First, it rains a lot in this area. Flash flooding is an issue.

Next, high summer temperatures go well into the mid to high 80s. You will also experience extreme humidity, making the air uncomfortable and sticky.

Finally, moving to the winter season, you will have to deal with snow. Temperatures regularly fall into the 20s.

When deciding if Johnson City is a good place to retire, these weather extremes are not what most people seek.

On a positive note, the autumn season is spectacular. The fall color display is beautiful each year.

Next, I have another issue with Johnson City living for some.

13. This Is Not the Best Place To Live For Seasonal Allergy Sufferers

Johnson City is known for high pollen counts that are tough on seasonal allergy sufferers. Rain, humidity, trees, shrubs, and flowers provide the perfect environment for pollen that causes burning eyes and runny noses.

14. Just The Basics: Limited Shopping Options

Johnson City offers limited shopping options for residents. High-end brands are less prevalent than in major metropolitan areas.

Locals get the basics at Walmart and other big box chain stores. The Mall at Johnson City is a big indoor shopping facility with department stores, name-brand retailers, a food court, and casual restaurants.

15. The Nightlife And Social Scene Is Less Than The Best

Johnson City is short on exciting nightlife and diverse people. If you have ever lived in a small town, you know you can run out of things to do and new people to meet.

There isn’t a robust nightlife. Nor is there a highly active singles scene.

So, for younger people looking for a lively social environment, Johnson City may not be the best place to live.

16. Remote Living In The Appalachian Mountain Foothills Isn’t For Everyone

living in Johnson City TN pros and consPin

Johnson City is located in a remote part of northeastern Tennessee. Plan ahead because travel times to major metropolitan areas are long.

For example, Johnson City to Charlotte, North Carolina, is about 3 hours of driving time.

You can drive to the vibrant city of Nashville Tennessee, in about 4 hours.

Knoxville, the third-largest city in Tennessee, is about 2 hours away.

Close access to an international airport is lacking for anyone who travels regularly for business or pleasure. However, the nearby Tri-Cities Airport in Blountville offers a limited regional flight schedule.

Okay. That’s all I have.

Let me wrap up with some final thoughts to end our journey.

Pros And Cons Of Living In Johnson City, TN: Wrap Up

is Johnson City Tennessee a good place to live? Pin

Is Johnson City, TN a good place to live? After reviewing the pros and cons, you can decide for yourself.

Whatever your situation, I hope this discussion has helped address some important questions. Such as…

1) What is living in Johnson City like?


2) Why You Should Live In Johnson City?

Best of luck. No matter where you decide to live.

More Reading About Living In Johnson City And Beyond


Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

Living In Johnson City, Tennessee Fully Explained