Is Memphis a Good Place to Live? (18 Pros and Cons)

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Exploring The Perks And Pitfalls Of Moving To Memphis, Tennessee

In this article, I will outline the pros and cons of living in Memphis, Tennessee. Read on to explore the following questions: Is Memphis a good place to live? Will moving to Memphis be the right choice for you and your family?

Let’s dive in.

Is Memphis A Good Place To Live?

Yes. Memphis is a good place to live. Residents benefit from the modest cost of living, income tax breaks, educational opportunities, and plenty of fun things to do.

However, living in Memphis comes with some drawbacks. Thus, I recommend carefully considering all the pros and cons before moving. Here is a summary of what you need to know.

Pros and Cons of Living in Memphis: Comparison Table

Living in Memphis ProsLiving in Memphis Cons
1. Affordable homes10. Hot summers
2. Low cost of living11. Pesky bugs
3. Income tax-friendly12. Severe weather
4. Educational opportunities13. Drenching rains
5. Tennessee Promise14. Limited public transit
6. Live music15. High crime
7. Fun festivals16. Poverty and homeless
8. Outdoor recreation17. High property taxes
9. Mild winters18. Excessive sales taxes
Table 1: Living in Memphis Pros and Cons Compared Head To Head

Next, let’s review the above Memphis’ pros and cons one at a time.

Memphis on Tennessee map: exploring the pros and consPin

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

Pros Of Living In Memphis

1. You Will Love The Modest Home Prices

Memphis has affordable home prices. The median home value in Memphis is over 50% lower than the national average.

Sources: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and Redfin market insights.

More reading: The cheapest places to live in Tennessee

2. Enjoy Low Living Costs In Memphis

In Memphis, utilities, groceries, transportation, and health care costs are 7-12% less than comparable U.S. figures.


Thus, choosing Memphis means moving to a low-cost city in the affordable state of Tennessee.

Next, I want to stick with the money theme and highlight another financial perk of living in Memphis.

3. Income Taxes Are Your Best Friend In Memphis, TN

is Memphis a good place to live?

Memphis residents benefit from the favorable state tax environment since Tennessee does not have an income tax.

Thus, your earnings from your job, investments, and retirement savings are free from state taxes. Income taxes are one of the big financial advantages of moving to Tennessee, whether you choose Memphis or another city.

Okay. We are just getting warmed up. Let’s keep moving through the pros and cons of living in Memphis…

4. Good Educational Options For Students Of All Ages

The Memphis Shelby County school system provides elementary, middle, and high school options for your children.

First, like anywhere, some schools are better than others. So, you must choose the location of your new Memphis home wisely.

Some of the better schools are located in the following areas:

  • Midtown
  • East Memphis along The Poplar Corridor
  • The neighboring Germantown community

Second, Memphis has many private and college-prep schools for those who can afford the cost.

Finally, the Memphis metropolitan area has several colleges and universities for students of all ages, including:

  • The University of Memphis
  • Rhodes College
  • Christian Brothers University

More reading: Other great places to live in Tennessee

5. Help With Higher Education Expenses: Tennessee Promise Program

reasons to move to Memphis: taxesPin

Memphis families are eligible for the Tennessee Promise Program.

Tennessee Promise is a higher education scholarship. The opportunity provides last-dollar scholarship money for students to attend community college.

The money covers tuition and fees not covered by other grants, scholarships, and student assistance funds.

Tennessee Promise is a mentoring program. The goal is to help students successfully transition from high school to higher education.

Next, let’s move on to other advantages of living in Memphis. I will shift the focus from money and education to entertainment.

6. Get Your Groove On In The Robust Memphis Music Scene

Memphis has a rich musical history and a robust city music scene.

The Blues

In downtown Memphis, residents enjoy live performances on Beale Street. The area is arguably considered the birthplace of blues music.

Rock n Roll

Memphis also has strong roots in Rock n Roll. Elvis Presley called the city home. Visitors can check out his house and property known as Graceland.

Other fantastic Memphis venues for music and the arts include:

  • Stax Museum of American Soul Music
  • The historic Orpheum Theatre
  • Cannon Center for Performing Arts

The Cannon Center is home to the city’s Symphony Orchestra.

reasons to move to Memphis: entertainmentPin

More reading: Nashville, The Music City

7. Fun Time For Festival Goers

Living in Memphis is a treat for avid festival-goers. Here is a sampling of some of the reasons to gather together and have a good time:

  • Beale Street Music Festival
  • Bluff City Jazz Festival
  • Chicken & Beer Festival
  • Cooper-Young Festival
  • Craft Food & Wine Festival
  • Indie Film Festival
  • Italian Festival
  • Memphis in May
  • Mempho Music Festival
  • River Arts Fest
  • Tequila Festival
  • World Championship Barbecue Contest

Next, moving to Memphis is a great idea for outdoor lovers.

More reading: Moving to Chattanooga: pros and cons

8. Out And About – An Abundance Of Outdoor Recreation Options

Memphis has plenty of outdoor recreation options for getting out. You will have good choices for strolling, jogging, biking, or just taking in the scenic views.

