The number of individuals and families relocating to new cities and states has been on the rise over the last few years. According to data collected by the United States Postal Service, there was a 3.3% increase in permanent address changes between 2019 and 2020 and the number remained fairly steady through 2021. The top two trends that the data revealed is that people are relocating from larger cities and colder climates to warmer climates and less populated areas.
The COVID-19 pandemic played a major role in moving rates with the rise of remote employment creating more flexibility, an increased desire to be closer to family and friends, and the search for a more affordable cost of living in an unpredictable financial climate. According to Forbes, the top states that people are leaving are California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. The most popular states that people are moving to are all located in the South—Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
Why People are Moving to Tennessee
Tennessee has seen an influx of new residents during the past few years. Financial motivations, the desire for more space, natural beauty, and friendly southern communities are attracting people from across the country to the Volunteer State.
According to The World Population Review, a sample population of 1.5 million people voted Tennessee the second friendliest state in America. Tennesseans are welcoming to visitors and new residents, which makes moving a less intimidating venture. The culture of southern hospitality makes connecting socially an easier task compared to acclimating in other regions of the US.
For those who want to experience all four seasons but would prefer to avoid shoveling snow all winter or worrying about having a heat stroke 12 months out of the year, Tennessee is the ideal climate. Tennessee weather is mild enough to enjoy the outdoors year-round, but the four seasons are still distinct from one another. In the wintertime, most areas in Tennessee receive a few good snows with the state average being around 5 inches per year. In the Fall, the weather is mild and the leaves turn beautiful colors. The Springs are green and breezy and Summer is hot enough to spend all day at the lake.
Tennessee is one of just seven states that do not have personal income tax which is a major draw for people relocating from states such as California where residents pay 12% or more of their income toward state taxes. The cost of living is also reasonable, with three Tennessee cities (Memphis, Jackson, and Knoxville) ranking in the top 25 cheapest cities in the US according to the Council for Community and Economic Research.
Why East Tennessee
The state of Tennessee has a lot to offer, but East Tennessee has its own unique features that attract those considering making a move. East Tennessee boasts some of the most beautiful geography in the country with gorgeous mountains, lush forests, and lakes scattered across the region. It is also an ideal place for retirees, individuals, and families alike with safe, affordable, and diverse places to live.
Great Smoky Mountains
East Tennessee is home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the United States (and for good reason). If you visit the park, you might feel the urge to settle down permanently. Living near the park means quick access to all the adventures it has to offer, from white water rafting to hiking to the top of Mt. Leconte for an overnight stay.
An Ideal Place to Retire
The Smoky Mountains, lakes, top-notch retirement communities, and tight-knit small towns make East Tennessee the ideal place to retire for those who want to stay busy with activities and for those who want to relax and enjoy nature. Tellico Lake is one of the most popular retirement destinations in East Tennessee, with beautiful lake homes and waterfront retirement communities. Additionally, Tennessee does not tax retirement income including IRAs, pensions, annuities and 401ks, so retirees can take full advantage of their hard-earned golden years.
The Perfect Balance
East Tennessee is the perfect home for those who enjoy urban life, wide open spaces, or a mixture of both. Chattanooga and Knoxville provide plenty of entertainment with a bustling music scene, gourmet restaurants, shopping, and nightlife. Property in small towns and rural areas is also readily available to those that prefer rolling hills and green pastures to the concrete jungle. The contrast of the city and the country make Tennessee the perfect home for those who crave a balance. If you want to go to a concert on Friday night and take a tranquil hike on Saturday morning, East Tennessee is the perfect place for you.
Safety is of utmost importance when choosing a new place to call home, especially for families. Of the four largest cities in Tennessee, the two eastern cities of Chattanooga and Knoxville, have the lowest crime rates. East Tennessee is home to a wide selection of safe places to live, from medium cities like Maryville with a population of about 32,000 to small towns like White Pine with only a few thousand residents, crime rates are low compared to the rest of the state and the US as a whole.
How to Become a Tennessee Resident
Are you convinced that Tennessee is the place for you? If the answer is yes, it is time to begin the process of becoming a Tennessee resident.
Step 1) Establish Permanent Residence
Whether you’re planning on renting or buying, establishing permanent residency is required in order to complete the subsequent tasks. After you’ve found a place to live, you’ll need to update your address with the US Postal Service. Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to change your address.
Step 2) Get a Tennessee Driver’s License
You should apply for a Tennessee driver’s license within 30 days of moving to Tennessee. There are several things you will need to bring with you to the driver’s license office. Click here to find out more about what is required to obtain a Tennessee Driver’s License.
Step 3) Register your Vehicle
While you’re at the DMV, you should also begin the process of registering your vehicle. Fill out an application at the DMV and visit the TN Department of Revenue website to complete the process of registering your car, getting a title, and a new license plate.
Note: Make sure that your current car insurance is in compliance with Tennessee state laws for minimum car insurance requirements (requirements vary by state). You may have to purchase a new plan or adjust your current car insurance plan.
Step 4) Register to Vote
Now that you’re living in Tennessee, make sure your voice is heard! Register to vote as soon as you become a legal resident to ensure that you don’t miss any elections or votes that may impact you.
Step 5) Register Children for School
If you have children, it important that you don’t procrastinate when it comes to enrolling them in school. You will need your child’s records from their previous school as well as vaccine records. Make sure to submit both on time so your child doesn’t miss any days of school.
Step 6) Find New Providers
Find new providers to fulfill your banking and financial needs, medical needs, dental needs, pet care, childcare and anything else that you previously had a regular provider for. This is especially important for medical care. If a doctor has your medical records and is familiar with your health they can provide superior care, so don’t wait until an emergency arises to find a new doctor.
Step 7) Set Up Utilities
You will need to contact utility providers for electricity, water, trash pickup, internet, and cable. It is ideal for you to check these things off the list before you move in. Contact local providers and set up accounts. Keep in mind that the prices for things like WiFi and cable vary from place to place so make sure to shop around. You very well could find a deal that is much cheaper than you were paying in the previous place you lived.
Note: Don’t forget to cancel any utility services from your previous residence.
Step 8) Explore Your New Home
When you’ve finally crossed all these tedious tasks off your to-do list it’s time for the fun part—exploring your new home! Do your research to find out about activities to do in your area, try restaurants, meet people, and get involved in the community. Tennessee is a friendly place so don’t forget to wave to your neighbors and you’ll have friends in no time!
Come to White Pine
If you’re looking for a small town to settle down in that’s not too far from the city, White Pine is for you. Set in the rolling hills, this quaint southern town is surrounded by trees and located near the beautiful Douglas Lake. White Pine is a short 40-minute drive from Knoxville so it’s easy to take trips into the city. If you’re a newcomer to the East Tennessee area, White Pine is a great destination for a weekend lake getaway. Golf courses, cabins, boat rentals, fishing, campsites and hiking trails make for a perfect family trip, romantic getaway, or solo adventure.