When making a decision to relocate, several factors must be considered, including cost of living, real estate prices, job availability, quality of schools and commute time. Looking objectively, you will find many good reasons to live in Jacksonville.

299070684_8bb073bc96_b

Despite the fact that Jacksonville is the largest city by population in Florida as well as the largest city by area in the country, the cost of living is below the national average according to Sperling’s Best Places.  The index takes into account factors including housing, food and groceries, transportation, utilities, healthcare and miscellaneous expenses.  The national average on this scale is set at 100, and Jacksonville’s cost of living is below the national average with an index of 88.

Here in Jacksonville,  real estate is a good value compared to the rest of the country.  Average list pricing is $151,000 compared to $221,000 national average, according to Zillow, the largest real estate network online.  Home values are rebounding, making this a good time to invest in real estate.  Rental prices are also below the national average, with an average rental price of $980 here compared to $1500 nationwide.  Buying or renting, Jacksonville is a good choice.

The job market in Jacksonville is strong compared to the rest of the country, according to internet employment site Indeed.  Some of the largest employers include Baptist Health, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Florida Blue, Mayo Clinic, Citibank and CSX.

Duval County, which encompasses all of Jacksonville, has many options for schools.  According to the US Department of Education, Duval County has one of the most successful magnet programs.  Some of the magnet schools focus on science and technology, medicine, or art and music.  GreatSchools  gives 24 of the public schools in Duval County a rating of 8 or higher.

Another benefit of Jacksonville is a below-average commute time.  Many cities around the world might be nice places to live, but you will spend a lot more time in your car than at home.  Here in Jacksonville, the average commute is an estimated 26 minutes.  That commute time will be further reduced if you live downtown or choose one of Jacksonville’s thriving communities adjacent to the downtown area, such as Riverside and San Marco.

jacksonville beach bright blue sky

I could go on and mention that Jacksonville has the largest system of public parks in America, a shoreline that extends for miles, culture  including two art museums and a symphony, higher education options, and a rich history.  The decision to relocate is never an entirely objective one.  My reasons for choosing Jacksonville were emotional as well.  While driving down I-95 in the summer of 2000, I was impressed with the beauty of Jacksonville.  It appeared to be a city painted in blues: blue skies reflected in towering mirrored buildings, blue bridge spanning the river. Quaint water taxis discharged passengers next to a sparkling blue fountain.  A quick drive on Butler Boulevard brought us to the ocean in minutes. We were hooked.  Shortly thereafter, we left Atlanta and moved to this wonderful city on the river.

I think you will find that any way you look at it, Jacksonville is a great place to live.