With a low cost of living, beautiful weather and great quality of life, there's plenty to love about living in Jacksonville. But, as with any new destination, it's important to weigh up both advantages and disadvantages before deciding to move. 

Below are some of the broad pros and cons of living in Jacksonville. 

Accommodation in Jacksonville

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+ PRO: Lots of choices and diverse neighbourhoods

There really is something for everyone in Jacksonville, from young professionals looking to be close to the action of downtown Jacksonville, to families who need access to good public schools, or retirees looking for communal living options close to the sea. Whether you're looking for a spacious family home, a modern apartment or a luxury condo, there's a wide range of housing options in Jacksonville. 

- CON: It can get expensive

There's a lot of investment potential when it comes to property in Jacksonville. While finding affordable housing in the city is certainly possible, those looking to live in sought-after locations near downtown Jacksonville can expect to fork out for the privilege. Riverside living and ocean views don’t come cheap, either. 

Getting around in Jacksonville

+ PRO: Public transport is cheap

Getting around doesn't cost much for those close to the city centre. Anyone who uses public transport regularly can save money by buying a weekly or monthly STAR card, which offers a discount. 

- CON: Driving is a necessity

Although public transport in Jacksonville is affordable, the system isn’t efficient for a city this size. Buses rarely run on time, and services outside central areas can be downright slow. If you're not living in the city centre, relying solely on public transport isn’t a viable option. Having a car makes life infinitely easier and will allow you to explore at your own pace.

- CON: Traffic is a nightmare

Jacksonville is home to over a million people. With a growing population, construction and roadworks are a constant presence. This all means that traffic is a major headache in Jacksonville. If you plan to move to the city for work, it's a good idea to go for remote or flexitime jobs to avoid rush hours – or get ready to sit tight, as the daily commute tends to take a while.

Working in Jacksonville

Working stock image by Fauxels from Pexels

+ PRO: Jacksonville’s economy is on the up

Jacksonville is one of the USA’s ‘boomtowns’, and the city’s rapid expansion has created new jobs. The fact that many established companies have seen value in the city has meant the area's economic prospects are going from strength to strength. Unemployment is low and prospective residents with experience in areas such as finance, logistics and manufacturing should have no real difficulty finding a job.

- CON: Lower salaries

Although Jacksonville residents have job security, salaries are lower than those in bigger economic hubs such as Los Angeles, Miami and Atlanta. While it is a great place for those starting out in their career, experienced professionals with sought-after skills might find that employment packages here aren’t as lucrative. Then again, the overall cost of living in Jacksonville is low, too, which means that people can still afford to live comfortably. 

Cost of living in Jacksonville

+ PRO: One of the most affordable places to live in Florida

The Sunshine State draws new residents from other parts of the US and beyond every year. The year-round good weather and the excellent lifestyle benefits are part of what draws people to Florida. Unlike other Floridian cities, Jacksonville's size has meant it can accommodate all these newcomers at a reasonable cost. So everyone can enjoy all the best elements of the Floridian lifestyle without the hefty price tag. 

- CON: Some expenses can’t be avoided

A car is necessary for most people living in Jacksonville. While cars themselves are reasonably priced, petrol (gas) prices in Jacksonville are some of the highest in the US. Considering the long distances people have to travel daily, this is an expense that can easily mount up. 

Education and schools in Jacksonville

+ PRO:  Good public schools

Jacksonville is home to some of America's best public schools. Be warned, though, that admission (often area-based) won’t be easy, so parents who want to take advantage of the quality of schools must ensure they live in close proximity to top-performing institutions.

+ PRO: Lots of alternative learning paths

The attitude towards education in Jacksonville is pretty progressive. Students who aren’t academically gifted in the traditional sense will find that systems are in place to support them should they be more suited to an alternative path. Magnet schools nurture children who have shown an aptitude for sports, performing arts and music, and the support for those with disabilities and learning difficulties is also excellent.

- CON: No international schools

The expat community in Jacksonville is relatively small, so parents won’t find schools here that follow the curricula of foreign countries. That said, several public and private schools offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma. Foreign residents of Jacksonville may also want to explore options in wider Florida.

Lifestyle in Jacksonville

Jacksonville Beach by Lance Asper

+ PRO: Lots of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors

It isn’t just Florida’s great weather and idyllic beaches that draw people to Jacksonville. Those who want to explore the city’s amazing surrounds can hit one of the many hiking and biking trails. Being based along the St John’s River means that Jacksonville is great for a whole array of water sports, including boating and fishing.

+ PRO: Vibrant music scene

Jacksonville is said to be the birthplace of Southern rock. The city also has a strong jazz and blues tradition. Those who enjoy live music will love living in Jacksonville. From music festivals to classical concerts, the options are endless. The Jacksonville Jazz Fest is one of the USA’s largest music events and is not to be missed. 

Expat Health Insurance

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Moving your family abroad can be intimidating, but learning about medical options such as family health insurance early on can help you settle successfully.

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