As one of the fastest-growing metro areas in America and one of the biggest economic hubs in the world, Atlanta is full of so many attractive benefits. Moving from Chicago to Atlanta opens up a new world of Southern hospitality, a great job market, virtually snowless winters, mouthwatering food, world-famous music, the list goes on! And as the birthplace of civil rights, ATL is a progressive city with a small-town feel. If you’re looking to trade cold Midwestern winters for the sunshine of Georgia’s famous metropolis, be sure to take a look out everything you need to know about moving to the City in a Forest.
What to Know About Moving from Chicago to Atlanta
Moving to Atlanta from Chicago is no small feat. It takes a lot of research and planning. Before you book moving services, take a look at the similarities and differences between the two cities.
As an Atlantan, you should expect to pay a sales tax rate of 8.9% and an income tax rate of 5.75%. Chicago has a total sales tax rate of 10.25% (6.25% state + 4% local) and a total top income tax rate of 4.95%. For more context, here are the US averages: 7.3% for sales tax and 4.6% for income tax.
If you’re interested in buying a home, you’ll be happy to hear about the property tax rate in Atlanta. Currently, the average county tax rate is 1.027%. That means you’ll pay approximately $3,080 annually on an assessed home value of $300,000. In Chicago, you have to pay 2.117% or $5,293 per year on a home of the same value.
Economy and Job Growth
As one of the Top 10 biggest metro areas in the US, along with being among the Top 15 largest economic centers on the globe, Atlanta is a powerhouse. It comes in at #3 (behind only Los Angeles and New York City) with its GDP of $689 billion.
As of the beginning of 2020, the City of Atlanta had an unemployment rate of 4.2%. This rate is lower than Chicago’s rate of 4.4% but higher than the national average of 3.9%. When it comes to future job growth, this is where you can really see the difference. For Atlanta, residents can expect to see an extremely fruitful boost of 46.8% over the next decade. In Chicago, it’s not so bright. In the next ten years, the Windy City is projected to see an increase of only 25.7%.
Need to find a job in Atlanta, GA? Great resources include the Atlanta Regional Commission Career Resource Center, Metro Atlanta Jobs, and the Atlanta-Fulton County Library System.
Weather and Climate
Want to ditch the snow shovel for sunshine? Atlanta offers a humid subtropical climate that produces sunny summers and mild winters. Of course, we have to mention that it gets pretty muggy here during the summertime. Another benefit is that Georgia is one of the least prone states to disasters in the South.
Expect more rain in Atlanta (52 inches vs. 38 inches in Chicago), but virtually no snow as opposed to the 35 inches you know all too well in Chi-town. And speaking of winter weather, the average low is 33°F in ATL. Chicago averages a super chilly 19°F. During the summer months, the City of Atlanta sees an average high of 88°F, a few degrees higher than the average of 84°F in the Windy City.
Housing and Cost of Living
When looking at housing prices in Atlanta, this southern city currently has an attractive list price of $319,000 (with a median sale price of $275,300). That’s pretty good! When it comes to listing price, Chicago isn’t too far behind at $329,000, but the difference in the price of homes sold ($309,200) is a nice difference that you could put into home improvements or savings in Atlanta.
Are you going with a rental? The median rent price in Atlanta is $1,795 per month, while the median rent price in Chicago is currently $1,761 per month. So, virtually the same.
As for the cost of living in ATL, the metro area has an index of 107.5 (slightly higher than the US average of 100). Chicago almost has the same cost of living index at 106.9, so you shouldn’t be shocked by the living expenses like electricity or groceries.
Things to Do
From every citizen living within ten minutes of a park to fantastic culinary delights and exciting professional sporting events, the City of Atlanta offers so much in the fun department!
Foodie? Atlanta will spoil you with selection, from barbeque to fried chicken to French-Russian sophistication. If you’re a sports fan, you’ll be able to cheer on some of the finest teams in America, including the Atlanta Braves (MLB), Atlanta Falcons (NFL), and Atlanta Hawks (NBA).
As already mentioned, parks & recreation is big here. Atlanta is considered one of the top cities when it comes to this category. The most iconic spot is Piedmont Park, an urban park about one mile northeast of Downtown Atlanta. It offers everything from dog parks to a farmers’ market, to sightseeing. For a complete list of things to do in the ATL, check out our Atlanta moving guide.
