The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Atlanta

If you’re considering a move to Atlanta, get ready to enjoy reasonable costs of living and mild winters alongside hectic traffic and summer’s hot humidity.
Written by Melanie Krieps Mergen
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
If you’re considering a move to
, you’ll enjoy reasonable costs of living and mild winters, but you’ll have to contend with hectic traffic and summer’s hot humidity. 
, has plenty of claims to fame. It has historical significance due to its prominence during the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, and the vibrant local culture has served as a breeding ground for music, food, and art for decades and is still going strong. It also happens to be the birthplace of Coca-Cola. 
It’s no wonder so many people want to call Atlanta home! Courtesy of
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, and
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, here’s what to know if you’re considering a move to The Big Peach.
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What you need to know about Atlanta before you move

Atlanta covers a sprawling 136.3 square miles, and nearly half a million people call it home—but should you? As you’re weighing your options, here are some important factors to consider.

1. The cost of living is relatively average

Atlanta’s cost of living index is 107.5, which makes it just slightly higher than the national average. 
The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Atlanta is about $1,800 per month, but that can vary depending on what neighborhood you’re living in. One-bedrooms in Peachtree Center and Buckhead Forest can go for about $2,300 per month while you might be able to find one in East Lake for $1,100.
It could be difficult to find an apartment that’s proportional to your income. If you aim to put 30% of your salary toward your rent, you need to make about $75,000 or more to rent an average one-bedroom apartment in Atlanta. With a median income of $64,179, this can be a challenge. Consider
living with a roommate
to cut down on rent costs—two- and three-bedrooms can commonly cost $2,400 to $2,800 per month.
On the bright side, Atlanta’s healthcare cost index is 90.8, making it nearly 10% lower than the national average.
Other costs of living are fairly average compared to the normal American city. Expect to pay about $5 for a cappuccino or $6 for a pint of beer. A Big Mac in Atlanta costs $9, and a gallon of milk at the grocery store could cost $4 to $5.

2. There are plenty of jobs across plenty of industries

The job market in Atlanta is pretty strong—and it’s growing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that, as of April 2022, employment numbers rose by 184,100 over the last year—a 6.7% increase compared to the national average of 4.6%.
Atlanta has one of the highest numbers of Fortune 500 company headquarters in the country, just behind
New York
, and
Atlanta commonly finds itself on top 10 lists as one of the best cities for job seekers. Not only that, but the job pool itself is pretty diverse, with top industries ranging from professional and business services to education and health services to trade, transportation, and utilities. So, depending on your line of work, you could have a good number of job prospects in Atlanta.

3. Certain crimes have been on the rise

If you’re considering moving to Atlanta, be aware that rising crime has been a problem. Violent crime rates in Atlanta are higher than they were in the years preceding the pandemic.
Aggravated assault
reports in 2021 exceeded 2,500, a 9% increase from the year before.
One of the most frequent crime offenses in Atlanta is auto theft, with 3,000+ reported incidents each in 2020 and 2021. If you drive a car, it is important to make sure your
car insurance
policy gives you adequate protection against theft. 

4. Big changes are coming from the Atlanta BeltLine project

Atlanta’s multi-faceted
BeltLine project
means plenty of exciting things for the city in the coming years. The urban redevelopment program aims to make Atlanta more sustainable, equitable, and inclusive.
Affordable housing units, added green spaces, walking trails, public art exhibitions, and added rail transit routes are just some of the projects underway.

5. Driving in Atlanta can be hectic

Atlanta residents can be quick to complain about the city’s frequent and infamous traffic congestion (and having to share the road with other hot-headed drivers). When trying to find your way around town, it doesn’t always help that the names of 70+ roads in Atlanta contain some form of the word “Peachtree”!
Considering the city’s sprawling space, driving a car will often still be your best option, especially if you need to go somewhere that’s not within convenient proximity to a public transit stop. That makes budgeting for a vehicle important—especially when it comes to car insurance since average
insurance costs for drivers in Atlanta
are the national average at about $3,500 annually.
Outside driving, you could use a bike to get around, as well as the
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA
)’s rail, bus, and streetcar public transit options. More improvements are on the way, thanks to additional transit routes to be added as part of the city’s
BeltLine project

6. Atlanta is a foodie’s dream come true

Atlanta’s food scene has a great mix of diverse restaurants that keep both locals and tourists coming back for more! Whether you’re looking for great breweries, Mediterranean, Japanese, Ethiopian, barbeque, Thai, or Italian food, Atlanta probably has it.
The food scene has grown quite a bit in recent years. With both standard Atlanta favorites and a rising number of popup and underground restaurants, you’ll never run out of places to eat!  

