Thinking About Making the Move to Georgia? Read This Guide First.
Table of Contents
- Where Are The Best Places To Live In Georgia?
- How Is The Job Market In Georgia?
- How Much Does It Cost To Live In Georgia?
- How Is The Georgia Real Estate Market?
- Is Georgia A Good Place To Retire?
- What Are The People And Culture Like In Georgia?
- Some Of The Coolest Things To Do In Georgia
- The Pros And Cons Of Living In Georgia
- Georgia Fun Facts & Strange Laws
If you’re a fan of eating peaches, then there’s no better place to move than Georgia! But Georgia’s famous peaches aren’t the only reason to live in this southern state full of hospitality and old-world charm — besides, nobody packs up and moves for fruit do they?
If you’re thinking about making a move to the sweet southern state of Georgia, this guide will break down everything that you need to know, and more! Lace up your boots and put on some country music while we Georgia Line dance you into everything this state has to offer.Want a free online moving quote? See our recommendations (April 7, 2020)
Where Are The Best Places To Live In Georgia?
The great thing about Georgia is that no matter where you move to within the state, you will always be greeted with sweet southern hospitality that the deep south is known for. Georgia is a very friendly state by nature, making it a great place to live and raise a family.
Of course, the perfect town or city for you will be different from the next person that comes across this guide. So with that in mind, below we’ve put together a handful of the top locations to move to in GA (in no particular order).
Alpharetta — For Those Who Are Raising A Family
Not only was Alpharetta rated the number 1 place to relocate by none other than Forbes Magazine, but it was also named one of the top 10 friendliest cities in America!
With its extremely low crime rates, great education systems, and high property values, Alpharetta is a great place to move if you are looking to raise a family! But don’t worry, there are plenty of activities and things to do that are fun for singles, couples and families alike. For example, there are over 200 restaurants with delectable cuisine to explore, as well as famous locally brewed craft beer!
As a community focused city, they host a range of events such as Food Truck Thursday gatherings, music festivals and more.
This city has plentiful parks and areas for outdoor recreation, providing a nice balance between nature and bustling city life.
- #1 relocation destination and top 10 friendliest cities
- Low crime rates, great education system, high property values
- Family-friendly events and activities
- Technology inspired location
Athens — For The Young And Young Hearted
Athens is known as a city that is young at heart. With its vibrant, college town vibe, there is never a dull moment in the city of Athens!
Housing and rent are extremely affordable, which is perfect for those who want to use their hard-earned money to enjoy the range of entertainment options and nightlife that Athens has to offer!
This city is largely comprised of young professionals, college students, and everyone else who is still young at heart! It’s also known for providing free transportation, so if you can’t yet afford a car, or prefer to utilize eco-friendly options to reduce your carbon footprint, that’s not a problem at all!
With tons of music, bars, restaurants, shopping, nightlife activities, Athens is the perfect place for those who never want to experience boredom!
- Never-ending nightlife activities
- Most affordable place to rent and live
- Free transportation systems
- A small town with big town amenities
- Filled with college students and young professionals
- Highly energetic vibe
Johns Creek — For The Entrepreneurs And Startups
Johns Creek is “built by the people, for the people”, and is known as the melting pot of GA. It has a deep, rich culture and is known for its diversity, historic landmarks, and opportunities for business entrepreneurs and startups!
It is also known for its impressive housing selection as well as having some of the best public schools in the country…just in case you see children in your future!
Johns Creek is the location that most aspiring Fortune 500 companies move to launch their business success — so if you are looking to start a business or successful career, this is the location where you too can capitalize on economic growth and employment opportunities!
- Energetic metro area with extreme employment growth opportunities
- Nature trails, historic theaters, restaurants, and professional parks and landmarks
- Home to many Fortune 500 companies and nonprofits
- Great public school system and housing opportunities
Roswell — For A Close Family Small-Town Vibe
Roswell is the place to go if you want to feel like you’re living in Atlanta without actually having to live in the big city! Much like the town of Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls, Roswell is a quaint and charming family-friendly town with loads of monthly and yearly events, activities, and festivals!
