As the capital city of Louisiana, Baton Rouge is one of the state’s livelier hubs and is known for its eclectic food, entertaining music, and unique culture. Whether you enjoy learning about the history of a city, studying its distinct architecture, or experiencing a medley of different customs and traditions, you won’t regret moving to Baton Rouge.
Located an hour northwest of New Orleans and an hour east of Lafayette, Baton Rouge is bordered on its western side by the winding Mississippi River. Home to several colleges and universities, Baton Rouge, functions as an active social scene for young people. Its streets showcase over 300 years of Louisiana history, as well as the state’s intriguing combination of Portuguese, French, and Spanish roots.
From the delicious smells and tastes of Baton Rouge’s Creole cuisine to the city’s exciting nightlife, Baton Rouge has a little something for everyone. Once you’ve finished settling into your new home, be sure to tour the different plantations in the area and visit the Shaw Center for the Arts. And, of course, Baton Rouge’s Mardi Gras festival is an experience of a lifetime!
Living in Baton Rouge, LA: What to Know Before Moving to Baton Rouge
With a population of approximately 228,000 residents, Baton Rouge is Louisiana’s second-largest city after New Orleans. Of the nation’s 314 cities with 100,000 residents or more, Baton Rouge ranks as the 99th most populated city in the US. Not only does the city boast size, but it also boasts a vibrant and colorful atmosphere, a medley of cultures, delicious food, and fascinating history – all on the east bank of the Mississippi River. If you choose to settle down in Baton Rouge, you’ll gain invaluable knowledge about the capital city of Louisiana, and you’ll create special memories along the way.
Pros and Cons of Living in Baton Rouge
When you’re moving to a new location, it’s important to consider both the benefits and detriments of living there. Here are some of the pros and cons of settling down in Baton Rouge:
- High-ranking by U.S. News: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was ranked #109 on the U.S. News & World Report “125 Best Places to Live in the USA” list.
- Combination of history and culture: Known as a melting pot of diversity, Baton Rouge is rich with historical and cultural significance that’s ready to be explored.
- Delicious food: Even though New Orleans gets frequent nods for its delectable cuisine, Baton Rouge rivals New Orleans with its mouth-watering food.
- A mix of young and old: As a college-town, Baton Rouge is a lively hub for young people, but its older demographic is continuing to rise. The city was even ranked #93 on the U.S. News & World Report “100 Best Places to Retire in the USA” list.
- Uncomfortable climate: Being in the South and bordering the Gulf of Mexico, Baton Rouge experiences very hot, muggy summers.
- High crime rate: Shootings are among the top crimes committed in Baton Rouge, and the city has both a high violent crime index and a high property crime index.
- Traffic: Baton Rouge has a reputation for having traffic problems. This issue is so serious that Baton Rouge has been named the 2nd most dangerous U.S. city for drivers, which is due in part to the number of fatal accidents that occur annually in Baton Rouge.
- Unemployment rate: Although there has been recent job growth in Louisiana’s capital, the unemployment rate in Baton Rouge is still significantly higher than the national unemployment rate.
- Property Tax: When compared to the national average property tax rate of 1.211%, Baton Rouge offers a significantly lower average property tax rate of 0.536%.
- Sales Tax: According to Avalara.com, the combined sales tax rate of Baton Rouge is high at 9.95%, but this percentage includes state, city, and county sales tax rates. The actual sales tax rate for Louisiana’s capital is a comfortable 5.5%. There are even parts of Baton Rouge, such as East Baton Rouge Parish, that have no sales tax.
- State Income Tax: Louisiana’s income tax of 6.0% is considered moderate compared to other states like California’s 9.3% average income tax.
More than half of Baton Rouge’s residents are homeowners while 44% of residents rent. As of July 2019, the median home value in Baton Rouge was $162,900, which is significantly less than the national median home cost of $229,000. According to Zillow, home values have fallen 1.5% over the past year and are forecast to continue falling another 1.5% in 2020. If you prefer to rent, the median rental price is $1,250, slightly lower than the national average monthly rent of $1,390.
A few of the cheapest neighborhoods in Baton Rouge are Brownfields, Central, Baker, and Zachary. While there’s a chance that crime rates may be higher in these areas, this isn’t always the case.
Cost of Living
Expenses in Baton Rouge are in line with the national average. The cost of living index (out of 100) in Baton Rouge is 99.5, just 0.5% lower than the national average. Housing and utilities tend to be slightly cheaper expenses in Baton Rouge, but you should expect to spend more of your paycheck on groceries, transportation, and healthcare.
The median household income in Baton Rouge is $38,790 a year. However, according to the Family Budget Calculator, a family of four living in this Louisiana city needs to be earning about $75,700 annually, to pay the estimated $6,300 a month needed for the following expenses: housing, food, childcare, transportation, healthcare, taxes, and other necessities. Based on these numbers, to live comfortably, both parents need to work.