7. Winters can be mild in Atlanta

Atlanta’s humid subtropical climate means you’ll want to prepare for hot, humid summers with temperatures that can linger in the 80s and 90s. 
On the flip side, you could also enjoy much milder winters in Atlanta compared to other parts of the country. While it does snow on occasion in Atlanta—and be prepared for traffic disruptions when it does—it typically only amounts to about 3 inches each year. Winter temperatures can generally range from the 30s to the 50s.
Also, it might not snow much in Atlanta, but you can expect 45 to 50 inches of rainfall annually!

Does Atlanta live up to its stereotypes?

Atlanta’s ever-evolving demographics mean you can’t put this city in a box. Overall, if you can handle the hot, humid weather and extra time spent in traffic, Atlanta is a great choice for its reasonable costs of living, solid job market, impressive art, exciting culture, and tasty food.
Ready to make a move to Atlanta? Keep reading for more tips on finding a place to live and how to prepare for that move.

Finding a place to live in Atlanta

When picking a place to live in Atlanta, you should consider housing costs, traffic, and nearby amenities. Also, think about whether you plan to
buy or rent your home
and whether you’re looking for a family-friendly neighborhood with good schools. The median home price in Atlanta, as of May 2022, is about $398,000 compared to the national average of $349,000.
Depending on what you’re looking to do in your free time, you might also find it tempting to look for a neighborhood with great food or an active arts scene.
To get started on your search, make a list of what you’re looking for in your ideal neighborhood, then compare housing costs in neighborhoods that offer this and see whether they align with your budget.
Better yet, spend some time in the neighborhood yourself if you can to get a sense of whether the atmosphere is right for you.
As you’re exploring Atlanta’s neighborhoods and their offerings, here are some to consider:
  • Most iconic neighborhoods: Buckhead, Peachtree Heights, Midtown, Cabbagetown
  • Best neighborhoods if you’ve got kids: Collier Hills North, Lake Claire, Woodfield
  • Best neighborhoods for foodies: Underwood Hills, Buckhead, Westside Provisions
  • Best neighborhoods to buy a house: Hanover West, Woodfield, Cross Creek
  • Most affordable neighborhoods: Bakers Ferry, Rebel Valley Forest, Swallow Circle/Baywood

Moving to Atlanta checklist 

Once you’ve found the right place to call home in the right neighborhood, it’s time to get moving preparations underway! As you do so, don’t forget to cross these steps off your moving to-do list.

Before you go

Before you start your move, make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to properly plan crucial steps and make the transition as smooth as possible. That includes:

After you get there

Once you’ve arrived at your new Atlanta home, it might take a little while to
settle in
. Here are a few things you’ll want to take care of:
  • If you’ve moved to Atlanta from out of state, remember to
    re-register your car
    in Georgia and
    update your car insurance
  • Get to know your new city—this is what you’ve been waiting for! Get a feel for your neighborhood’s offerings and start building your list of go-to parks, shops, and restaurants. 

How to save on car, renters, and home insurance in Atlanta

Wherever you live in Atlanta, it’s going to be essential that you and your belongings are protected by the right insurance. If you drive, that’s going to include car insurance, as well as your homeowners or renters insurance policy. No matter what kind of insurance coverage you’re looking for, the
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The answer to this question will largely depend on what you’re looking for in the city you’ll call home. Some big pluses of living in Atlanta are its relatively reasonable cost of living, a solid job market, mild winters, and a diverse food scene. 
On the flip side, you’ll need to deal with hot, humid summers and frequently congested traffic.
How much you’ll spend on moving costs for relocating to Atlanta is largely going to depend on the
distance of your move
and whether you’re hiring professional movers or moving your belongings yourself. Depending on these and other factors, you could expect to spend anywhere from $100 to several thousand dollars on moving costs.
How much you’ll need to earn in Atlanta to live comfortably will depend on your lifestyle and the size of your household, but if you aimed to put 30% of your salary toward your rent, you’d likely need to make about $75,000 or more to live in an average one-bedroom apartment in Atlanta.
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