This town is perfect for people who want a close-knit, small-town vibe with the activities that a bigger city would usually bring! With great food, shopping, and quaint historic landmarks, Roswell is the place where everyone will know your name!
- Small town vibe, big city events
- A close-knit community of family-friendly people
- Lots of volunteer opportunities and community lead events
- Safe for families and raising children
How Is The Job Market In Georgia?
The state has a diverse economy with plentiful opportunities across a broad range of industries and career paths.
Whether you’re more of a left-brained logic and math type, or more of a right-brained artist and entrepreneur, opportunities to find your calling abound in the state. Below we’ll explore just a few of the top industries and careers.
Top careers by industry
These industries represent the top sectors employing the most individuals in the state. Within each industry there is a bountiful range of professional roles. Even the film industry needs accountants, event organizers, managers, etc.
- Media and Communications
- Film and Television
Top professions by salary in the state
Although this list doesn’t deviate much from the national “top paid” career paths, it is worth a look. Healthcare/medicine, finance, business, and law, are all familiars on the list.
*In no particular order*
- General practitioners
- Chief executive officers
- Software engineers
- Data scientists
- Lawyer / Attorney
- Financial managers
- Marketing managers
- Air traffic controllers
- Human resource managers
- Purchasing managers
- Earth science
The fastest growing jobs without a degree
One of the great things about the state of Georgia is that you don’t necessarily need a college degree to be successful and live your best life! If you don’t yet have a degree, or you are still working towards receiving one, you will be able to work and afford a great place to live! Having said that, take a look at…
- Respiratory Therapist
- Office Supervisor
- Sales Representative
- Dental Hygienist
- Tech Support
- Autobody/Car Mechanic
- Paralegal/Legal Assistant
- Audio and Video Technician
- Insurance Sales Agent
- Office Manager
- Bill Collector
Infrastructure and global reach
Georgia is the number one leading state when it comes to US distribution and supply chain hubs, as well as the number two leading state in infrastructure and access to global markets. An impressive feat.
In fact, Atlanta Georgia’s airport is known to be the busiest airport in the world! Aside from having the busiest airport on the planet, the Port of Savannah is the biggest port in the United States as it reaches 80% of the entire country!
Something else that you may find quite convenient, is that Georgia has access to the fastest information networks in the world. In other words, they are home to the fastest internet ports and fiber optic infrastructure, giving you access to obtaining information as fast as humanly possible!
Furthermore, when it comes to traveling, there is no need to worry about those potholes and cracked roads; for Georgia’s road conditions are in great shape — only 5% of the state’s roads are in poor condition, which is more than we can say for most other states in the country!
The state of Georgia has a rather unique minimum wage structure. If you happen to be a student, or under the age of 20, the minimum wage is set at $5.15/hr, which is actually below the federal minimum of $7.25/hr. If you do not fit into one of these exceptions, the minimum wage remains at $7.25/hr.
Georgia’s minimum wage may seem like an unlivable wage at first glance, but Georgia has something that most other states do not; and that is, a minimum wage for overtime work. If you work over the full time 40 hours a week, it is mandatory that you are paid accordingly. For example, each hour of overtime you work entitles you to a minimum of $10.88/hr — that is over double the standard hourly pay!
Another interesting aspect worth mentioning that involves GA’s minimum wage laws is that if you are employed by the restaurant industry (where tips are involved in your pay) the minimum hourly wage still remains at $5.15/hr. This is way higher than the $2.38/hr that most states place as a minimum when it comes to any industry where tips are involved.
The unemployment rate in GA currently sites at around 3.4%, which is lower than the national average of 3.6%. The good news is that this rate is the lowest rate in the history of Georgia with the outlook on the state’s economy looking stronger than ever. The state’s economy is continuously growing and improving, which translates to better opportunities, increased wages, and improved property values.
Thanks to the education industry, the transportation industry, and the leisure and hospitality industry, it is predicted that Georgia’s economy will continue to strengthen and grow well in the future!Want a free online moving quote? See our recommendations (April 7, 2020)
How Much Does It Cost To Live In Georgia?
