Moving to Nashville from New York City may be a bit of a culture shock, but you’ll happily recover when you say goodbye to the sky-high cost of living, intense density, and crazy fast pace. A move to Nashville will reward you with a cost of living that’s 85% lower than NYC, housing costs that are 160% lower, and space to breathe with 1,400 people per square mile instead of NYC’s 28,500.
If you’re tempted to start packing, first read on to find out if Nashville is the right city for you.
What to Know About Moving from New York City to Nashville
Housing and Cost of Living
You probably won’t miss shelling out for NYC’s housing costs. The Nashville median home cost, as of summer 2020, was $262,000 – 160% less than NYC’s $680,500. Some 58% of Music City residents are homeowners compared to just 30% in NYC. Down South, your dream of homeownership just may come true! Rent is considerably cheaper too – a one-bedroom rental averages $975 in Nashville – a hefty savings from a one-bedroom NYC rental that averages $1,788.
Compared to the US overall cost of living index of 100, NYC is 187, and Nashville is 101, an 85% difference that you can start benefiting from as soon as you move. You’ll save an average of 52% on utility costs, 80% on transportation expenses, 16% on healthcare, and 14% on grocery costs. Although the average household income in NYC is $78,593 compared to $52,858 in Nashville, the significantly lower cost of living can likely offset the difference.
NYC property tax varies from 0.627% to 1.925%, depending on the borough you live in. If you buy a home in Nashville, plan to pay a property tax of 1% on assessed value – 20% below the US average.
NYC sales tax ranges from 7% to 8.5%, again depending on your borough. But here’s one expense that tops NYC – you’ll pay 9.46% sales tax on purchases in Nashville.
You pay New York state income tax on a progressive scale that ranges between 4% and 8.82%, plus New York City assesses a city income tax. One reason the sales tax is so high in Nashville is that Tennessee doesn’t levy a state income tax. However, if you have investments, you’ll pay 6% on interest and dividends.
Economy and Job Growth
NYC is one of the world’s major financial centers. However, healthcare, professional and technical services, education, manufacturing, and retail trade are also strong economic sectors. With Nashville’s vibrant economy and reasonable cost of living, the city has become a magnet for new residents. Education, tourism, healthcare, transportation, trade, and utilities are just some of the thriving industrial sectors that provide a wide range of jobs.
Nashville’s job growth was 2.4% in 2019, whereas, in NYC, job growth was 0.5%. Over the next ten years, job growth is forecast to increase by a screaming 48.3% compared to NYC’s job growth prediction of 30.7%.
Transportation and Traffic
Moving to Nashville from New York City will require an adjustment in how you commute, run errands, and get around. You’ll find light rail and a bus system in Nashville, but service is limited and doesn’t compare to the extent and convenience of NYC’s subway system, where 57% of residents use public transit to get to work.
With 79% of Nashville residents commuting by car, traffic is notoriously bad. Even the busses are slow because they get snarled in traffic too. Still, Music City commuters spend an average of 16 minutes less time getting to work with an average 25 minutes one way trip compared to an average of 41 minutes in NYC.
Compared to NYC’s ultra-high walk, transit, and bike score ratings, the overall Nashville transit score is 24, the walk score is 28, and the bike score is 25. If walkability is important to you, you may want to explore the neighborhoods of East End, Downtown, and Historic Edgefield when looking for a place to call home.
Weather and Climate
Nashville residents enjoy four seasons, but they’ll be a lot milder than what you’re accustomed to in NYC. Winters in NYC run an average high of 38 °F with average lows of 26 °F compared to Nashville’s average winter highs of 48 and lows that hover around freezing at 32. NYC sees 25 inches of annual snowfall, but in Nashville, you’ll have a few dustings throughout the winter that add up to about four inches annually. Usually, the snow doesn’t accumulate, so there’s no need to bring your snow gear.
NYC summer temps average a humid 85, but Nashville is hotter and more humid with average summer highs of 89. Both cities get an equal amount of rainfall – about 47-48 inches on average, although NYC sees the most rain in the spring and summer. Nashville’s rainfall is most torrential in May, November, and December.
If you’re an allergy sufferer, you’ll want to be aware that Nashville is known as one of the country’s allergy capitals. The allergy season runs from February to November. Several websites summarize the allergy count, and some even offer allergy alert emails.
When we compare crime rates, we see that Nashville has higher crime than New York City. On a scale of 1 to 100, violent crime is 23 overall in the US, 55 in Nashville, and 28 in NYC. The overall US rate for property crime is 25, 53 in Nashville, and 35 in NYC.
Buena Vista Heights, Cumberland Gardens, and Bakertown are areas with higher crime. As you start investigating various neighborhoods, be sure to google the crime rates to make sure your prospective community is safe. Neighborhoods on the west side of town tend to be the safest.
