Are you considering moving to Nashville, TN? This exciting city is one of the largest in the Southeast with rich history, exciting nightlife, a great job market, and excellent education opportunities – all with a low cost of living! Nashville is famous for country music with the Country Music Hall of Fame, Music Row district, and dozens of honky tonk bars that have earned it the nickname Music City. It’s also known as the Athens of the South thanks to its many universities.
Nashville was named for a Revolutionary War general, Francis Nash, and founded in 1779. During the Civil War, the city seceded from the United States with Tennessee, but it was the first capital of the Confederacy to fall to Union troops. The city struggled for years with racial violence and issues related to the “Lost Cause of the Confederacy.” It was also the site of many demonstrations, protests, and riots related to civil rights during the 1960s and 1970s with tension slowly improving after the passage of civil rights legislation by Congress.
Nashville’s history over the last 100 years has also revolved around its music culture. Traditional country music, which began from Appalachian folk music and transformed into bluegrass, took on the famous Nashville Sound during the 1950s. The polished Nashville sound still dominates country music today.
Nashville has more to offer residents than music. Here’s why you’ll love living in Nashville!
Table of Contents
Nashville Population & Demographics
The population of Nashville is 689,447 according to the 2020 Census. Nashville is a consolidated city-county and includes six smaller municipalities using a two-tier system. The consolidated population is 716,000 within 526 square miles with a population density of 1,368 people per square mile.
Where is Nashville? Nashville is located in the Nashville Basin on the Cumberland River in Davidson County. It’s the county seat, the most populous city in Tennessee, and the state capital. It’s also the 3rd largest city in the Southeast. Here’s how far Nashville is from other major cities:
- Chattanooga: 133 miles
- Louisville, KY: 176 miles
- Knoxville: 180 miles
- Memphis: 212 miles
- Gatlinburg: 220 miles
- Atlanta, GA: 248 miles
The racial and ethnic composition of Nashville is 63.5% white, 27.6% Black or African American, 10.5% Hispanic of any race, and 3.7% Asian.
Nashville’s diverse job market and affordability has made it a popular destination for immigrants. Major immigrant groups in Nashville include: Vietnamese, Mexicans, Kurds, Laotians, Somalis, and Arabs. The city is home to America’s largest Kurdish population (15,000). It’s also home to a large American Jewish community.
For every 100 adult females, there are 92 males. Nashville has a median age of 34. About 33% of people living in Nashville have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
The city has had its share of famous residents! Famous Nashville natives include Duane and Gregg Allman (the Allman Brothers) and actress Miley Cyrus. Famous musicians who lived in Nashville include Willie Nelson, Little Richard, Patsy Cline, Peter Frampton, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Cash, and Loretta Lynn.
What Is the Cost of Living in Nashville?
Can I afford to live in Nashville? Here’s what to expect when moving to Nashville in terms of cost.
The Nashville cost of living index is 98.5. That means the average cost of living in Nashville is 1.5% below the national average. Healthcare is very affordable in the city and most living expenses are close to average, although home prices have been rising dramatically! As you’ll see in the next section, rent is right at the national average but average home prices in Nashville have hit $400,000.
The median household income in Nashville is $46,141or $56,377 for a family. Median household income in the Nashville metro area has increased almost 38% in the past 10 years. However, median rent has gone up 46% while median home prices have increased over 53%.
Nashville Typical Living Expenses
Here’s what you’ll pay for common items while living in Nashville.
- Steak (1lb ribeye): $12.57
- Milk (half-gallon): $1.94
- Eggs (one dozen): $1.19
- Beer (six-pack of Heineken): $9.47
- Movie ticket: $12.20
- Average utility bill in Nashville: $160.74
Nashville Tax Rates
Don’t overlook taxes, a big factor in the cost of living in Nashville, Tennessee.