For the most part, the cost of living in GA is below the national average. When it comes to utilities, it’s a basic tradeoff for how affordable the housing is, and it still leaves you with plenty of room to budget. But even with the high cost of utilities and transportation, the state is still quite affordable. Let’s look at some specifics as compared to the national averages below.
The cost of living in ga compared to the national average
*The National Average is at 100
- Groceries — 95.5 (4.5% lower)
- Health — 95.5 (4.5% lower)
- Housing — 80.7 (19.3% lower)
- Utilities — 103.2 (3.2% higher)
- Transportation — 105.1 (5.1% higher)
- Misc — 94.8 (5.2% lower)
As you can see, overall most living expenses in the state are below the national average by a good margin, making this an attractive area to move to for an affordable, yet high quality of life.
State income tax
Georgia has a simple system for income tax — it is a system that ranges from 1% to 6% and is based on your individual monthly income.
Here is a simple chart that explains how the state taxes work:
- $0—$750 = 1% tax
- $751—$2250 = 2% tax
- $2251—$3750 = 3% tax
- $3751—$5250 = 4% tax
- $5251—$7000 = 5% tax
- $7001 or more = 6% tax
This system is based on income thresholds while still accommodating the less wealthy and their financial needs.
Georgia’s sales tax is at a mere 4%, which is an extreme drop from the national average of 7.5% in sales tax! Furthermore, not only are the property taxes at a lie rate of 0.9%, but once you hit the age of 62, you are no longer required to pay property taxes at all! This is great news, especially for those who are planning to save for retirement or for those who simply need that money to make ends meet.
Georgia gives its residents a lot of room to breathe when it comes to the basic cost of living. So if you happen to be worried about money or are struggling in the financial department (as most people generally are), GA is most likely the state that will help you get out of that downspiraling financial hole.
It is also perhaps the only state that allows the idea of “work hard, play hard” to become a solid reality!
How Is The Georgia Real Estate Market?
Overall the state’s real estate market has remained relatively strong, increasing in value at an average rate of +2.77% per year over the last decade. That said, housing in the state still remains very affordable for people who want to purchase a house. This healthy real estate market has been largely driven by increasing job opportunities and growing industry within the state.
Georgia’s statewide averages
*Estimates may vary over time
- Median Home Value — $195,000
- Median Listing Price — $259,900
- Median Sale Price —$199,400
- Median Sq Ft — $122/sq ft
- Median Rent Price — $1000/mo
- Average Days On Market — 42
- Airbnb Occupancy Rate — 60%
Facts and figures:
- Total Home Appreciation Value Since 2000: +23%
- Average Annual Home Appreciation: +2.77%
- 66% of homes are single family
- 4% of residents own vs rent
- 6% of residents rent vs own
Georgia’s real estate bests
The state, like most states, has a very well-defined real estate market cycle that waxes and wanes throughout the year.
Best time to buy
If you’re looking to buy, between the months of Jan-March are your best bets. This is the “off-season” as far as real estate is concerned and you’ll often be able to negotiate better closing prices while also not having to worry about moving fast over bidding wars.
Best time to sell (and worst time to buy)
If you’re looking for a deal, April through August is not when you want to go home shopping. These months are when the GA real estate market tends to heat up, starting in April and peaking between June-July. Expect higher prices and more competition if you need to make your move late spring through late summer as Georgia home sellers expect top dollar.
Best locations to invest
Interested in making your money work for you? The following represent some of the hottest areas to invest in, ripe with opportunity and forecasted to continue growth and development with the promise of high returns. As with any investment, always do your due diligence, and buyer beware.
- Locust Grove
- Stone Mountain
Best market locations
Is business on your mind? Then the following areas represent some of Georgia’s best markets to work and make connections in.
Keep in mind that a growing economy equals a strong real estate market, and as we mentioned before, Georgia’s economy is at an all-time high and growing at a rapid speed! Another aspect that helps to boost GA’s real estate market is the fact that the state’s mortgage rates are extremely low. So, when it comes to the real estate market as a whole, it looks like Georgia has its economy under control!Need cheap moving supplies? Fast free delivery (April 7, 2020)
Is Georgia A Good Place To Retire?
