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jacksonville vs tampa

Living in Jacksonville vs Tampa 🆚 | Jacksonville vs Tampa Crime, Cost of Living & More

Last Updated on: 5th March 2023, 10:50 pm

If you’re moving to Florida, Jacksonville and Tampa are two of the best cities to live in. Both offer pristine beaches, plenty of sunshine, and beautiful weather. But how do you choose which one is better for you? Tampa is 197 miles from Jacksonville.

Tampa is the premier city along Florida’s Gulf Coast and home to major businesses such as Baycare Health System, Publix Super Markets, the University of South Florida, Fisher Investments, Cisco, General Dynamics, and IBM. It’s also where you’ll find plenty of fun and culture, which includes Busch Gardens amusement park, historic Ybor City, Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL team, and the Florida State Fairgrounds.

Jacksonville is located on the east coast in northeast Florida and is the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. You’ll find beautiful beaches as well as national and state parks in Jacksonville. Four Fortune 500 companies make their home in Jacksonville: CSX Corporation, Fidelity National Financial, Fidelity National Information Services, and Southeastern Grocers. Jacksonville is home to three US naval facilities, making it the third-largest naval complex in the country. For college football fans, the Gator Bowl has been held on January 1 every year since 1946.

Pros & Cons of Living in Jacksonville vs Tampa

Jacksonville and Tampa are both great places to live. Here are some of the major pros and cons of living in each city.

Living in Jacksonville Pros

  • White Sand Beaches – Jacksonville has four beaches, Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Mayport Beach, and Atlantic Beach, that span 22 miles of coastline. Regardless of where you live in Jacksonville, you’re never far from the beach.
  • Plenty to See and Do – Whether you love outdoor activities or exploring museums and other cultural sites, you’ll find them in Jacksonville. Catty Shack Ranch wildlife sanctuary, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, MOSH (museum with interactive animal encounters), and the Tree Hill Nature Center are perfect for animal lovers. Visit the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve or spend the day boating, fishing, kayaking, and more on the St. Johns River. Jacksonville has over 80,000 acres of parks to explore. If you like museums, there’s the Beaches Museum, Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, and many more. The Florida Theater hosts everything from concerts to comedy, as well as the Jacksonville Symphony. Jacksonville is home to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and the PGA’s The Players Championship, where you can watch the best golfers in the world compete.
  • The Weather – Unlike many other metro areas in Florida, Jacksonville doesn’t have oppressive heat in the summer months. They also have all four seasons, something else you don’t find in much of the state. Florida is also known for its extreme humidity, but the humidity in Jacksonville is not nearly as bad as elsewhere in the state. Jacksonville also rarely gets hit by hurricanes.

Living in Jacksonville Cons

  • Crime Rate – One of the worst is that Jacksonville can be a dangerous place to live, especially in the northern neighborhoods. Total crime in Jacksonville is 50% higher than the national average, and violent crime is 80% higher.
  • Traffic – Jacksonville is a growing metropolitan area, and you’ll find lots of congestion on the roads as the city scrambles to keep up with growth. Rush hour can be especially bad in Jacksonville.
  • Lower Income – Jacksonville has a lower average median household income than most metro areas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income is over 20% less than the national average.

Living in Tampa Pros

  • Affordable Cost of Living – An advantage is that most costs in Tampa are below the national average, such as for goods and services (6% lower), healthcare (4% lower), housing (4% lower), and utilities (2% lower). The overall cost of living in Tampa is 3% below the national average.
  • Lots of Entertainment – Tampa has a thriving nightlife and a long list of festivals and events, which include the Sunset Music Festival, Gasparilla International Film Festival, Gasparilla Pirate Festival, and the Tampa Bay Comic Convention. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a world-class amusement park with a host of thrill rides, award-winning shows, an animal park, and seasonal events like Mardi Gras, the Food and Wine Festival, and Hall-O-Scream. The Tampa Museum of Art and the Florida Aquarium are among other popular attractions in the city.
  • Sports and Fitness – Tampa is home to four pro sports teams: Tampa Bay Lightning, National Hockey League; Tampa Bay Buccaneers, National Football League; Tampa Bay Rays, Major League Baseball; and Tampa Bay Rowdies, United Soccer League. Tampa is also a haven for those looking for an active, fit lifestyle.

Living in Tampa Cons

  • Tropical Storms – One drawback is Tampa Bay is known as the lightning capital of the world. The official hurricane season here starts in June and runs through November, where the risk of being caught in a tropical storm or hurricane is always present. This is why average insurance costs in Tampa are high.
  • Traffic – Spend any time on the road in Tampa, especially around rush hour, and you’ll probably find yourself sitting in traffic at some point. Congestion is a frequent part of getting around town, mostly because public transportation is limited, and the population is growing rapidly. As the city attempts to accommodate the ever-increasing number of cars on the road, increased construction leads to frequent roadblocks and even more traffic jams. Tampa ranks as one of the top 20 cities for traffic among cities in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
  • Oppressive Humidity – Although the Tampa weather is the reason many people move to the area, along with the sunshine comes high humidity, which can sap your strength quickly and leave you feeling sticky and sweaty when you’re outside in the summer months for any length of time.

