Is Tennessee a Good Place to Live (Weather, Cost, Etc.)

Tennessee is known for its fantastic culture, beautiful weather, and amazing food. From its music scene to its scenic, natural landscape, there’s so much to love about the state. But it may not be for you. Is Tennessee a good place to live?

Considering the state’s mild weather, breathtaking sceneries, vibrant attractions, and low cost of living, there’s no question that it is a great place to live.

When you imagine where you’ll spend the rest of your years, no state could be more attractive. And let’s not forget, it is nicknamed ‘The Volunteer State,’ where people are warm and welcoming. Tennessee is a great place to call home.

Here are some popular questions about living in Tennessee: 

  1. What are the benefits of living in Tennessee?
  2. What is the weather like in Tennessee?
  3. What city in Tennessee has the lowest cost of living?
  4. What’s the most expensive place to live in Tennessee?
  5. What is the safest city in Tennessee?
  6. What are the disadvantages of living in Tennessee?
  7. What is Tennessee known for?

Let’s go through each one.

What Are the Benefits of Living in Tennessee?

Coolidge Park, Tennessee

If you’re thinking of living in this landlocked state in the U.S. South, you are in for many benefits. Tennessee has much to offer to those who desire comfortable, exciting, yet affordable living. Here are the advantages of living here:

  1. Tennessee’s climate across its four seasons is quite mild and makes for very comfortable living. Winters are not nearly as cold as up north, and summers are not as humid as the more southern states. Many prefer the warmer climates of Tennessee.
  2. The state has lots of attractions to offer. Remember, it’s the birthplace of country music and home to the roots of soul, blues, gospel, and rock ‘n’ roll; Tennessee lives and breathes music. From natural scenic vistas, historical and cultural sites to a myriad of recreational options and dining experiences, there is no lack of things to do.
  3. Tennessee offers a lower cost of living (87.6 vs. 100 US average). It is the ninth-cheapest state in America. For housing, groceries, and transportation, it is cheaper than the US average. In fact, a single adult with a living wage of $22,369 can live comfortably in Tennessee. Also, property taxes are lower here compared to the US average. Tennessee also has no income tax.

What is the Weather Like in Tennessee?

Tennessee, USA, Tree

Tennessee’s hottest month is July, around 88 degrees; its coldest and snowiest month is January, at 27 degrees. 4 months have significant snowfall. The state averages 53 inches of rain a year, compared to the US average of 38 (May is the wettest month), and gets 5 inches of snow a year, versus the US average of 28 inches.

Tennessee experiences 116 days of precipitation per year versus 106 of the US. On average, there are slightly more sunny days per year in Tennessee, 207 versus the US’s 205.

According to Tennessee’s annual BestPlaces Comfort Index of 7.3 (10=best), it means it’s more comfortable than many other states in the United States. September, May, and October are the best months in Tennessee, while January and December are the least.

The Tennessee weather is sub-tropical and humid. The Appalachian Mountains have a different climate – temperate or continental that is humid. The mountains are cooler, with lower temperatures than the lowlands. The Gulf of Mexico greatly influences Tennessee’s weather, and the winds coming in from the south influence the rainfall that Tennessee gets every year.

Where Is the Coldest Place in Tennessee? How About the Hottest?

Mountain City, in Johnson County, is the coldest place in Tennessee, being the northeastermost county of the state. It averages 13.5 inches of snow six days a year. It has an elevation of 2,418 feet and an estimated 2019 population of 2,437. It’s approximately 123 miles from Knoxville.

Bristol is the next coldest place; its winters are long, very cold, windy, and mostly cloudy. It’s located in Sullivan County.

The hottest place in Tennessee is Memphis.

What Place Has the Nicest Weather in Tennessee?

The Great Smokey Mountain Wheel, Pigeon Forge

The nicest weather in Tennessee is where people take their summer vacations to escape the heat and humidity the state is famous for. Open spaces, majestic mountains, and shimmering lakes and rivers create the nicest weather conditions that are inviting even in Tennessee’s not-so-harsh winters. In summer, they are the perfect get-away.