Weather & Natural Disasters
In Baton Rouge, the summers are incredibly hot and humid, with June, July, and August being the three most uncomfortable months. It rains a lot in Baton Rouge – 63 inches annually – with June receiving about 6.7 inches of rainfall. The average highest temperature occurs in August at 92 degrees, while the average lowest temperature occurs in January at 41 degrees. The winters are chilly, but there is very little snowfall. You may see some dustings of snow in February, but at most it will be a meager average accumulation of 0.1 inches.
During hurricane season, flooding is a major concern. The Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (MOHSEP) works to identify natural disaster threats, as well as to prepare its residents for the effects of natural disasters.
Economy & Job Market
While the U.S. average unemployment rate is 3.9%, the unemployment rate in Baton Rouge is significantly higher at 4.7%. However, there’s renewed hope for the city, as there has been a 1.3% growth in available jobs from 2018-2019, and it’s projected that Baton Rouge will see more of a job market increase within the next decade.
Because of its deep-water port that handles river barges and ocean-going ships, plus its proximity to extensive natural resources, Baton Rouge attracts large-scale industries. Major industries include petrochemical, manufacturing, agriculture, oil, natural gas, medical research, and technology. Commercial fishing is also a large industry in Baton Rouge.
With a diverse employment base, jobs are available in construction and mining; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; information; finance; professional and business services; education and health services; hospitality; and government.
Some tips for helping you to find a rewarding job in Baton Rouge include filling out application forms and preparing for necessary examinations. If you’re unsure of what job to apply for, you can visit the Louisiana Workforce Commission, and they’ll help you to assess which career you should pursue.
Traffic & Transportation
The three interstates that intersect Baton Rouge are I-10, I-12, and I-110. Beginning at the Horace Wilkinson Bridge, I-10 continues through the city toward New Orleans. I-12 starts in the city center and continues east. I-110 runs north-south, passing through downtown and continuing north to Baton Rouge Metro Airport.
Even though Walkscore.com rates Baton Rouge 41/100 for walkability, which means that most residents are dependent on cars, Baton Rouge is known for having some of the worst traffic in the nation. The Advocate ranks congestion on I-10 and I-110 as the 19th worst traffic delay in the US. Given its status as a major port and cargo center, the transportation network of rail, highway, airport, and shipping creates complex congestion in and around the city. Then, when you add particular events such as Mardi Gras or football games, traffic takes on another challenge.
If you don’t want to get held up in traffic, you’re better off taking public transportation, since biking also received a low ranking of 43/100. The Capital Area Transit System (CATS) provides bus service within the city of Baton Rouge. There are also taxis and shuttles available.
What to Do
Baton Rouge’s unique medley of culture, history, and architecture makes it an exciting city to explore. From festivals to museums, to restaurants, there isn’t a shortage of things to do in and around Baton Rouge. No matter whether you’re from the big city or the country, you can dive deep into the rich vibrancy of one of Louisiana’s liveliest cities.
Located near the eastern banks of the Mississippi River, the Shaw Center for the Arts is an interactive museum for people of all ages. If you’re interested in immersing yourself in the history of Baton Rouge, you can tour several of the plantation houses that date back before the Civil War. A visit to the Louisiana State Capitol, now a museum, will give you a taste of a classic antebellum landmark. Want to take a break from history to explore nature? Enjoy the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center or visit Mike the Tiger at Louisiana State University.
If you’re a sports fan, you can see Baton Rouge’s favorite sports teams face off at LSU Tiger Stadium. College football is a beloved pastime of Baton Rouge residents, and some of the city’s favorite teams are the Louisiana State University Tigers and the Southern University Jaguars.
Schools & Universities
It’s important to know the various schooling options available to you if you have children. Baton Rouge has two school districts: East Baton Rouge Parish School District and Central Community School District. The former is the larger of the two with 87 schools and a total of 41,620 students, while the latter possesses five schools and serves 4,670 students. Also, there is the LSU Laboratory School, the Southern University Lab School, and the LA Schools for the Deaf and Visually Impaired. According to Greatschools.org, Baton Rouge schools predominantly rate average or above average. Three of the top schools in Baton Rouge are Baton Rouge Magnet High School, Audubon Elementary School, and Sherwood Middle Academic Academy.
Maybe you’re pursuing a form of higher education. If so, 15 colleges and universities are in the Baton Rouge area. The city is home to Louisiana State University, but there are also colleges for students pursuing education in the medical, technical, or culinary arts fields, among many other degree programs.