Culture, Diversity, and Demographics
Highly evolved country music, a flourishing art scene, a strong economy, and a reasonable cost of living are just a few of the reasons Nashville’s population increased by almost 20% since 2000. The current population is 673,167, and as a result of the 2020 census, forecasts anticipate the metro area will reach 2 million. Still, those numbers don’t compare to NYC’s diverse population of 8,560,000. However, since 2000, the NYC population only increased by 7%.
NYC racial demographics include 32% White, 29% Hispanic, 22% African American, and 14% Asian. The less diverse Nashville consists of 56% White, 28% African American, 10% Hispanic, 4% Asian, and 2% Two or More Races. Over the last ten years, Nashville’s foreign-born population has almost doubled; about 12% were born outside the United States. The city has significant populations of Vietnamese, Arabs, Mexicans, Kurds, Bhutanese, Laotians, Cambodians, and Bantus plus the largest concentration of Kurdish people in the nation.
Although Nashville is more socially progressive than the rest of the state, the city faces challenges stemming from its legacy of discrimination and segregation. With 700 churches, Nashville has the highest number per capita in the U.S. and is sometimes referred to as the Buckle of the Bible Belt.
If you move from New York City to Nashville, you’ll leave behind a city peninsula surrounded by rivers and harbor to a land-locked city in Tennessee’s Central Basin – a flat, low, fertile area at 550 feet elevation. The basin, along with the winding Cumberland River, provides plenty of opportunities to get out into the beautiful countryside and enjoy nature.
NYC’s Central Park covers about 843 acres in Manhattan and offers a huge range of diverse activities – from ice skating and snowshoeing in the winter to lawn bowling and boating in the summer. In Nashville, the 1,200-acre Radnor Lake Preserve is a tranquil place to enjoy the fresh air and five miles of unpaved wooded trails.
It’s no secret that NYC food is some of the most amazing in the world. But Nashville has its own version of amazing. One of Nashville’s original creations is ‘hot chicken,’ served up with various tweaks at restaurants all around town. But much of Music City gastronomy is a creative fusion of southern comfort food meshed with flavors and textures of immigrant cuisines from around the world.
Iconic Tennessee Whiskey is known the world over, and Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, headquartered in Nashville, distills some of the finest. From beloved old dives to the city’s newest cocktail lounges and pubs, the bar scene is lively, humming, and very much a part of the Nashville life.
Best Neighborhoods in Nashville
Nashville offers everything from mixed-use reclaimed post-industrial neighborhoods that have a contemporary urban vibe to laid-back leafy enclaves with beautiful vintage homes for a more family-oriented lifestyle. Here’s a summary of some of Nashville’s best neighborhoods:
Family-friendly, historic Germantown has about 2,700 residents. Homes range from duplexes, apartments, townhomes, condos, and single-family residences. Directly adjacent to Downtown, Germantown is full of hip restaurants and cafes, boutiques, and locally-owned stores. Leafy streets, brick sidewalks, and restored Victorians add up to chic charm. If you’re ready to learn more, click here.
The Hillsboro Village population hovers around 10,000 residents who enjoy the walkability, family-friendliness, and local amenities. Located between Vanderbilt and Belmont Universities, Hillsboro Village has a distinctly youthful vibe. The median home price, at just about $460,000, is well above Nashville’s overall housing prices. Ready to know more about Hillsboro Village? Click here.
Nope, not a gulley – The Gulch is probably Nashville’s most happening neighborhood. Reclaimed from an industrial zone in the southwest part of central Downtown, this neighborhood features apartments, high rises, and lofts – many with sweeping views of the Nashville skyline. Developers built The Gulch around the concepts of mixed-use, connectivity, and walkability. As a result, this trendy neighborhood has earned LEED certification. Here’s more info on The Gulch.
East End is known for its charming single-family vintage homes in a variety of styles, including Victorian and Bungalow. The 3,800 or so people who live in the East End enjoy a progressive, creative, laid-back lifestyle. East End is a walkable neighborhood, but you’ll rely on your car to go further afield, commute, and run errands. Find out more about East End here.
Known for its tranquility and quaintness, Sylvan Park is home to around 4,000 residents. Parks, a golf course, a hospital, and excellent schools add to the convenience of living in this neighborhood where the majority are homeowners. Housing ranges from small vintage bungalows to two-story five-bedroom family homes. Here’s more information about Sylvan Park.
Mixed-use WeHo, as locals call it, combines single-family homes, townhomes, apartments, lofts, and condos with some commercial properties. Brimming with restaurants, bars, coffee houses, and galleries, WeHo is just a stone’s throw south of Downtown. About 3,900 residents enjoy the renaissance of this post-industrial neighborhood. Find more information about WeHo here.
Cost of Moving from NYC to Nashville
On average, it costs about $3500-$5000 to move from New York City to Nashville. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 884 miles across the country. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination zip codes, 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 Nashville movers now!