I moved to Nashville from my home state of Alabama on September 11, 2005; over 9 years ago. I was here about a year before I met my wife, who had moved here a year before I did, from Sacramento, California.
We have been married 6 and a half years now and have a 4 year old son.
Something we have recently noticed is this: Married couples move away from Nashville after a few years if one of them doesn’t have close family that lives within “drivable distance.”
A few years ago, my son Jack’s good friend Henry moved to Texas. A year ago, his best friend Sophie moved.
Several of the married couples who we knew pretty well from church also moved away after a few years.
The reason is typically the same: They move back to where one set of their parents live; especially after having kids.
Apparently, Nashville is not the kind of city where it’s practical to raise kids long term unless you have a set of parents who lives within drivable distance, where you could visit and get break around once a month; as well as the major holidays.
Nashville is a great place to raise a family. There is money here, but of course, the lifestyle can be wearisome. It’s was ranked as The Daily Beast’s #44 worst commuted city in America; as of the most recent 2010 census.
As for my family, we are closing on a new house in Spring Hill, a popular and wildly growing “bedroom community” which is exactly 35 miles from Nashville.
In other words, to live a comfortable middle class lifestyle in Nashville, we have chosen to live outside of Nashville, but making our money inside Nashville.
Not to mention, Nashville is the kind of city where, if you want to live that “comfortable middle class lifestyle,” you have to either pay to put your kids in private school, or you have to live the “right” county, which is Williamson.
Half of Spring Hill is in Williamson County and we wouldn’t have considered building our new house there if that wasn’t the case; as our new house is in Williamson County.
It is one of the wealthiest counties in America, ranked the #17 wealthiest in the U.S. as of the 2010 census, but surrounded by others which are not; making the Nashville area’s school systems quite different from one another; though just a few miles apart.
In the small town where I grew up in Alabama, you didn’t have to worry about which school you went to. In fact, there was only one “choice.”
But here in the Nashville area, it’s something that hard-working middle class people have to consider and build their lives around.
So if you’re family is planning (or considering) to move to Nashville, please ask yourself these questions…
“Do we have family (like a set of parents) in a drivable distance from Nashville who we could stay with at least every 2 months, to get a break from the fast-paced lifestyle?”
“Does it matter that our kids get into a good school, knowing that the school systems are very polarized based on the income brought in from the people who collectively make up that county?”
Not that those are the only issues to consider, but based on my more than 9 years of experience living here, those seem to be the ones that cause families to move back to Ohio and Texas and Maryland… or wherever else they moved here from.
Feel free to ask me any questions about this. I want to help if you’re trying to figure out if you should move your family here.