Moving to Tennessee - Guide for 2020

Welcome to our Tennessee state guide. We create this guide to help anyone considering moving to Tennessee get all the accurate information they need to make an informed decision.

Whether you're a Baby Boomer, Generation X, or a Millennial, Tennessee has something for everyone. The state has a high quality of life and a low cost of living making it a perfect place for many families and everyone else.

You can enjoy great campsites and hiking trails at the smoky mountains. Visit caves in the morning, go swimming in the day, and experience the amazing nightlife across various towns and cities.

If all these sounds like a place you'd like to be, then it's time to get all the information you need to make the right decision.

Get all the information you need to know about moving to Tennessee

Here's a breakdown of what we're going to cover in this Tennessee state guide:

Let's get right to it.

Top 10 Reasons To Move To Tennessee

Here's a breakdown of why moving to Tennessee could be the next big thing for you!

Great Job Market

When it comes to jobs, there's plenty of opportunity in Tennessee. With a lower than national average unemployment rate and a promising job growth rate, finding a job after moving to Tennessee shouldn't be hard.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics places the unemployment rate in Tennessee at 3.5%, which is lower than the United States average of 3.9%. Also, Tennessee has seen a job market growth of 1.8% over the last year, according to Best Places.

The state's future job growth over the next decade is projected to be 41.6%. This is higher than the national average of 33.5%.

Here are some of the leading companies in Tennessee:

  • FedEx
  • HCA Holdings, Inc.
  • International Paper
  • Unum Group
  • Dollar General Corp.
  • AutoZone
  • Community Health Systems
  • Eastman Chemical
  • First Horizon National Corp.
  • Nissan North America

Zero Personal Income Tax

Who doesn't like lower taxes??

One of biggest advantages of moving to Tennessee is that the state doesn't have any Personal Income Tax.

But that doesn't mean you won't be paying any tax.

Tennessee taxes dividends and interest earnings. If you're an investor who makes a lot of profit, the state will tax you for that. The good news is that the state is set to scrap its 6% tax on dividends and interests by 2020.

Whether you're moving down the street, interstate, or overseas?

Great Schools

If you have school-age kids or if you're looking to further your studies, Tennessee could be the ideal place for you! From elementary schools to colleges and universities, schools in Tennessee enjoy average to high ratings at all levels.

Even more, with the introduction of the Drive to 55 Alliance initiative, graduating high school seniors in Tennessee now have the opportunity to attend any community or technical college for free.

Reliable Healthcare System

For example, the state capital, Nashville, lay claim to over 400 health-care units. This includes the region's leading research center and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. It also houses other top-rated health-care facilities such as LifePoint Health, and St. Thomas Health.

In other cities like Memphis, you'll find the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and several other facilities across various towns, cities, and suburbs.

Experience Camping, Adventures, and Off-road Tours

Are you adventurous? Do you like camping, or off-road tours on a bike or a 4x4 jeep? Or do you like hiking and visiting century old caves?

If all these sounds like things you really enjoy or ready to try, moving to Tennessee could be the right thing for you. You can do all of these any time you like once you're in Tennessee.

The state is also home to the most visited national park in the entire country - the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It stretches across 800 square miles in Tennessee and North Carolina.

Once you're inside the park, there are so many things you can do to have fun. From trail hiking to waterfall chasing, horseback riding, and taking in the scenic views at Clingman's Dome. The activities are endless!

A Great Place for Water Lovers

Do you like jet-skiing, water skiing, fishing, stand-up paddle boarding, boating, swimming, or any other water related fun activities? If this sounds like you, then moving to Tennessee could be the right decision for you.

The state has tons of lakes, streams, and rivers. For example, the Cumberland River in Nashville, the grand Mississippi river in Memphis, the Tennessee River in Knoxville and Chattanooga etc. Tennessee has a lot of water resources and activities for water-lovers.

Music is Booming in Tennessee

Are you a music lover? Then you'll definitely like Tennessee's music lifestyle. Jazz, blues, rock, and country music etc. are all booming in Tennessee.

Though Nashville is famous for being the country music capital of the world, other genres of music are thriving across the state. From rhythm and blues to Appalachian bluegrass and yes, country music, Tennessee has made a strong mark in music.

Tennessee has produced great artists like B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and Elvis Presley.

Enjoy Festivals and Fairs

If you enjoy having fun, singing, dancing, and celebrating in the company of friends and strangers, then maybe moving to Tennessee is your thing!

