This city is the gateway to the sunshine state and is known all over America as the ‘place to be’. Maybe that’s what has prompted the desire to live in Jacksonville for you, or maybe it is something else. Or it could very well be the scenic views you get in the city, thanks to the St. Johns River and the islands surrounding. But whatever the reason, if you are serious about moving to Jacksonville, go ahead and read the rest of the article to gather the information to make the decision in a more serious capacity.
What Should I Know Before Moving To Jacksonville?
Jacksonville is the largest city by area in the United States. It is spread over an area of 874.67 square miles (2265.39 km2), of which 127.19 square miles (329.42 km2) is water. The reason Jacksonville is so big is because it was consolidated with Duval County in 1968. It is the 12th most populous city in the country with a population of 911,507, as estimated in 2019.
If you are in Jacksonville, Florida, no matter what your taste, there will be something for you. You can kick the night off with a few drinks at some 1920s inspired corners like The Volstead, which will give you a glimpse of Jacksonville’s prohibition history. Or maybe, you might choose to enjoy the Symphony Orchestra at the Times-Union Centre for the Performing Arts. In case you are looking for a night of groovy music and dancing, you can have your pick of any number of bars like the Cuba Libre or The Brix Taphouse. On a weekend, you might want to put on your flip-flops and drink Pina Coladas while sunbathing at Neptune Beach. Or if sophisticated socializing is more your scene, we recommend going to the southern part of Jacksonville, where you will immediately settle into the relaxed luxury that you were seeking.
Food in Jacksonville is an altogether different ball-game. While food is not what the city is known for, it has enough to satisfy any foodie’s soul. We recommend that the first thing you try in the city be the ‘five and dime’ sandwich at the Maple Street Biscuit Company. It is basically fried chicken, smoked bacon, cheddar cheese topped with sausage gravy and a fried egg on a biscuit. Drooling yet? God bless the person who came up with that. Some other places that you should visit are TacoLu, Safe Harbor Seafood, M Shack and French Pantry. There is of course, a lot more but these are a good start.
While people who like to stay in can do that in peace, Jacksonville is literally an ‘extrovert paradise’. Any activity or adventure that you may want to do, Jacksonville has a place where you would be able to do that. And that’s why it has solidly earned its place as the ‘city to be in’.
The violent crime rate per 1000 residents in Jacksonville is 6.49, which means that your chances of being the victim of such a crime are 1 in 154. For property crime, the rate per 1000 residents is 33.35, making your chances of being a victim 1 in 30. And the chances of you being a victim of motor vehicle theft are 1 in 318. It is a pleasant surprise that Jacksonville stands better than other cities of similar sizes, in terms of comparison of crime rates.
Jacksonville’s weather is called ‘humid subtropical’. The seasons here can tend to get mixed up, with the typical summer months being hot and humid and the winter being mild, warm and dry.
To try and explain the weather as simply as we can, the average temperature from January to July is 53.10F (11.70C). High temperatures, if they happen, could range from 64-920F (18-330C). Cold weather doesn’t really last for long in Jacksonville. The last recorded snowfall was in 1989 with nothing but a flurry seen in 2010.
Rainfall on the other hand, usually occurs between May and September, with them being brief and intense. The annual precipitation is around 52 inches (130 cm).
Is It Expensive To Live In Jacksonville FL?
A wise man once said, ‘I am rich since my income exceeds my expenses and my expenses are only as per my wishes’. Considering that you live in Jacksonville and you wish to only spend on living costs like food, utilities, rent etc, it is only right to assess where that leaves you in terms of savings and if that is a favourable position for you financially. So, let’s take a look at the likely living costs of Jacksonville.
Taxes, the compulsory expense, are 7.5% as the sales tax in Jacksonville, which is the sum of the state, county and city sales tax. The property tax in the city is 0.94%. Florida does not have a state income tax, so you would only have to pay a federal income tax for Jacksonville and people over 65 need not pay any taxes at all.
Cost of Living In Jacksonville
For a family of four, their monthly expenses without rent would average around $3,222 and for a single person, that figure would stand at $903. The cost-of-living index of the city is 93.5 and the median household income is $54,269.
