Essential Things To Know Before Moving To Tennessee
Carefully consider all the pros and cons of living in Tennessee before you pack up and move.
Whether you are relocating for retirement, a new job, or a fresh start, it’s a good idea to understand everything about your new home state.
To kick it off, here is a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of moving to Tennessee, summarizing the points I will cover today.
Pros And Cons Of Living In Tennessee: Comparison Table
|Low cost of living
|Low real estate taxes
|No state income tax
|Little public transit
|Lacks green energy
|High crime rates
|High sales tax
Next, let’s go through what these Tennessee lifestyle pros and cons will mean for you and your family.
Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Pros Of Living In Tennessee
1. Low Cost of Living
The first pro of living in Tennessee is the modest cost of living. You will find prices are about 10% lower than the average of all states in America.
Home prices, groceries, utilities, and transportation contribute to the cost savings.
The discount on homes was greater in the past. However, more people are moving to Tennessee, pushing up housing prices.
2. Reasonable Property Taxes
Another one of the perks of living in Tennessee is the state’s modest real estate taxes.
Whether you own a home and pay property taxes directly or rent, the property tax bill still comes out of your pocket. Regarding property taxes, living in Tennessee will improve your finances.
Why? Because property taxes on a median-priced Tennessee home are ranked as one of the lowest ten states in the nation! Source: WalletHub
3. No State Income Tax
The third benefit of moving to Tennessee is income taxes. That’s because the state has no income tax.
Tennessee is just 1 of 9 states in America that does not levy an income tax.
Editors note: There was a quirky tax on dividends and interest income in the past. It was called the Hall tax. Starting in 2021, this tax was completely repealed.
4. Tennessee Promise Scholarship Program
Another possible cost-saving benefit of living in Tennessee is the Tennessee Promise Program. The program reduces the cost of quality higher education in this state.
Tennessee Promise is both a higher education scholarship and mentoring program. The program seeks to increase the number of students who attend college in the state. Also, encourage student success in school.
Participating students receive a last-dollar scholarship to attend community college.
This means the scholarship will cover tuition and fees not covered by the Pell Grant, the HOPE scholarship, or state student assistance funds.
Another part of Tennessee Promise is the guidance each qualified student receives from a mentor.
Mentors assist students as they navigate the college admissions process and acclimate to higher education.
Okay. We have talked about money, taxes, and education. Let’s move on to some lighter topics.
After moving to Tennessee, you can access many great recreational opportunities. The state is similar in some respects to the abundant recreational advantages of living in Florida, another state with no income tax!
So, here are a few options for unwinding, relaxing, and having fun in the Volunteer State.
5. Robust Music Scene
My fifth pro of living in Tennessee is the epic music scene. The state is well-known for several popular styles of music, including blues, country, rock n’ roll, and folk.
Music In Memphis – Western Tennessee
Beale Street, located in Memphis, is arguably the birthplace of blues music.
But let’s not forget the state has strong roots in Rock n Roll. Elvis Presley called Graceland in Memphis his home.
Music In Nashville – Middle Tennessee
They call Nashville “The Music City” for good reasons.
First, there there is the iconic Grand Ole Opry. The Opry is a hotbed for the country music recording industry.
Another great spot for food, entertainment, and live music in Nashville is the District Neighborhood.
Music In Eastern Tennessee
Finally, the rhythmic sounds of the eastern Tennessee region may be my favorite of them all. Appalachian folk music, country, gospel, and bluegrass artists heavily influence the region.
6. Scenic Beauty
Another pro of Tennessee living is the state’s beautiful landscape and natural scenery.
There is a little something for everyone here.
- The Appalachian Mountains to the west
- Abundant parks, rivers, and lakes in middle-Tennessee
- The Mississippi River on the eastern border
Furthermore, Tennessee is second to none for the beauty of its changing leaves during the fall season. The state provides the perfect backdrop for your fall leaf tour.
