So you want to move to a new state, and you're considering Georgia. Perhaps you’re in the "Is this the best totally life-altering decision for me?" phase of the process, and you've turned to us for help. It just so happens, friend, that you're in luck - we've put together a little guide to some of the main consideration points for people contemplating cross-country moves that is just as tasty as a Georgia peach.
For starters, you'll be joining about 10,545,138 other Georgians. Georgia is home to Atlanta, the most-populous major-metropolitan area in the country, and the ninth-largest metro area overall. In fact, Atlanta's international airport is the busiest in the world, according to USA Today.
If you're not a fan of busy, crowded, fast-paced cities, however, you're still in luck - Georgia has something for everybody. The state also features plenty of national and state parks chock-full of natural beauty, loyal sports fans, plenty of museums and historical sites and all kinds of festivals.
No matter where you choose to move in Georgia, make sure you're covered with an affordable home insurance policy. Read on to discover if this just may be the place where you'll find "your tribe."
Data from the U.S. Census states that more than 90,000 people per year move to the Atlanta area alone. In fact, Atlanta has remained first on the list of "Top Moving Destinations in the U.S." for six years now, according to data compiled by Penske Truck Rentals and CNN Money. So, what is it that people do here?
Well, Georgia is home to 18 Fortune 500 companies, with industries ranging from textiles to mining. Some of the fastest-growing job fields include nursing, physical therapy, medical assistance, interpreting/translating, web development and public transportation.
The federal minimum wage is also the rate in Georgia - $7.25/hour, according to minimum-wage.org. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the current unemployment rate is just 4.4%.
Some of the highest-paying jobs in the state are in the medical and computer science fields. If the medical, communication or computer science industries are what get you really jazzed, you may want to plan your exodus to the Empire State of the South sooner rather than later.
Chances are that a big piece of your giant moving puzzle will be made up of a new place to live. As far as home pricing goes, the current value of homes in Georgia is $225,800, with the median listing price of homes on the market being $310,000. The average rent is $1,700/month, while rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $1,200/month.
Fans of new construction are really in luck, too - the decade when most existing homes were built is 2000 to 2010. There's also a metric crapload of new construction popping up all over the state, mainly in the Northwest, in and surrounding Atlanta, followed by the area along the southeast border, in and around Savannah.
So odds are good that you can find a new home at an affordable price, and also will have plenty to choose from. Fire up your decision-making burners and head on down.
Culture and Natives
We want to spare you from reputation-destroying embarrassment after making your move, so we'll offer up the following advice to get you started:
"Locals don’t pronounce their state’s capital 'At-lan-tah', it’s just 'At-lan-a'. Incorrect pronunciation is one of the easiest ways to pick out a visitor to the state. Also, it’s important that out-of-towners know that no one really says 'Hotlanta' anymore."
Other than judging you harshly on how you speak, locals in the Peach State describe themselves as warm and friendly, with that sweet southern charm and hospitality. They pride themselves on making people feel welcome and sharing their delicious pecan pie, peach cobbler or chicken and waffles (washed down with a tall glass of sweet tea with lemon).
"The culture in Georgia is as extremely differing as its geographical landscapes - with far right Republicans challenging left-leaning, and cloud-topped mountains contrasting with marshlands infested with alligators."
Georgians like to live at a slower pace, preferring to appreciate life rather than letting it pass them by. They pride themselves on their "smooth-talking wit" and wisdom and their "stunning grace." They're also very knowledgeable about their state's history, and proud of it. They're even likely to smile and hold a door for you.
You'll be saying "y'all" in no time after moving here, and referring to others as "sir" or "ma'am" out of respect. You'll also have to adjust to waitstaff and other residents referring to all types of soda as "Coke."
The state is responsible for giving the U.S. several big-impact, highly-intelligent and successful historical figures: civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter. The state offers historical sites for both Jimmy Carter and MLK Jr., where visitors can see their birthplaces, childhood homes and other meaningful landmarks from their lives.
It's surprising that the Peach State is actually not the nation's top producer of peaches - it's the third-largest - behind California and South Carolina. It is, however, the nation's top producer of both pecans and peanuts. That's nuts.
Georgia is also considered one of the birthplaces of NASCAR. As if that's not enough excitement, the people here will deep-fry anything and everything, including their veggies. That's right, deep-fried okra is a thing - and apparently it's a delicious one. We also understand that you can't walk more than a couple blocks without seeing a Waffle House. Mmm, smells like southern spirit.
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Can't-Miss Georgia Fun + Activities
Though we're sure you're already stoked about the Empire State of the South, we're going to throw even more excitement your way with a list of some of Georgia's most-fun happenings.
Here are just a few of the state's highly anticipated attractions:
- World of Coca Cola: Invented by chemist Dr. John Pemberton in 1866, Coke was originally a syrup used to relieve headaches. When it married its two long-lost loves - citric acid and sugar - it evolved into its fully realized version as the most popular soda in history. The World of Coca Cola museum showcases the history of the company. Arrive thirsty for knowledge.
- Jekyll Island: Bought by a group of millionaires from the East Coast who called themselves the Jekyll Island Club, Jekyll Island, AKA Millionaires' Island, was sold to the state of Georgia in 1947 to be used as a state park. It now features campsites, golf courses, beaches and nature trails.
