Living in Georgia: What it’s really like 

If you’ve recently searched “best states to live in” or something similar, you’re not alone. Over 8 million Americans moved from state to state in 2022—and more than 327,000 people moved to Georgia.

Georgia is renowned for its hospitality and Southern charm. The locals are friendly, the winters are mild, and the food is top-tier. But there’s more to this Southern state than meets the eye —Georgia is also home to a booming economy, a diverse population, and breathtaking natural landscapes.

To help you decide if moving to Georgia is right for you, our team of recent transplants and born-and-raised Georgians put together this list of 10 things everyone needs to know about living in Georgia.

Let’s dive in!

10 Things You Need to Know About Living in Georgia

Everyone experiences Georgia differently, but there are several things most Georgians can agree on. Whether you’re thinking about moving to Columbus or a college town like Athens, these 10 facts about living in Georgia hold true across the state.

1. The job market is piping hot

There are many job opportunities in Georgia. At the end of 2023, the unemployment rate in Georgia was 3.4%, which is lower than the national rate (3.7%).

In Georgia, you’ll find some of the country’s largest employers. Whether you’re still finding your career path or looking for an executive position, you’ll discover plenty of opportunities with companies like The Home Depot, Delta Air Lines, Chick-fil-A, UPS, and Coca-Cola. In fact, these five companies alone employ over a million people nationally.

But you don’t have to live in Atlanta to find amazing career opportunities in Georgia. Columbus is Georgia’s second-largest city and offers a thriving job market for young professionals and corporate leaders alike. Top Columbus employers include Synovus and Aflac. The area also employs many healthcare professionals, thanks to local employers like Piedmont Columbus Regional and St. Francis-Emory Health Care.

2. Georgia is a great place for entrepreneurs

Want to start or grow a small business? Georgia has ranked as one of the Top States for Business by CNBC for eight consecutive years. This means that the state has a friendly business climate, including low taxes and regulations, access to funding and resources, and a talented workforce.

Columbus, specifically, is known to be an amazing place for entrepreneurs. This city is home to a diverse and talented workforce, as well as mentorship and incubator programs like StartUp Columbus. Additionally, Georgia was recognized as one of the best states for women entrepreneurs, with plenty of initiatives and programs in place to support their success.

3. The cost of living is affordable

Many Americans are moving to different states to escape the higher costs of living in their home states. Cost of living is calculated based on several factors, including rental costs, healthcare costs, and costs of necessities like food, water, electricity, and gas.

Luckily, Georgia is an incredibly affordable state. It’s the 11th cheapest state in the United States overall (out of all 50 states and Washington D.C.), and it’s much cheaper than places like California, New York, and Washington state. Georgia is even more affordable than other southern states like South Carolina, North Carolina, and Texas.

Housing especially tends to be cheaper in Georgia than in other states. The U.S. median home price was $412,000 in 2023. In Georgia, the median price was $366,000 and in Columbus, the median home price is a fraction of that at $146,000. Even the utilities are cheaper in Georgia compared to other states.

According to RentCafe, “Columbus, GA [offers] the biggest bang for your buck in the nation” when it comes to rental properties. This city is perfect for students, young professionals, and growing families seeking affordability (without sacrificing their career growth or a vibrant social scene).

Want to learn more? Check out our guide to the cheapest places to live in Georgia here!

4. Educational opportunities are abundant

For those who are still studying or want to go back to school, Georgia offers several amazing public and private universities. The Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) ranks #10 in 2024 Top Public Colleges & Universities by U.S. News. The University of Georgia (UGA) ranks #20 on this list, too.

Emory University, Georgia Tech, and UGA all place in the top 50 colleges on the list for 2024 Best National Universities, which includes over 400 U.S. private and public schools. Columbus also has many options for those seeking higher education opportunities. The city is home to great schools like Columbus State University and Mercer School of Medicine’s Columbus campus.

In addition, Georgia’s investment in K-12 education has yielded impressive results, with the state’s high school graduation rate reaching an all-time high of 84.4% in 2023. Columbus High School has set a benchmark in K-12 education and was recognized as one of the top schools in both the state and the nation for its outstanding academic excellence and innovative teaching methods.

5. Georgia is an incredibly diverse state

If you’re looking for cultural diversity, you’ll find Georgia to be the perfect example of a “melting pot” state. 14% of residents speak a language other than English at home, and the most popular spoken languages (excluding English) include Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean.  Approximately 50% of the population identifies as White, with the remaining 50% comprising various other ethnicities. This rich diversity is mirrored in the city of Columbus, fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone.