Finally, enjoying the outdoors is a good way to have fun and make your budget go a little farther. This is true whether you are interested in the pros and cons of retirement living in Tennessee. Or when just getting your start in life as a young adult.
7. Outdoor Recreation
The next advantage of living in Tennessee is the state’s outdoor recreational opportunities.
Exploring Caves In Tennessee
For outdoor lovers, did you know there are nearly 10,000 caves in the state? Many of these places are there to discover and explore after moving to Tennessee.
Abundant Parks And Green Spaces
Next, Tennessee has more than 50 state parks and plenty more accessible green places and spaces. These regional spots are perfect for hiking, biking, fishing, and swimming near your new home.
Finally, I have saved the best outdoor venue for last.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park
Tennessee living is perfect for anyone who wants to move to a state with national parks. Best of all, Tennessee has a “granddaddy,” the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
Consider relocating to Knoxville if access to the national park is important to you. The city is right on the doorstep of this beautiful area.
8. Great Food
My eighth advantage of living in Tennessee is the food.
First, the state is known for one of my favorite dishes, barbecue.
You must try dry rub barbecue after moving to Tennessee, especially Memphis. It is so good! Barbecue with a traditional wet, tomato-based sauce is also a popular style.
There are big-name barbeque restaurants, like the Rendezvous, in downtown Memphis. But don’t forget to seek out the small mom-and-pop joints you’ve never heard of.
Barbecue lovers looking for a good place to move should consider another mid-South state. Specifically, Kansas has plenty to offer regarding food and, specifically, good barbecue.
Other Foods To Enjoy After Moving To Tennessee
You can also enjoy traditional mid-south favorites when dining in this state. For example, popular choices include fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, biscuits and gravy, and savory cooked greens.
Finally, the culinary options are immense for anyone considering relocating to middle Tennessee. Nashville, specifically, has become one of the best food cities in America.
Next, there’s more to the fun here than food. So, let’s keep moving.
9. Lots Of Festivals
Another of the best things about living in Tennessee is the abundance of festivals.
The state has a festival for just about every type of entertainment and celebration you can think of. Whether you relocate to Chattanooga, Franklin, Knoxville, Memphis, or Murfreesboro, you can find one or more festivals that suit your interests at any time of the year.
10. Gentle Winter Climate
I can think of one more advantage to living in Tennessee. Let’s cover it, then move on to the cons.
Residents enjoy all four weather seasons here. Better yet, you can take a pass on harsh winter weather.
For example, winter high temperatures routinely hit the 50s. Lows fall to around freezing.
Furthermore, snowfall in the state is limited except as you move near the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern part of the state.
Do you like this kind of weather Tennessee offers? If yes, you might also consider living in Arkansas, another southern state with warm summers and mild winters.
Okay. That concludes the top benefits of living in Tennessee. Next, we are ready for a few reasons not to move to Tennessee in the first place.
Thus, what follows are several points about why Tennessee is a bad place to live for some.
Cons Of Living In Tennessee
1. Hot And Humid Summers
The first con about living in Tennessee is the hot and humid summer weather.
Those pleasant, mild winters I just mentioned lead to uncomfortably warm summers. Highs in the 90s. Lows in the 70s. Plus, plenty of humidity is common.
Living here is like living in Mississippi across Tennessee’s southern border.
Neighboring states to the West like Oklahoma and Arkansas, have hot summers, too.
So, if you are considering the pros and cons of moving to Tennessee, know how you will beat the summer heat.
2. Tough On Seasonal Allergy Sufferers
Another one of the disadvantages of living in Tennessee is allergy season.
The state’s abundant rainfall, lush landscape, and stagnant, humid air create a significant drawback. Specifically, the area is challenging for people with seasonal allergies.
As a result, HouseFresh ranks the state in the bottom one-third of all states for pollen, dust, and mold allergies. Other studies rank the conditions even worse here.