Nashville property taxes for 2022 are $2.953 (General Services District) and $3.288 (Urban Services District) per $100 in assessed value. In more urban areas, you’ll pay a higher property tax rate that was subject to a controversial 34% hike in 2020. Note that the assessed value of your home is 25% of the appraised value. You can use this property tax calculator to estimate your taxes.
The Nashville sales tax rate is 9.250%. This includes the 7% Tennessee sales tax plus 2.25% for Davidson County.
Fortunately, Tennessee has no income tax for wages and salaries.
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Nashville, TN Real Estate – Average Rent & Home Prices
Are you planning to rent while living in Nashville or are you interested in buying a home? It’s important to know what to expect from the Nashville housing market.
The Nashville real estate market was ranked the hottest in the U.S. for 2022! Between July 2020 and 2022, home prices in Tennessee rose a record 21%. Its affordability, central location, and great economy have all contributed to the rise in demand for homes in Nashville. The rental market has experienced similar gains. Nashville was one of the top markets for rental growth in 2022, a trend expected to continue thanks to low unemployment and a diverse and growing job market.
Because Nashville has one of the fastest real estate markets in the country, demand is high and supply is low. Expect homes to sell quickly so put in your best offer but be prepared to shop for homes for sale in Nashville for some time!
How much should you expect to pay? The average home price in Nashville is $400,000, up 16% year-over-year, and $236/square foot. As a renter, you’ll pay $1,581 average rent in Nashville, right about the national average. Of course, the neighborhood matters a lot. Some of the most expensive neighborhoods where average rent is over $2,000 include Music Row, Midtown, Downtown Nashville, Fisk, the Gulch, and Burton Valley. Areas like Germantown, Hillsboro Village, and Belle Meade are still expensive at around $1,800 per month.
More affordable areas include 12 South, Charlotte Park, Bellevue, East End, Five Points, and Cleveland Park. If you’re looking for the most affordable neighborhoods in Nashville that are still safe and fun, look around East Nashville!
Great Nashville Neighborhoods – Best Places to Live in Nashville
One of the most exciting things about moving to Nashville is deciding where to live! There are dozens of neighborhoods to explore, each with their own personality and lifestyle. Whether you’re looking for exciting urban living, a quiet neighborhood good for families, or close proximity to outdoor recreation, here are the best areas to live in Nashville.
Downtown – Best Place to Live in Nashville for Millennials & Young Professionals
The only thing Downtown Nashville lacks is great shopping. Everything else is just a short walk away! This is the most exciting neighborhood in Nashville with music, nightlife, and entertainment around every corner. There are over 15,000 people living in downtown with 7,500 additional units ready by 2024. It’s the most walkable neighborhood in Nashville with museums, parks, music, dining, sporting venues, and more within 1.8 square miles.
One of the most iconic places to live is 505 Nashville, a luxury building with rental apartments and condos for sale. Check out that view!
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12South – Charming Residential Neighborhood Popular with Families
Popular with young families, first-time buyers, and artists, 12South was once a blighted area and is today home to designer boutiques, fine restaurants, and quirkly shops. It’s also one of the most walkable neighborhoods with plenty of restaurants, shops, and bars that are easy to reach. You’ll mostly only find single-family homes in the community with few rental properties.
East Nashville – One of the Safest Neighborhoods in Nashville
Looking for a safe place to live that still has plenty to see and do? East Nashville is just across the river from downtown and it’s mostly a residential area although there are several mixed-use areas on the main roads. East Nashville is popular with families and artists with historic homes, an eclectic feel, and some of the best restaurants in the city. You’ll find plenty of cocktail lounges, coffee shops, dive bars, and boutiques to explore.
There are several smaller neighborhoods in East Nashville like Cleveland Park, an up-and-coming and walkable urban area, Five Points which is packed with bars and eateries, and the East End, one of the most desirable Nashville neighborhoods and one of the safest.
Nashville Climate – What’s the Weather Like?