With the most above-average schools out of the leading districts in Atlanta, Fulton County Schools serves 93,500 students via 14,000 employees. The student-teacher ratio is an impressive 15:1. Atlanta also has more than 380 private schools, so there are plenty of options for your kids.
Are you looking for post-secondary education? Atlanta’s Emory University ranks as one of the Top 25 universities in the United States. Georgia Institute of Technology (or Georgia Tech) is among the finest public institutions in engineering and business. As one of the largest universities in the state, Georgia State University (GSU) is an acclaimed school located in Downtown Atlanta. Two other major contenders are Morehouse College and Oglethorpe University, both top liberal arts schools.
When taking a look at crime rates in Atlanta, especially coming from Chicago, we wish we could give you better news. Unfortunately, the City of Atlanta has a violent crime index of 55.3 and a property crime rate of 75.4. Chicago has a reputation, but its rates are actually lower than its Georgia counterpart: 49.9 for violent crime and 46.3 for property crime.
Of course, those are overall rates. There are plenty of safe neighborhoods to choose from in the Atlanta metro area. These include Inman Park (see ‘Best Neighborhoods in Atlanta’), Buckhead, Brookhaven, Vinings, and North Druid Hills. Some of the city’s least safe neighborhoods include Kirkwood, Downtown, Castleberry Hill, Washington Park, and Bankhead.
Coming from Chicago, home of perennial favorites like deep-dish pizza, you’ve probably enjoyed quite a few fantastic meals. But it’s time to prepare your tastebuds for the explosion of flavor in Atlanta! This is the South, and when it comes to hospitality and mouthwatering eats, it’s hard to beat – from fried chicken to Brunswick stew to fried green tomatoes.
Want a taste of quintessential Southern cooking? Take a seat at Mary Mac’s Tea Room for mudbugs and sweet tea. Are you looking for a great date spot? Nikolai’s Roof offers romance & sophistication with some exotic French-Russian dishes. Paschal’s is a cultural institution steep in civil rights history and acclaimed fried chicken. And if you want a hearty Southern breakfast, look no further than Silver Skillet Restaurant.
Best Neighborhoods in Atlanta
Here are some of the best communities to call home in the Atlanta metro area:
Student? First-time homebuyer? Adair Park might just be your new neighborhood. Situated only a few miles southeast of Downtown Atlanta, the area sports Craftsman homes, bungalows, and new development geared toward small businesses and creatives. Adair Park stands as one of the few neighborhoods close to the downtown area that’s still affordable. Learn more here.
Dubbed the ‘Beverly Hills of the South,’ North Buckhead definitely earns the title of the most affluent neighborhood in the Atlanta metro area. Ideal for professionals and families, there is a mix of expansive mansions and luxurious condos. High-end shopping, nightlife, dining, day spas, and much more are right at your fingertips here. Plus, it’s home to Blue Heron Nature Preserve. Get more info here.
Old Fourth Ward
With a triumphant comeback, Old Fourth Ward is now a hip neighborhood east of downtown. It used to be the stomping grounds of Martin Luther King Jr. and still retains much of its rich charm and diversity, despite having gone through a revitalization in more recent years. Along with trails, a skate park, an amphitheater, the neighborhood also offers great nightlife options. Delve into more detail here.
This neighborhood is the city’s largest historic district. Close-knit with a decidedly family-friendly atmosphere, two-thirds of residents own their homes. Even though this is a historic area, there’s a blend of modern duplexes, mansions, apartments, and bungalows, all of which are surprisingly affordable. It’s also highly walkable with a more small-town vibe. Check out more on Grant Park here.
Are you looking for an urban vibe? Midtown checks that box and much more! With a combo of residential and commercial, this neighborhood gives you a bit of the Big Apple vibe with a Southern twist. It’s built on an urban grid with an impressive list of amenities. Diverse and dynamic, Midtown has a strong LGBTQ+ community and plenty of trendy destinations & attractions. Learn more about Midtown here.
Inman Park is arguably the hippest neighborhood in all of Atlanta. A historic community with architecture dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries, Inman Park is a diverse & colorful place with an assortment of homes, from bungalows to foursquares to mansions to Queen Anne houses. Windy roads and full trees and to the open & airy feel of the attractive neighborhood. Find out more here.
Cost of Moving from Chicago to Atlanta
On average, it costs about $2500-$3000 to move from Chicago to Atlanta. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 717 miles across the country. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination zip codes, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best Chicago to Atlanta movers now!