Lifestyle and standard of living are two reasons Georgia continues to attract Fortune 500 companies and the skilled, educated workforce those businesses and others need to succeed. The state’s diverse population, the blend of city and country atmosphere, the widely varying topography all contribute to a unique lifestyle and array of experiences unmatched by other states.
This versatility is a major reason Georgia appeals to so many people.
Georgia’s moderate climate enables residents to live an outdoor lifestyle. Georgia’s landscape offers something for everyone – pristine beaches, wondrous forests, majestic mountains, and magnificent rivers and streams.
Georgia is also home to more than 60 state parks and a dozen national parks, including the world-famous Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and the Chattahoochee National Forest. Beyond these public-owned and managed lands, Georgia has abundant wilderness for fishing, hunting, camping and other outdoor activities.
Exercise enthusiasts will appreciate the range of challenges presented by the largest state east of the Mississippi River – hiking trails, walking paths and cycling courses. The Silver Comet Trail, for example, stretches 61 miles from Atlanta to Alabama.
As engaging as the Georgia outdoors can be, one of the state’s greatest assets is the ability to get away – quickly.
Each day, more than 75 countries and 150 U.S. cities are a non-stop flight away, thanks to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The world’s busiest airport offers dozens of flights throughout the day to high-demand markets like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Overseas flights will increase further in 2012, with the opening of the Maynard H. Jackson, Jr. International Terminal.
As for visiting other cities and states by car – the four U.S. interstates that cross through Georgia make a quick trip to see family and friends an everyday possibility.
World-class sporting events are constant in Georgia, from the annual Masters Golf Tournament to NASCAR auto racing to NCAA basketball. On average, a professional sports team is in Atlanta once every three days to take on the Braves, Falcons, Hawks, Silverbacks, Beat, and Dream.
Beyond that, Georgia’s spectator sports portfolio includes every experience from steeplechase racing to coastal yachting to minor league baseball to Georgia Force arena football and Gwinnett Gladiators hockey. Few places in the U.S. can match what Georgia has to offer in the number and caliber of sporting events.
And you don’t have to be a fan to enjoy the Georgia sporting lifestyle. Georgia’s hundreds of public and private golf courses, plus recreational leagues that span the state, provide ways for anyone to get involved in athletics.
Places to Go and Grow
The beauty of Georgia is inside, as well as out. Across the state, cities and towns provide cultural experiences that engage, enrich – and often challenge – audiences.
For starters, Georgia has hundreds of museums and galleries. The state’s diverse and impressive art collections boast everything from Southern folk art to collections of American Impressionism and Italian Renaissance. The state is home to works by Benny Andrews, George Bellows, Lamar Dodd, Winslow Homer, Jasper Johns, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe and Pablo Picasso, among others.
The highly renowned Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta is one of the most comprehensive arts experiences in the nation. This artistic jewel of the Southeast combines the High Museum of Art, Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the eclectic 14th Street Playhouse into a highly integrated artistic experience.
But the arts in Georgia reach well beyond Atlanta – the state is home to award-winning regional theater, and a number of communities have a thriving music scene. Georgia is the birthplace of some of the nation’s most significant performers. Lady Antebellum (pictured above), Otis Redding, R.E.M., James Brown, Ray Charles, Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood, Usher, Ludacris, and many others hail from Georgia.
One Georgia attraction that is in its own category is the Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest. No other aquarium in the world has more animal species, populating 60 exhibits immersed in 10 million gallons of water. Beyond being an experience of inspiration and education, the Georgia Aquarium is a marvel of philanthropy: it opened debt-free in 2003 thanks to a $250 million gift from Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot.
Georgia’s Standard of Living
All of these experiences are major contributors to a high-quality standard of living in Georgia. The Georgia lifestyle is made affordable by below-average housing costs, low taxes and a cost of living that is lower than many U.S. cities.
In fact, all major Georgia cities, including Atlanta, are below the national average for cost of living, according to the 2010 ACCRA Index, a definitive measure of cost of living.
Cost of Living in Georgia Cities
American Chamber of Commerce Research Association (ACCRA)
Cost Of Living Index
|New York City||217.2|
U.S. Average = 100
The ACCRA Cost of Living Index is a composite picture of the cost of grocery items, housing, utilities, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services.