What You Should Know Before Making a Move to the South

The Geography of the South

Do you know which American states are considered “southern” states? It might be a bit more cut and dry to consider dividing the United States into quadrants to provide the nuance of the southern states. Those states who emanate a southern culture are generally the following:

  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Mississippi
  • Arkansas

The irony is that one state that geographically sits to the most southeast tip of the country is not considered southern. If you have guessed “Florida!” then you are spot-on. This is likely because Florida is a melting pot of transients from all parts of the country, and that Florida is considered a “posh” destination. 

There is little variation in the maps available on the internet, but a quite accurate depiction can be found on this wiki map.

The True Culture of the South

Regardless of which region of our great country from which you migrate, it is quite likely that you have heard the mantra about “southern hospitality.” Southern hospitality just might not be what you are expecting. The culture of the south is very distinct and has many idiosyncrasies. Yes, most folks do say, “Please,” “Thank you” and “You’re welcomed” as most Americans are taught in the schools and hopefully in their homes. However, the south has an aura of xenophobia that is not often discussed; it is so clandestine, in fact, that many folks move to the south only to find out that they are often treated like “outsiders” or “aliens” to the tunnel vision held by many folks who are married to the hills of the southernmost quadrant of our country. 

What this boils down to is this: southerners are very likely to help and be supportive of relatives and those persons whom they know. Conversely, if you’re the new kid in town and people don’t know you, they just might not urinate on you if you are on fire. The interpersonal dynamics of the south are quirky to say the least and if you intend to enter “their” world with your big-city notions you may as well brace yourself for a battle, or at least to be ostracized from their existing social circles. 

Some Great Positives of the South

It is not the intent of these article to discourage people from moving to any of the southern states; it is just much better to know a little about the culture before you ummmm…experience it firsthand. 

On a more positive note, the south has some great perks! Here are just a few: 

  • Beautiful Women and Fast Horses, such as those found at Louisville, Kentucky’s Churchill Downs; 
  • Country Cooking, homemade Amish products, and very sweet tea!
  • Fertile ground capable of growing marvelous gardens and sufficient lush greenery to fortify prolific livestock production; 
  • A change of seasons that is incredibly unpredictable but never dull. Feel free to bake in the humid summers and freeze your bottom off in the winter;
  • Hills and country roads that will soon make you into a proficient motorist!
  • Myriad outdoors opportunities for the avid hunter and anglers. The south abounds with wildlife, birds, and fish.

Accent Marks and Grammar Expectations of the South

Whether you find this to be an advantage or you find it annoying is up to you, but most southerners aren’t too worried about grammar. That tenet includes many educational institutions, although the south is saturated with impressive universities. Furthermore, if you move to the south from an area of the country that has a distinct accent, such as the northeast or the northern states, expect to be asked over and over, “Ya’ll ain’t from around here, are ya!?” Ironically, the south boasts the most profound accent of any region of the country. If you stay awhile, ya’ll will pick some of it up yourselves. 

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