Deciding to relocate to a new city is not something that should be taken lightly, or without conducting the necessary research. Life in Nashville has both its advantages and disadvantages so it’s important to carefully weigh these up in order to make an informed choice. Here is our breakdown of the main pros and cons of life in the 'Music City'.
Accommodation in Nashville
+ Pro: Housing choices galore
When it comes to housing styles, newcomers will be spoilt for choice. Whether they have their heart set on a classic Victorian-style cottage or a modern minimalist home, there is a vast array of options in Nashville. What’s more, most new arrivals will find that in terms of either renting property or buying a home, Nashville offers exceptional value for money.
- Con: The better living options aren’t necessarily close to the city centre
Most Nashville residents don’t live close to the downtown area. If new arrivals are the types that are accustomed to city-living, they might find that their housing choices are somewhat limited. A willingness to live further afield simply opens up a wider range of spacious options, as well as a better quality of life, which is a major draw for those moving here.
Working in Nashville
Pro: Economic growth and plenty of job opportunities
Nashville’s economy is growing at a steady pace, job opportunities are plentiful and unemployment in the city is low. People with skills and experience in the health sector, technology, the music industry and tourism will find lots of exciting job prospects here. Nashville is also a great place for entrepreneurs looking to launch their own start-ups. Each year, thousands of young professionals who see scope for career progression in the city end up making the move.
- Con: Wage growth is slow
On average wages are only growing by 3 percent a year in Nashville, which means although jobs are available and scope for career progression is great, earning potential may not be as high in comparison to other cities with more competitive job markets such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Healthcare in Nashville
+ Pro: Nashville is the healthcare hub of the South
New residents of Nashville will benefit from access to some brilliant medical facilities. Nashville is, after all, the healthcare hub of the South. Rest assured that the major hospitals in Nashville offer an excellent standard of care and treatment from some top medical professionals.
- Con: Good healthcare doesn’t come cheap
As is the case throughout the US, healthcare in Nashville isn’t cheap. And, while medical expenses here are a little more affordable than the national average, those that want access to the best private healthcare will need to ensure that they have a fully comprehensive medical insurance plan in place.
Education and schools in Nashville
+ Pro: Nashville has some top public schools
There is a strong emphasis on the importance of education in many communities in Nashville. As such, the standard of public schools in Nashville is better than the national average and students are much more likely to graduate high school and attend university.
- Con: Private schools in Nashville are expensive
Of course, private schools involve high costs. Indeed, tuition at private schools in Nashville is said to be higher than the US average and that’s not factoring in the additional expenses associated with this type of education such as uniforms, extra-curricular costs, stationery and field trips.
Lifestyle in Nashville
+ Pro: Music scene and nightlife is legendary
They don’t call Nashville the Music City for nothing. The diverse range of music offerings here is astounding and only really rivalled by New York City. Whether Nashville residents want to catch their favourite international act on tour or would just like to sample the best local talent at a humble Honky Tonk, live music is in no short supply here. It’s a fun place to be and people from all over the US travel to Nashville to have a good time and experience the legendary nightlife.
- Con: Tourists can be annoying
A booming tourist industry is a great income generator for a city such as Nashville. That said, the constant presence of visitors can be an annoyance for the average resident. Battling to get into your favourite drinks spot, having to book weeks in advance to get a table at that humble family-run restaurant that was once a hangout for you and your friends, but has now been taken over by out-of-town visitors, or having to navigate the crowds that come through for music events at the weekend, can all get a bit much for locals.
- Con: Religion is hard to avoid
Religion, Christianity in particular, is a pretty big deal in Nashville. After all, Nashville is the 'buckle' of the USA’s Bible Belt. Newcomers moving from more diverse or secular places may find it difficult to adjust too. It is not unusual for someone to casually ask which church one attends. Speaking of churches, there is likely to be one on every street. While the presence of other religions is growing, there is some degree of resistance towards these alternatives.
Weather in Nashville
+ Pro: Mild winters
Mild winter weather makes living in Nashville much more bearable. Sure, the temperature drops, but not to levels that cause discomfort or any major inconvenience to local residents.
- Cons: Humidity levels soar in the summer
Nashville, like most Tennessean states, becomes exceptionally warm during the summer months. In fact, it can actually be quite uncomfortable. Average temperatures reach around 90°F (32°C) and residents will need to contend with high humidity too. Severe storms are fairly common too, so newcomers may need to keep an eye on the weather forecast.
- Con: Spring is an issue for those with allergies
Nashville ranks among the top allergy capitals in the US. Pollen levels are exceptionally high in the spring and those with seasonal allergies are likely to suffer as a result. Avoiding the outdoors is a start but be sure to stock up on allergy medication and tissues as well.
Getting around in Nashville
- Con: Public transport is almost non-existent
The nature of Nashville’s public transport infrastructure is incredibly limited. The bus service that exists is unreliable and hardly extensive. While there are plans for improvements to the public transport network, these may take some time to materialise so new residents will need to bite the bullet and get driving.
- Con: Traffic is a nightmare
New Nashville residents will need to budget extra time to account for the severe traffic that is prevalent throughout Nashville’s metro area. Avoiding rush hour is one way to circumvent the issue but continuous construction and roadworks in this ever-expanding city also add to the problem and make things quite unpredictable.
Cost of living in Nashville
+ Pro: Life in Nashville is generally more affordable than in most US cities
Nashville’s cost of living is pretty competitive compared to most cities in the Midwest and it’s miles more affordable than life in places such as New York or Los Angeles. Residents can afford to live comfortably in Nashville without breaking the bank. For those looking to move here for the longer term, getting on the property ladder is fairly easy as well.
- Con: The cost of living is rising
Even though the cost of housing and general expenses is reasonable at the moment, they are steadily rising as the city grows and welcomes more and more new residents. The fact that wage growth is fairly slow doesn’t help matters either.
Are you an expat living in Nashville?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Nashville. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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