African American households make $6,261 more than white households
Percentage of African American homeowners: 66%
Percentage of New African American residents: 12%
5. La Vergne, TN
One of the advantages for African Americans living in La Vergne, TN, is the city's close proximity to Nashville and Murfreesboro. La Vergne is located right in the middle of these two cities – a mere 25 miles from either downtown – which gives residents access to many of the economic, educational, and cultural amenities they have to offer.
Heralded as the "Athens of the South," Nashville is home to more than two dozen colleges and universities, including the historically black Tennessee State University, Fisk University and Meharry Medical College. Murfreesboro is home to Middle Tennessee State University, which has an African American student population of more than 20 percent. This high concentration of higher education institutions helps increase the educational attainment rates among African Americans.
Nashville and the Middle Tennessee area are also quickly becoming a healthcare hub with nearly a dozen award-winning hospitals and medical centers dotting the landscape. Not only is this good for African Americans seeking employment in the booming healthcare industry, but access to high-quality care is a major quality of life asset for African Americans who suffer disproportionately from heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Closer to home, African-Americans make up about 20 percent of the population in La Vergne, and 66 percent of them are homeowners. Part of the reason for such a high rate of home ownership is the lower cost of housing. Where the median home price in neighboring Nashville is nearly $200,000, the average cost of a home in La Vergne is less than $150,000. In fact, La Vergne is home to Lake Forest Estates, the largest subdivision in the state of Tennessee. The median income for a family in La Vergne is $55,226, compared to $44,297 statewide, and African Americans make on average $6,000 more than their white neighbors. Another economic advantage for African Americans is that Tennessee does not have a state income tax.
Rutherford County Schools – of which La Vergne is a part – consistently ranks among the best school districts in Tennessee and has outpaced national rankings on a number of measures, and African-American parents can be sure their children receive at least two years of college training, thanks to the Tennessee Promise program, which guarantees free tuition and fees for students entering any of the state's community colleges. The Tennessee HOPE scholarship, funded by the Tennessee Lottery, awards scholarships to students who graduate with at least a 3.0 GPA and score at least 21 on the ACT.
"La Vergne continues to be a desired location for families to relocate, due in part to its low cost of living, comfortable climate and ideal location," says Paul Latture, President of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce. "One of its greatest quality of life assets is its location next to Percy Priest Lake, which offers year-round recreational opportunities. In addition, several community events are held throughout the year, bringing residents together to celebrate everything La Vergne has to offer."