Moving to Georgia Guide: Discover the Peach State
We created this guide for moving to Georgia to help those who are in their very early stages of researching where they’d like to move. So, what exactly do you need to know before moving to Georgia?
We’ve complied some of the most important items you should consider when making this big decision. According to 2020 Census data, Georgia was almost in the top ten fastest growing states of the last decade, with a sizeable 10.6% growth in population. So, is Georgia the right state for you to move?
What You Need to Know about Georgia’s Geography
Georgia is a state in the southeastern U.S. that has Tennessee and North Carolina to the north, South Carolina to the northeast, Alabama to the west, Florida to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east and southeast. Fun fact: in 1732, what is now the state of Georgia was founded by English colonizers as the Province of Georgia, named after King George II of Great Britain!
If you love exploring the outdoors, Georgia may be the right place for you. In fact, with an area of 59,425 square miles, Georgia can be divided into five distinct geographic regions: the Cumberland Plateau, Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, Blue Ridge Mountains, Piedmont, and the Atlantic coastal plain. Each of these five regions have their own unique characteristics and charm.
From the Okefenokee Swamp, a peat-filled wetland straddling the Georgia-Florida line, to the historic Jekyll Island, home to historic homes built out of a coastal building material of crushed oyster shells called tabby, and not to forget the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, you’re sure to be inspired by Georgia’s natural beauty. The variety in the typography is just one of the many things to love about Georgia.
Georgia’s highest point is in the Blue Ridge Mountains, called Brasstown Bald, and it stands at 4,784 ft tall. By comparison, Georgia’s lowest point is in the Atlantic Ocean, and that’s 0 ft! Speaking of high points, Brasstown Bald is known to the native Cherokee people as Enotah.
Moving to Georgia Guide on the Weather in Georgia
Georgia’s climate is primarily a humid subtropical climate. This means summers are typically hot and humid except at the highest elevations. In fact, the entire state receives moderate to heavy yearly precipitation, and the degree to which the weather changes depend on its proximity to either the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico.
Winters in Georgia tend to be mild with temperatures falling between the low teens and high sixties. Summertime is when Georgia shines with temperatures between all the way up into the low nineties! The state has dangers associated with hurricanes and tropical storms along the coast, which should be something to consider if you plan to build a home.
Moving to Georgia Guide on Getting a Job in the Peach State
If you’re looking for a place to grow your career, consider moving to Georgia! According to an article published by the Georgia Department of Labor, at the time of writing this article, the state of Georgia has seen a steady increase in the job growth rate compared to the rest of the United States.
Moreover, in 2021, Georgia employers are worried there won’t be enough people to fill all the vacant jobs! Georgia continues to add more drops, resulting in a steady unemployment rate of around 3.5%. Industries showing solid job gains included agriculture, manufacturing, and construction.
What’s the situation on buying alcohol in Georgia?
Who isn’t curious about how to toast moving to a new state! In Georgia, you must be twenty-one years old or older to buy alcohol. Once you’re of age, you can buy spirits in retail package stores while grocery stores and convenience stores sell beer and wine.
While some restaurants and bars can sell alcohol on Sundays, depending on the township, but liquor stores are always closed. Most restaurants and bars are allowed to serve alcohol from 6 a.m. until midnight.
Fun fact: The sale of alcohol on Sundays was not allowed in Georgia until 2011!
What is there to do in Georgia?
Hopefully you like hiking and camping! Georgia’s natural beauty will make every weekend an adventure! From the Golden Isles, a string of barrier islands off the Atlantic coast and include the Cumberland Island National Seashore, to Stone Mountain just outside Atlanta, there are lots of interesting places to explore. Looking for something a little more inside? There are also multiple national wildlife refuges and wilderness and conservation areas that might pique your interest, too!
Another choice is to head over to Atlanta or Savannah for culture, food, and fun. As the big city, Atlanta boasts a variety of fun and interesting things to do including the World of Coke and the Georgia Aquarium. As a smaller city, Savannah’s Historic District and painted houses are a sight not to miss. However, if you’re like us, we’re sure you’ll agree that outdoor Georgia is the best. You’ll be in awe each and everything you step outside!
