9 Reasons to Love Living in Atlanta – The “Empire State of the South”

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LB Note: This piece has been republished with permission from a piece I wrote for LendingHome. I'm excited to share with you all the reasons I love the city I call home – The ATL. What do you think? Would you ever consider living in Atlanta?

 

Dubbed “The Empire State of the South,” Atlanta boasts all the amenities and opportunities of a major metropolitan area, without the high cost of living. Yet, the city often doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

We thought we’d give Atlanta a closer look and review a few reasons why you should consider moving there.

#1 – Growing population means growing opportunities

Including the metro area, Atlanta boasts a population close to six million people, making it the third fastest growing metro area(coming in behind Dallas and Houston). Bear in mind that with the growing population come more job opportunities, more abundant and more affordable housing, and increased funds for city infrastructure — all of which will make Atlanta an even better place to live in in the future.

#2 – Steady job growth

Why is Atlanta growing so fast? In short, economic opportunity. Atlanta’s unemployment rate recently fell to 4.5%, a historic low. Research from Cushman and Wakefield also ranked Atlanta as the ‘#3 major city in job growth.’ In 2017, Atlanta added 56,000 new jobs with strong growth continuing into 2018. These jobs often come from many of the Fortune 500 companies that are based in Atlanta, including Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, UPS, and CNN.

#3 – Mild climate

Atlanta has a very temperate climate, with winter temperatures between 35 and 55F and spring and summer temperatures between 60 and 80F. Even though winters are mild, often with very little snow, there is still enough variance in temperature to truly experience all four seasons. The mild weather in Atlanta also means plenty of nice days for outdoor activities: hiking, biking, or water sports on numerous rivers and lakes within a short drive from the heart of the city.

#4 – An abundance of parks

Atlanta is the most densely forested major city in the United States, with 47.9% of the city covered in tree canopy, hence the city’s affectionate nickname: “the city in a forest.” Atlanta residents enjoy the city’s 343 parks and public spaces, including famous Piedmont Park and the newly established Atlanta Beltline.

#5 – Affordable housing

While it depends on what you consider affordable, if you’re comparing Atlanta to other heavy-hitters like New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., housing is still more affordable. If you’re willing to live outside the perimeter or in the suburbs, homeownership becomes even more possible with a median home price under $240,000. For those who desire to live in town, the City of Atlanta is committed to increasing affordable housing and recently passed legislation ensuring new developments are set aside for those who make less than the median income.

While housing isn’t as affordable as it once was, these increases in housing are a result of increased popularity of the area and low inventory; those who move to Atlanta love it and stay!

#6 – Low cost of living

There’s more that goes into cost of living than just affordable housing. In Atlanta, your dollars stretch even further when it comes to other necessities such as groceries and gas. Atlanta is 15th in cost of living among the top 25 metro areas. A $50,000 annual salary in Atlanta requires $117,000 to maintain the same lifestyle in New York, a 57% percent difference.

#7 – Diversity

Three of Atlanta’s metro areas (Sandy Springs, Roswell, and Johns Creek) ranked in the top 30 most diverse small cities, showing that Atlanta really is a cultural melting pot. In fact, nearly 40% of households in the metro area are transplants.

# 8 – Foodie culture

Those who live in major cities do so for access to jobs, but also to enjoy culture and excitement — people, entertainment and most importantly — food. Thanks to Atlanta’s cultural diversity, there’s a wealth of restaurants to choose from — no matter what cuisine you’re craving. The city’s annual food festival, Taste of Atlanta, showcases dishes and drinks from 90 neighborhoods and features local chefs and live interactive cooking demos. There’s also The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, a weekend of rich food and drinks from the Southern states and Washington, D.C., complete with tasting tents and a marketplace of goodies to take home. Most recently, Zagat named Atlanta the #9 most exciting food city in the country. From the ethnic cuisine on Buford Highway, to the award winning chefs opening restaurants in each of the trendy in-town neighborhoods, Atlanta is not only the “Capital of the South” but is quickly becoming the “food capital” as well.

#9 – Great for singles, millennials, and new grads

You’ll be hard pressed to find a major report on “best cities to live” without finding Atlanta among them. Whether it’s being in a top three cities list for new graduates to start their careers, an affordable place for millennials, or one of the best cities for singles in the country, the city is great for those looking to find a place to settle and build a career (and a relationship!). The median age in Atlanta is a youthful 36.

When evaluating a potential city to call home, it’s important for the new locale to meet two primary needs: opportunities for work and affordable housing. In addition to meeting these needs, Atlanta offers a few bonuses: access to activities, a diverse population, and great weather. Whatever your reasons to move to Atlanta and buy a house there, once you’re settled, there will be no shortage of opportunities to fall in love with the “Empire State of the South.”

 

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  • Lauren Bowling
    August 16, 2018 at 9:05 am

    A lot of my friends left Atlanta. It feels like a place where people come to live but never really settle., although I feel they should. Come visit again!

  • Money Beagle
    August 16, 2018 at 8:32 am

    There was a time when I was in my 20’s, around the early 2000’s, when I had four really good friends that had all moved down to Atlanta, all independently of each other and for different opportunities. It was fun going down there to visit. Had a blast. Ironically, all four of them have moved back to the midwest for various reasons, but I know they all enjoyed the time they had down there. Great place!

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