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downtown atlanta city compared to charlotte north carolina

Atlanta Vs. Charlotte 🏙️ | Which Is Better: Atlanta GA Vs. Charlotte NC?

Last Updated on: 7th July 2024, 11:30 pm

If you’re considering moving to either Atlanta or Charlotte, you are probably wondering how they compare and which city might be better for you. Both of these cities have a lot to offer. So, how do you choose between Atlanta GA Vs. Charlotte NC?

Atlanta, nicknamed Hotlanta and The ATL, is the headquarters for many Fortune 500 companies, including Delta Air Lines, Inc., Emory University and Emory Healthcare, The Home Depot, and Northside Hospital. The Coca-Cola Company employs more than 9,000 people in Georgia, mostly in the Atlanta Metro Area. Atlanta has a thriving job market and was ranked #3 nationwide for job opportunities in 2023. Top industries in the city include supply chain, advanced manufacturing, technology, life sciences, and healthcare. Atlanta offers more than 300 preserves, parks, and gardens.

The public schools in Atlanta are highly rated, and there are more than 60 universities and colleges in the Atlanta area, including the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. Top attractions in Atlanta include the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the College Football Hall of Fame, the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Zoo Atlanta, and Six Flags Amusement Park. For sports lovers, the Atlanta Braves (MLB), Atlanta Falcons (NFL), Atlanta Hawks (NBA), and Atlanta United FC (MLS) make their home in the city. 

Charlotte boasts beautiful weather and a strong banking industry. Bank of America, one of the largest banks in the U.S., is headquartered there. Other Fortune 500 companies include Nucor and Duke Energy. Discovery Place Nature, The Mint Museum, the Bechtler Museum of Art, the Charlotte Museum of History, and the Sullenberger Aviation Museum are just a few of the excellent museums in Charlotte. Local festivals, like the Festival in the Park, Kings Drive Art Walk, and the Latin-American Festival showcase Charlotte’s culture and diversity.

The public schools in Charlotte are high quality, and top colleges in Charlotte are the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Davidson College. Charlotte has 35 miles of greenways and many opportunities for hiking, biking, whitewater rafting, and much more. Charlotte’s professional sports teams include The Carolina Panthers (NFL), the Charlotte Hornets (NBA), and the Charlotte Knights (MiLB). 

Pros & Cons of Living in Atlanta vs Charlotte 

a gorgeous autumn landscape in the garden with colorful flowers, pumpkins and origami flowers and lush green trees and plants at Atlanta Botanical Garden

Atlanta and downtown Charlotte are two beautiful, thriving cities and great places to live. Here are some of the major pros and cons of living in the city limits:

Living in Atlanta Pros

  • Job market – Atlanta’s low unemployment is a testament to its stable job market. Atlanta has many job opportunities in a wide array of industries and boasts 16 Fortune 500 companies.    
  • Culture and entertainment – Atlanta’s vibrant cultural scene, especially East Atlanta, features dynamic arts and entertainment options world-class museums, galleries, performing arts venues, music festivals, nightclubs, comedy clubs, and more. You’ll never run out of things to do in Atlanta.
  • Green spaces – With over 300 parks, Atlanta is well known for its abundance of green spaces and wide range of outdoor activities.   
  • Professional sports – sports lovers can enjoy professional baseball, football, basketball, soccer, tennis, and more. Atlanta has no shortage of opportunities to get out and support your local team. 
  • Culinary scene – Atlanta is a melting pot of flavors and cultures and features everything from upscale dining with renowned chefs to vibrant food markets offering diverse international cuisines, Southern comfort food, farm-to-table restaurants, to innovative fusion dishes. Atlanta has something for every palate. 