Important State Symbols in Georgia
The state of Georgia has almost fifty official state symbols; we’ve included a few of our favorites here. The first, and most important, is the state fruit – the peach! Georgia’s agricultural sector supplies many products, but its peach crop makes up around 3-5% of the U.S. total peach production!
The state crop is the peanut, and the flower is the Cherokee Rose. Another one of our favorite Georgia symbols is the state folk dance: the Square Dance. Probably the most unexpected state symbol is the state musical theatre – the Jekyll Island Musical Theatre Festival!
Lesser-Known FAQs About Moving to Georgia
Q: What is the capital of Georgia?
A: The capital of Georgia is Atlanta. Atlanta is also the most populated city in Georgia. The Atlanta metropolitan area is the third-largest metropolitan region in the U.S. If you plan to move to Georgia, you’ll probably find yourself here!
Q: How do Georgia’s public schools rank nationally?
A: According to a study by US News, Georgia public high schools rank 21/50 in a national breakdown tracking state-by-state high school performance, in a three-way tie with Kentucky and Ohio. While education quality can vary widely depending on where in the state you live, this report takes the weighted average of the state’s high school performance into consideration.
Q: What kind of taxes can you expect to pay in Georgia?
A: Among U.S. states, Georgia’s tax system ranks close to the middle of the pack for the burden its tax system places on taxpayers. Joint state and local sales taxes in the Peach State average 7.31%, and the state’s top marginal income tax rate is 5.75%. Likewise, its average property and gas taxes are both near the national averages. Of course, these various rates mean what individual taxpayers end up paying depends on their income among other factors. The good news is that Georgia has no estate tax!
For the entire state of Georgia, the average effective property tax rate is 0.87%, which is less than the national average of 1.07%. That varies by county, however, and in Fulton County, the state’s most populous, the effective property tax rate is 1.00%.
Q: What’s it like to vote in Georgia?
A: If you are a first-time voter, you must make sure you are a citizen of the U.S., a legal resident of the county you wish to vote in and be at least seventeen and a half years of age to register and 18 years of age to vote. You must not be serving a sentence for conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude or found mentally incompetent by a judge. You can register either online or by mail, and after you register, you’ll receive a precinct card that lets you know where to vote. If you’re registered to vote, you can request an absentee ballot by filling out an application and showing proof of government issued identification such as a driver’s license.
Q: What are the rules for switching your driver’s license in Georgia?
A: If you have an out-of-state driver’s license, you’ll need to transfer it for a Georgia license if you plan to stay. You must be at least eighteen years old, and you’ll need to plan a visit to a Georgia Department of Driver Services where you’ll surrender your current license, take, and pass a vision exam, and if you’re surrendering your current license, you won’t need to take the written knowledge test. Don’t forget to bring documentation showing your identity, residential address, and U.S. citizenship, and your full social security number for the required online License/ID/Permit Form. After taking a photo for your license and paying the requisite fees, you’ll be all set!
Q: When do you need to update your car plates in Georgia?
A: If you are a new Georgia resident, you must register your vehicle with the County Tag Office. You’ll need to complete and sign a MV-1 Title/Tag Application and be prepared to show the original title issued in your name or properly assigned to you. You’ll also need to complete and sign a Form T-22B Certification of Inspection, show proof of Georgia liability insurance, and possibly show an emission inspection certification. Don’t forget to bring a copy of your new Georgia driver’s license!
Q: What’s it like driving in Georgia?
A: Like most state, the driving conditions in Georgia are very different in urban and rural areas. Georgia ranked at number 16 as the state with the worst drivers in America. Now, that doesn’t mean Georgia drivers are all bad – that just means you must do more than just look at out the window of the car!
Q: Does Georgia have any walkable cities?
A: Of all cities in Georgia, the best bet for having a walkable lifestyle is going to be in Atlanta, but even that’s going to be difficult. The city has some public transportation, but it is not exactly bikeable. The most walkable Atlanta neighborhoods are Georgia State University, Peachtree Center, and Buckhead Village.
Is Georgia the Right State for You to Move?
However, natural disasters like hurricanes and tropical storms and middle of the pack schools prove that while exceptional, Georgia isn’t perfect.