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Old 09-08-2006, 10:01 PM
 
10 posts, read 33,816 times
Reputation: 17

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Hello all,

BACKGROUND: I'm including details to help paint a vivid picture and provide an accurate comparison for others in their research:
Originally from outside of Harrisburg, PA, moved to NJ in 1993. I have a wife and one small child. My wife is a stay-at-home mom (which means she works 10 times harder than when she was a product manager at fortune 500 company), and we would prefer her to continue to do so for the time being.

I am Senior Graphic Designer at a Marketing/Design Firm located in northern Jersey. Earn approx. $55,000/yr not including freelance. We are now in a 2 BR apartment. Obviously want a house to call our own..who doesn't? Now starting to market myself for more freelance illustration and design work to supplement income so living near NYC is a potential bonus.


I like NJ. Lots of positives: proximity to beach; Lots to do; racially diverse (should have taken spanish in high school...); my desire to enter illustration market and continue graphic design is benefited by NYC and multitude of businesses in NJ. Seems great except....

COST OF LIVING IS HORRENDOUS. Property taxes are outrageous. Housing is astronomical. Everyone I know who is married w/kids with a house needs a double income to make it work. Is THAT a quality life? I'll work hard like any parent would, but I do want to see my kid grow up. That so unreasonable? And even then it's a fair struggle. Since I can't bear to send my kid to day care (which is pricey..big shock) to have double income, we need an alternative.

The result?
We are considering a move to Philadelphia, Houston (wife has lived there before, seems like a viable option), or NC (apparantly a common choice - actually have friends who are relocating by end of month - but not sure of job market).

Main consideration are these:

1. Job market. Obviously very important. What is the job market for graphic design in Philly or surrounding areas? (feel free to comment on Houston or NC, too - I'll post in those forums, too) initial research seems good, but NC is not as reassuring. Is Philly business sector healthy? Stagnating? (for instance: Phoenix/vicinity in AZ is booming...but don't like it there.)

Obviously the importance of expanding my career/business involves a healthy economy and/or art community. Philly may support this; NC just doesn't seem like the place for it. Could be wrong...comments?

2. Housing. What are the affordable (under $200K reasonable?) and/or up-and- coming towns?

3. Environment. You native residents..what do you enjoy? What are positives? any general comments? Any info or direction to get info is appreciated.

4. Schools. Obviously important.

I appreciate all your comments and input.
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Old 09-10-2006, 08:19 AM
 
Location: FL
1,943 posts, read 7,906,526 times
Reputation: 2272
Quote:
2. Housing. What are the affordable (under $200K reasonable?) and/or up-and- coming towns?

3. Environment. You native residents..what do you enjoy? What are positives? any general comments? Any info or direction to get info is appreciated.

4. Schools. Obviously important.

I appreciate all your comments and input.
Housing is overpriced in Philly, but then again, to be fair, it is overpriced everywhere. But, in most places, it is overpriced for a single home with some yard. In many parts of Philly, you won't find single homes; it has a lot of "row homes", or in other words, homes connected to each other.

Positives? Well, I left Philly, so obviously to me there weren't enough positives, but you and I have one thing in common: we're parents. People like Philly for the arts/culture/the "birthplace" and all of that. As a parent, I don't care about all of that. I don't know if you keep up with news in Philly, but if you go to www.philly.com and read any of the old articles-the crime and violence is horrendous. Gunshots all over-of course more prominent in certain areas, but don't knock out any area to not have them. i lived in not one of the worse areas and still found dime bags on my front lawn, and yes, at a "block party" they closed it down and had cops because someone had a gun.
Another shared importance: schools. It is a shame that there is free education out there, but I chose to pay money and send my son to a private school. And, I was a teacher in the public school system. So, by me not utilizing the schools, am I knocking the teachers? Of course I am not, and of course I am going to shift the blame. Just check out the school grades, and you will be shocked Being a teacher, I know I tried everything. But, becuase the way the majority of the city is...you can only do so much. These children have such home lives....and it is a shame....but then they bring it into their schools...and it is hard to teach when you are breaking up 3 fights a day in your classroom, getting hit twice yourself, having a student twice tell you to get the duck away from them, having a shooting outside so you spent hours in a "lockdown situation"...finding mice ALL over the place...yes, this was what I experienced first hand.
I am sorry if I brought anything into this that is a downer, or that other people don't like to hear, but you need to know it.

Last edited by Yac; 09-11-2006 at 03:11 PM..
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