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Nashville has a humid subtropical climate with hot and humid summers and cool winters. Spring and fall are the longest seasons, a drawback if you have allergies. The average temperature in Nashville is 40°F in January and 81 °F in July. Due to the heat island effect, the downtown area can be up to 10 degrees hotter than outlying neighborhoods. About 139 days out of the year are over 80 degrees and 48 days are over 90. By comparison, only 7 days out of the year have a high temperature under 32 degrees.
While living in Nashville, you’ll experience frequent thunderstorms during the spring and fall. Tornadoes, hail, and high wind may also occur. Nashville annual rainfall is 49” – above average for the U.S. – but annual snowfall is only 4”.
Amazing Places to Eat – Top Restaurants in Nashville, TN
What food is Nashville known for? The Music City is known for its Southern barbecue, biscuits and gravy, and hot chicken. Nashville hot chicken, the city’s iconic dish, is a local specialty and an incredibly fiery fried chicken made by coating chicken with a blend of spices, deep-frying it, and serving it over white bread with pickles and a drizzle of hot sauce.
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Here are the best places to eat in Nashville to try these iconic foods and more.
- Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. Prince’s is the original hot chicken in Nashville and it’s not uncommon to see long lines at lunch. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack South, 5814 Nolensville Pike #110, Nashville, TN 37211 (615) 810-9388
- Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint. One of the best places for barbecue in the city, Martin’s is famous for its West Tennessee Whole Hog BBQ! Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, 410 4th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37201 (615) 288-0880
- Biscuit Love. Nothing says Southern like homemade buttermilk biscuits, and Biscuit Love is a must while living in Nashville with melt-in-your-mouth biscuits served with gravy and other toppings. Biscuit Love Gulch, 316 11th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203 (615) 490-9584
Top Things to Do in Nashville
Ready to explore fun things to do in Nashville? The city is known for its art, Southern culture, and, of course, its country music. You’ll find tons of live music venues and not just along Honky Tonk Highway! The city also offers rich cultural attractions, historical sites, and beautiful outdoor attractions. The Metro Board of Parks and Recreation manages more than 10,000 acres with 99 parks and greenways to explore!
Here’s a look at what to do in Nashville after you relocate.
Top Nashville Attractions
- Grand Ole Opry is the home of country music and Nashville’s most famous tourist attraction with weekly country music concerts.
- Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center is the premier destination in Nashville with a golf course, full-service spa, restaurant, events, and luxury hotel.
- Lower Broadway (or Honky Tonk Highway) is one of Nashville’s landmarks for live music. This row of honky tonks play live music from 10 am to 3 am. Think of it as Nashville’s Bourbon Street or the Las Vegas Strip.
- Nashville Zoo is the city’s top family-friendly attraction with a large playground and many habitats.
- Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery is home to the historic Greek-Revival Belle Meade Mansion, a former plantation, and a winery.
- Music Row is an historic area home to several musical attractions including RCA Studio B where Elvis recorded over 200 hits!
- Bridgestone Arena is Nashville’s largest arena and home to the NHL’s Nashville Predators.
- Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is one of the most famous Nashville landmarks and tells the story of American country music through exhibits and unique artifacts.
- Adventure Science Center is one of the best things to do in Nashville with kids! Explore 175+ interactive exhibits and enjoy hands-on learning covering biology, physics, and more.
- Johnny Cash Museum & Cafe is a striking brick museum with memorabilia and exhibits covering the life of Johnny Cash.
- The Parthenon is the most unique museum in Nashville. It’s a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Greece, a temple dedicated to Athena.
Entertainment & Arts
- Adventure Park at Nashville is an exciting adventure sports center with 100 challenges in an adventure course and ziplining.
- OZ Arts Nashville features visual arts and contemporary performing arts.
- Tennessee Performing Arts Center boasts three stages for dance, music, and drama performances and regular touring acts.
- Schermerhorn Symphony Center is home to the Nashville Symphony with touring and local performances of jazz, pop, and classical music.