Pigeon Forge in eastern Tennessee, along the Great Smoky Mountains, has temperatures between 60 to 90 degrees, warm enough to wear lightweight clothing. Lebanon, north-central Tennessee, east of Nashville, doesn’t have lakes or major rivers but has many marinas. Kingston’s biggest summer draw is its location on the Watts Bar Lake in Roane County in eastern Tennessee. Maryville, west of Pigeon Forge, is among the Smoky Mountains with the national forest on one side and Fort Loudoun Lake on the other. There’s also Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, and Knoxville.

Lake County is one of the best in the state for the climate. Located in the northwest corner of Tennessee, it’s the fifth-least populous county. The Mississippi River marks its western and northern borders, and Reelfoot Lake its northeastern side. It’s a refuge for anglers, boaters, birdwatchers, and lovers of nature.

Tennessee Cost of Living – What City Has the Lowest?

The three top affordable cities to live in are Chattanooga, Johnson City, and Clarksville. Include also La Follette and Murfreesboro. For example, the cost of living in Chattanooga is 83.8 versus 100 US on average. The cost of groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, and miscellaneous costs is lower than the US average.

While in La Follette, the cost of living is 76.3 versus 100 of US average; even the cost of health is still lower than the US’s. In other words, compared to the rest of the country, La Follette’s cost of living is 23.7% lower. The median home value is around $87,500.

What’s the Most Expensive Place to Live in Tennessee?

The town where the rich live in Tennessee is Belle Meade, a suburb of Nashville with a population of 2,881. Median income is $195,000 and median home value is about $1,330,200.

Three of the state’s wealthiest cities are Nolensville, Brentwood, and Collierville, also include Germantown. Brentwood, for example, with a population of 42,407, has a median income of $168,688. An average home price in the town is around $1,111,507. Its unemployment rate is 2.6%, while the poverty rate is 2.5%. Germantown also shares similar unemployment and poverty rates; its population is 39,193, and median income is $118,163. The average price for a home is $510,145.

What Is the Safest City in Tennessee?

Brentwood, Tennessee

According to the National Council for Home Safety and Security, Brentwood is the safest city in Tennessee. It is also very wealthy. Brentwood is an upscale Nashville suburb (pop. 43,507) where many country music stars and professional athletes reside. It has the lowest crime rate at 10 per 1,000. Brentwood’s violent crime rate is 0.8 per 1,000, and the property crime rate is 9.26 per 1,000. Its citizen-to-officer ratio is 590.

Others following are Germantown (Memphis), Springhill (Nashville Metro Area), Franklin, with a population topping 80,000, boasts of crime rates well below the averages for a city of its size, and Gallatin with its well-staffed police force (the citizen-to-officer ratio is 362). These are some of the safest places to live in Tennessee.

What Is the Most Dangerous City in Tennessee?

The Birthplace of Rock and Roll landed as the most unsafe place in Tennessee as of 2020. The violent crime rate is over four times the national average (1,943 per 100,000). Property crime is at 6,406.

Despite this, the big city of Memphis is one of the most affordable places to live in. It’s a tourist destination of sorts for its excellent nightlife scene and attractions. It has great job opportunities and excellent quality of life for a good price.

Savannah is another crime-rich town. The violent crime rate is 1,162 per 100,000, over double the national average. The property crime rate is even higher. Another hot spot is Newport in Rhode Island, where the increasing drug addiction is keeping its law enforcement on its toes. High unemployment rates are also besetting the little town.

Where Should I Not Live in Tennessee?

These are the top places you should avoid (or aptly the worst cities or towns) when thinking of where to live or live in Tennessee. And here’s why.

