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Renter's Guide to Memphis

Not many cities have more culture and history than Memphis.  Whether it's Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, or Elvis Presley—they all got their start in this Tennessee city. Memphis is rated among the top cities for live music, particularly blues.

But music history isn't the only thing to look forward to in Memphis. The city's also known for its incredible food and great arts scene.

And it ranks among the best cities in the country for starting a business—the first Holiday Inn and Piggly Wiggly were launched in Memphis, for instance.

While Memphis has the largest population of any city in Tennessee, it's 60% smaller than Nashville in overall size. At 324 square miles, however, Memphis is still almost three times bigger than Atlanta, GA.

Memphis is located 210 miles from Nashville and 383 miles from Atlanta, making both cities accessible by car.

The weather in Memphis is considered humid subtropical, which means very warm and humid summers, with an average temperature of 83ºF. Of course, it gets plenty hotter than that.

Winters are a bit chillier, with an average temp of 41°F, and snow is fairly common during the coldest months.

Memphis, TN Demographics

  • Total Population653,248
  • Female 309,583
    Male 343,665
  • Median Age33.8

Cost of Living in Memphis, TN

Cost of living is always a big factor in choosing a place to live. So what kind of budget does Memphis require?

Let's take a look at some basic expenses. For a dinner for two at a middle of the road restaurant, you can expect the check to be around $40. Add an extra $2.75 for each bottle of domestic beer.

When it comes to public transportation, bus fare comes in at $1.75 per ride—or $1.35 if you're a student. $50 will get you a 31-day pass.

Then there's your bills. For a 915-square-foot apartment you'll be looking at a utility bill of around $115, after you account for electric, heat, water, and waste collection. Keep in mind that the national average is $147.

Average Rent in Memphis, TN

  • Memphis, TN Average Rental Price, January 2020 $814 /mo

    Memphis, TN Apartment Rent Ranges

    • < $5007%
    • $501-$70040%
    • $701-$1,00031%
    • $1,001-$1,50017%
    • $1,501-$2,0003%
    • > $2,0001%

    Memphis, TN Rent Trends

    Average Rent Nov / 2016 Mar / 2017 Jul / 2017 Nov / 2017 Mar / 2018 Jul / 2018 Nov / 2018 Mar / 2019 Jul / 2019 Nov / 2019 Jan / 2020
    Memphis, TN $721 $726 $744 $743 $747 $772 $785 $787 $806 $815 $814
    National $1,340 $1,337 $1,369 $1,371 $1,374 $1,408 $1,417 $1,422 $1,458 $1,463 $1,463

    Living in Memphis

    Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of living in Memphis, TN.

    Living in Memphis has some definite pros, like the city's rich culture, excellent food, great music, and bustling nightlife. All of that contributes to a strong tourism industry. If munching on ribs and listening to live blues is your thing, this place can't be beat.

    But the Blues Capital has some definite drawbacks as well, particularly the high crime and poverty rates, combined with less-than-ideal public schools. These aren't deal breakers for most Memphis residents, but they're definitely something to keep in mind.

    Things to do in Memphis

    There's never a shortage of things to do in Memphis. For starters, you've got the iconic Beale Street, which serves as hub for music, food, and nightlife. The street is over a mile long and has tons of restaurants and venues to choose from.

    From there, you can spend some time learning about the history of blues and rock 'n' roll. Graceland—the former home of Elvis Presley—is a favorite among tourists. You can explore his old home and learn about his life and music.

    Then there's Sun Studio, where the first rock 'n' roll single was supposedly recorded back in 1951. During its heyday, the studio hosted everyone from Johnny Cash and B.B. King to Howlin' Wolf and Elvis Presley.

    The Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum is another great place to learn about the city's rich music history. Or you can go in a different direction, exploring the National Civil Rights Museum. It's located at the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King was tragically shot and killed in 1968.

    For something a little more kid-friendly, try the Memphis Zoo—lions, tigers and bears, oh my. Or take a stroll along the Mississippi River at the Mississippi Greenbelt Park. Overton Park is another great place for a walk or a picnic.

    Music lovers will get a kick out of Memphis in May, a whole month of events that comes around every year. You'll be treated to tons of different types of music, week after week.

    But Memphis is more than just music. They've also got a booming sports scene. There's the Memphis Grizzlies professional basketball team, University of Memphis Tigers basketball and football, and the Memphis Redbirds minor league baseball team.

    And shopaholics can make their way over to Wolfchase Galleria, one of the city's best shopping centers.

    Working in Memphis

    The biggest industries in Memphis include tourism, manufacturing, service, and agribusiness. With so much culture and history, people visit the city year round to get a glimpse.

    The city also hosts the headquarters to several major companies, including Fedex, Autozone, International Paper, and Ducks Unlimited. These are also some of Memphis' biggest employers.

    Memphis, TN Households

    • Total Number of Households250,812
    • Family 143,189
      Non-family 107,623
    • Children 73,821
      No Children 176,991
    • Average People Per Household2.54
    • Median Household Income$39,108
    • Median Housing Costs Per Month$898

    Top Colleges in Memphis

    If you're a student, the University of Memphis is definitely worth checking out. It offers programs in law, nursing, science, fine arts, and more.

    There's also the Rhodes College, one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Or if you're looking for a shorter or cheaper degree, Southwest Tennessee Community College is worth a shot.

    Memphis, TN Education Statistics

    • No High School5%
    • Some High School42%
    • Some College25%
    • Associate Degree5%
    • Bachelor Degree15%
    • Graduate Degree9%

    Tips for Renting in Memphis


    If you're considering Memphis as a new place to live, it's helpful to know some of the renters’ rights you're entitled to as a tenant.

    In the state of Tennessee, landlords can charge a late fee if your rent is 5 or more days late. The late fee must be less than 10% of your total rent and can't be assessed on a Sunday.

    If you're served an eviction notice, you have 14 days to fix the problem and if you don't, you're given an additional 16 days to move out.

    On the other hand, if your landlord fails to live up to their end of the lease, particularly when it comes to necessary repairs, tenants are able to withhold a portion of their rent.

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