Leaving the cold behind for sunny winters is a huge decision. After all, hardy Midwesterners are known for braving the cold and celebrating the snow.
But, if you are anything like us, the winter takes a toll. We moved to the south (Florida) and haven’t regretted it a day.
In this blog, we’ll explore the differences between the Southern U.S. and the Midwest, and why heading south can be a game-changer.
From escaping winter’s chill to finding great job prospects and affordable living, the Southern U.S. has something to offer everyone. Join us on this journey as we discover the charms and perks of life in the South.
Reason One: Say goodbye to the winter
Pick just about any state in the south that isn’t in a desert, and chances are you will find better weather in the winter than the Midwest.
For example, let’s say you are moving from Chicago to Florida. What you’ll find is the summers are only slightly hotter while the winters are MUCH warmer.
As you can see from the weatherspark.com data below, both Orlando and Chicago have a warm summer, but the difference is the winter in Orlando only drops 21 degrees to an average high of 70 degrees while the Chicago winter drops to a high of 33 degrees—a 50 degree drop!!
What’s more, Chicago has some really hot weeks. Check out the July highs in Chicago—you’ll see plenty of weeks when highs upper 80’s and even 90’s.
If we venture to the “southern” Midwest in a state like Kanssa, you’ll see that the weather is even less pleasant without the temperature cooling effects of the Great Lakes.
Believe it or not, Wichita is actually HOTTER than Orlando during the months of July and August. It’s one thing to have a much colder winter, but it’s a whole other thing to have an even hotter summer.
There is no doubt, heading to the Southern U.S. can give Midwesterners a much-needed winter warmup.
Reason Two: The Job Opportunities are Great
The South has taken off recently with record-breaking employment.
In fact, Florida ranks (#5), Texas (#6), and North Carolina (#7) isn’t far behind.
The Mountain-West took the #1 with Utah, #2 with Idaho, #3 with Arizona, #4 with Montana, #8 with Oregon, and #10 with Alaska.
How many Midwestern states made the top 10 you ask?
One. Just one. Lonely South Dakota—and it’s the 5th smallest state by number of people.
According to a recent article in Crain’s Chicago Business, there is a notable trend of great wealth migration towards the Southern United States.
The article estimates that an astounding $100 billion dollars are currently being directed to the South, showcasing a substantial shift in wealth distribution.
Southern States like Florida, Texas, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Tennessee are now contributing more to the national GDP than the Northeast.
The Southeast has attracted transplants, businesses, and retirees due to factors like warmer weather, lower taxes, and cheaper housing.
The South’s growing economy is changing the country’s population and attracting a variety of people looking for more opportunities and a better life.
What cities in the South are great for jobseekers?
Moneygeeks.com recently rated the top 15 cities in the U.S. for jobseekers and the Southern U.S. Absolutely dominated, taking 12 out of 15 spots.
If you were to pick one U.S. State, Florida has the most cities for jobseekers by far.
Check out our recent blog on why Florida is a great place to live financially.
Reason Three: Cost of living is just as good
Many people assume the Southern U.S. has the lowest cost of living, and while Mississippi ranks #1 for lowest cost of living, the Midwestern States also rank very well for cost of living.
The good news is that moving south most likely won’t change your cost of living much.
And in some instances you may eliminate state income taxes or have lower property taxes moving from the Midwest..
The Midwest states have a slightly lower cost of living than the Southern states, according to data from the Missouri Economic Information Research Center, but not by much.
Based on the cost of living map above, both the Midwest and Southern US are very affordable.
Without the slightly elevated cost of Florida and Virginia, the South is on par with the Midwest across the board.
Moreover, it’s worth noting that our highest-priced states, Florida and Virginia, are significantly less costly than California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, New York, New Jersey, or Hawaii.
What are the cheapest cost of living Southern States?
If you are looking to live in the lowest cost areas of the South, the following states rank in order of lowest cost of living:
- West Virginia
- North Carolina
There are some small differences between cities, but there are also large differences depending on the city, like the high costs of Chicago in the Midwest or Miami in the South.
Reason Four: Southern Outdoor Recreation is Amazing
The South is home to some seriously good outdoor experiences. If you are someone who enjoys being outside, the Southern U.S. will not disappoint.
Unlike the midwest, the Southern U.S. has coastal ocean beaches and towering mountains.
While the Midwest is no slouch to outdoor experiences (The Great Lakes…), the Southern U.S. is a terrific new place to explore.
One of the highlights of the Southern U.S. is its picturesque coastline (over 5000 miles), which extends from the Atlantic Ocean into the Gulf of Mexico.
If you love beaches and water sports, you can choose between Florida’s warm, tropical vibes or the wild beauty of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
We love heading up to the Palm Coast for cute shops and beaches on the Atlantic.
Living in Orlando, we often can choose which kind of coastal experience we want.
Sometimes we just want to get in our car, drive 90 minutes, and arrive at one of the best beaches in the world—Clearwater Beach.
And sure, you can go to the Michigan Beaches, which are great, but the water is colder, the sand harder, and the experience isn’t “tropical”.
Something you won’t find in the midwest however are mountains.
Driving southeast from the midwest, you’ll find the awe-inspiring Appalachian Mountains, a mecca for hikers, climbers, and nature lovers.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States.
It is located in Tennessee and North Carolina and offers beautiful views, a wide variety of animals, and many hiking trails.
There is nothing better than renting a mountain cabin in North Carolina and looking at the rolling mountains.
But that’s not all—the South is home to the mysterious swamps in Everglades and the Louisiana Bayou, the Hot Springs of Arkansas, and some of the biggest caves in the world in Kentucky.
If you love National Parks, look no further. Check out all the National Parks you can travel to in the Southern United States.
|Arkansas||Hot Springs National Park|
|Florida||Biscayne National Park|
|Dry Tortugas National Park|
|Everglades National Park|
|Kentucky||Mammoth Cave National Park|
|North Carolina||Great Smoky Mountains National Park (shared with Tennessee)|
|South Carolina||Congaree National Park|
|Tennessee||Great Smoky Mountains National Park (shared with North Carolina)|
|Texas||Big Bend National Park|
|Guadalupe Mountains National Park|
|Virginia||Shenandoah National Park|
|West Virginia||New River Gorge National Park|
For adventure seekers, the opportunities are boundless.
Enjoy the excitement of white-water rafting in North Carolina’s Nantahala River, zip through Georgia’s forests on a zip-line, or go hiking in the stunning Big Bend National Park in Texas.
Discover the limitless adventures that await you in the Southern U.S.delivers heart-pounding excitement at every turn.
Reason Five: Local traditions have been passed down for centuries.
We love Southern celebrations, and you can find them in almost every state. No one celebrates like the South.
And the coolest part is many of these festivities are centuries old—so we’ve got this whole celebrating thing down.
Take Mardi Gras in New Orleans, LA for example.
The first Louisiana Mardi Gras was celebrated in 1699. Floats, beads, exotic costumes, seafood, and jazz music… what’s not to love?
And there is so much more.
Let’s talk about the road trips you can take for some fun festivals in the South.
7 Amazing Southern Festivities
- The Kentucky Derby, held every year on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, stands as a globally renowned horse race. People from all over the world come to this grand event to enjoy mint juleps and horse races.
- Beale Street Music Festival is held annually during the Memphis in May International Festival. It features renowned musicians from various genres across the world. Not to mention, the food is amazing.
- Charleston Wine + Food Festival: Taking place in Charleston, South Carolina, this festival celebrates the region’s culinary excellence. Food and wine enthusiasts gather to enjoy tastings, demonstrations, and events showcasing the rich culinary heritage of the South.
- Texas State Fair: Held annually in Dallas, Texas, the Texas State Fair is one of the largest and most famous state fairs in the country. It features a wide variety of attractions, including concerts, carnival rides, agricultural exhibits, and, of course, unique and delicious fair food.
- Biscuit Festival: Knoxville, Tennessee, hosts the International Biscuit Festival, celebrating the beloved Southern comfort food, the biscuit. The festival includes biscuit tastings, cooking demonstrations, and a biscuit baking contest.
- Fiesta, a 130-year-old tradition in San Antonio, spanning 11 days through the entire city, celebrates with parades, music, food, and cultural events.
- Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Tampa dates back to 1904 and features live parades, floats, marching bands, and pirate costumes everywhere you look.
Reason 6: Higher Education is Affordable
|1||United States Military Academy at West Point||$0||West Point, NY||11%||Northeast|
|2||Indian River State College||$588||Fort Pierce, FL||100%||South|
|3||Berea College||$1,196||Berea, KY||38%||South|
|4||South Texas College||$1,610||McAllen, TX||100%||South|
|5||Be’er Yaakov Talmudic Seminary||$1,742||Spring Valley, NY||95%||Northeast|
|6||Talmudical Seminary of Bobov||$2,670||Brooklyn, NY||95%||Northeast|
|7||Sitting Bull College||$3,060||Fort Yates, ND||100%||Great Plains|
|8||Palm Beach State College||$3,064||Lake Worth, FL||100%||South|
|9||Kehilath Yakov Rabbinical Seminary||$3,069||Ossining, NY||100%||Northeast|
|10||Chipola College||$3,099||Marianna, FL||100%||South|
|11||United States Merchant Marine Academy||$3,119||Kings Point, NY||22%||Northeast|
|12||Gulf Coast State College||$3,128||Panama City, FL||100%||South|
|13||Lorain County Community College||$3,161||Elyria, OH||100%||Midwest|
|14||Alpena Community College||$3,183||Alpena, MI||100%||Midwest|
|15||Henry Ford College||$3,299||Dearborn, MI||100%||Midwest|
|16||Elizabeth City State University||$3,412||Elizabeth City, NC||59%||South|
|17||CUNY Lehman College||$3,467||Bronx, NY||40%||Northeast|
|18||St. Petersburg College||$3,477||Clearwater, FL||100%||South|
|19||Florida State College at Jacksonville||$3,498||Jacksonville, FL||100%||South|
|20||Haskell Indian Nations University||$3,530||Lawrence, KS||68%||Great Plains|
The South’s prominence in the top 20 rankings for affordable higher education is a testament to its commitment to providing quality education at accessible costs.
With nearly half of the top 20 most affordable colleges in the South, you can see just how affordable it is.
What’s more is that the South (35) has over 1/3 of the most affordable Universities out of the top 100 compared to the midwest at just 13.
Students and parents can financially plan for college in the South without breaking the bank.
|Region||Number of Affordable Colleges|
The South is calling you with its picturesque landscapes, beautiful mountain vistas, serene beaches, vibrant festivals, and a lifestyle that embraces the best of both worlds—warm winters and ample job opportunities.
It’s a region rich in history and traditions, often hundreds of years old.
The South’s booming economy and affordability make it an attractive destination for those seeking a better quality of life. Whether you’re drawn to the coastal allure, the majestic mountains, or the Southern hospitality, the South welcomes you with open arms.
So, why wait? Embrace the Southern charm and experience a new chapter of your life filled with warmth, excitement, and endless possibilities.
Frequently Asked Questions
What U.S. States are the Midwest?
The Midwest is a region in the United States that is divided into two divisions: East-North-Central and West-North-Central.
The East North Central: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin (Great Lakes Area)
The West North Central: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, and South Dakota (Great Plains Area)
|East North Central||Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin|
|West North Central||Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota|
What U.S. States are the “South”?
The South is a diverse and culturally rich region in the United States, encompassing three divisions: South-Atlantic, East-South-Central, West-South-Central.
The South Atlantic: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia (Atlantic Ocean Area).
The East South Central: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee
West South Central: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.
|South Atlantic||Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia|
|East South Central||Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee|
|West South Central||Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas|
**Although Virginia is geographically located in the southern region, its political and social characteristics often resemble those of the northern states—in certain areas.
Is the South the most humid area in the U.S.?
Yes, the Southern U.S. is generally considered to be the most humid region in the United States.
The states of Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, and other areas in the region experience higher levels of humidity due to the perfect combination of warm temperatures and their proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.
Humid climates can have hot and muggy summers that some people find difficult, but others enjoy the mild winters and lush vegetation that thrives in the humidity.