Moving to Atlanta
Affordability 4 out of 5
Safety 3 out of 5
Healthcare 3 out of 5
Traffic Flow 2 out of 5
Property affordability 5 out of 5
Climate 5 out of 5
Environment quality 4 out of 5
Atlanta is more than just the home of top notch sport and birthplace of academics, award-winning actors and musicians. When you move to Atlanta, the largest city in the state of Georgia, you will find that the city is one of the most vibrant, charismatic ones in the USA.
Atlanta is a major financial, transportation, and cultural hub of the United States. While renowned for its southern hospitality and charm, the city is fast-paced and always buzzing.
Unlike like cities on the south and west coasts of the US, Atlanta experiences the full four seasons. Summers are hot (hence the nickname HotLanta) and winters are cold. However during these summer months, the beauty of this Georgian city comes to life. There are hundreds of recreation sites and parks that families and outdoor enthusiasts will certainly enjoy.
Atlanta is a true metropolis with a diverse demographic. It is the home to many world class colleges and universities, several Fortune 500 companies, cultural amenities, and a dynamic and ethnic restaurant scene. This broad appeal with a reasonable cost of living has made Atlanta the moving choice of many.
Atlanta is a thriving business centre. Many successful companies have moved to Atlanta; some are even headquartered in downtown Atlanta. These include The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, CNN, The Home Depot, Excide Technologies, and UPS.
According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, the unemployment rate in Atlanta is 5.7%; a decrease from previous years. This is due to the continued demand and creation of jobs in the transportation, trade, hospitality, education, health and business sectors. With so many blooming industries, moving to Atlanta to secure work is a very viable option.
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In Atlanta, the private sector is the biggest job provider. Of the entire private sector, service based businesses employ the bulk of its residents. These service businesses include science and technologies services, the retail trade, health and social care, the wholesale trade, accommodation and food services, administration and support services, and finance and insurance.
In 2015, the Georgia Department of Labour stated the fastest growing jobs were in the health, business and financial services sectors. These jobs are seeing an annual growth rate of at least 4% and have a range of educational entry points; from high school qualifications to master degrees.
Atlanta is often said to be a true diverse populace because there are many expats from other countries and other states living in the city. So, the job market is very open to and accepting of non-natives.
In Atlanta, the living costs are very reasonable especially compared to other metropolises such as New York and Los Angeles. These favourable living costs are directly related to Atlanta’s affordable real estate market.
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Atlanta is one of the US’s food capitals. From fine dining to quirky food trucks, there is a dish for every taste and budget. And if you like a bit of both the high end and street food, Atlanta chefs are famous for taking the ordinary and whipping up a culinary delight, such as a gourmet hotdog. Also, there is no better place to sample authentic soul food.
Here, mid-range meals for two average about $60. Atlanta has one of the highest numbers of fast food restaurants per capita, so there is always an Arby’s, Chick-fil-A, Waffle House, or McDonald’s around the corner. Fast food meals average $6.
Shopping for fresh food is not a problem here. There are several local farm markets to choose from, as well as the Atlanta Fish Market. And keeping in line with general living costs, food prices are reasonable.
Traffic here is one of the worst in the US. This means commuting to and from work can last hours. The best way to shorten commute times is to live near your job. Nonetheless, a private vehicle is still the preferred method of transportation in Atlanta.
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority or MARTA, as it is commonly called, is the main transportation system in Atlanta. It consists of both rail and bus systems, and costs a few dollars one way. The Amtrak train is another rapid-transit option.
Walking around, except for very short distances, is not recommended in here; mainly due to the city’s road structure. It is not very pedestrian friendly. On the plus side, cycling is gaining in popularity and the city has pledged to greatly increase its number of bike lanes in the coming years.
Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the busiest airport in the world. It is a direct gateway to international countries and regional states, making flight travel very convenient.
The average rental bedroom in downtown Atlanta is $1,100; this increases to $2,000 for a three bedroom rental. Outside of the city, a one bedroom costs about $800 and $1,500 for a three bedroom. Compared to Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, these real estate prices are some of most affordable for a major city in the US.
The current average value of a home in Atlanta is $175,700. This is an increase in the past year of 11%, and expected to increase by 5.5% next year. This average home value is on par with its neighbour state Florida, which is $175,300 but higher than next door neighbour South Carolina, which is $135,300.
The median cost of purchasing a one bedroom home in Atlanta is $172,000 and $342,000 for a three bedroom home.
Here in Atlanta, the main types of housing in the city consists of high-rise condominiums, townhomes, lofts and apartments. These are mostly new builds, catering to the increase in demand for city accommodation.
In the many suburbs here, detached homes are prevalent. From modest family homes in family oriented communities to sprawling mansions on acres of land. Unlike the average suburb, Atlanta suburbs offer the best of both worlds: quiet surroundings but great dining, shopping and nightlife are only minutes away.
Atlanta is divided into several neighbourhoods, each with its own characteristics, quirks and history. Some even have nicknames. However, as much as this city is divided along boundary lines, there is an even distribution of amenities. Whichever neighbourhood you choose to move to, you’re sure to be close to great dining, shopping and recreational activities.
