Around the first of April, 2019, local media outlets such as the Tallahassee Democrat and WCTV went wild reporting that Tallahassee Florida was ranked in the top 100 best places to live. In fact, the Tallahassee Democrat gloated with a section of “notable mentions.” Among these “notable mentions,” Local Dream Job:
Instructor leading FSU’s circus courses and
Top Industries and Employers: State of Florida, FSU and local public schools.
The opinion was given that Tallahassee Florida was one of the Top 100 Places to Live by a site called Livability.com. They say, “Tallahassee has all the perks (and youthful energy!) of a college town with the connectedness and economic benefits that comes with being the center of state government — and a cost of living that won’t break the bank.” As an actual resident who has lived in Tallahassee Florida their entire life (over forty-years), and not just someone writing about a town in which they likely have never lived, I can unequivocally say that they are wrong. Well, except for their “Top Industries” which should actually read “Only Industries.”
Instead of the fantasy of Livability.com’s assessment, I will lay out facts of why Tallahassee Florida is not one of the Top 100 places to live.
Livability.com says that “As the capitol, Tallahassee’s top employer is the state of Florida. Other major employers are Florida State University and the local public schools, so it’s a great place to be if you work in education.” Pensacola, Panama City, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Miami all have colleges and schools if you work in education. They also have a plethora of other industries and opportunities and pay more to their employees. Tallahassee Florida does not. A handful of wealthy families that own and operate Tallahassee Florida make sure of that.
Glassdoor.com, indeed.com and other sites that analyze salaries per location, show that Information Technology (IT) jobs in Tallahassee Florida are between 18 and 25% below the national average. The few wealthy families and owners know that they can pay less because of the never-ending line of college students willing to make minimum wage during college, or “to get their foot in the door.” As for the State of Florida and employment, they are notorious for great benefits, but, not-so-great salaries – and that salary is dependent on politicians in Tallahassee Florida. There is a balance that weighs out to an extent. But even some politicians seemingly wonder why the Capitol is Tallahassee and want to move it.
Livability.com says “Whether you’re a college student looking for a fun place to spend four years, an entrepreneur searching for an ideal place to base your business, or a retiree looking for a tight-knit, caring community, Tallahassee has got you covered.” Interestingly, they did not cite the entrepreneur that they got that information from. They obviously have not seen the plethora of small businesses that started, then failed within a year, at most. Normally it is due to absurd lease rates (what was that Livability said about “not breaking the bank?”) Here is a piece from WTXL.com that obviously Livability.com missed, “Southern Velvet Bakery is just the latest closure. Connie’s Hams recently announced they will be closing this year after 32 years in business, and Jasmine Cafe closed in December after 17 years.” “”I’m crushed because this was the biggest dream of my life so far,” said Stephanie Waldo, Southern Velvet Bakery Owner.” Yes Tallahassee Florida, crush dreams.
According to Department Of Numbers, Tallahassee continues to trail National and State income.
According to PayScale.com, the average salary in Tallahassee Florida is $41,076, with the average at FSU and the State of Florida (two specifically cited in the Livability.com article) as
$41,834 ($20.11/hr) and $48,779 ($23.45/hr), respectively. According to thebalancecareers.com, the average national salary (Q4 2017) is $44,564. That makes the average salary in Tallahassee Florida over 8% below the national average. PayScale.com rates cost of living in Tallahassee Florida as 4% below national average, but Tallahassee Florida salaries are 8% below the national average. And, with the big three job providers, the State, Schools, and wealthy families, there are few, at best, and no, at worst, growth opportunities in Tallahassee Florida.
The crime rate in Tallahassee Florida was a big topic in the 2018 gubernatorial election. According to Neighborhood Scout, “With a crime rate of 71 per one thousand residents, Tallahassee has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes – from the smallest towns to the very largest cities. One’s chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime here is one in 14.”
They go on to show that violent crime is twice the Florida average.
They also show the following statistics for crime in Tallahassee Florida (note rape and assaults are more than double the national average):
|Crime||Tallahassee (rate per 1000)||United States (rate per 1000)|
Tallahassee Florida has the third highest sales tax rate in Florida at 7.5%. According to PropertyTax101.org, Leon county has the 20th highest median property tax in Florida and 21st highest Median Property Tax as Percentage of Home Value in Florida.
These are just a few most notable differences that a life-long Tallahassee Florida resident has with a fairytale-esque article rating Tallahassee Florida as Top 100 Places to Live. If you do not want to earn a decent living due to a wealthy monopoly, then maybe.