- Ascend Amphitheater is a Live Nation open-air music venue on the river.
- Ryman Auditorium or the Mother Church of Country Music is the former home of the Grand Ole Opry and a music venue with daily tours and concerts.
Parks & Outdoor Attractions
- The Warner Parks – Edwin and Percy Warner Parks – are visited by 1 million people each year and offer 3,000+ acres of streams and wooded hills, 17 miles of hiking trails, scenic roads, and a learning center.
- Centennial Park is an exciting urban recreation area home to a band shell, large dog park, gardens, volleyball courts, the Parthenon museum, and the large Centennial Sportsplex.
- Radnor Lake State Park is a massive park and preserve with almost 1,400 acres, hiking, and wildlife viewing.
- Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is a beautiful urban park and outdoor venue in downtown Nashville that hosts frequent events.
- Topgolf is an exciting entertainment destination with golfing, an upscale sports bar with a lounge and games, and a restaurant.
- Opry Mills is a major regional outlet mall with over 200 shops plus dining and entertainment.
- The Mall at Green Hills is just outside downtown with more than 100 upscale stores and restaurants.
- Nashville West Shopping Center is a 750,000 SF shopping center with major retail anchors like Best Buy and Costco plus restaurants and a park.
Map of Nashville Points of Interest
Nashville Utilities & Tennessee Driver License Change of Address
Most utilities in Nashville are owned by the city aside from natural gas. Before moving to Nashville, be sure to set up utility accounts with the following providers.
- Nashville Electric Service
- Metro Water Services
- Piedmont Natural Gas (a Duke Energy subsidiary) provides natural gas in Nashville, TN
You’ll also want to get your Tennessee driver’s license or complete a Tennessee DMV change of address if moving within the state. Here’s how to change your address in Tennessee with the Department of Revenue Vehicle Services Division and TN Department of Safety Driver Services Division.
Note that you need to inform Driver Services within 10 days of changing your address. You can do this in person, using e-services, or at a self-service kiosk.
Sports in Nashville, TN
Is Nashville a good city for sports? If you’re a sports fan, this may be a big priority as you consider living in Nashville!
The city has 5 professional franchises including two minor league teams.
- Tennessee Titans (NFL) play at the Nissan Stadium
- Nashville Predators (NHL) play at the Bridgestone Arena
- Nashville SC (MLS) play at the Nissan Stadium
- Nashville Sounds are a Triple-A East team playing at First Horizon Park. This a new Minor League Baseball league.
- Music City Fire is a minor league arena football team.
2022 will bring great news for soccer fans in Nashville with the completion of the new Nashville Fairgrounds Stadium, a soccer-specific stadium and new home of the Nashville SC.
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Nashville Transportation – Major Highways, Airport & Public Transportation
Getting around Nashville and the surrounding region is easy thanks to the city’s network of highways and international airport. The city is at the crossroads of:
- I-40 to Memphis and Knoxville
- I-24 to Chattanooga and Clarksville
- I-65 to Louisville, KY and Huntsville, AL
After moving to Nashville, you will fly into and out of the city through Nashville International Airport (BNA), the 31st busiest airport in the country with 600 daily flights to 85 nonstop destinations.
Unfortunately, public transportation in Nashville is limited. The Metropolitan Transit Authority operates bus transit with a hub and spoke route design radiating out of the downtown station. Despite being a major freight hub, Nashville is not served by Amtrak. There is no light rail service in the metro area.
Crime in Nashville, TN – Is Nashville a Safe City?
Is Nashville a safe place to live? A good place to start is looking at the rate of crime in Nashville:
- 5,114 total crimes per 100,000 people (105% above the national average)
- 1,073 violent crimes per 100,000 people
- 4,041 property crimes per 100,000 people
How many murders are there in Nashville? The city has a murder rate of 12 homicides per 100,000 people. That compares to the national average of 5 per 100,000.
