They say “Virginia is for Lovers” but it seems like more than just affectionate couples are relocating to this beautiful Atlantic Coast state. Virginia offers something for everyone whether you’re a retiree, student, or family looking for a safe place to raise your kids.
If you’ve been contemplating a move to Virginia, you’ve likely done a fair amount of online research, looking up things like Arlington real estate or other notable regions within the state to get an idea of available housing.
And you wouldn’t be alone, as Virginia seems to be attracting people from all across the US, most coming from states like Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, California, and New York according to some of the latest data.
Of course when considering a big move to another state, you often want to weigh up the pros and cons. Thankfully, Virginia seems to provide a great deal more pros than cons no matter if you’re looking at moving to Arlington for a job in nearby Washington DC or live seaside in Virginia Beach.
Here’s a look at the many things Virginia has to offer, along with a few of the drawbacks you may experience when relocating to the state.
Pros and Cons of Moving to Virginia
The Pros of Moving to Virginia
Low Crime Rate
Virginia is one of the least dangerous places to live in the US, boasting one of the nation’s lowest crime rates. Many reports such as one released by U.S. News & World Report place Virginia in the Top 10 safest states in the US.
Meanwhile, The News Leader shows Virginia to rank near the bottom of the list when it comes to states with the most violent crime based on data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
Virginia’s violent crime rate is actually the lowest of all states in the South Atlantic region and over 40% lower than the national average. And if you’re looking to purchase a home, you’ll be glad to learn that Virginia has the second-lowest property crime rate in the South Atlantic region.
Add all this up and you realize why nearly 80% of Virginia residents say they feel safe, one of the highest satisfaction rates in the country.
Outstanding Health Care
Virginia is known to have some of the highest overall quality of healthcare, ranking in the top 10 nationally. The state’s public health care ranks in the top 15 states of the nation and seems to only be improving with each passing year.
University of Virginia Medical Center is arguably the state’s best hospital, but you also have nationally ranked hospitals such as Inova Fairfax Hospital and Sentara Norfolk General that offer wonderful health care as well.
Great Local Economy
Virginia’s diverse economy is thriving, also placing it in the top 15 states in the nation. With strengths in the healthcare and retail sectors, as well as rural farming and costal seafood harvesting, there are a wide range of jobs on offer.
Living in regions around Arlington also put you in position to take up political employment being so close to DC.
Job growth has regularly outpaced the national average and Virginia was named by the Washington Post as being the best state in America when it comes to managing budgets.
Virginia is home to three of the top 40 public universities in America, making it a great place to relocate to if you’re seeking higher education or want your kids to have easy access to quality higher education when they grow up.
Schools include the University of Virginia which was founded by Thomas Jefferson, the College of William and Mary which dates back to the late 17th century and is the second oldest higher education institution in the country, and of course Virginia Tech.
A number of Virginia counties also boast some of the nation’s top primary and secondary school districts, with public schools in Fairfax County, Prince William County Public Schools, and Loudoun County often topping Virginia’s list.
And if you’re an older person looking to get some additional education, the College of William and Mary also offers up to three free college classes a year for senior citizens.
Virginia is a state that offers up four different seasons, perfect for those that enjoy a change of scenery every few months.
While many areas of the state do see snow during the winter, you don’t get the heavy falls associated with the more northerly states and the temperatures don’t drop much below freezing.
Summers can get hot and humid but not nearly as bad as the Deep South or out West. The summer heat also doesn’t seem to be as relentless. Come fall, you have the opportunity to head into the mountains to witness the colorful transformation of foliage.
Abundance of Nature and Outdoor Recreation
If you love the great outdoors and observing wildlife, Virginia will be heaven for you. Whether you like multi-day treks in the mountains or long walks on the beach, Virginia has you covered.
Eight mountain ranges can be found within the state including the popular Blue Ridge Mountains. Drive the famous Blue Ridge Parkway or Historic Skyline Drive which is the northern continuation of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Shenandoah National Park.
If you’re into hiking, you can get excited by the fact a quarter of the Appalachian Trail also calls Virginia home. Hikes can also be found within the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests which can be found in the Appalachian Mountains.
Other natural landmarks worth a mention include the towering Natural Bridge which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as Luray Caverns with its captivating features that include Titania’s Veil, Double Column, and Great Stalacpipe Organ.
Heading to the coast, you of course have the beautiful and very popular Virginia Beach as well as the quieter Sandbridge Beach. You also have access to fascinating offshore islands like Chincoteague and Assateague.
Part wildlife sanctuaries and part wildlife refuge, these islands are a great way to enjoy a natural coastal experience and observe wildlife. Assateague is also well known for its population of wild ponies.
A great place for birdwatchers is the coastal Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge which makes up part of the Atlantic Flyway for migratory birds.
The Cons of Moving to Virginia
High Cost of Living
Depending on where you’re relocating from, you may experience an increase in cost of living. Home prices along the coast and near Washington DC can be pricey.
To escape the high cost of living which is above the national average, you can seek out the more rural areas of the state.
You can expect the average median home price in Virginia to be roughly $20,000 more than the national average, while rentals will likely set you back an additional $100-$150 per month over the national average.
Despite its slightly high cost of living, you can find good paying jobs thanks to the state being home to over twenty Fortune 500 companies. When you compare the cost of living to other nearby East Coast cities, Virginia ranks pretty well, with both the state’s utility costs and food costs falling below the national average.
Traffic has always been a slight nuisance in Virginia and with more and more people moving to the state, the road congestion is likely to worsen.
Road traffic is of course greatest around the big cities and regions near DC. Workers commuting to the nation’s capital will likely want to get in the habit of checking the daily traffic reports.
In addition to potentially having to deal with heavy traffic at times, you’ll also be paying higher prices than the national average at the pump. You’ll also likely be using up more fuel getting to work, as both commute times and distances are greater than the national average.
While you can’t escape taxes no matter where you live in the US, you sadly won’t get the benefit of avoiding state income tax since Virginia is not on the short list of states that include the likes of Florida and Alaska whose residents don’t have to pay yearly state income tax.
Virginia’s local and state tax burden comes in at around 9.3 percent, which isn’t the best. However, sales tax comes in at 5.6% which is actually below the national average, as are the state’s property taxes which beats the national average by around .25%
If you are looking to retire in Virginia, taxes aren’t really a con to relocating here. As a retiree, you’ll be glad to know that Virginia does not tax Social Security benefits and you can deduct up to $12,000 in pension and retirement state income taxes as a senior.
I hope this information will allow you to make a better-informed decision as to whether a move to Virginia could work for you.
At the very least, consider taking a trip to this beautiful part of the country to see all that Virginia has to offer and witness for yourself why it’s definitely more than just for lovers.