According to Bestplaces.net, Baton Rouge rates 47.2/100 for violent crime, which is considerably higher than the national average of 22.7/100. The property crime rate is 66.4/100 and is also significant when compared to the US average of 35.4/100. Despite these statistics, Baton Rouge is still considered to be one of the safer cities in Louisiana. The neighborhoodscout crime map shows the eastern and southern areas of the city are safer while pockets along the Mississippi have higher crime rates.
When moving, it’s important to make sure your new home is set up with all the utilities it needs to function efficiently. For your convenience, we’ve provided a list of Baton Rouge’s primary utility providers:
- Gas and Electric Services: Responsible for servicing over 1 million customers across the state, Entergy Louisiana, LLC is Baton Rouge’s primary provider for natural gas and electric services. To start your service, visit their website.
- Water Services: The Baton Rouge Water Company services the entire metropolitan area of Baton Rouge. To find out more, you can visit their website or call 225-925-2011.
- Trash Pickup/Recycling Service: Republic Services is a private company that provides curbside trash pickup, recycling, and hazardous waste removal to Baton Rouge residents. You can shop their various services here.
- Internet/Cable Service: When it comes to choosing a provider for your internet and cable, you’ll have many different options from which to choose. A few top providers in Baton Rouge include AT&T, Spectrum, Cox Communications, and Mediacom.
Best Neighborhoods in Baton Rouge, LA
When you’re trying to decide which neighborhood to settle down in, some of the most important factors you should consider are the location, population, housing cost, job opportunities, schools, and crime rates within a particular neighborhood. To help you in your search for a neighborhood that meets your standards, we’ve provided a list of the eight best neighborhoods in Baton Rouge, LA.
Downtown is nestled between the Mississippi River on the west and I-110 on the east. It’s home to Spanish Town and Beauregard Town, two of the oldest areas of Baton Rouge. Downtown has a lively, eclectic vibe, with many of its residents consisting of a younger demographic. The trendy neighborhood demonstrates a farm-to-table mentality and is home to the Red Stick Farmers Market, Matherne’s Market, and Spanish Town Market.
While the nightlife is an exciting aspect of Downtown, there are also plenty of things to do during the day. Along the riverfront, you can visit the Louisiana Art & Science Museum, the Old State Capitol, or even play the slots at Hollywood Casino. When you want to catch a bite to eat, Downtown has no shortage of excellent restaurants and bars.
- Population: 2,740
- Home Price: $375,000
- Rent Price: $1,300 to $1,400 a month
- Schools: Park Elementary School (rating: below average), Capitol Middle School (rating: below average), Tara High School (rating: below average)
- Colleges: Baton Rouge Christian Bible College, Baton Rouge Community College, Capital Area Technical College
Located between Government Street and Broussard Street and just seven minutes southeast of Downtown, the Garden District is one of the city’s more historic neighborhoods. Several of its homes are on the National Registry of Historic Places, and many of its buildings, having been designed in the Queen Anne Colonial Revival style, add to the beauty and interest of the neighborhood.
The Garden District is a close-knit community whose main residents are families and people with high-paying professions. The neighborhood frequently organizes entertaining block parties. While many people enjoy walking their dogs at Raising Cane’s Dog Park, others prefer to tour the Baton Rouge Gallery and the Knock Knock Children’s Museum. If you’re looking for a place to eat, Garden District Coffee is the place to sample some mouthwatering baked goods.
- Population: 8,150
- Home Price: $239,000
- Rent Price: $1,300 to $1,500 a month
- Schools: The Dufrocq School (rating: average), Westdale Middle School (rating: average), Mckinley Senior High School (rating: below average)
- Colleges: Baton Rouge Christian Bible College, Baton Rouge Community College, Capital Area Technical College
Capital Heights is the neighborhood directly to the east of the Garden District and is a nine-minute drive to Downtown. It’s a small, quiet neighborhood that mainly consists of residents in their 30s and 40s. Because of its size, there isn’t much to do in Capital Heights itself, but the neighborhood borders Government Street, a major Baton Rouge thoroughfare. Clayton Rd creates the southern boundary, S Acadian Thruway the western, and S Foster Dr is the eastern boundary. You can hop on the nearby I-110, which will take you anywhere in the city.
Since the Garden District is right next door, you can comfortably walk to any of the neighborhood’s shops, restaurants, and parks.
- Population: 1,570
- Home Price: $305,000
- Rent Price: $1,000 to $1,100 a month
- Schools: Bernard Terrace Elementary School (rating: average), Westdale Middle School (rating: average), Tara High School (rating: below average)
- Colleges: Mid City College, Baton Rouge Community College, Baton Rouge College
One of Baton Rouge’s largest neighborhoods, Highlands-Perkins is bordered on the west and the south by the Mississippi River, I-10 is its northern border, and Downtown is 13 minutes to the north. For its suburban feel, family-friendly atmosphere, cost of living, and diversity, Highlands-Perkins was rated #5 on Niche’s 2019 Best Neighborhoods to Live in Baton Rouge list.
