When one thinks of Tampa, Florida it conjures up images of sun, sea and sand, but there is much more to the Cigar City than its beautiful beaches. It’s important for prospective new residents of Tampa to invest some time 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, new arrivals can rest assured that they’ll find a neighbourhood that meets their needs. 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 on the up and it's doing slightly better than the US national average. Newcomers with skills and experience in sectors such as technology, avionics, healthcare and manufacturing will find lots of exciting career prospects in the Cigar City. The cultural diversity of Tampa’s population means that there are also loads of bilingual job opportunities; those who speak Spanish will certainly have an edge when it comes to finding work in Tampa. 

- Con: Wages are lower than in other US cities

The fact is that most people that 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 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. While admission to magnet and charter schools may not be as strict, newcomers should factor their proximity to good schools when deciding on an area or suburb to live in as public schools do give preference to students in the local area.

- 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. It's therefore a great city for foreigners or internationally-minded families who would prefer to have their child study the national curriculum of another country or the globally recognised International Baccalaureate diploma (IB). That said, both private and international schools in Tampa charge extortionate 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 fine 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. Of course, we can’t forget the beaches or the lush green parks which provide for lovely family outings too.