The Good And Bad About Tennessee

Seeing all of the negative comments from people who have relocated to Tennessee, I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents in response. We moved to Middle Tennessee (Williamson County south of Nashville) in 2010 from Southern California (Orange County) by choice after living our whole lives there. I agree with some things that have been said and disagree with other things, and I have to point out some good things too.

First, what I agree with: Tennessee has the worst drivers I've ever experienced. Ask anyone who has moved here from somewhere else. I also agree that the southern hospitality is fake. Everyone waves hello as you drive by, but nobody wants to get to know you beyond that. One negative that I will add, we can't find good Mexican food.

What I disagree with: TN locals don't like outsiders, but you get that anywhere (ask Oregonians how they feel about Californians). I have not experienced an abnormal amount of alcoholics as many have suggested. Nashville is a party town with a big bar scene because of the music. You'll find drunks everywhere you serve alcohol. There are rednecks here, but visit Victorville, Adelanto, San Bernardino, Fontana, Muscoy, and basically anywhere else in the "Inland Empire" in CA. You will find that there are just as many rednecks and uneducated people in southern California and elsewhere as there are here.

The positives: Tennessee has an extremely low cost of living. That's why many of our neighbors are ex-Californians like us. There is no state wage tax in TN and very low property taxes. TN funds itself mostly through sales tax, which means everyone pays into the system, including those who use the system. Williamson County is the 17th wealthiest county in the US with over 50% of people over 25 possessing a bachelors degree or higher per Forbes Magazine. Per CNN-Money, Franklin, TN (where we live) is the 52nd best city to live in the US. Middle TN is a great place to raise kids, just research the schools before you decide where to land (as you would do anywhere). The weather is mild and the state is very beautiful with four seasons.

Overall, we are happy with the move. There's good and bad everywhere, it's what you make of it. You can land in the wrong place in any state, but don't judge a whole state on your bad choice and lack of research of where to live. That being said, if you're liberal politically, you probably won't get along well here in general as this is a very conservative state. For us, the good outweighs the bad in TN. Many people are relocating here from states that were once considered great places to live so much so that it's difficult to find someone born and raised in TN.
phi447 phi447
46-50, M
7 Responses Jan 19, 2013

What a perfect and educated comment phi443 right on the nail. My family and i have felt the desire to move to tn as well from southern CA if we could we would Do it now but i have to wait for retirement 5 years we can not wait to do it, but i totally agree with you good and bad everywhere I hope too meet you either when i move or before and be good friends because i feel and t hink the same way as you and need to have some contacts there who undertand my situation. Get in touch please.

Thanks. We will be here so when you arrive, hit me up on here.

Thanks for posting your comments I found them interesting and informative. I too am from OC and am know living with the un-educated rednecks of the inland empire (Temecula). I recently retired with CalFire and will be moving my family to Tennessee. We have settled on Hendersonville as it has a beach feel to it. Being from southern OC (San Juan) I needed to find an area that reminded me of where I grew up. I did look in Williamson County first, because of their schools, but found Hendersonville schools to be well above the State average in all areas.

My grandmother owned a Mexican food restaurant in San Juan and I was toying with the idea of opening a Mexican restaurant in Hendersonville. I am not sure how Mexican food will go over in TN. I guess only time will tell.

PS: The drivers there area pretty bad. I was there last week and watched a guy take three lanes on the freeway and almost take out a motorcycle. I guess it is no different then OC or LA.

Hendersonville is great, and you'll pay a lot less than in Franklin for the same property. Since I wrote that, we found Oscar's Tacos. It's the closest to SoCal Mexican food we've had. They're from San Diego so they know. Franklin is just like Irvine where I grew up so it's comfortable and familiar. Enjoy Tennessee.

Good for you that could retire Yet open up the restaurant and ill be your client i know innovation is hesitant ,but you will be a pioneer so open it and your desire will take you a long way I am mexican and hope to find a good place to land my family soon in tn hopping no to disturb our tn neighbors so that they do not get freaked out lol because it is a normal feeling of displacement when foreigners arrive to a place where people is already established they resist change. I don not blame tnem.

I've lived in Tennessee all my life , the northwest area near Memphis , so welcome to TN.

Try living in Illinois! This state is a joke!

My mom just sold her house in Sugargrove Illinois and is moving here to Franklin on three weeks. Illinois is almost as bad as California, and worse in some respects.

I also moved from California in 2005. I soooo wanted to love it here. Figured since I love history and tradition, Franklin would be a good fit. On paper, it is the perfect place to live - low crime, beautiful lush greenery and hills, clean, low taxes and housing, great schools - I could go on and on. But for the most important reasons, people, I'll be moving back to California this fall. As a middle aged single woman, I have tried every which way I know to make friends here. I brought a lot of money with me from the sale of my California home, but as soon as that was gone, so were all of my so called new friends. Such a cliquish and tribal place. Every weekend, the only thing that to do is to go to Whole Foods where some sense of normalcy is found in conversations with people who've been outside of TN and who didn't grow up here. There's just simply nothing to do. It's an indoor lifestyle, something that I just can't abide any longer.<br />
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I'm still blown away by the drivers. Not a week goes by that I don't see someone blaze through a red light, or not go on a green light, or cross over three lanes of traffic, other drivers be damned. HATE the food (and you're right, no Mexican food anywhere to be found).<br />
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Probably a better place to live with a young family, but Franklin is all family all the time, so if you're single, forget about it. Loneliest place on the planet.