- CNN Center: Here's some breaking news for you: the HQ of CNN is located in Atlanta. And this just in - the center features a ride on a huge escalator and guided tours, and houses the main newsrooms and studios for several of CNN's news channels.
- Atlanta Botanical Garden: This beautiful garden showcases impressive, jaw-dropping displays of giant plants sculpted into different types of animals, fruits, mythical creatures and ladies. As if that weren't enough reason to buy your tickets ASAP, they also hold concerts and offer a wide variety of classes including beekeeping, Tai Chi, art and gardening. Sign us up.
- "Walking Dead" tours: The most famous current pop culture reference from Georgia is, of course, AMC's megahit “The Walking Dead.” The show is filmed in the town of Senoia, and a dedicated tour group will be thrilled to guide you through several locations showcased on the series. Practice your zombie shuffle and perfect your zombie moans just in case you need to blend in - should you run into the real thing.
Pros and Cons of Living in the Peach State
We know that sweet tea, southern hospitality and all-things deep-fried are calling your name already, but slow down, Jeff Gordon. Before you throw all your possessions into the trunk and take off on the road while practicing your new (fabricated) southern accent, you may want to take a peek at some pluses and minuses of moving to the Peach State.
Here are some inspiring PROs of living here:
- Eating all day: For Georgians, lunch consists of tiny snacks, while dinner is a full meal served at mid-day, and "supper" is a huge evening feast. The people here love their food so much that they've found an excuse to eat it all day long.
- Ah-mazing nature: Fans of all types of nature will find their personal happy place here. Georgia features not just the beautiful Botanical Garden, but also several beaches, swamps and forests, including the Chattahoochee National Forest. Pack your camera and your walking shoes or sandals.
- Art: Georgians are crazy for art. The state is home to several art museums, including the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Atlanta even hosted a Bridgescape Competition in 2015 to inspire a more eye-catching creative expression for two freeway overpasses in the city's midtown and downtown districts.
- Sports: Residents of the Peach State are serious about their sports. Between the Atlanta Falcons, the Atlanta Braves, the Atlanta Hawks, the Georgia Bulldogs and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, there's really something for fans of all sports genres here.
- Festivals: There are festivals of all shapes, sizes and varieties here - music, seasonal, art, film, beer, culinary - you name it. A couple of the most famous and well-attended are Dragon Con, Summerfest and the Atlanta Film Festival. In summary, if it's a thing you like, Georgia probably has a festival for it.
And here are some head-shaking CONs of living here:
- Humidity: The Georgia sun can make you soak through your shirt in mere minutes on a hot, cloud-free day. Locals recommend that out-of-towners pack extra clothing for visits - you'll need it. It's also said that residents don't care how far a parking space is from their destination, as long as it's in the shade. They'd rather get the extra exercise and not risk second-degree burns from the steering wheel later on.
- Pollen is the new yellow: As in, this place has so much pollen that it coats everything in the color, every year. We're talking cars, rooftops, sidewalks, lakes, pet dogs and your last three newspapers that you thought weren't delivered.
- Mosquitoes: Just as fast as Georgians are biting into their delicious deep-fried goodies, pesky, bloodthirsty mosquitoes are biting into them. Locals joke that the pests might as well be named their official state bird, they're so common.
- Traffic: Being as Atlanta is a major-metropolitan area with so much to see and do (as you know now), it naturally draws a boatload of traffic to, and around, itself. Don't forget about the busiest international airport in the world being here, either. If you think traffic is bad where you live now (and it very well may be), the Peach State may be just far too peopley for you.
What moving guide would be complete without a list of crazy-stupid, disbelief-inducing laws? Not this one, that's for sure. That's why we've compiled a few of the wackiest examples for you to laugh at, and share with your friends.
Here are a few:
- It's illegal to keep a donkey in a bathtub. Seriously, don't do it - or you'll be the one who's an ass.
- You cannot live on a boat for more than 30 days per calendar year. Consecutively or not, that level of relaxation is just not allowed here. "Slower pace of life," huh? Pfft.
- Goldfish may not be given away to entice someone into a game of bingo in Athens-Clarke County. Man - how else are we supposed to convince anyone to play with us?
- Mules may not roam around unsupervised in the city of Athens. No matter how well-behaved yours may be.
- Those under 16 may not play pinball after 11 p.m. in Athens-Clarke County. One way of keeping those meddling hoodlums from causing a ruckus is to enforce a strict gaming curfew.
- It's illegal to use profanity in front of a dead body in a funeral home. You'll have to think of a more creative, less colorful way to express your anger at the impermanence of life.
- Signs must be written in English. Por qué?!
Peach State, Here We Come
Well folks, there it is: the travel-sized guide of super-important items of contemplation for potential cross-country movin' - peruse it at your leisure. We realize that we can't cram everything you may want to know in here, but we aspire to provide you with some basic goodies to get your mental gears a'turnin’. Just make sure you're covered with an affordable home insurance policy.
Of course, only you will know if you're meant to be one of many in the Peach State to enjoy the southern hospitality, the endless supply of mouth-watering food, the art, the history and the (famous) zombies. We've had a blast putting all this peachy trivia together for you, and hope you've enjoyed soaking it in.
Good luck - and don't forget to pack your mosquito repellent.