A litre of milk costs $0.92 and a loaf of bread is $2.91. A dozen eggs cost $3.94 and a kilogram of potatoes would be $3.90. If you eat at some inexpensive restaurant, the bill would be around $15 while a dinner with some company at a mid-range restaurant would be $50.
When it comes to transportation, a one-way ticket costs $1.50 on public transit while a monthly pass costs $50. If you are a vehicle owner, you would be happy to know that a litre of gas costs just $0.60.
In terms of health insurance, people of Jacksonville can expect their plan to cost $467 for a major plan, per individual.
Buying a House
A house would cost $210,000 on average in Jacksonville, according to Zillow. Realtor magazine has given Jacksonville the fourth rank in the competitive home-buying market of the United States.
Rent a House
The average rent you would pay for a house in Jacksonville is $1,250, though this is subject to the neighbourhood you may choose to live in.
Utility bills are like those tiny, unnoticeable leaks that can sink a ship. Luckily, the utility bills like electricity, garbage, water, heating and cooling for an average apartment come to $138.74 per month. In addition to that, the cost of an unlimited Internet plan would be $71.24.
Jacksonville Economy And Employment Opportunities
The prime location of Jacksonville on St. John’s River and the Atlantic Ocean is key to the city’s success. The other cornerstone of the city’s economy is in its diversification into distribution, financial services, biomedical technology, consumer goods, information services, manufacturing and other industries.
Four Fortune 500 companies are based in Jacksonville, them being CSX Corporation, Fidelity National Financial, Fidelity National Information Services and Southeastern Grocers. The city is home to many other companies as well, some of them being Florida Blue, Fanatics, Web.com, Deutsche Bank, Swisher International Group and others.
The biggest employer of Jacksonville is the United States Military and its impact on the city’s economy annually is $6.1 billion. The Air station here is responsible for giving jobs to over 25,000 people. There is also the Naval Station Mayport that operates a busy harbour and employs quite a lot of people. Some of the other military agencies that are based in Jacksonville and are responsible for providing employment are the Blount Island Command, USS Jacksonville and the Florida Air National Guard.
Finance carries a chunk of the city’s economy. Some of the institutes of finance in the city are Ameris Bancorp, US Assure, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Atlantic Coast Financial and others.
Jacksonville’s booming businesses have simultaneously given a boost to the city’s banking sector, prompting a lot of said institutes to move operations to the city. Also, the city’s manufacturing sector covers 4.5% of the city’s jobs. Jacksonville is also the 47th largest local television market in the country, the economic impact of which is huge. There is also tourism that provides 43,000 jobs and produces a revenue of $1.6 billion annually. One wouldn’t be falling short of a job of their choice in this city.
Education in Jacksonville falls under the Duval County State Boards (DCSE). There are 105 elementary schools, 28 middle schools and 20 high schools. Other than this figure, charter schools operate under contract to the DCSE and are oriented towards helping children considered to be socially ‘at risk’. The city also has a number of magnet schools and Catholic schools.
Jacksonville has two public institutes, few private institutes and some for-profit and speciality schools when it comes to institutions of higher learning. University of North Florida and Florida State College are the public universities and they offer bachelor, post graduate and doctoral programs. Jacksonville University, Edward Waters College and Flagler College are some of the private institutes in the area. When it comes to for-profit schools, they are usually not considered to be on-par with other universities and this is a cause of concern, especially when looking for jobs.
Getting Around Jacksonville
Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) is responsible for the management of the city’s airports. The Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) has 82 departures daily to 27 destinations. Other airports include Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airport, Herlong Recreational Airport and the Cecil Airport. The last one carries the designation of being a spaceport.
Amtrak provides two trains here – the Silver Meteor and the Silver Star, which service the Jacksonville Amtrak Station daily. Sunset Limited and Silver Palm run their course thrice a week. Jacksonville is also home to the headquarters of CSX Transportation, Florida East Coast Railway and RailAmerica. The first happens to own a large building that forms a part of the city’s skyline.
There is a people mover called the Jacksonville Skyway that connects Florida State College downtown campus, the Northbank Central business district, Convention Centre and the southbank locations. Just so you know, there are eight stops in Jacksonville connected by two lines.