Georgia’s southern charm, low property taxes, and the advantage of not paying property taxes at all once you hit the age of retirement are just a few of the perks that make Georgia a fantastic place to spend your golden years of retirement.
But are there any locations that favor retirees over others? Of course! In no particular order, the following represent some of the best places to retire in the state of Georgia!
Dunwoody is like a resort-style retiree community that allows you to toss out any worries about retirement that you may have! This scenic location is considered one of the best places to live in Georgia with above-average schooling, tons of recreational activities, and lots of restaurants and shops to try! Kick back at your favorite coffee shop and get to know your fellow retirees over drinks and great southern food!
There is never a shortage of things to do in the city of Augusta! With lots of museums and scenic trails, running out of things to talk about with others is almost impossible! It also makes traveling and local commutes extremely easy for those who prefer not to drive. The cost of living is extremely affordable which will aid in saving your retirement funds for something other than the simple cost of living!
You’ll never have to worry about your safety in a great place like Peachtree City! Although this location is technically a city, it still manages to have that tight-knit suburban vibe. This city is commonly described as a “quiet retreat after a hard day at the office,” which is a pretty valid metaphor when it comes to retirement as a whole. Think of this place as one with all of the perks that living in the city would bring, but without all the noise and pressure — kind of like a quieter, more peaceful version of what Atlanta is like. With lots of scenic trails and golf courses to choose from, Peachtree City is waiting to cater to you!
For all of the nature lovers, Cumming, GA is packed with creeks, rivers, mountains, and all of the natural beauty that comes with the intuitive life! Reconnect with your spiritual side by connecting with new people that are relatable to you! With its unique shopping, fine dining, and small venues for live entertainment, retiring in Cumming is perfect for the thinkers, the writers, and element lovers!
A place where everything you need is right within your reach! From shopping, dining, and sports to coffee shops, parks, and free local libraries, Marietta was built to mold to any type of retiree lifestyle you have in mind! Complete with a one-of-a-kind farmers market, ample historic touring opportunities, live theaters and events, and obscure hidden destinations that will keep you occupied for days!Want a free online moving quote? See our recommendations (April 7, 2020)
What Are The People And Culture Like In Georgia?
Once again, it’s that good old charm of southern hospitality that draws people into the “Peach State of America”!
But aside from GA’s peaches and charm, the state is also well known for their southern cooking, cornbread, pecans, peanuts, and corn! Did you know that Georgia is also the largest producer of tobacco and cotton; a major contributor to their ever-growing economy!
But when it comes to the overall culture of Georgia and the people that live there, you will be thrilled to know that GA is a very laid back and welcoming state. Heavily known for their friendliness as a whole, you won’t have problems trying to make friends, fit in, or start a conversation — the people of Georgia love to talk to newcomers and larn all about your life story!
In a sense, Georgia’s culture and folksy vibe will make you feel special and appreciated as an individual person. Why? Because that is just how they are in the land of juicy peaches and vast charismatic vibe!Need cheap moving supplies? Fast free delivery (April 7, 2020)
Some Of The Coolest Things To Do In Georgia
One of the best things about Georgia are all of the hidden gems that reside there! There are so many incredible things to do and places to explore, it’s almost impossible to choose just a few!
But, for the sake of this guide, we’re detailed a few of our favorites. We hope you get a chance to enjoy them too!
Cdc Museum — Atlanta, Georgia
The world-renowned Center for Disease Control museum is a scientific representation of some of the most interesting and innovative ways that scientists and doctors have managed to contain and eradicate lethal outbreaks of deadly diseases! A must-visit for anyone interested in the sciences and great for the whole family to enjoy.
Georgia Guidestones — Elberton, Georgia
We’ve all been curious about the mystery of life. Well, these gigantic stone monuments are said to provide insight into the “age of reason.” Can you decipher the meaning of these stones?
Junkyards Daughter — Atlanta, Georgia
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure…literally! Junkyards Daughter is a huge collection of vintage unusual and curiosity sparking things that were found by a man who used to work in a junkyard! Again, not all that is tossed is trash!
Krog Street Tunnel — Atlanta, Georgia
If you like street art, this is a no brainer! This tunnel is filled with awesome street art and unique graffiti that constantly changes with time! Any artist would love to visit Krog Street Tunnel, especially for an endless amount of inspiration!