  1. Covington – the public schools are some of the least funded in the state. Crime is far above average. The unemployment rate is 5.0% (49th highest in Tennessee). Many at or below the poverty line.
  2. Ripley – combined income is only $33,533 a year; 1 in 7.6 people without a job. Crime is the 22nd highest in Tennessee.
  3. Morristown – average family earns $32,193 a year; one-fourth of the population is below the poverty line. Crime is such that there’s a 1 in 20.9 chance of being robbed.
  4. La Follette – the unemployment rate is the highest in Tennessee (20.4%).
  5. Sweetwater – the unemployment rate is 8.1%, combined household income at $40,158 a year, close to the poverty line.
  6. Rockwood – the unemployment rate is 6.5%.
  7. McMinnville – lots of cheaper homes, but not a lot of demand to live here. Crime is above average.
  8. Millington – residents earn the 57th-lowest salaries in the state; not a lot of demand for homes.
  9. Bolivar has the 2nd worst unemployment rate in the state and the 32nd worst crime index. Though households have higher incomes, fewer people work here than in other cities across the state.
  10. Dyersburg – 5th highest crime rate in this big city, means more criminals per capita than anywhere else in Tennessee. Homes here are the second cheapest in the state of Tennessee.
  11. Athens – Athens is one the most dangerous cities in Tennessee. It was once at the top of the heap. With a population of just 13,879, it clocks at 835 violent crimes per capita.

What Are the Disadvantages of Living in Tennessee?

As with any state in the US, there are arguments for and against picking a state for purposes of living there. Tennessee presents its own drawbacks.


The crime rates in the major cities have already been tackled, and that’s one concern. While these places overflow with an abundance of culture, nightlife, music, and food, there is no lack of crime. However, these trouble spots are confined and can be avoided.


Traffic congestion can be pretty bad in Tennessee, especially in major cities. Nashville’s traffic can be daunting. It’s important to be mindful of this. Route 1-29 or known as “Tail of the Dragon,” can be a dangerous road despite it being along the scenic Great Smoky Mountains.

The Tennessee sun can be hot and intense in the summer. There are the worst months that one should prepare for.


Though not sitting on “Tornado Alley,” Tennessee gets visited by at least 30 tornados a year. The season peaks in February, March, and April and in the fall around November. It’s important to keep updated and heed warnings.


Another disadvantage of living in Tennessee is the overabundance of country music, which could be a con, as it is a pro. You see, it is weaved into the fiber of the culture here. But it can be an escape if you don’t like it. The music in Tennessee has, for some time, become diverse.

Though the state has its charms that can make up for any shortcomings, those intending to live in Tennessee can research their own and find safer neighborhoods.

What Is Tennessee Known For?

Man Playing Guitar, Nashville Tennessee

The state is best known for Nashville, a major hub for country and blues music, and the Grand Ole Opry, one of the greatest entertainment venues. 

It’s also known for Memphis, where Graceland is, the home of Rock & Roll King Elvis Presley, Tennessee’s most famous product of the 20th century. Memphis is also known for its unbeatable BBQ.

Tennessee’s best-known museum – the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum – gets more than 1 million visitors a year.

The Smokies

Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park (aka The Smokies) is the most visited park in the entire country, known for its great hiking opportunities, breathtaking waterfalls, and unique wildlife.

The Tennessee Aquarium in Downtown Chattanooga is ranked among the best aquariums to visit in the US.

Famous People

Tennessee’s famous people born here include Davy Crockett, 19th-century folk hero, frontiersman, and soldier. Three US Presidents hail from Tennessee: Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson, as well as 45th US Vice President, Al Gore.

Famous entertainers are Elvis Presley; Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul; Dolly Parton, singer-songwriter, author, actress; Morgan Freeman, academy award-nominated actor, film director, and narrator; Tina Turner, Grammy-awarded singer; and Justin Timberlake and Miley Cyrus, pop icons.

Conclusion – Is Tennessee a Good Place to Live

We’ve covered some of the top questions about living in Tennessee. To review, here they are once more:

  1. What are the benefits of living in Tennessee?
  2. What is the weather like in Tennessee?
  3. What city in Tennessee has the lowest cost of living?
  4. What’s the most expensive place to live in Tennessee?
  5. What is the safest city in Tennessee?
  6. What are the disadvantages of living in Tennessee?
  7. What is Tennessee known for?

The climate is great, with mild year-round weather. Chattanooga is a top spot for Tennessee cost of living, and Brentwood is the safest. On the negative side, traffic can be quite bad, especially in the cities. You may also not be a fan of country music, or the music scene in general, since it is nearly everywhere.

With that said, Tennessee overall is a fantastic place to live. With so much to offer, you will surely fall in love with the state.

Kris Peter

A positive individual enjoying the journey, and always searching for adventure. I created Sunlight Living to help my parents (and eventually myself) prepare for retirement. About Kris

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