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Pros and Cons of Living in the South

It’s rare to meet a Southerner who isn’t brimming with pride for the land they call home. We’ll let you in on a little secret, though: Even the proudest Southern citizen is harboring at least a few complaints. Living in the South has a lot of advantages, but there are drawbacks as well.

Thinking about moving down South? Here’s what you should know before you do.

PRO: Affordability

Money makes the world go ‘round, and it seems like the prices are always rising. Luckily, down South, the value of a dollar still goes a long way. The cost of living is low, the economy is strong, the average income is respectable, and housing prices are surprisingly affordable. From ranches in Austin, Texas, to houses for rent in Columbus, GA, it’s not too hard to find property that fits both your needs and your bank account.

CON: Isolation

Sometimes, the same thing that makes the South so affordable is also one of the things that make it hard to live here: the isolation. You always feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere in the South, especially in smaller towns. Even larger and more famous cities like New Orleans and Memphis are often much less populous than cities like Boston or Philadelphia, and the distances between places tend to be longer as well.

PRO: Community

Maybe it’s the sense of isolation described above, or maybe it’s just Southern hospitality; whatever the case, there’s something that makes Southerners value community above almost everything else. For many people around here, the South isn’t just a geographic region; it’s an identity. That might seem silly to some, but it helps inspire Southerners to band together in times of need, to treat each other more like family than just neighbors.

CON: Gossip

One good thing about having a strong sense of community is that everyone knows everyone else. One bad thing about having a strong sense of community is that everyone knows everyone else. Worse, in a lot of the smaller towns that dominate the South, it seems like everyone knows your business. Gossip runs rampant. It’s one thing to take an interest in the people you share a community with; it’s another thing to stick your nose in places where it doesn’t belong.

PRO: Spirituality

They say, “God forgives everything.” Yes, even gossip. That could go a long way to explaining why Southerners take spirituality so seriously. Even if you’re not a religious person, the sincerity with which the South approaches matters of faith is refreshing in today’s cynical, post-post-post-ironic world. You never have to look too hard to find displays of goodwill and charity. Spirituality means a lot to Southern people, which translates to a lot of people willing to bend over backward for one another.

CON: Misconceptions

All the good deeds and acts of kindness don’t amount to much in some people’s eyes, unfortunately. For some reason, some people who don’t live anywhere near the South think they know everything about people who do. A lot of what they believe are misconceptions, cliches and stereotypes. Down here, we’ve become accustomed to people thinking we’re backward, bigoted or dumb. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt to be treated that way. Southerners might have more conservative views and values, but they are still some of the nicest people you will ever meet.

Ava Crowder Cocktai
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