Central State Hospital — Milledgeville, Georgia
Nobody said that it has to be Halloween to check out an old, abandoned hospital with dark secrets and creepy realities! If you’re a fan of intense adrenaline and mystery, then the abandoned grounds of Central State Hospital is a must-see!
Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Atlanta — Lilburn, Georgia
The largest Hindu temple in the world originally built outside of India was constructed, on purpose, like a giant puzzle! Talk about an enigma!
Old Car City — White, Georgia
When a junkyard becomes art! Old Car City is one of the world’s largest car junkyards that has turned into a huge landscape of moss, metal, and visual art!
If these places don’t spark your interest, then check out some of Georgia’s other cool things to do!
- Pasaquan — a folk art destination that was built by a fortune-teller who was told build it by 3 people from the future
- The Tree That Owns Itself — a giant, nature-inspired oak tree that has the property rights to itself
- Eye Of God — a whirlpool that is capable of sucking in tree branches, rafts, and anything else that gets in its way!
- Trader Vic’s — one of Atlanta’s original tiki bars…because after all these crazy destinations, you may need a drink!
The Pros And Cons Of Living In Georgia
Now that you know everything about moving to the state of Georgia, let’s go over the pros and cons.
- Harshly cold winters are so rare that school will be canceled with the sight of just one snowflake!
- Warm weather and sun year-round!
- Beautiful mountains and landscapes!
- Sweet Southern hospitality and welcoming vibe!
- Mandatory overtime minimum wage!
- Low property taxes, and no property taxes at all at age 62!
- Rapidly growing economy!
- Steady infrastructure and 95% of roads are in great condition!
- The overall cost of living is lower than in most other states!
- Lots of the best peaches you’ll ever eat!
- Tons of music, festivals, and family activities!
- Watch out for the mosquitos
- High crime rates in certain areas
- Extremely hot and humid summers
- Low minimum wage
- There is a lot of traffic in big cities
Georgia Fun Facts & Strange Laws
- Coca-cola was originally made in Georgia!
- Georgia is the home to 18 different Fortune 500 companies!
- Georgia produces some of the sweetest onions in the world!
- Home of the world’s largest drive-thru restaurant called The Varsity which is 2 acres long and fits 600 cars!
- Pogo is the name of Georgia’s famous state possum!
- There are 55 streets that are named Peachtree
- Georgia is the 8th most populated state in the country!
- You can thank Georgia for starting the Civil Rights Movement!
Weird Laws In Georgia
- It is illegal for funeral directors to curse or use obscene language in the presence of a corpse — you know, just in case the corpse gets offended
- It is against the law to keep a donkey in a bathtub — but your donkey can hang out anywhere else
- It is illegal to read a book in public after 2:45 am — so do your midnight reading at home
- Mules must be supervised at all times — so it may be easier to own a pet donkey
- It illegal to sell 2 beers for the price of one — but you can sell 2 beers for half price
- It is against the law to carry an ice cream cone in your back pocket on Sundays — so if you feel the need to do that, do it on a Tuesday
- It is illegal to place a dead bird in your neighbor’s lawn — this law was obviously written by a cat
Ready To Pack Your Bags For A New Chapter In Georgia?
So, what do you think? Will the state of Georgia be your new home? The fact is, Georgia is quickly becoming a major destination for those looking for a new adventure in life. Although people come and go for a number of reasons, Georgia’s thriving economy and job opportunities rank among the top reasons people are flocking to this state.
According to Census.gov, Georgia is growing in population at a rate of around 1%, making it one of the fastest-growing states in the US. Will you rank among its new residents?
Further Reading: Looking For More Georgia Resources? Check These Articles Out!
About the Author: Kris Lippi is the owner of ISoldMyHouse.com and the broker of Get LISTED Realty. He actively writes about real estate related topics such as buying and selling homes, how-to guides for around the house and home product recommendations. He has been featured in Inman, Readers Digest, American Express, Fit Small Business, Policy Genius, Lending Tree, GoDaddy, Manta as well as other major websites. Read more about us here.