The bus service of Jacksonville is top-notch. The Jacksonville Transit Authority (JTA) provides vehicles that travel 56 routes and employ 320 drivers. There is also an express bus service offered that has its origins in an outlying area early in the morning and return late in the afternoon. There is also local transportation like trolleys that run on downtown routes for free. To add to that, residents also get to make the most of a system in place operating through JTA Connexion, specially designed for the disabled and elderly. The city has a ‘park and ride’ facility available, which means that you may park your vehicle at a particular spot and take the public transport from there. This is one of the major causes for the success of the public transit services in Jacksonville.
A number of interstate highways and arterial roads run through Jacksonville connecting to major cities. For example, the I-95 routes to Washington DC in the north and Miami to the south. I-295 acts as a belt connecting to all the interstate highways.
Some of the major arterial highways include US-17 which connects downtown Jacksonville to Clay County. The US-23 has its end-point in downtown Jacksonville and branches out to the southeast as Union Street and to the Northwest as State Street.
The Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) manages the public seaports of the city. Jacksonville is a fully-serviced international seaport which boasts of modern deepwater seaport facilities. The JAXPORT manages 20 more marine facilities which are responsible for moving around 10 million tons of cargo from the St. Johns River. What’s worth noting is that Jacksonville Port ranks at the 40th position in the country in terms of the tonnage it carries.
Best Neighborhoods Of Jacksonville Florida
This area is close to the airport, zoo and the Huguenot park with very easy access to downtown. This was once an industrial area where people have started developing residences and have managed to bring to the desirable riverfront living. Homes here are mostly Mediterranean villas or ranch style houses. This area is perfect for families and retirees or first-time home buyers.
The average home price in this area is $110,000 and the average rent is $800.
2. Ortega Forest
This is probably the most picturesque area of Northeast Florida. Giant oaks and mansions dominate the neighborhood of Ortega Forest. This area also happens to be in close proximity to private schools, churches and parks. Some of the treats of Ortega Forest include Simply Sara’s where you could go for a quick meal or go to a thai restaurant. For that matter, there’s also the option of trying the sushi – which is a favourite in the area. There’s shopping nearby and downtown is just fifteen minutes away. Undoubtedly, Ortega Forest is the place for people of affluence, preferably families.
The average home price in this area is $500,000. Houses don’t really go for renting here.
3. San Marco
This is quite the historic neighborhood of Jacksonville. It’s littered with boutiques, galleries and eateries that will leave your taste buds craving for more. One may go to the theater here to admire the artwork of the regional artists at Stellers gallery. Otherwise, having a drink at one of the breweries, or the craft cocktail bars while looking at the city’s skyline can make a night that you will never forget.
The average price of a house here is $250,000 and the average rent of such a house would be $1,150.
Downtown, hands down is the jewel in the crown of Jacksonville and this is what makes Jacksonville such a must-visit, must-stay place. The neighborhood has more than 120 bars and restaurants where you can dance the night away or celebrate nothing, or even drink away your sorrows. But Downtown is not just a place with ample provisions for debauchery. It also has a number of schools, businesses and shopping that make it extremely liveable. For people who prefer entertainment of a quieter nature, the Museum of Science and History and the Ritz Theatre and Museum are worth visiting. Goes without saying, these are places that offer something new every time. Downtown is also the area that hosts a lot of concerts and theatre pieces.
The price of a house on average in this area would be $220,000 and the rent of a similar house would be $700.
Is Moving To Jacksonville FL a Good Idea?
With a city like Jacksonville, the answer is not hard to come by. The life this city offers is unique and has a pace and character that you would not find elsewhere. And exactly because it is a city like Jacksonville, you know what you would be getting into before moving to the place. So, think carefully and objectively whether you would fit here because a city like Jacksonville deserves to be loved with all of your heart. Account for the job prospects, the finances, your life and career goals and whether or not Jacksonville ticks those boxes. It gives us great pleasure to have helped in the decision making process and we hope that you look forward to the excitement coming your way. While you’re at it, read our article Moving Checklist – Printable Home Relocation To-Do List to give direction to your planning process.