Festivals and fairs are part of Tennessee's local culture. From the well-known Bonnaroo to events such as the CMA Music Festival, life in Tennessee is never boring!

Foodie's Haven!

If there's anything you'll never lack in Tennessee, it's great tasty food. Only the best of the best competes in the state's culinary industry.

And yes, you'll enjoy delicious barbecues everywhere!

There's no end to delicious food in Tennessee. You'll enjoy tasty roasted meat and three, fried pickles, catfish, sweet potato fries, cornbread, Mac 'n cheese, Country Ham, Banana pudding, and hot fried chicken, etc. The list is endless.

Pros and Cons of Living in Tennessee

Moving to Tennessee has some benefits and drawbacks. Here we're giving you the opportunity to weigh both options carefully before making up your mind.

The Pros The Cons
Comfortable climateHighest state tax rate 9.47% according to Tax Foundation
Low cost of livingMaking new friends is hard
Income tax exemptions3The state is growing so fast which is a tough challenge
Beautiful landscapeThe weather is harsh sometimes
Party life, festivals, and eventsGang violence in some neighborhoods
Amazing foodsThe risk of multiple nuclear power plants
Great healthcare systemPoor public transport system
The chance to tour numerous sitesFewer chances to make money
Enjoy road tripsExcess country music
Top-quality schools at all levelsTornadoes and hurricanes in mid-Tennessee

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What are the Best Places to Live in Tennessee?

After a series of research, we've compiled a simple list of the best places to live in Tennessee to help you make the right choice. These places are listed in no particular order.

1. Germantown

Population: 39,164
Median Home Value: $321,600
Unemployment Rate: 3.3%

Germantown, located in Shelby County, is one of the richest places in Tennessee. If you're mulling over moving to Tennessee, Germantown is one of the cities you can safely add to your shortlist of best places to live in the state.

The following are key performance indicators (KPIs) of what makes Germantown such a great place to live in:

  • Germantown has a Livability Score of 87 out of 100.
  • Germantown crime rates are 53% lower than the state's average
  • Cost of Living in Germantown is 21% above the state's average
  • Germantown real estate prices are 103% above the state's average
  • Rental prices in Germantown are 79% above the state's average

2. Brentwood

Population: 41,987
Median Home Value: $622,000
Unemployment Rate: 2.8%

Brentwood is located in Williamson County and famous for its rolling hills is one of the richest cities in the entire United States based on its average cost of living. Brentwood is a suburb of the state capital, Nashville.

If you're considering moving to Tennessee and living close to the state capital, Brentwood is one of the best places to live.

The following are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of why Brentwood is an awesome city:

  • Brentwood has a Livability Score of 81 out of 100
  • Brentwood crime rates are 71% less than the state's average
  • Cost of Living in Brentwood is 66% above the state's average
  • Brentwood real estate prices are 281% above the state's average
  • Rental prices in Brentwood are 146% above the state's average

3. Signal Mountain

Population: 8,523
Median Home Value: $347,300
Unemployment Rate: 4.7%

Signal Mountain is one of the towns in Hamilton County, Tennessee. Located in Walden Ridge, Signal Mountain is a suburb of Chattanooga. If you're considering moving to Tennessee Signal Mountain could be the right place for you.

The following are Key Performance Indicators of why Signal Mountain is one of the best places to live in Tennessee:

  • Signal Mountain has a Livability Score of 79 out of 100
  • Signal Mountain crime rates are 86% less than the state's average
  • Cost of Living in Signal Mountain is 31% above the state's average
  • Signal Mountain real estate prices are 123% above the state's average
  • Rental prices in Signal Mountain are 87% above the state's average

4. Collierville

Population: 49,610
Median Home Value: $300,600
Unemployment Rate: 2.4%

Collierville is one of the suburbs in the Memphis metropolitan area. The town is located in Shelby County and rated as one of the best places to live in Tennessee.

The city's low crime rate makes it a friendly and peaceful place for residents. Collierville could be the best place for you to live if you're moving to Tennessee.