I can see how Franklin wouldn't cater to singles because it is very family oriented. It reminds me of Irvine where I grew up. It is a great place to raise kids for sure but there's no night life to speak of. Have you gotten into the night life in Nashville? There's no lack of a singles scene there. I don't agree that it is an indoor lifestyle, especially for those of us who are transplants. It's just different than heading to the beach for the day. Where do you live in Franklin? None of my neighbors are from Tennessee, and a few are from California. BTW - Oscar's Tacos on Mallory is pretty good. The owner is from San Diego.

Sorry to hear that, i guess i picked right Then k am 50 but my four kids are 12 to 1.2 the youngest and very family oriented with expectations of raising the close to me with good moral standards and teaching them how to farm, be self sufficient and watch .e when i can not do anything by my self just as the hispanics do it in Mexico. Any way good luck and if you come back or have moved back to califas bu ena suerte My dear friend.

We live in Williamson county too. Best place I've lived anywhere on the planet, and I've been a resident in 5 states and 3 countries on top of traveling the globe.

Most of the people we've met in Tennessee wouldn't live anywhere else. It's what you make of it.

I'm sorry, Phi but Williamson County is about as representative of Tennessee as Falls Church is of the rest of Virginia, or Altanta's suburban Dunwoody is of the rest of Georgia. You need to experience life in the real Tennessee a while to understand. Why not start with Hickman County? Or Macon County? Close by, but worlds away from the posh enclaves of Cool Springs, Franklin & Brentwood. Go to places like Manchester, Camden or Fayetteville and ask how many are from out of state. A whole different demographic than the BMW and plastic surgery set of Williamson, I promise. It's usually the sign of a relatively new arrival when they move to Williamson County (I'd suggest a Nissan exec family relo...) and gush at the low cost of living. Surprise...the low cost of living is because the wages here in the rest of the state match very nicely..low. And you're right, TN is funded by sales tax, which we all pay on such frivolities as milk, eggs and cheese. I respect your view, but keep in mind you are viewing from your island. Until you spend some time in the real deal, your opinion is a bit uninformed.

For what it's worth, I don't work for Nissan. We chose Tennessee based on many factors. I agree that Williamson County/Franklin is a bubble, but that's where we landed after we researched. We liked the cost of living in TN so we chose a specific location carefully by vacationing there in 2008 and then when we moved, looking at almost 80 houses before we found the one for us. Like I said, I'm from California and unless you've lived there, you only know the California you see on TV or in the movies, which usually looks fairly appealing. But 90% of California is not like you see on TV. The point is, you have good and bad places everywhere. We are blessed to be able to live in a nice area in Tennessee knowing that outside our area isn't the same, just like in California. 30 minutes away from us in OC were gang infested neighborhoods that we knew to stay away from. So, to say I am uninformed is actually not accurate. I went to great lengths to inform myself to make sure we landed in the right place knowing there were bad areas, as there are everywhere. There are definitely better places to live than Tennessee and we have experienced many of the things others have complained about, but as I said in my original post, the good outweighs the bad for us because we took the time to inform ourselves.

That is correct. I moved from CA and was making 6 figures. I moved here and was shocked at the extremely low wages offered that I unintentionally offended a well known and large employer because I was unprepared. I wish I could have been prepared because in actuality the wage offered was pretty high...for here, they were an influential employer, I regret that moment. Housing and gas is cheaper here - that's it. My insurance doubled when we moved here. Sales tax is higher than that of CA and you pay sales tax on groceries. My utilities are more. I had a better quality of life in CA. I had a big mortgage but I made good money. I was actually able to put more money away there than here. I can't believe the wages.......low, very low. And realsoutherner is correct, Cool Springs, Brentwood and Franklin are NOT representative of TENN. They are an anomaly. As soon as you step out of those areas, you will see how backwoods and depressing the state really is.....and the homes are very expensive in Williamson County, so then why move from CA? Homes are more....... wages are low.
I am glad I moved here but I really, really want to leave the state. Save my pennies (because that's all you will earn here) and move.

I agree Williamson County is not representative of all of Tennessee, but Orange County is not representative of California either. We lived our whole lives in OC so Williamson County wasn't much of a change culturally. Drive 30 minutes outside of OC and you are in some nasty and dangerous areas. Places like Fontana, San Bernardino, Adelanto (and the list could go on) are as backwoods and depressing as any places you could go in Tennessee.

