Before moving to Tennessee, it pays to know if you can afford to live in the state. The answer will depend on various factors such as which city you live in, whether you are buying a home or renting, and other lifestyle factors. This guide will break it down for you so you can decide how and where to live in Tennessee based on your salary and budget.
Can You Afford the Cost of Living in Tennessee?
Tennessee is a state known for its country music culture. It is home to iconic blues and country music. If you want to live in Tennessee to experience this culture, then you’d be happy to know that the cost of living in the state is low (especially compared with other US states).
The 2021 Cost of Living Index ranks the state of Tennessee as sixth in the US for the lowest cost of living. Based on the aggregated benchmark system, Tennessee scored 88.7 out of 100 (the national average) in the cost of living. Since it is below the national average, this makes the state an inexpensive place to live.
However, the actual cost of living will vary across the state. Some cities are more expensive than others. The obvious difference is that living in rural areas will be more affordable than in urban centers like Nashville or Memphis.
Average Salary in Tennessee
The average salary in Tennessee is an important factor when deciding if you can afford to live in the state. According to Minimum-Wage.org, the minimum hourly wage in Tennessee is $7.25 per hour. This data adds to a weekly minimum wage of $290 for a 40-hour work week or $15,080 annual minimum wage earnings. This figure is consistent with the federal minimum wage rate. This rate applies to all employees in Tennessee except student workers and tipped employees. The current minimum wage rate in TN was last updated in 2008 from the previous rate of $5.58 per hour.
The figure above refers to the minimum wage in TN. But, how much do you have to make to live comfortably in the state? According to Zip Recruiter, one must earn $20 per hour or $42,058 annually to enjoy a comfortable life in Tennessee, as of 2022. This average salary is slightly lower than the national average of $42,650.
The average pay for comfortable jobs in Tennessee varies greatly based on the industry and the years of experience. The annual salary rates in Tennessee can be as low as $24,006 to as high as $83,285.
If you are looking for the highest-paying jobs in Tennessee, the city of Jackson is the ideal place to live. The average annual comfortable salary in Jackson is higher by $434 than the state average while the average hourly rate is $20.43. Other cities with a higher average salary are Nashville, Knoxville, Franklin, and Murfreesboro.
To sum it up, the average living wage in TN is $15.45 per hour (for a single adult). If you make the minimum wage ($7.25) or below ($6.19 or lower), then you belong in the poverty range.
Average Cost of Living in TN Per City
The average cost of living in TN will vary if you are moving as a single adult or as a family. Overall, the average cost of living per year is $37,499 based on the MERIC data gathered in Tennessee for the last quarter of 2021. If you plan on moving to this state, you have to meet the comfortable salary rate mentioned above to be able to cover basic living expenses.
Average Cost of Living in Nashville, TN
If you plan on living in Nashville, you need to make a living wage of $80,548 per year, based on a report by The Tennessean. This cost average is calculated based on the real estate cost, food, utilities, and other cost-of-living expenses in the city. As a popular urban center, Nashville is one of the most expensive cities to live in Tennessee.
The figures above are a huge jump from the 2017 estimate for the comfortable living wage in Nashville, which stood at $70,150 annually.
Average Cost of Living in Memphis, TN
Memphis is a major city in Tennessee and is second to Nashville in popularity. The average cost of living in Memphis is $1,624 per month for a single adult or $3,559 for a family of four, according to LivingCost.org.
The cost of living in Memphis is relatively affordable compared to other metro areas of its size. Still, the average cost of living in the city has gone up by 1.3% from the previous year.
Average Cost of Living in Knoxville, TN
Knoxville is one of the most affordable cities to live in Tennessee. The average cost of living in Knoxville is $1,667 for a single adult or $4,057 for a family of four. The cost of living in the city is below 8% of the state average. Therefore, this city is one of the go-to options for those who plan on moving to Tennessee.
Average Cost of Living in Franklin, TN
The average cost of living in Franklin is slightly higher than other cities of the same size in Tennessee. The average living wage to live comfortably in this city is $37,499 per year. According to LivingCost.org, the average cost of living for a single adult in Franklin is $2,192 or $4,222 for a family of four. This rate is still 5% lower than the national average.
Average Cost of Living in Chattanooga, TN
Chattanooga is one of the cheapest places to live in Tennessee. LivingCost.org estimates the average cost of living for a single adult at $1,823 or $3,742 for a family of four. It ranks low for almost all cost of living indicators, making it a suitable option to live based on cost alone.
Can you afford to live in Tennessee? Use the data above to help you decide if you can afford the expenses of living in the state. Make sure to consider the variations in the cost of living per city and the salary expectations to provide for your basic expenses.