The COVID-19 pandemic has made people think about their priorities and prompted moves to new areas and adventures. Southern small towns have grown by around 6% in population since 2010. Urban areas have also seen a boom — and a few of them rise above the rest to claim the title of being one of the most popular Southern cities to move to.

The Most Popular Southern Cities to Move to This Year

Here are The Top Southern Cities to Move to in 2021:

1. Austin, Texas

With a population of nearly 1 million in 2019, Austin, Texas, is far from a small town. Under the assumption that the United States average cost of living is 100, Austin’s cost of living is nearly 120. Much of the difference results from housing prices, where Austin is 50 points above the national average.

Still, you may find that Austin, Texas is worth moving to. With the idea that it’s the next Silicon Valley, people seem to be flocking to it in droves. An opportunity to capitalize on what could be the next big city has driven individuals from all backgrounds toward Austin despite the high cost of living. It’s a technological hub with a booming population. The supply of houses is low since so many people are moving in, but if you’re lucky, you may be able to find something worth your while.

2. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina, is a city rich with history and endless opportunities. The population was only around 135,000 in 2019, making it seem minuscule compared to Austin. Thanks to higher grocery and housing prices, the cost of living is around 11 points above the national average.

Charleston is a historic town right on the water. It has a slower pace than Austin, so it’s popular with people who enjoy big cities but want to slow down and enjoy the mild weather. The local economy is only getting better, with the promise of more job opportunities and ways to build a future on the horizon.

3. Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona, is possibly the largest city on this list at 1.6 million residents, and for good reason. Half of all properties listed on the market go under contract within five days of being posted, so it’s a good idea to make an offer once you see a house you love. This booming city is just three points above the national average, making it an excellent place to live so you can enjoy below-average costs of health care and groceries.

Most of the people migrating to Phoenix are working-age millennials. They come for the job opportunities but stay for the manageable cost of living. It’s a hub for sports and art, meaning just about anyone will find something they love after relocating to Phoenix. 

4. Raleigh, North Carolina

With nearly 465,000 residents in 2019, Raleigh, North Carolina, is the capital of its state and rivals Charlotte in opportunity. With the cost of living just two points above the national average, you can rest assured that your paycheck will go just as far in Raleigh as most other major Southern Cities. It’s also 12 points over the average cost of the state, though this could be attributed to the wealth-creating jobs in the area.

Located in Research Triangle Park, Raleigh is a huge, fast-growing home for STEM jobs. Plenty of top-tier colleges thrive in the Raleigh area, drawing families and students and encouraging them to stay in the area after graduation. Since it’s a hub for business and culture, many people find Raleigh to be a convenient place to live — not to mention it’s only a short drive from the beach and the mountains.

5. Orlando, Florida

Many people consider Orlando, Florida, the perfect place to vacation, but it’s also a popular place to live. It has around 280,000 residents, and the cost of living is just four points over the national average. Health care here costs less than most places in the United States, which is ideal given the steady population of elderly folks.

Orlando may have many draws for tourists, but it has plenty of charming qualities for its residents, too. This city is full of art galleries and shopping centers, and its variety in communities, from exciting to laid-back, is a significant pull for many people. Tourism is the biggest industry in Orlando, understandably, and it boasts one of the lowest employment rates in the country. This city is optimal for people who want to slow down and those chasing new adventures. Check out more tips for moving to Florida.

When in Doubt, Move to the South

Plenty of Southern cities have cost of living ratios that are far below the national average. Even if you can’t picture yourself living in the heart of these cities, you can choose a smaller or more affordable town on the outskirts and still reap all the benefits these popular places have to offer.

Be sure to check out our post Moving to a Hurricane Zone: What You Need to Know for more great tips!


The Most Popular Southern Cities to Move to This Year

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