Housing is significantly cheaper here, although Franklin is seeing growth similar to that of OC in the 80s and 90s. As more people move here, the housing prices will increase with the demand. Sales tax is higher here, but only by .5%. We were paying 8.75% in CA and we pay 9.25% here. More things have sales tax here like groceries (at a lower rate) and some services, but you forgot to mention two main offsets to it. First, there is no state income tax. We were paying 9.3% on every dollar we earned in CA so just moving here, I received a 9.3% raise, which offset my slight income adjustment and slight increase in sales tax. Second, I pay less than half in property taxes here compared to CA and I have way more house and property here.

My utilities are not more here except in extreme weather periods. I know we would be paying a fortune for water and electricity in California right now with what the legislature and governor have done recently.

I'm not saying Tennessee is a perfect place by any means. Depending on your industry, California may have better earning opportunities for you. But if you want to get away from the liberal socialist culture that is quickly ruining the once great state of California, Tennessee is a good alternative. We did our research before moving so we knew what to expect with wages and housing, etc. I have suggested that anyone do the same before moving anywhere.

Tennessee isn't for everyone, and being a life long beach dweller, I've questioned from time to time if it was for me. After everything considered, Tennessee is a good move financially and a much better place to raise children, which was our primary motivation.

I don't recognize 'the benefits'. You always hear folks say; "yeah, but we don't have state income tax" in my opinion that is infectious propaganda. In the same vain of 'southern hospitality'. Even with all the taxes in CA and with my mortgage I still had more purchasing power and discretionary capital. And since some racist killed those people attending church and the legalization of gay unions - I can't walk out the door, or drive down the street without seeing a plethora of confederate flags (turns my stomach) on trucks or in front of people's homes.......trailer homes. Not to mention the fundamental Christian right has purchased signage in many public places expressing their critical disdain of gay marriage. In my opinion, this adds to the entire ugliness of the state that has always been lying just beneath the exterior. Its 2015. Then there is all the cigarette smoking, obesity, domestic violence is rampant, rudeness, bad driving, traffic congestion, low wages, high cost of services, 4 inch bugs, snakes, rodents, and everyone is into 'the Lord' and 'Jesus' without any sincerity or knowledge of the scriptures.
I could see where you would find Franklin appealing, most people are fit, the homes are nice, you rarely encounter an accent or a redneck - generally speaking Franklin is; anytown USA. You could close your eyes and open them and not know you were in Tennessee. However, Franklin is not representative of the state. Franklin lives in a bubble. My thinking would be skewed as well if I lived in Franklin and never ventured far from Williamson County.

I agree with you regarding the drivers, the bugs, obesity, and the smoking. I have stated in previous posts that I too believe that southern hospitality is fake. I disagree that there is more domestic violence and especially traffic than in California. I work in an industry where I see the worst parts of society every day. The worst parts of Tennessee that I have experienced are no worse than the worst parts of San Berdoo, Fontana, or other places outside of the bubbles that exist in CA. So it is naïve of you to say my thinking is skewed by assuming that I don't venture far from Williamson County.

There are fake believers everywhere, not just in Tennessee, who claim to know Jesus but don't know the Word. I've not experienced any church or true believer who has "disdain" for gay marriage or gay people. That sounds more like a liberal talking point than something that you have actually experienced yourself. If you have, just know that it is not based on true Christian faith. Having an opinion that gay marriage is a sin based on faith is not a form of hatred. Unfortunately, those who insist on "tolerance" believe that tolerance is a one way street.

The low cost of living is not propaganda, it's a fact that is supported by Forbes and CNN-Money, among other financial experts. I agree with you that people flying the confederate flag can be seen as offensive and insensitive, but it is no more offensive than driving through neighborhoods in California and seeing Mexican flags being displayed instead of the American flag and people refusing to assimilate into the American culture that they chose to be a part of.

I've never said Tennessee is perfect. But the reasons you give for hating it here are also present throughout California, and probably any state you would move to. It's what you choose to make of it.

If I may ask, where did you live in California and where do you live in Tennessee?

We are thinking about moving from SoCal to Brentwood/Franklin area of TN. We've always lived in the suburbs and like the clean, quiet, safe atmosphere that comes with that ... even if it's not an interesting. We are also tired of all the Dem's here, being that we're Conservative Catholics who believe in family and hoping the US gets back on track. I'm here to ask if it's really that hard to make friends in Williamson county. I will join a club to join a tennis team and hopefully will meet women that way. My children are college grads and one relocated to Nashville a year ago. So part of the reason for the move is to be near her. I have a lot of friends and enjoy their company as does my husband of almost 30 years. We enjoy going out, having friend over, and meeting neighbors and like-minded professionals like ourselves. How and what will be helpful to know before making the move? And how is Hendersonville beauchy? Saw that comment ... we're not sure where to look but we want safe/clean/classy/healthy living among kind/nice people who WANT to make new friends ... where neighbors talk to each other. Thanks for anyone's help :)

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I lived in East tennessee in the Smokey Mountains,, not far from Gatlinburg,,,it's still like the old days with great southern hospitaliy,, and loved the mountains, lakes, streams ,waterfalls,and rivers around me,,,all the wild animals , like bear, deer, fox, etc,,,really miss in now,,moved to Ohio this past october,,,,and sure miss Tennesse,,

East Tennessee is beautiful but I haven't spent much time there.