When one thinks of Tampa, Florida, it conjures up images of sun, sea and sand, but there is much more to the city than its beautiful beaches. It’s important for prospective residents of Tampa to invest some of their time into researching their new home, including its history, culture, economy and lifestyle offerings, before committing to the move.
As is the case with any city in the world, there are both pros and cons to living in Tampa. We've listed below some of the main advantages and disadvantages worth bearing in mind before relocating to Tampa.
Accommodation in Tampa
+ PRO: Neighbourhoods to suit anyone
As the third-largest city in the Sunshine State and home to over 350,000 residents, Tampa has a neighbourhood to suit everyone. Whether it's living close to the action in Ybor City or the Channelside district, or finding a family-friendly suburb with good schooling options for the kids, areas and suburbs in Tampa are plentiful.
- CON: Short supply of accommodation
The population of Tampa is increasing rapidly and, although there is constant construction going on around the city to accommodate these new residents, supply continues to fall short in relation to demand. This means that new arrivals may need to act fast to secure a suitable property, especially in a sought-after location.
Working in Tampa
+ PRO: The economy is growing
Tampa’s economy is growing and it's doing slightly better than the US national average. Newcomers with skills and experience in sectors such as technology, healthcare and manufacturing will find lots of exciting career prospects in the city.
- CON: Wages are lower than in other US cities
Most people who move to Tampa do so for the lifestyle benefits offered by this Sunshine State city rather than the big bucks. While career prospects here are good and Tampa’s skyscrapers are a symbol of booming business, salaries don’t match those found in other US cities such as New York City or San Francisco, or even the boom towns like Austin, Texas.
Cost of living in Tampa
+ PRO: The cost of living is reasonable and there is no state income tax
While salaries may not be especially lucrative in Tampa, the low cost of living evens things out a little, especially when one considers what money can buy here. It is possible to find a dream home close to a beach without having to have a six-figure income. The fact that there is no state income tax in Florida also means that wages can go further.
- CON: Insurance expenses can be high
There are some expenses that just can’t be avoided when move to Florida and one of those is the cost of insurance. Tampa is prone to flooding and residents are required to protect their homes from flood damage. Unfortunately, this type of insurance won’t come cheap.
Education and schools in Tampa
+ PRO: Lots of schooling options Hillsborough County Schools District
Hillsborough County Schools District is one of the largest in the USA, so when it comes to schooling options in Tampa, new arrivals will be spoilt for choice. When deciding on where to live, it's best to keep catchment areas in mind.
- CON: The cost of private or international education is expensive
There are plenty of good schooling options in Tampa and it has a diverse range of international offerings too. However, both private and international schools in Tampa charge high fees, so parents will need to budget accordingly. They’ll also need to factor in the cost of additional expenses including uniforms, textbooks, extra-curricular activities and field trips.
Getting around in Tampa
+ PRO: Public transport is an option for those living close to downtown Tampa
While the public transport infrastructure in Tampa is no match for the sophisticated systems found in cities such as Chicago, New York and San Francisco, it’s sufficient for anyone looking to commute around the city centre. The bus network is fairly extensive and streetcars are good for a quick trip in the downtown area. That said, those living out in the suburbs or families with children will find that having a car will make their lives infinitely easier and give them more freedom when it comes to getting around Tampa.
- CON: Traffic can be a nightmare
Naturally, commuting times vary according to where a person is based in relation to their place of work. In Tampa, the evening rush hour lasts from around 4pm to 7pm. So, if spending longer than 30 minutes commuting to and from work is a problem, new arrivals may struggle to adjust to life in Tampa. As the city’s population continues to increase, traffic becomes more of a bugbear for Tampa residents.
Lifestyle in Tampa
+ PRO: Tampa’s weather is conducive to a great outdoor lifestyle
There is no shortage of things to see and do in Tampa and the great Florida weather just provides an excuse to spend more time outdoors. With an abundance of hiking and biking trails as well as festivals galore, new arrivals will love getting caught up in the fun of it all.
+ PRO: It’s a family-friendly city
Tampa is a great place to raise a family, not only because of the array of schooling options but because of the wealth of family-friendly activities on offer. Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is always a hit with kids. Busch Gardens is another popular choice and the Tampa Bay History Center also makes for a great educational experience.
►Learn more about the property market in the city by checking out our page on Accommodation in Tampa
Are you an expat living in Tampa?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Tampa. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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