Living in Atlanta Cons

  • Public transportation – Atlanta has limited public transit options, resulting in crowded highways and a lot of traffic congestion. 
  • Home prices – Home prices in Atlanta are 58% higher than the national average. 
  • Traffic – Atlanta is one of the most congested cities in the nation. The growing population and sprawling suburbs contribute to heavy traffic, delays, and long commutes, especially during rush hour.  
  • Summer weather — July and August in Atlanta see temperatures reach the 90s or 100s with humidity peaking above 70%. The oppressive summers limit outdoor activities for residents.  
  • Crime – Crime rates in Atlanta are 97% higher than the national average, and violent crime rates are 127% higher. 

  Living in Charlotte Pros

  • Thriving job market – Charlotte’s job market is exceptional, especially in the banking and finance sectors. The city offers many opportunities in various other industries, including social assistance, healthcare, insurance, and retail trade. Some top companies in Charlotte include American Airlines, Atrium Health, Bank of America, and Duke Energy. 
  • Family fun – Families will love Charlotte for the many opportunities it offers kids, such as Carowinds amusement park, Discovery Place Science Museum, the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Big Air Trampoline Park, and Sea Life Charlotte-Concord.
  • Education – The public school system in Charlotte is rated above average, and you can find some excellent A+-rated schools in the city. Charlotte is home to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and other institutions of higher learning, providing great secondary education opportunities. 
  • Diversity – Charlotte embraces diversity and is the most diverse city in North Carolina. Charlotte is known for its unique and culturally diverse neighborhoods. 
  • Cost of living – Compared to other major cities in the United States, Charlotte’s cost of living is fairly low. The cost of living is only 8% higher than the national average, and the cost of goods and services is 3 % higher. Homes are relatively affordable in the city.  
  • Cultural attractions – Charlotte’s rich cultural scene includes museums, galleries, theaters, and music venues. The Mint Museum, Levine Museum of the New South, and Bechtler Museum of Modern Art are just a few of the cultural sites in the city. Charlotte has plenty of cultural attractions to see.

Living in Charlotte Cons

  • Limited public transit – The Charlotte area transit system has a bus and train line, but the stops are limited, and most people in the city drive, especially those living in the suburbs. Traffic congestion is a problem, especially during peak hours.
  • Hot and humid summers – Charlotte summers are very hot and humid, with temperatures soaring into the 90s. Staying hydrated and remaining indoors with air conditioning in the heat of the day are precautions residents are required to take.
  • Crime – Charlotte has an average crime rate of 77% over the national average, and violent crime in the city is 102% higher. Certain neighborhoods, where most crime in the city is concentrated, should be avoided. 
  • Taxes – North Carolina has a flat state tax regardless of income, which can be a detriment to lower income residents. Sales taxes are an additional 7.25% in Charlotte. Property taxes vary depending on the county you are in.

Comparisons Between Atlanta and Charlotte

charlotte sign downtown showing which direction the city's main points are

City Population of Atlanta and Charlotte

  • Atlanta – 420,003
  • Charlotte – 731,424

Demographics

  • Atlanta: 
    • White alone, 40.8%
    • Black or African American alone, 47.6%
    • American Indian and Alaska Native alone, 0.3%
    • Asian alone, 4.9%
    • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, 0.0%
    • Two or more races, 4.7%
    • Hispanic or Latino, 5.4%
    • White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, 38.9%
  • Charlotte:
    • White alone, 43.1%
    • Black or African American alone, 35.2%
    • American Indian and Alaska Native alone, 0.4%
    • Asian alone, 6.6%
    • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, 0.0%
    • Two or more races, 7.1%
    • Hispanic or Latino, 15.3%
    • White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, 39.7%

Cost of Living in Atlanta Versus Charlotte

The table below shows the income a family of 4 needs in Atlanta compared to Charlotte to maintain an adequate standard of living, using the EPI Family Budget Calculator.  