During the worst times, sticky green and yellow film coats everything outside. Your car, patio furniture, and sidewalks are no exception.
So, beware if you are moving to Tennessee from California or other dry western states. You may only fully understand the unpleasant symptoms of allergies once you experience them.
3. Irritating Bugs And Insects
Another possible reason not to move to Tennessee is the bugs
Pesky insects are a common condition brought on by the warm, humid Tennessee weather. Some of the most common and dangerous bugs you will encounter include the following:
First, there are cockroaches. These bugs are resilient and have been found to spread some diseases when they bite.
Second, mosquitos. The state has over 60 species of mosquitoes. More mosquito-borne diseases appear yearly.
Third, beware of ticks when hiking. These pests spread diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Finally, there are lots of spiders living in Tennessee. Fortunately, only black widows and brown recluses are poisonous.
4. Risks Of Severe Weather
The fourth con of living in Tennessee is the potential for severe weather.
First, in Tennessee, colder weather from the north moves into the southern states and mixes with hot temperatures.
The result is times of severe thunderstorms, hail, and remnants of hurricanes. These storms can bring drenching rains and flooding.
Second, living in middle Tennessee means being prone to tornado activity.
Thus, be prepared for severe weather after moving to Tennessee.
5. Excessive Population Growth
My fifth disadvantage of life in Tennessee is the rapid population growth. Nashville and Memphis, in particular, have been impacted by this trend.
Thus, all the advantages of living in this state have come at the price of increasing population. More people are putting a strain on resources and infrastructure.
First, well-known companies are expanding within the state. Names like Amazon and Facebook immediately come to mind. These massive companies bring employees and job searchers with them.
Furthermore, the newfound freedom of remote work is behind the state’s population growth. Many residents have relocated to Tennessee from congested cities like New York and Chicago. These people are relocating and discovering the many reasons for moving to Tennessee.
Maybe the population surge isn’t a big deal for new residents. However, long-time inhabitants feel the changes, and not everyone likes them.
So, consider living in Iowa if crowds and urban congestion are not your things. The state is a good place to live and hasn’t been caught up in urbanization. Or, pick a small, remote Tennessee town for your new home.
6. Limited Public Transportation
Another reason not to live in Tennessee is that public transportation options could be better.
The state’s smaller cities and larger towns typically have fixed-route bus systems. However, the geographic coverage and timing of rides tend to be limited.
Public transit options are better in the big cities of Memphis and Nashville. But, population growth is putting a strain on the systems in place. Lack of funding and difficulty agreeing on priorities plague new projects.
7. Troublesome Infrastructure Issues
My next con of living in Tennessee is that the population growth and limited public transit are straining Tennessee’s infrastructure.
Generally speaking, the state’s roads, bridges, drinking water services, and other critical systems are nearing the end of their service lives. Much of the infrastructure is over 50 years old.
Furthermore, most residents own cars. All those cars on the road have negatively impacted road conditions.
As reported by WBBJ News, the roadways here have some of the most potholes compared to other states in the country. Thus, you will find that the large cities of Memphis and Nashville have plenty of road construction to repair the surfaces, creating additional traffic problems.
8. Lacking Green Energy Production
Another top con of living in Tennessee is the lack of green energy.
First, there are several nuclear power plants throughout the state. Nuclear power and coal generate much of the state’s electricity.
Furthermore, Tennessee consumes over three times as much energy as it produces and ranks among the top one-third of all states for total energy consumption.
So, suppose you insist on moving to a green state primarily reliant on renewable energy sources. In that case, Tennessee living might not be for you.
9. Unhealthy Residents
Another one of the worst things about living in Tennessee is health concerns.
Being healthy is critical when considering the best places to live. Unfortunately, Tennessee doesn’t stack up well in this area.
First, according to a recent study by Forbes Advisor, Tennessee ranked as one of the least healthy states in the nation.
Furthermore, Fortune Well reported that Tennessee has one of the lowest life expectancy rates of all states in the country.
