If you feel that New York City’s rush, crush, and cost of living are more than you can bear, look at what Atlanta can offer. You’ll find a lot of urban excitement in A-Town along with a generous dollop of Southern hospitality and family-friendliness. Living in Atlanta will give you some space to spread out, plus you’ll have access to a booming job market, a terrific music scene, pro sports teams, and delish cuisine for about three-fourths of NYC living costs. If this sort of lifestyle shift sounds good to you, read on to find out more about Atlanta, the City in a Forest.
What to Know About Moving from New York City to Atlanta
What are the pros and cons you can expect if you remain in the Big Apple or move to The Big A? We uncover some answers that may help you decide if moving to Atlanta is for you.
Weather and Climate
First off, one benefit of living in Atlanta is warmer winters. With average January highs of around 52° F and lows that drop to an average of 33°, your Atlanta winters will be much toastier than what you’re used to in NYC. Atlanta rarely has freezing daytime temps that require all the coats, mufflers, hats, gloves, and boots you bundle in to stay warm during an NYC winter.
The odd snowstorm, while brief, can shut down the city because no one knows how to manage Atlanta’s typical one and a half inches of annual snow. About 50 inches of yearly rainfall keeps the verdant hills and forested areas of Atlanta beautifully green and lush. Summers will be hot and humid, often climbing into the mid-90s, but that’s not all that different from NYC’s sweltering muggy summer days.
Housing and Cost of Living
Another highlight is that you can truly look forward to saving some money if you move from NYC to Atlanta. The overall Atlanta cost of living is just 7% higher than the US average but 74% lower than in NYC. Your most significant savings will probably be on housing. Buying a home in Atlanta will cost 163% less than in NYC, making homeownership a real possibility. And Atlanta’s range of neighborhoods offers a wide variety of home types, from historic Victorians to sleek modern high rise condos.
As of summer 2020, the median home value in Atlanta is $299,308. Compare that to the NYC median home price of $680,500, and you can immediately see the significant savings. You’ll also see substantial savings in rental costs. The median price for a two-bedroom rental in Atlanta is $1,243, while in New York City, the average is $2,049 for a two-bedroom apartment.
In addition to significant savings on housing, you’ll also enjoy lower costs for standard expenses. In Atlanta, your transportation costs will be 47% lower than in NYC, and your utility costs will be 45% lower. You’ll also save, on average, about 22% on health costs and 18% in spending on food and groceries.
As a New Yorker, you’re familiar with the city’s excellent private and public education options. Of Atlanta’s four public school districts, Fulton County School District has the largest number of schools with above-average ratings. Atlanta also has 383 private schools. Georgia’s graduation requirements are some of the highest in the country, and over the past eight years, the graduation rate increased by over 10%. However, the college readiness index score is 6.7 of 10.
Both cities offer outstanding higher education opportunities. Atlanta is a center of post-secondary education with over 23 colleges and universities. Emory University, Georgia State, and Georgia Institute of Technology are just some of the Atlanta institutions that provide exceptional higher education. And keep in mind that Atlanta is an educated city – about 40% of Atlanta’s workforce has a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Transportation and Traffic
Let’s start with the fact that as a world-class transportation hub, Atlanta is home to the busiest airport (ATL) on the planet. But you’re probably more interested in how you’ll get around in Atlanta.
Most likely, you’ll need a car and driving will require a major emotional adjustment, because let’s face it, Atlanta traffic is nasty. The city is sprawling, the significant interstates grind to a halt at commute times, and unless you live in a neighborhood near Downtown, the city isn’t walkable.
So given these challenges, what will your Atlanta commute look like? Atlantans spend 26.3 minutes commuting one way, and although this is a shorter commute than NYC’s 41 minutes one way, the Atlanta commute is reportedly more stressful. While 57% of NYC residents use public transportation, only 10.2% of Atlantans use the public rail and bus system, called MARTA. That puts 69% Atlantans on the freeways driving their personal vehicle to work, congesting roadways, and experiencing commuting stress.
However, the BeltLine, one of the nation’s largest urbanization projects, offers some relief to roadway congestion. Many residents claim this project has transformed Atlanta by breaking down barriers between neighborhoods and has increased residents’ quality of life by providing 22 miles of beautiful jogging, walking, and bike paths throughout the city. The BeltLine greenway is popular with cyclist commuters and impressively connects to businesses and homes in 48 neighborhoods.