Here are key metrics of why Collierville is one of the best places to live in Tennessee:

  • Collierville has a Livability Score of 87 out of 100
  • Collierville crime rates are 46% less than the state's average
  • Cost of Living in Collierville is 16% above the state's average
  • Collierville real estate prices are 91% above the state's average
  • Rental prices in Collierville are 47% above the state's average

5. Franklin

Population: 75,366
Median Home Value: $385,500
Unemployment Rate: 4.0%

Nestled about 21 miles south of Nashville, Franklin is one of the cities in Williamson County and it's the county seat. Franklin is ranked as the seventh largest city in the state. If you're considering moving to Tennessee, living in Franklin could be the right city for you.

Here are the key metrics that show why Franklin is one of the best places to live in Tennessee:

  • Franklin has a Livability Score of 85 out of 100
  • Franklin crime rates are 61% lower than the state's average
  • Franklin real estate prices are 135% above the state's average
  • Franklin real estate prices are 135% above the state's average
  • Rental prices in Franklin are 56% above the state's average

6. Spring Hill

Population: 37,830
Median Home Value: $257,800
Unemployment Rate: 3.0%

Spring Hill is one of the cities in Williamson County and is located in Maury. Spring Hill is currently rated as one of the best cities to live in the state. Spring Hill low crime rate and high livability score means it could be the right place for you if you're moving to Tennessee.

  • Spring Hill has a Livability Score of 87 out of 100
  • Spring Hill crime rates are 66% lower than the state's average
  • Cost of Living in Spring Hill is 14% above the state's average
  • Spring Hill real estate prices are 55% above the state's average
  • Rental prices in Spring Hill are 53% above the state's average

7. Nolensville

Population: 7,656
Median Home Value: $428,100
Unemployment Rate: 1.8%

Nolensville is one of the towns in Williamson County. The town is rated as one of the best places to live in Tennessee for many reasons.

The city's crime rates which are 52% lower than the state's average makes a great place. If you're considering moving to Tennessee, Nolensville could be the best city for you.

  • Nolensville has a Livability Score of 78 out of 100
  • Nolensville crime rates are 52% lower than the state's average
  • Cost of Living in Nolensville is 36% above the state's average
  • Nolensville real estate prices are 134% above the state's average
  • Rental prices in Nolensville are 110% above the state's average

8. Bartlett

Population: 58,828
Median Home Value: $179,100
Unemployment Rate: 4.2%

Bartlett is nestled in the northeast of Memphis and located in Shelby County. Living in Bartlett could be the right place for you after moving to Tennessee.

Bartlett is rated as one of the best places to live in Tennessee and here's why:

  • Bartlett has a Livability Score of 82 out of 100
  • Bartlett crime rates are 36% lower than the state's average
  • Cost of Living in Bartlett is 3% above the state's average
  • Bartlett real estate prices are 17% above the state's average
  • Rental prices in Bartlett are 60% above the state's average

9. Nashville

Population: 1,830,410
Median Home Value: $248,883
Median Annual Salary: $47,110
Unemployment Rate: 2.8%

Nashville is not only the capital of Tennessee, it's also the music capital of the world. The city is famous for being the home of the longest running radio show on earth. It also houses several Fortune 500 companies.

Nashville is one of the most coveted places in the state and could be the right city for you if you're moving to Tennessee.

Similar to all other metro cities, Nashville has its fair share of trouble. Here's how Nashville compare to other places in the state:

  • Nashville has a Livability Score of 69 out of 100
  • Nashville crime rates are 49% above the state's average
  • Cost of Living in Nashville is 7% above the state's average
  • Nashville real estate prices are 20% above the state's average
  • Rental prices in Nashville are 15% above the state's average

10. Knoxville

Population: 862,490
Median Home Value: $172,333
Median Annual Salary: $43,840

Knoxville is home to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you love adventure, camping, hiking, and other mountain related activities, moving to Knoxville could be the right decision for you.

Here's a breakdown of the Key Performance Indicators of Knoxville:

  • Knoxville has a Livability Score of 69 out of 100
  • Knoxville crime rates are 59% higher than the state's average
  • Cost of Living in Knoxville is 8% lower than the state's average
  • Knoxville real estate prices are 18% lower than the state's average
  • Rental prices in Knoxville are 2% lower than the state's average

11. Chattanooga

Population: 548,359
Median Home Value: $164,550
Median Annual Salary: $42,870

Chattanooga's cost of living is lower than the national average but slightly higher than Tennessee's average. Rental rates are also rising very fast here as the city is booming with new startups and rising population.

If you're interested in living in a fast-growing city with a lot of new opportunities, moving to Chattanooga could be the right decision for you.

Here's are the key metrics of Chattanooga:

  • Chattanooga has a Livability Score of 68 out of 100
  • Chattanooga crime rates are 106% higher than the state's average
  • Cost of Living in Chattanooga is 2% higher than the state's average
  • Chattanooga real estate prices are 4% higher than the state's average
  • Rental prices in Chattanooga are 2% lower than the state's average

12. Memphis

Population: 1,344,058
Median Home Value: $151,900
Median Annual Salary: $43,950

One of the largest cities in Tennessee, Memphis is famous for its music culture and its location along the Mississippi river.

Memphis low cost of living and home prices are among what makes it one of the best places to live in the state. If you're mulling over moving to Tennessee, Memphis could be the right city for you.

These metrics will give you a quick overview of living in Memphis:

  • Memphis has a Livability Score of 65 out of 100
  • Memphis crime rates are 142% higher than the state's average
  • Cost of Living in Memphis is 11% lower than the state's average
  • Memphis real estate prices are 36% lower than the state's average
  • Rental prices in Memphis are 8% higher than the state's average

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Cost of Living in Tennessee

Tennessee is well-known for its low cost of living. But how true is that? Let's find out!

The cost of living index of a state is calculated based on a U.S. average of 100. Any figure lower than 100 indicates that living in the state is cheaper than the U.S. average. While any figure above 100 indicates that the state is more expensive to live in.

The cost of living in the state of Tennessee is 87.6 according to Best Places

Tennessee Rental Market

Various types of homes, apartments, condos, loft, single family homes, and multi-family homes etc. are all available for rent in Tennessee.

Here's a simple breakdown of the state of Tennessee rental market:

  • Up to 28.8% of the entire population are renters in Tennessee.
  • Up to 2.3% of apartments and houses are available to rent in Tennessee.
  • The state of Tennessee median rent price is $1,370.

The following are the average costs of rent by number of bedrooms in Tennessee compared to the United States average according to Best Places:

  • Tennessee Studio Apartment is $622. The U.S. average is $821
  • Tennessee 1 Bedroom is $696. The U.S. average is $930
  • Tennessee 2 Bedroom is $852. The U.S. average is $1,148
  • Tennessee 3 Bedroom is $1,134. The U.S. average is $1,537
  • Tennessee 4 Bedroom is $1,332. The U.S. average is $1791

Tennessee Housing Market Info

The following are significant quick facts about the state of Tennessee real estate market:

  • The median home value in the state of Tennessee is $192,630 according to Zillow.
  • Over the past year, the values of homes in Tennessee have increased by 6.0%
  • The median list price per square foot in the state of Tennessee is $136.
  • The median price of homes presently listed in Tennessee is $257,904.7
  • The state of Tennessee's delinquent mortgages is 0.9%, and its lower than the U.S. average of 1.1%

How's the job market in Tennessee?

What are your chances of getting a good job if you move to Tennessee, and how soon can you get one? Let's find out!

Here's a simple breakdown of the state of Tennessee job market:

  • The unemployment rate in the state of Tennessee is 3.5%. The US average is 3.9%
  • The state of Tennessee job market has grown by 1.8% over the last year.
  • Future job growth in Tennessee over the next 10 years is projected to be 41.6%. It's well above the US average of 33.5%

The Average Income and Salaries of People Living in Tennessee

So, how much are you going to be earning if you move to Tennessee?

Let's find out!

Best Places has some relevant data we can use:

  • The average income of people living in the state of Tennessee is $24,811 a year. The national average is $28,555 a year.
  • The median household income of people living in the state of Tennessee is $44,621 a year. The national average is $53,482 a year.
  • The state of Tennessee income per capita is $27,277. The national average is $31,177.

Top Industries in Tennessee

If you're moving to Tennessee, what industry are you most likely to get a job? There are tons of industries in Tennessee.

Here are the top industries in Tennessee (in no particular order):

  • Agriculture
  • Automotive Manufacturing
  • Energy
  • Film Production
  • Health Care
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Education
  • Music and Entertainment
  • Adventure Tourism
  • Supply Chain Management

Top Career Options In Tennessee

Moving to Tennessee could mean a change of career or an opportunity to grow your career as far as you can imagine.

Zippia has compiled an interesting data of the top career options in Tennessee.