  • Atlanta:
    • Housing – $1,553
    • Food – $1,071
    • Child care – $1,463
    • Transportation – $1,517
    • Health care – $1,348
    • Other necessities – $929
    • Taxes – $1,280
    • Monthly total – $9,162
    • Annual total – $109,944
  • Charlotte
    • Housing – $1,333
    • Food – $1,068
    • Child care – $1,300
    • Transportation – $1,501
    • Health care – $1,359
    • Other necessities – $850
    • Taxes – $1,108
    • Monthly total – $8,519
    • Annual total – $102,229

Crime Rates

Atlanta, a capital city with a large population, has slightly higher crime rates than Charlotte. The overall crime in Atlanta was 4,589 per 100,000 in 2020 compared to 4,121 per 100,000 in Charlotte. Violent crime was 841 per 100,000 in Atlanta and 746 per 100,000 in Charlotte.

  • Atlanta:
    • Total crime – 97% above the national average
    • Violent crime – 127% above the national average
    • Property crime – 92% above the national average
  • Charlotte:
    • Total crime – 77% above the national average
    • Violent crime – 102% above the national average
    • Property crime – 73% below the national average

Things to Do/Eat/Nightlife

Does Atlanta compare to Charlotte in fun? Both cities have plenty of fun and interesting things to see and do. Here are some of the top attractions in Atlanta vs Charlotte:

Atlanta:

Charlotte:

Climate/Weather

  • Atlanta – Atlanta summers are hot and humid. Winters are short, cold, and wet. The temperature throughout the year varies from 35°F to 89°F. The best times of year to visit Atlanta are from early May to mid-June and from late August to mid-October.
  • Charlotte – Charlotte summers are hot and muggy, and the winters are very cold and wet. Yearly average temperatures range from 33°F to 89°F. The best times of year to visit Charlotte are from early May to mid-June and from mid-August to early October.

Traffic (Public Transportation)

How does Charlotte compare to Atlanta in terms of transportation and traffic?

  • Atlanta – ​​ Atlanta’s public transportation system, MARTA, provides bus and light rail service to 1.7 million customers in the Metro Atlanta area. MARTA has a fleet of 200 New Flyer buses that are comfortable, accessible, and fuel efficient. MARTA’s rail service has over 296 rail cars and 38 stations. MARTA’s complete Mobility service has a fleet of 173 Lift Vans and more than 550 buses that cover 1,439 miles of road on 101 routes.   
  • Charlotte – The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) operates the largest transit system between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, with 72,678 weekday daily trips servicing about 320,000 riders in the metro area. Their fleet of 300 buses covers 66 routes. CATS operates 52 hybrid electric buses in its fleet. CATS has over 20 light rail vehicles and 45 vanpools.   

Jobs and the Economy 

Atlanta employs 257,898 workers in the business district. The top industries in Atlanta are finance, healthcare and biomedical, manufacturing, media and communications, and film and television. The median household income is $69,164.

Charlotte employs 468,610 workers in the city center. The largest industries in Charlotte are banking, financial services, manufacturing, energy, automotive, health, technology, and retail. The median household income is $68,367.

Professional Sports Teams 

If you’ve visited Charlotte or Atlanta GA, you know they have plenty of sports teams, making them a hit for international destinations for sports fanatics.

Atlanta:

  • Atlanta United FC (MLS)
  • Atlanta Braves (MLB)
  • Atlanta Falcons (NFL)
  • Atlanta Hawks (NBA) 

Charlotte:

  • Carolina Panthers (NFL)
  • Charlotte Hornets (NBA)
  • Charlotte FC (MLS)
  • Charlotte Knights (Minor League baseball)
  • Charlotte Checkers (Minor League hockey)

Charlotte to Atlanta Distance

The distance between Atlanta and Charlotte is about 245 miles and the trip takes about 4 hours driving along Interstate 85.

Atlanta Vs Charlotte: Which City Is Right For You?

downtown atlanta georgia from a park on a beautiful sunny day

If you’re looking for a great city with a thriving nightlife and employment opportunities that abound, Atlanta GA Vs. Charlotte NC are both great cities. However, there’s nothing quite like the urban areas that Atlanta offers, even when Charlotte grows to be as large. If present day ATL is calling your name, you’ll need the best Atlanta movers to help you get there. Wirks Moving is here with you every step of the way! Call us today at 404-635-6683 or fill out our form for a free quote!

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