Moving to Cornwall from the US
As well as having incredible natural beauty, Cornwall is a fantastic place to live and work. It has one major city Truro – though the more picturesque St. Austell has a larger population – and easy access to the bustling metropolis of Plymouth.
That said, it is worth noting that as a county Cornwall has the smallest economy in the UK. It also has one of the highest deprivation levels of any part of the UK with average wages being 24% below the national average.
There are still plenty of opportunities – particularly in the ever strong healthcare, care services and the tourism industry. Nearby Plymouth has a higher GDP output and higher wages and offers incredible opportunities in engineering, maritime work and military specialities.
Really the best opportunity you’ll have in Cornwall is the opportunity to indulge in a different lifestyle. The pace of living in the South West is slower, more relaxed, more friendly, warm and welcoming. You can enjoy surfing at the weekend, beautiful barren moors, wildlife, and peace and quiet.
So if you’re thinking of moving to this beautiful location it’s worth looking in more depth at some of the key things to consider.
Working in Cornwall
Finding skilled work in Cornwall can be difficult with the largest sectors being tourism and agriculture. Tourism contributes 24% of the county’s total economy, and a large percentage of this employment is seasonal work. Peak tourism season is the summer school holidays (June-September) with many areas being noticeably quieter outside of this peak season. Unemployment is also high with roughly 5% of the population on job seekers.
However, that said, we should really note that Cornwall’s economy is very unusual in comparison to the rest of the nation. The retired population and the population of workers nearing retirement age is much higher than anywhere else in the country. This skews the figures somewhat a large part of the economy is both specialised and seasonal.
Key sectors of Cornwall
Cornwall has a number of specialised sectors and specific service sectors that are particularly strong.
Tourism – The largest industry in the county tourism is the most likely area to obtain both skilled and unskilled work. The coastal areas are all popular tourist destinations with Newquay being the prime location for surfing in the country. The coast offers an abundance of work in the hospitality and tourism services industries.
Agriculture – accounts for a very large proportion of the county’s economic output but a smaller segment of its job markets. Farming itself accounts for the largest portion of this industry but there are a vast number of agricultural services and support roles available in the area – from farm machinery to feed and medicine services.
Maritime engineering – Though not a large part of Cornwall’s economy Plymouth sits on the edge of Cornwall and is the most likely area to find skilled employment for anyone thinking of relocating to Cornwall. The main industries here are the production of maritime equipment and of course ships. The MOD has vast docks here and there are a number of large vessel producers including the luxury yacht manufacturer Devonport Yachts.
Service and creative industries – Though Cornwall has a vibrant creative community and a long history of artists making the county their home the creative industries are not particularly buoyant in the area. The service industries are more varied with everything from investment companies, education and the health service contributing to the overall economy.
As a county, Cornwall has fewer opportunities than most other major UK areas, such as Manchester or London. However, it has a diverse range of opportunities and the additional benefits of living in this area make it ever popular.
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Cost of living
Cornwall’s cost of living is surprisingly high in some areas thanks to the tourism and retirement markets.
Average rent prices are between $620 and $1240 per calendar month. A small apartment in Truro would be at the lower end of the scale whilst a seaside apartment would be at the higher end. House rental costs vary by area in the same way with the average rent being $990 per calendar month, which is about 65% cheaper than living in London.
Travel is comparative to the rest of the country with local bus tickets from $75. The major downside of travel costs in Cornwall is that you will ideally want a car. The beaches, beauty and countryside of the region mean you have fewer opportunities without your own transport.
Eating out in the county is fantastic with country pubs being the most popular choice. Here you will find meals from around $12.50 a main. Along the coast and in more popular towns like St. Ives you can enjoy fine dining from around $37.35 a head for two courses. Beer and wine are similar to the national average at around $4.35 a pint and $5 for a glass of wine.
Entertainment, beyond the countryside and beaches, is relatively plentiful with many major attractions of all price ranges, including the Eden project, summer festivals, surfing competition, theater productions, and live music.
The average house price in Cornwall is $274,850. This is largely due to the attractiveness of coastal areas and the number of people retiring here. It is much higher than the national average, though cheaper than many major cities. Detached properties tend to go to $371,965 while terraced properties start from around $210,840.
As with any county there are some much cheaper areas with Camborne having an average property price of just $183,155. If you want to conserve money, living in the larger in-land towns is much more cost effective with Camborne, Truro, and St. Austell having lower prices than the rest of the county.
The highest prices are all closer to the sea with St. Mawes and St. Ives having average property prices of over $620,000.
Schools and education
Schooling in Cornwall may involve a long commute for you or your children if you choose to live in some of the more rural areas of the county. That said there are plenty of primary and infant schools in most major towns.
When it comes to secondary education the independent schools have the highest GCSE pass rates in the county (though lower than many in neighbouring Devon). The top independents are St. Pirans, St. Joseph’s Truro High School, and Truro School. Outside the independents the Roseland Community School and Penrice Community College have the highest results.
In terms of further education Cornwall has great access to universities despite only having Cornwall College and Falmouth as specialist universities. However, Plymouth and Exeter both have exceptional universities and are both within easy reach of parts of Cornwall.
Cost of moving to Cornwall
Cornwall is far from major airports which make it reasonably expensive to move to. The average shipping cost of moving for a family of four from the following cities to Cornwall will cost approximately: