The word “best” is incredibly subjective, so while our goal is to provide specific, valuable information about some of the best parts of the great state of Tennessee, we also recognize that we need to keep our suggestions broad enough that YOU can make your own decision when answering the ultimate question: where are the best places to live in Tennessee?

One of the main benefits of being part of The Tennessee Life community is that we find great joy in walking people through the process of understanding what the best place to live in Tennessee is FOR YOU. 

As such, and with a team of local area experts on standby, we’d love to allow you to schedule a consultation with one of our qualified Tennessee hosts.

Outside of the main city of Memphis, the second largest town of Jackson (9th largest town in all of Tennessee) comes in with 1/10th the population, followed by other notable towns of Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Dyersburg, Lakeland, Arlington, Martin, Union City, Millington, and Paris (not the country!). 

Average home prices in the Memphis area hover around $140,000, which makes West Tennessee, by far, the most affordable part of the state to live in! 

With a visit to West Tennessee, it will not take you long to notice their love for Memphis style barbeque sauce, which you have likely enjoyed at some point in your life, and not really thought anything of it.

 Grand Divisions of Tennessee

When thinking about the best places to live in Tennessee, it all starts with the 3 “Grand Divisions” of the state. You may not have ever noticed, but on the state flag of Tennessee, you’ll see three stars, which any Tennesseean could tell you make up the “tri-star”.

There is a reason that native Tennesseeans hold so much credibility in the three Grand Divisions of the state, and that is because the way of life in each of these three is very different.

You have likely noticed that the state of Tennessee is very wide, and as such, the Grand Divisions break up the state into three distinct sections: west, middle (don’t call it central!), and east.

WEST

MIDDLE

EAST

West Tennessee

Comprised largely of the Memphis area (population 633,104), west Tennessee is “home of the Blues and birthplace of Rock’n’Roll”, with a total population of over 1.5 million residents. 

After the main Western Tennessee city of Memphis, there is a STEEP drop in population to the 2nd largest town of Jackson (9th largest town in all of Tennessee). Other notable towns over a population of 10,000 are Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Dyersburg, Lakeland, Arlington, Martin, Union City, Millington, and Paris (not the country!). 

According to Zillow, average home prices in the Memphis area hover around $140,000. This makes West Tennessee, by far, the most affordable part of the state to live in! 

With a visit to West Tennessee, it will not take you long to notice their love for Memphis style barbeque sauce, which you have likely enjoyed at some point in your life, and not really thought anything of it.

Middle Tennessee

Comprised largely of the Nashville area (population 689,447), middle Tennessee is home of “Music City” and the “Upper Cumberland” areas, with a total population of nearly 2.9 million residents. 

After the main Middle Tennessee city of Nashville, the other most notable towns are Clarksville, Murfreesboro, Franklin, Hendersonville, Smyrna, Spring Hill, Brentwood, Gallatin and Columbia. 

According to Zillow, average home prices in the Nashville area hover around $405,000, which makes East Tennessee, by far, the most expensive part of the state to live in. These average home prices are justified, however, when you consider the fact that Nashville, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is #5 in the “Job Growth Ranking” (number of jobs plus average wage) for all cities in the United States! 

Specifically, Williamson County is home to the top three most expensive towns in all of Tennessee (Brentwood, Franklin, and Nolensville). 

East Tennessee

Comprised largely of the Knoxville (population 190,740) and Chattanooga (population 181,099), East Tennessee is home of “Dollywood”, with a total population of over 2.4 million residents.

After the main East Tennessee cities of Knoxville and Chattanooga, the other most notable towns are Johnson City, Kingsport, Cleveland, Maryville, Oak Ridge, Morristown, Bristol, and Farragut.

According to Zillow, average home prices in the Knoxville area are $295,000, which is just below the average home price across the entire United States ($325,000). Known mostly for its tourism, East Tennessee could be viewed as more of a “destination”, although living there offers almost unlimited opportunities to enjoy outdoor life.

Chances are, you have visited East Tennessee to visit amazing towns like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, or Sevierville in order to enjoy some of the greatest outdoor life attractions available in the entire country!

Best Areas To Live In Tennessee

 The best area to live in Tennessee… is the one that fits your lifestyle most closely!

There is no standard metric to go by, because every person and family has different needs and desires.

That said, the main factors that anyone looks at when determining the best area to live in Tennessee are typically affordability, recreation, job opportunities, and crime rates. Over time, we’ll be researching and talking about all of these, but feel free to email us and let us know what else you want to know about!

So what is the best area for you? That is ultimately up to you to decide! We would love to walk through that conversation with you as you conduct your search and ask questions.

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