Economy and Job Growth
Atlanta is a significant player on the international commerce scene, just like New York. Some 26 Fortune 1,000 companies maintain headquarters in metro Atlanta, and 16 of those companies, including UPS, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and Delta Air Lines, are on the elite Fortune 500 list.
According to WorkSource Atlanta, over 55,000 local jobs in technology and healthcare will become available by 2024. Forbes magazine lists Atlanta as one of its “Five US Cities Poised to Become Tomorrow’s Tech Meccas.”
In 2019, the job market increased by 2.9%, and over the next ten years, experts anticipate jobs will grow by 46.8%, a significant rate over the US growth average of 33.5%. NY’s future job growth over the next ten years is forecasted to be only 25.7%. It looks like job opportunities in Atlanta far outshine options in New York.
The key job growth segments, according to the Metro Atlanta Chamber, are financial technology (fintech), health information technology, cybersecurity, mobility and IoT (Internet of Things), smart grid technology, and film/digital media/entertainment tech. Thanks in large part to Atlanta, Georgia is the number one filming location in the world.
Culture, Diversity, and Demographics
The Atlanta city population is 465,230. Compare that to NYC’s 8,400,000 residents, and you can easily see that in Atlanta, you’ll feel more space and breathing room. Even with the Atlanta metro area housing over 5,700,000 million people, the density is 3,431 people per square mile compared to NYC’s 27,000 per square mile. And with one of the highest LGBTQ populations per capita, just behind Seattle and San Francisco, Atlanta is considered the LGBTQ capital of the South.
Atlanta was a major organizing center of the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s, and today, 52% of residents are African American, 37% are White, 4% Asian, 5% Hispanic, and 2% are of other ethnicities. But you’ll find diversity in more than just its residents – the thriving cultural scene is alive with music, food, film, and sports.
When asked about the pros of living in Atlanta, many residents mention the impressive live music, nightlife, and food scenes. From the Fox Theatre to Eddie’s Attic, you can enjoy live entertainment of all kinds, along with some killer cocktails and cuisines, every night of the week.
Atlanta may not host every sport, but it has all of the country’s favorites – from professional baseball with The Braves, football with The Falcons, basketball with The Hawks – to soccer with Atlanta United. If you’re hoping to live in a city where you can get behind a local pro sports team, Atlanta may just be for you.
Best Neighborhoods in Atlanta
Atlanta has dozens of wonderful neighborhoods to call home, but the below are among the best:
Not only is historic Adair Park an affordable neighborhood, but it’s also one of Atlanta’s few walkable neighborhoods. Located close to public transportation for easier commuting and running errands, Adair Park is also close to the 22-mile BeltLine. Learn more about the benefits of living in Adair Park here.
Offering a high-end lifestyle with fine dining, luxury shopping, and lovely homes, affluent North Buckhead is only twenty minutes north of Downtown. High-quality schools and the Blue Heron Nature Preserve add to the reasons why this neighborhood is excellent for families and professionals. Here’s more info about North Buckhead.
Old Fourth Ward
If you’re looking for a hip neighborhood that not only has thriving live music venues and fantastic restaurants but walkable streets and proximity to the BeltLine, historic Old Fourth Ward fits the bill. Read more about Old Fourth Ward, the former home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Full of Atlanta history, Grant Park is one of the city’s oldest and largest historic districts. Homes come in all types, from elegant old restored mansions to a range of apartments and duplexes. Pedestrian-friendly with plenty of shopping, dining, and nightlife, learn more about Grant Park here.
Like a small city in itself, the 23,221 diverse Midtown residents live in everything from historic Victorians to sleek high rise condos. Bike and foot-friendly, Midtown has every amenity you could imagine plus a little smidge of a vibrant NYC vibe. If this sounds like your kind of place, here’s more info about Midtown.
Another hip and happening neighborhood, historic Inman Park, features gorgeous 19th and 20th-century architecture, majestic mature trees, and beautiful landscaping. Housing is available at many price points. Friendly neighbors and walkability make Inman Park a great place to call home. Here’s more Inman Park info.
Cost of Moving from NYC to Atlanta
On average, it costs about $3,500-$5,000 to move from New York City to Atlanta. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 869 miles across the country. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination cities, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best NYC to Atlanta movers now!