Rank Job Title Average Salary
1Surgeons, Except Ophthalmologists$270,180
2Anesthesiologists$266,670
3Orthodontists$257,500
4Obstetricians And Gynecologists$234,250
5Psychiatrists$211,620
6Family Medicine Physicians$207,250
7General Internal Medicine Physicians$199,720
8Physicians, All Other; And Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric$192,190
9Pediatricians, General$179,320
10Dentists, General$173,360

Taxes in Tennessee

If you're wondering how much you'll pay in taxes if you move to Tennessee, we have all the relevant information you need here. We've summarized Smart Asset's data just for you:

Tennessee Income Tax

  • The state of Tennessee has no income tax on salaries, wages, bonus, or any other earning-for-work tax.
  • Tennessee has the Hall Income Tax (a 1% tax for the 2020 tax year on earnings from interest and investment dividends).
  • Taxpayers first $1,250 in dividend or interest income are excluded from the Hall Income Tax. For joint filers, the exemption is $2,500.
  • Residents over the age of 65 who earn less than $37,000 are relieved from the Hall income tax.
  • Residents above the age of 100 and the blind are exempted from the Hall Income Tax.
  • The state of Tennessee will get rid of the Hall Income Tax after 2020.

Tennessee Sales Tax

  • The state of Tennessee general sales tax rate is 7%. The second-highest statewide rate in the United States.
  • Cities and counties in Tennessee are allowed to collect additional sales taxes ranging from 1.50% to 2.75%.

Other Tax Rates in Tennessee

  • Tennessee Property Tax, 0.74% of a home's market value and a median amount of $1,120 paid per year. One of the lowest in the country.
  • Tennessee Professional Privilege Tax of $400. Applies to accountants, architects, attorneys, dentists, engineers, optometrists, physicians and veterinarians.
  • Tennessee Gas Tax is 28.4 cents per gallon of diesel (rated 20th lowest across the United States). Also, gas tax is equal to 27.4 cents per gallon of regular gasoline (this is the 21st lowest in the United States).

What Is Tennessee Most Known For?

Tennessee is well-known for so many things. However, we've selected just a few from various spheres to give you a complete overview of what the state is known for.

1. Great Country Music

If you like country music, the state capital, Nashville, famously known as Music City, is the country music capital of the world.

2. Elvis Presley's Home, Graceland

Tennessee is home to the music icon Elvis Presley's house, known as Graceland. The house is the second-most visited home in the entire United States, after the White House.

3. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Tennessee houses the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park across the country. It welcomes more than 10 million visitors every year!

4. The Largest Underground Lake

The state is also home to the largest underground lake in the country - the Lost Sea. The Reelfoot Lake, famous for being the Turtle Capital of the world, is in Tennessee.

5. Ocoee River in southeastern Tennessee

If you'd like to see the 1996 Olympics site for the white-water canoe/kayak competition, head straight to the Ocoee River in southeastern Tennessee.

How are the schools in Tennessee?

We've compiled a list of the best universities and colleges, elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools in Tennessee to help you to help you

Best Elementary Schools in Tennessee

  • 1. Foothills Elementary School
    520 Sandy Springs Road, Maryville, TN, 37803

  • 2. Montgomery Central Elementary School, 4011 Highway 48, Cunningham, TN, 37052

  • 3. Capshaw Elementary School, 732 Walton Ferry Road, Hendersonville, TN, 37075

  • 4. Walton Ferry Elementary School
    732 Walton Ferry Road, Hendersonville, TN, 37075

  • 5. Lakeland Elementary School
    10050 Oak Seed La, Lakeland, TN, 38002

Best Middle Schools in Tennessee

  • 1. Foothills Elementary School
    520 Sandy Springs Road, Maryville, TN, 37803

  • 2. Montgomery Central Elementary School
    4011 Highway 48, Cunningham, TN, 37052

  • 3. Martin Luther King Jr Magnet- Pearl High School
    613 17th Avenue North, Nashville, TN, 37203

  • 4. Capshaw Elementary School
    577 East Hudgens Street, Cookeville, TN, 38501

  • 5. Walton Ferry Elementary School
    732 Walton Ferry Road, Hendersonville, TN, 37075

Best Universities and Colleges in Tennessee

  • Vanderbilt University

  • University of Tennessee

  • Belmont University

  • Union University

  • Lipscomb University

Best Public High Schools in Tennessee

  • Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet School

  • Central Magnet School

  • Merrol Hyde Magnet School

  • St. Andrew's-Sewanee School

  • Brentwood High School

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