Because of Highlands-Perkins significant size, it offers a long list of things to do. On a sunny day, you can enjoy the nice weather at Milford Wampold Memorial Park or Burden Museum & Gardens. If you have kids, they’ll love going to Perkins Road Community Park, where there are a skate park and a rock-climbing wall. On rainy days, you can visit the LSU Museum of Natural Science, or you can enjoy fresh seafood at Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant.
- Population: 14,780
- Home Price: $235,000
- Rent Price: $700 to $800 a month
- Schools: University Terrace Elementary School (rating: below average), Glasgow Middle School (rating: average), Mckinley Senior High School (rating: below average)
- Colleges: Louisiana State University, Alpha University, E.J. Ourso College of Business
Broadmoor is a large, comfortably-priced neighborhood that consists of over 2,000 homes. Hwy 61, I-12, S Sherwood Forest Blvd, and Florida Blvd bound the neighborhood. Given its central location to major interstates and highways, Broadmoor is convenient if you need or want to get somewhere quickly.
Broadmoor is a quieter family-centered neighborhood, with parks that you can take your children to and churches that you and your family can attend. You can explore different cultures by dining at many of Broadmoor’s internationally-inspired restaurants, including Little Saigon and Maison LaCour. While there’s much to do in the neighborhood itself, Downtown is only an 18-minute drive west by way of Florida Boulevard.
- Population: 7,420
- Home Price: $198,000
- Rent Price: $600 to $700 a month
- Schools: Broadmoor Elementary School (rating: below average), Sherwood Middle Academic Academy (rating: above average), Broadmoor Senior High School (rating: below average)
- Colleges: Medical Training College, National EMS Academy, Richport Technical College
Bocage is one of the more desirable neighborhoods to live in, as well as one of the most expensive. Its residents consist mostly of families and retired couples, so it’s a quieter neighborhood compared to Downtown, which is 11 minutes northwest.
Located between Jefferson Highway and Corporate Boulevard, you can find a little something for everyone in Bocage. If you enjoy playing tennis, you can join the Bocage Racquet Club. If you prefer to pampering, there are several spas and salons in the area. After some salon-time, you can do a little bit of shopping at Towne Center before heading over to the local City Pork Brasserie and Bar to enjoy some comfort food and a cold beer.
- Population: 620
- Home Price: $341,000
- Rent Price: $1,200 to $1,300
- Schools: Lasalle Elementary School (rating: average), Westdale Middle School (rating: average), Tara High School (rating: below average)
- Colleges: Louisiana Community & Technical College, National EMS Academy, Our Lady of the Lake College School of Nursing
When Scotlandville was first established in the early 1900s, it was a small, rural community. However, when Southern University and A&M College relocated to the area, Scotlandville grew to become one of the more prominent communities in Baton Rouge. The neighborhood, which is bordered by US-61 and Hooper Road, and the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport on the east, consists mostly of African American residents.
One of the major interstates in Baton Rouge, I-110, is born in Scotlandville, and if you hop on, you’ll only have to drive 11 minutes south to reach Downtown. However, if you’re looking for things to do in Scotlandville itself, you can take your family to the Anna T. Jordan Community Park or the Southern Memorial Gardens. You can also enjoy some authentic Southern barbecue at Barb Que Shack.
- Population: 1,245
- Home Price: $59,500
- Rent Price: $1,200 to 1,300 a month
- Schools: Ryan Elementary School (rating: average), Scotlandville Magnet High School (rating: below average), Scotlandville Middle Pre-Engineering Academy (rating: average)
- Colleges: Southern University, A&M College, Baton Rouge Bridge Academy
Located only six minutes west of Louisiana State University, Southdowns is home to many college students, but many of the neighborhood’s other residents are families with children. As such, Southdowns provides a unique combination of family-friendly activities and exciting nightlife. Since the neighborhood is very close to I-10, traveling to other parts of Baton Rouge is easy. Downtown is only nine minutes northwest.
If you’re looking for something to do, Perkins Road, which borders Southdowns to the north, is a busier part of the neighborhood. It features several supermarkets, tantalizing restaurants like The Bulldog, and relaxing bars. If you want to enjoy nature, walk along the Bayou Duplanier River, which borders the southern edge of Southdowns.
- Population: 5,280
- Home Price: $425,000
- Rent Price: $800 to $900 a month
- Schools: Westminster Elementary School (rating: below average), Glasgow Middle School (rating: above average), Lee Magnet High School (rating: above average)
- Colleges: Alpha University, Southern University AG Mech, Louisiana State University
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