Family Friendly: The individual neighbourhoods in Buckhead are collectively known as Buckhead. While Buckhead in general is very family friendly, it is worth mentioning the Garden Hills neighbourhood. This is a tight knit community of families. Here, everyone is a part of an association, each holding their own social events throughout the year. For kids, amenities include parks, a community pool, a soccer field and a duck pond.City of Decatur is home to some of the top schools in Atlanta. Housing is mostly detached family homes. A variety of clubs and associations hold events throughout the year to foster a great sense of community. For adults, restaurants and pubs are only a walk away while kids enjoy outdoor activities on fields, parks and in the community pool.
Upmarket: The Buckhead business district is often called the “Beverly Hills of the East” because of its affluent residents and upmarket ambience. Some of the most famous celebrities own a home in Buckhead; stars such as Janet Jackson and Tyler Perry. With its high-end shopping and country clubs, the cost of living is considerably higher in Buckhead.Chastain Park is one of Atlanta’s priciest neighbourhoods. Here, homes can range from $600,000 to upwards of $3 million. Residents here benefit from many recreational facilities such as tennis courts, a golf course, gym, fields, parks and a community pool. Since Chastain is only a 5 minute drive from the Buckhead business district, residents here can easily take advantage of amenities from both neighbourhoods.
Hip & Trendy: Little Five Points was birthed in the ‘70s, in the true hipster and bohemian eras in the US. When people refer to Atlanta’s underground, this is ground zero. Here, you will find hipster shops and eateries, record stores selling vinyl records, bars brewing craft beers, and amazing vintage clothing stores. Midtown is in the centre of Atlanta culture and arts scene, hence its nickname “Heart of the Arts”. Midtown is the home of several renowned art museums and performance institutions such as the Ferst Center of Arts, the Woodruff Arts Center, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Ballet. The ambience here is culturally eclectic and urban trendy. Here, high rise condos are nestled in between clubs and bars, making this neighbourhood very appealing to a young crowd.
Up & Coming: East Atlanta Village was once a declining neighbourhood but it has been steadily climbing out of its old reputation due to a burst of interest by millennials. Compared to other established neighbourhoods, the cost of living here is very affordable. The restaurants and bars are plentiful and inexpensive, and residents enjoy some of the city’s best live music venues. The relatively short commute to the city centre also adds to its attractiveness.
Cost of moving
Based on the cost of shipping a 20-foot container, here is the estimated cost of moving for the average family of four from the following cities:
Schools and education
Atlanta offers world class education from pre-school to university. Education standards are very high here; there will be no challenges finding great schools, both public and private. There are even a few international schools in the IB programme for younger students (up until 8th grade).
In Atlanta, there are currently:
- 171 public elementary schools
- 68 public middle schools
- 67 public high schools
- 41 charter schools
- 108 private schools
Universities in Atlanta
There are over 30 universities and colleges in the Atlanta area. These premier higher education institutions include the Georgia Institute of Technology, which has one of the top ten engineering programmes in the US; Emory University, a leader in liberal arts and research, and Morehouse College, a historically black and all-male liberal arts college.
Ranking against the world
Atlanta is a hub of business activity and cultural arts in the Southeast of the US. Many people move to Atlanta in search of jobs, an affordable lifestyle and for true southern living.
Unfortunately, Atlanta has suffered from a higher crime rate than its surrounding sister cities. In the past few years, the city has taken a more stringent approach to crime and the crime rate was effectively lowered. However, a common sense approach should still be employed; such as being vigilant on public transportation in the night.
In Atlanta, there is the balance of a hectic work life in the city with a relaxed outdoor life in the surrounding green areas. This and its high standard of education is a major advantage for families considering the move to Atlanta.
A day in the life
Rush hour in Atlanta is at its worst in the mornings and in the afternoons after work. The lucky ones who aren’t working regular hours get on the road after or before this mad rush. Driving in your car, AC is a must. Atlanta’s nickname is Hotlanta, which says it all – it’s hot here folks.
Even on the hottest days, there is always something to do here. Parks, fields and zoos encourage residents to get out and explore. Here is a fun (but gory) fact: Atlanta is the Zombie capital of the world. There are no real zombies here (because they don’t exist!) but the popular American TV show The Walking Dead is filmed here.
Authentic southern cuisine is never far away. Neither is a food truck offering some of the most delicious street food in the world. But be careful that you don’t get addicted, or you may soon find yourself following your favourite food truck around town. Yes, the food here is that delicious.
A day spent shopping in Atlanta is inevitable. Here, retail stores cater to every whim and fancy; from the very high end to classic vintage shops with one-of-a-kind pieces. And at night, everyone has a great time. Thanks to a vibrant music community and famous musical stars, Atlanta’s nightlife is one of the best in the US.
Feeling for a tropical weekend getaway? The Caribbean and the south of Florida are only a few hours away from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. And the tickets are cheap, too!