The Memphis downtown riverfront provides a natural space in the city’s heart.

Shelby Farms Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States.

The Wolf River Greenway is a pleasant, paved pedestrian pathway along the Wolf River.

Memphis Botanic Gardens and the Memphis Zoo provide an up-close look at nature.

For more reading: Discover A great Tennessee mountain town

Next, I will address everyone’s favorite topic: the weather. The climate is an essential component for enjoying outdoor recreation. And a big part of every relocation decision.

9. Mild Winter Weather Means Leave Your Parka Behind

Memphis is a southern city with a mild winter climate.

In the coldest months, high temperatures routinely rise into the 50s. The low thermometer readings fall only to around freezing.

When moving to Memphis, there is no need to pack your snow shovel and snowblower. Annual snowfall is limited.

Okay. That completes my review of all the great things about Memphis living. Put these advantages together, and I hope you can see why Memphis may be the right place for you to live, work, or retire.

More reading: Franklin, TN living guide

Conversely, reviewing the living in Memphis pros and cons would not be complete without addressing some of the bad things about living here.

Most importantly, I’m not finished with the weather.

Cons Of Living In Memphis

10. Hot And Humid Summers: Can You Beat The Heat?

pros and cons of moving to Memphis

Memphis has a hot summer season. Summer here lasts from roughly May through September. High temperatures are routinely in the 90s, with lows in the 70s.

High humidity is common during this season.

The humid air arrives from the steamy Gulf of Mexico. Warm breezes bring moisture up from the states of Louisiana and Mississippi.

Summer sometimes feels a little like a sauna. As a result, it’s hard to walk outside without soaking your clothes in sweat.

Thus, living in Memphis may not be for you unless you love hot weather and enjoy air conditioning.

More reading about Living in the state of Tennessee

11. Bugs And Insects Love Living In Memphis, Too

In Memphis, bugs and mosquitoes love the heat and humidity.

Be prepared, or bugs will ruin your best-planned outdoor activity. Flies, ants, and cockroaches are other common household pests you should be aware of.

12. High Frequency Of Severe Weather

Memphis has a high rate of tornado activity. These destructive storms can occur almost any time of the year.

The city is part of Dixie Alley in the southeastern United States, known for its higher tornado risk. I recommend you have a good insurance plan to protect your property after moving to Memphis.

13. Drenching Rains Can Leave You Soaked

In Memphis, colder temperatures from the north mix with hot humid weather moving up from the Gulf of Mexico. The combination creates extreme weather volatility.

Severe thunderstorms, hail, and remnants of hurricanes can soak the area in rain. The rainy season lasts from spring through early summer. Low-lying areas are prone to flooding.

14. Getting Around Memphis With Limited Public Transportation

Memphis public transportation options could be better. Plus, the city is fairly spread out and sprawling.

The city’s buses won’t consistently take you where you need to go when you need to get there. So, you will probably need a car unless you live, work, and play in a confined area.

Reliance on cars has another negative impact. Traffic in and around the Memphis metropolitan area is congested, especially during peak travel times.

15. Shockingly High Crime Rate

Memphis has an unfortunate reputation for high crime. 

One study found that Memphis is the 2nd most dangerous big city in the country. Other analyses support that conclusion.

However, there are plenty of safe areas in and around the city. So, choose your exact neighborhood location wisely. For your safety, pay attention to your surroundings when you venture out.

16. Disappointing Poverty And Homelessness Population

In Memphis, poverty and homelessness are linked together. Nearly one in four individuals and families live below the poverty line here.

Memphis has an estimated 3,500 to 4,200 homeless people. A coalition of state and local agencies recently worked to remove homeless living on state property beneath Memphis underpasses. They moved these people to treatment facilities and shelters.


17. Property Taxes In Memphis: Watch Your Wallet Part 1

pros and cons of living in Memphis TNPin

Memphis is located in Shelby County. The county has one of the highest property tax rates in Tennessee.

Memphis has significantly higher property tax rates because the city levies an additional tax on real estate ownership uncommon throughout the rest of the state.

More reading: Consider moving to Knoxville, Tennessee

18. Sales Taxes In Memphis: Watch Your Wallet Part 2

Memphis has high sales taxes. The state has a base rate, and Shelby County adds a rate on top of it.

Together, plan on paying an additional 10% on everything you buy. Adding 10% to your everyday purchases adds up to much money.

Pro tip: Save on your online purchases with the cash-back app from Rakuten.

Okay. That’s all I have. Please allow me to conclude.

Living in Memphis Pros and Cons: Wrap Up

Hopefully, my discussion about Memphis living helped you answer some important questions. Such as:

1) What is it like to live in Memphis?


2) Should I move to Memphis?

Good luck with your decision. No matter where you decide to live!

More Reading About Living In Memphis And Beyond…

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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.

Examining If Memphis Is A Good Place To Live (18 Pros And Cons)