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When looking at the Nashville crime rate, you may believe that Nashville is dangerous. After all, it has property and violent crime rates well above the U.S. average. This is misleading, however. Most places in Nashville are very safe with crime concentrated in a handful of areas and easy to avoid.
For example, dangerous neighborhoods like Heron Walk, Haynes Area, and Glencliff have 200-300% more crime than the city average.
Nashville is also far safer than many cities in the region overall. Memphis has 8,030 crimes and 29 homicides per 100,000 people – far higher than Nashville with a similar population.
Nashville has a very diverse economy as a center for healthcare, technology, transportation, banking, and automotive industries. This balanced economy has helped it weather many storms better than the U.S. economy and other cities in the region.
Nashville ranked as the top city in America for economic growth in 2022 among all major metro areas. It’s also recently ranked as America’s fastest-growing metro economy with an average of 100 people a day added to its population in 2017.
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Healthcare in Nashville
Nashville is a major regional center for healthcare with a number of top-rated primary care facilities and hospitals. The best hospitals in Nashville include:
- Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the best hospital in Tennessee and one of the top 20 in the U.S. It’s nationally ranked in many specialties – 10 children’s and 9 adult specialties.
- TriStar Centennial Medical Center
- Ascension St. Thomas West Hospital
- St. Thomas Midtown Hospital
- Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, nationally ranked in 10 children’s specialties
Jobs in Nashville, TN – Average Salary & Top Employers
How much does it cost to live in Nashville? It helps to look at average salaries. The average salary in Nashville is $64,000 or $19.11 an hour according to Payscale. Wages recently trended upward 2.1% while the cost of living declined 3%. Here are average salaries for popular careers.
- Software engineer: $77,500
- Software developer: $69,500
- Office manager: $45,500
- Registered Nurse (RN): $27/hour
- Medical Assistant: $16/hour
Looking for career options ahead of moving to Nashville? You’ll find a wide range of rewarding job options in many sectors. Nashville has been ranked as one of the best cities for white collar jobs and the #1 metro area for business service and professional jobs by Forbes.
Best known for its country music, Nashville has many career options in the music production industry with guitar manufacturer Gibson headquartered here along with many record labels. Healthcare is a major industry with 300 healthcare companies in Nashville, the largest of which is Hospital Corporation of America, the biggest private hospital operator in the world.
You can also find many jobs in education with a number of universities and colleges in the area.
Major employers in Nashville include:
- Vanderbilt University Medical Center (careers)
- State of Tennessee (careers)
- Federal government
- HCA Healthcare (careers)
- Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (careers)
- Vanderbilt University
- Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County
- Ascension Saint Thomas
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Based on employee feedback on Glassdoor, the best places to work in Nashville include:
- Power Home Remodeling
- Marriott International
- Northwestern Mutual
Nashville Schools – Public Schools & Higher Education
While living in Nashville, you’ll be served by Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (Metro Schools), the Nashville school district, with 169 schools and enrollment of more than 85,000. The district’s Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School is ranked the 3rd best high school in Tennessee. About 15,000 students are enrolled in over a dozen private schools including University School of Nashville, one of the best private schools in the country!
Considering higher education? There are about 43,000 people enrolled in higher education in Nashville and its high number of universities and colleges has earned it the nickname “Athens of the South.” Nashville has many historically Black institutions like Tennessee State University and Fisk University as well as Vanderbilt University, one of the top research universities in the U.S. and known for its law and medical programs. Belmont University, a private Christian institution, is ranked #162 in the country with over 80 undergraduate degrees.
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Living in Nashville Pros & Cons
- Pro: The cost of living in Nashville is very low!
- Pro: Nashville has excellent private and public schools and many top-rated colleges and universities
- Pro: Great live music and entertainment
- Con: High crime in some neighborhoods
Now that you know more about the benefits of living in Nashville, is it the right city for you? If you have settled on making the Music City your home, the best Nashville movers are ready to help with full-service movers committed to exceeding your expectations!