Finally, other studies also show that obesity and tobacco usage are higher than average here.
Fortunately, many issues that lead to poor health in the state are within your control.
10. High Crime Rates
Here’s another one of the bad things about Tennessee living: high crime.
Some areas of the state are very safe. While others, specifically parts of the Memphis metropolitan area, have higher than desired crime rates.
Statistics show Tennessee’s violent and property crime rates are higher than the national averages. Unfortunately, the trends are similar to the neighboring state to the Northwest, Missouri.
But don’t let this deter you when considering reasons to move to Tennessee. For example, my wife’s family lived South and East of Memphis for many years and never had a problem with safety or crime.
Most importantly, be selective about your exact location and neighborhood. For example, the smaller city of Chattanooga will be safer than a larger city like Memphis.
11. Low Wages
My next con about living in Tennessee is the low wages.
I just pointed out that Tennessee is known for higher crime rates and poorer health among residents. Most studies indicate poor health and high crime are inversely related to income.
In other words, states with low incomes have more crime and worse health than states with high incomes. Tennessee proves this theory.
According to World Population Review, the average household income in Tennessee is the eleventh lowest in the nation.
12. High Sales Taxes
Another one of the disadvantages of living in Tennessee is the sky-high sales tax rate.
According to Money.com, Tennessee has one of the highest sales tax rates of any state in the country. The rate is 7%. At this time, only California’s average sales tax rate is higher.
The additional tax may seem small day-to-day. But, the extra expense will add up over time.
Okay. That concludes my discussion of the pros and cons of living in Tennessee.
Hopefully, this article has shed some light on whether or not you should move to Tennessee.
But don’t go. I have some vital questions to address.
FAQs About Moving To Tennessee
Is Tennessee A Good Place To Live?
Tennessee is a good place to live because of the state’s natural beauty. For example, the region has stunning parks, hiking trails, and mountains. Furthermore, there is delicious food to enjoy and festivals to attend, plus the low taxes and reasonable cost of living are hard to beat for anyone on a limited budget.
Is Tennessee A Good Place To Retire?
Retirees love Tennessee because of the:
- Reasonable cost of living
- Low tax rates
- Mild winter weather and distinct seasons
- Access to highly-rated healthcare services
- Exceptional quality of life
Why Do I Like Tennessee Living?
I must admit that I am a little biased about living in this great state.
My wife’s family has lived in Tennessee for many years. I call The Volunteer State my home away from home.
I’m jealous of my in-law’s low cost of living. We can’t touch it in our home town. So, for anyone on a tight budget, it’s good to know you can choose from many inexpensive places to live in Tennessee.
To sum up, my first-hand experience suggests Tennessee is a good place to live.
Pros And Cons Of Living In Tennessee: Wrap Up, Round Up, And Related Articles
For quick reference, here is a summary of all the pros and cons of living in Tennessee we reviewed today.
Pros Of Living In Tennessee
- Low cost of living
- Reasonable property taxes
- No state income taxes
- Promise scholarship program
- Robust music scene
- Scenic beauty
- Outdoor recreation
- Great food
- Fun festivals
- Gentle winter climate
Cons Of Living In Tennessee
- Summer heat and humidity
- Bad seasonal allergies
- Irritating bugs and insects
- Risk of severe weather
- Rapid population growth
- Limited public transportation
- Troublesome infrastructure issues
- Lacking green energy
- Unhealthy residents
- Higher crime rates
- Low wages
- High sales taxes
Living in Tennessee: Related Articles
If the Tennessee lifestyle feels right, check out these helpful articles about some of the best places to live.
Beyond Tennessee Living – More Reading
If Tennessee living doesn’t feel right, expand your horizons with these articles.
- Several of the cheapest states to live in the US
- Characteristics of each state in the U.S.
- 10 states offering the highest quality of life
Still not sure about where to move?
Then, you may enjoy exploring all our articles about where to live and why.
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.