Is Moving To Knoxville TN a Good Idea in 2023?

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Is Knoxville a Good Place to Live

Last Updated: 4/ 11/ 2023

Knoxville, Tennessee, is often considered a place where people go to retire and get away from it all. It is a nice place to live, especially if you enjoy outdoor activities and a slower pace of life. However, there are many other things to love about this city.

The City of Knoxville provides a range of amenities for its residents, including parks, recreation, arts and culture, and an array of services for youth, seniors, and families.

According to a study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Knoxville is considered one of the best places to live in the United States. NAR’s analysis ranked Knoxville as the third best place to live in the country, which they defined as being safe, affordable, convenient, and vibrant.

This is an interesting little thought experiment about whether or not Knoxville is a good place to live, and I think I’m going to make my best effort to answer that question here.

What Makes Knoxville a Great Place to Live?

According to the city’s website, there are a few key indicators: affordability, quality of life, culture, access to health care, public transportation, the arts, and outdoor recreational activities.

One reason to live here is its proximity to many of the best things the U.S. has to offer.

Knoxville is located only six hours away from the major cities of Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, Dallas, New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis, and Kansas City. And with a population of nearly 200,000, the city has a vibrant downtown area and a lot to do.

Compared to other major metro areas in the U.S., Knoxville’s average home price is 30 percent cheaper than San Francisco, 40 percent less expensive than Chicago, and 50 percent less than New York City.

Quick Stats (US Census Bureau)

Median Home Price$335,283
Median Monthly Rent$864
Median Age40.6 years old
Average Annual Salary$47,740
Unemployment Rate6.5%
Average Commute24 mins
Average Low Temps69.5° F
Average High Temps48.76° F
Average Rainfall47.86 inches
Poverty Rate10.9%


Quality of Life6.2
Job Market5.8
Net Migration6.5

According to the 2016 Cost of Living Index from WalletHub, Knoxville has the best overall score among major U.S. cities. However, there are some specific categories where Knoxville is ranked highly, such as weather, quality of life, affordability, crime, and public schools.

Knoxville ranked #1 in the best weather category, with its residents enjoying a whopping 17.9 inches of annual rainfall and a median temperature of 68 degrees.

The weather also proved to be the least stressful in 2017. The second least stressful category was the lowest cost of living. Residents here pay just $8.76 per gallon for gas, the lowest of all major cities in the U.S., while the cost of food is also relatively inexpensive.

Pros of living in Knoxville, TN

1. Affordable Housing Options

As mentioned earlier, many people choose to move to Knoxville, Tennessee, because of its affordable housing options. Some cities may be able to offer more opportunities for affordable housing than others, but in Knoxville, the demand is extremely high.

Many families, students, and individuals can live in apartments in the city for as little as $1,000 per month. This affordable housing is ideal for many people who are working full time and have a family to take care of, and it is a great way to save money while living in a beautiful and historic city like Knoxville.

2. No Hurricanes or Tornados

Living in Knoxville, Tennessee, allows residents to avoid all the extreme weather that comes along with living in coastal regions like Florida and Georgia. But in Knoxville, residents also avoid any kind of disaster-related loss of life and property.

Residents of Knoxville enjoy all four seasons. While it may not experience much snow, Knoxville doesn’t experience any rain in the fall. So, you should expect some slow travel and business closures during this time.

3. A Low Cost of Living

The Knoxville, Tennessee, metro area has a very high quality of life. The local economy is growing, jobs are plentiful, and the cost of living is reasonable.

If you want to live in a city with a thriving local economy, a strong public education system, a highly educated workforce, and plenty of outdoor activities, you can’t beat Knoxville.

4. High-quality Public Schools

There may be plenty of reasons why Knoxvillians should consider relocating to a place like Knoxville, Tennessee. But if you ask any local about public schools, they’ll likely agree that the quality of education is one of the top reasons they moved here.

According to a 2012 report by The Partnership for Tennessee’s Future, Knoxville was ranked first in terms of overall school quality. Knoxville was also ranked first in four of the six quality indicators measured by the study.

Cons of living in Knoxville, TN

1. High Crime Rate

It’s no secret that there are a few bad parts of living in Tennessee, but the high crime rate is probably the most alarming.

A 2015 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics stated that Knoxville had the highest violent crime rate in the country. Knoxville is known for being home to the University of Tennessee, so many students come into the city, making it an even more dangerous place.

2. No Great Public Transportation System

Knoxville, TN’s no. 1 negative, according to a study conducted by NerdWallet, is its lack of public transportation options.

This means that people who need to go far distances to get to a particular destination (more than 30 miles away) must spend hours getting there on their own. As a result, people are forced to drive their own cars.

It doesn’t take long to realize why, though. The city is just 30 miles from Chattanooga, but it takes about 1 hour to drive from Knoxville to Chattanooga on I-75. For some, a half hour to an hour is too long, especially if they don’t have to make more than a single trip. Some may also be unwilling to pay for car services such as Uber and Lyft.

3. Knoxville Summers Are Sweltering

There are several reasons why Knoxville, Tennessee, is a miserable place to live during the summer. The city is prone to record-setting heat, humidity, and high temperatures.

The summers are notoriously dry, with very little rain and some of the hottest days in the country. All of this makes it almost impossible to enjoy the outdoors. As a result, people tend to spend more time inside.

4. Air and Water Pollution

The most obvious negative consequence of living in the Smoky Mountains is the pollution of the area’s air and water.
Residents of Knoxville are frequently exposed to high levels of air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, lead, arsenic, and mercury, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Air pollution from power plants, coal-fired utilities, oil refineries, and chemical manufacturers contributes to this issue.


What Part of Knoxville is Best to Live in?

There are many great parts of Knoxville to live in. If you’re looking for a quieter neighborhood or a big city, then you’d want to consider living in North Knoxville or West Knoxville. If you’re looking for a more urban vibe, then East Knoxville is probably the best option.

Is Knoxville Culturally Diverse?

Yes, Knoxville is culturally diverse, with a rich history that dates back hundreds of years. It has a large student population, a thriving art and theatre scene, and a booming music and food stage. The city has a vibrant downtown area with many historic buildings, parks, and a beautiful riverfront.

Is Knoxville a Good Place to Retire?

Yes, Knoxville is a great place to retire. The community is friendly and offers lots of activities for retirees. It’s a great place to meet new people and explore the great outdoors. Plus, it has easy access to everything you might need and plenty of great healthcare services and senior centers.

Wind Up

Knoxville offers many amenities that residents enjoy. The city has been ranked as one of the top happiest cities in Tennessee. The low cost of living and the mild weather makes this city an attractive choice. If you are looking for a good place to live, you should consider moving to Knoxville.


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