Anywhere you go in Georgia, you’ll meet people who have had completely different experiences than you, which is a great way to explore the world without even leaving the state. There are top-rated restaurants of different world cuisines, many different religious buildings full of history, and diverse communities throughout the state.

6. There is no shortage of outdoor activities

Georgia is one of those states that truly has it all. You can find lakes, rivers, beaches, mountains, forests, plains, and even swamps in Georgia. This gives the state an advantage when it comes to outdoor activities and experiences. In a single day, you could traverse the entire state from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Okefenokee Swamp.

Popular activities in Georgia include hiking, white water rafting, and swimming in our beautiful rivers and lakes. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could start the Appalachian Trail up north in Blue Ridge or visit Columbus for the world’s longest urban stretch of white water rapids.

7. Georgia’s seasons are mild

Georgia’s mild climate offers nearly year-round sunshine and warmth that’s hard to find anywhere else. Newcomers from the Midwest and Northeast appreciate our gentle winters and enjoy a break from heavy snowfall.

Our spring and summer days are perfect for those who love outdoor activities. The warm weather provides the perfect opportunity for swimming, waterskiing, or tubing, turning every hot day into an adventure!

When the humidity kicks up in July and August, the Blue Ridge Mountains are just a short drive away, offering a quick escape to cooler climates.

8. The food in Georgia is world-class

In October 2023, Atlanta received its first-ever Michelin-star Guide, which most Georgians agree was long overdue! The food scene in Georgia is incredibly varied. You’ll find endless international eats on Atlanta’s Buford Highway—and of course, our staple: Southern food everywhere you go (biscuits and gravy, anyone?).

Atlanta is chock-full of amazing restaurants, but so is the rest of the state. South of Atlanta, in cities like Columbus, Georgia, you’ll find top-rated barbecue restaurants with some of the best fried chicken in the world, as well as delicious Mexican cuisine. A visit to Epic Restaurant in Columbus, Georgia, is highly recommended. This esteemed establishment has been awarded the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Rating!

9. History is everywhere

Georgia is one of the original 13 colonies of the United States. Before it was explored by European settlers, it was inhabited over 13,000 years ago by members of the Apalachee, Cherokee, and Choctaw Nations. There’s no lack of important history in Georgia to discover.

Visit the Tellus Museum to learn more about scientific history or the High Museum to admire exquisite historical artwork.

In Columbus, you can immerse yourself in American history at the National Infantry Museum, The Columbus Museum, or the National Civil War Naval Museum. Other important sites include the Oakland Cemetery, the Etowah Indian Mounds, and the city of Savannah, which is one of Georgia’s oldest cities.

10. Sports are an important part of Georgia’s culture

Think fast, sports fans! You’ll be impressed by Georgia’s sports scene. There’s nothing quite like game day in Georgia, no matter which sport you’re watching.

Catch the Atlanta Falcons or the Atlanta United soccer team in action at the prestigious Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Meanwhile, in Athens, you can root for the Georgia Bulldogs at their home stadium. Not to mention, in 2025, the M-Braves AA team will be embarking on an exciting new journey as they move to Columbus, Georgia. Can’t make it to the stadium? No worries, find a local sports bar and watch the game with fellow fans and sports enthusiasts.

Is Georgia a good place to live?

The overwhelming vote is “yes!”

People are flocking to Georgia. Between 2010 and 2022, Georgia’s population grew steadily every year. It’s hard to disagree with the numbers; people are choosing to plant roots in Georgia for good reasons. There are just so many options you can choose from when living in Georgia!

You can choose the state’s capital of Atlanta, Columbus for big city opportunity with hometown heart, Blue Ridge for the mountains, Savannah for proximity to Georgia’s beautiful beaches, or anywhere in between. If you’re a student, there are top-rated public and private colleges and universities throughout Georgia, and if you’re working, you’ll find amazing companies with their headquarters in Georgia. There’s no shortage of resources and places for families or retirees, either.

Consider a move to meaningful in Columbus, Georgia

Whether you’re looking for a more affordable cost of living or an amazing place to raise a family, Columbus, Georgia is the perfect place to call home. With a thriving job market, plenty of recreational activities, a strong sense of community, and short commutes, Columbus makes it easy to fit in more of what makes life meaningful.

Connect with us

If you’re ready to learn more about living in Columbus, feel free to contact us here. Our team is here to help!