Comparisons Between Jacksonville and Tampa


  • Jacksonville – 902,488 (the population of the Jacksonville metro area is about 1.64 million)
  • Tampa – 395,912 (the population of the Tampa/St Petersburg/Clearwater metro area is about 3.22 million)


  • Jacksonville – White (Non-Hispanic) (50%), Black or African American (Non-Hispanic) (30.4%), White (Hispanic) (6.23%), Asian (Non-Hispanic) (4.79%), and Two+ (Non-Hispanic) (3.48%)
  • Tampa – White (Non-Hispanic) (44.1%), Black or African American (Non-Hispanic) (21.8%), White (Hispanic) (17.5%), Asian (Non-Hispanic) (4.42%), and Two+ (Hispanic) (4.38%)

Cost of Living

The table below shows the income a family of 4 needs in Jacksonville compared to Tampa to maintain an adequate standard of living, using the EPI Family Budget CalculatorAccording to the data, it is slightly more expensive to live in Tampa than in Jacksonville, but the overall income needed to live comfortably in both cities is very similar.

Jacksonville Tampa
Housing $1,113 $1,271
Food $848 $854
Child Care $1,024 $1,073
Transportation $1,157 $1,144
Healthcare $1,208 $1,237
Other Necessities $710 $770
Taxes $533 $593
Monthly Total $6,594 $6,941
Annual Total $79,124 $83,296

Crime rates Tampa in comparison with Jacksonville

The crime rates in Jacksonville are significantly higher than in Tampa. Total crime in Jacksonville was 3,569 per 100,000 in 2020 compared to 1,885 per 100,000 in Tampa. Violent crime was 698 per 100,000 in Jacksonville and 520 per 100,000 in Tampa.

Jacksonville Tampa
Total crime 52% over national avg 20% below national average
Violent crime 80% over national avg 34% above national average
Property crime 47% over national avg 30% below national average

Things to do in Tampa opposed to Jacksonville

Both cities have a wealth of things to do, see, and eat. Here are some of the top benefits of living in Jacksonville vs Tampa.



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Climate in Tampa vs. Jacksonville

In Jacksonville, summers are long and hot with less rain as opposed to Tampa’s long, hot, humid, and wet summers. Winters in Jacksonville are short, cool, and partly cloudy in comparison with the short, cool, and windy winters in Tampa. The temperature typically ranges from 46°F to 90°F over the year in Jacksonville or 52°F to 90°F in Tampa. The best time to visit Jacksonville is from late March to late May and from early October to mid-November. Whereas the best time to visit Tampa is late February to early May and from mid October to early December.

Public Transportation in Jacksonville vs. Tampa

One of the cons of living in Jacksonville versus Tampa is they have public transportation that isn’t quite as good as Tampa’s system. The Jacksonville Transit Authority’s (JTA) bus Line has a massive bus fleet with almost 250 vehicles. The JTA Skyway, a 2.5-mile-long monorail system, which makes traveling downtown easy. However, Tampa’s public transportation is far superior. The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) has a fleet of nearly 200 buses that cover approximately 1000 sq. miles. They offer commuters limited Park-and-Ride services and provide service to Tampa International Airport.

Jobs in Jacksonville vs. Tampa

Jacksonville employs 432,688 workers. The largest employers are in health care & social assistance, retail trade, and finance & insurance. The median household income in Jacksonville is $55,531.

Tampa employs 197,045 workers. The largest industries are health care & social assistance, professional, scientific, & technical services, and retail trade. The highest-paying industries are management of companies & enterprises, utilities, and professional, scientific, & technical services. The median household income in Jacksonville is $55,634.

Professional Sports Teams


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One of the advantages of living in Tampa is the access to professional sports! Here are some of the top professional sports teams in Tampa:

One of the drawbacks of living in Jacksonville is there are not as many professional sports teams. Here are the most popular:

Jacksonville to Tampa Distance

The distance between Jacksonville and Tampa is about 200 miles and the trip takes about 3.5 hours. The fastest route from Jacksonville to Tampa is to take Interstate 10 east to US-301. Follow 301 south to Ocala and get on Interstate 75 south to Tampa.

Both Jacksonville and Tampa offer fantastic weather, plenty of outdoor activities, sports, culture, and the best in entertainment. If you’ve decided Tampa is the place for you, let 2 College Brothers Moving take care of all your moving needs. Call us today at 813-922-1528 or fill out our online form to request a free quote.


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