We moved from upstate western NY (outside of buffalo) to the Greenville, SC area about 11 years ago now in 1997. My husband and me are both RN's. My husband was a brand new RN then in 1997, but I was experienced. My initial pay (back then) at a large hospital here in Greenville was a couple dollars more an hour than what I was making in NY. I left the hospital setting in 2004, but my husband is still there. His current pay is high 20's/hr plus shift diff and an extra $8/hr for weekends. (yes, $8.00 extra PER hour for weekends.)
We found the cost of living SIGNIFICANTLY lower here in SC. Some things have gone up in price in the last 11 years (tons of people have moved to this area!) and this has raised some things, but the cost of living is still generally lower.
One MAJOR difference is home property taxes. Taxes are so low here it is laughable. We live in a beautiful 2,500 sq foot home in an upper middle class neighborhood and our yearly tax bill is slightly over $1,000!! Back in NY, the tax bill on this house would be an easy $5,000!! Of course, due to the low taxes, a lot of services suck! The school busing situation is pathetic and most people drive their kids as a result. And, of course, the southern school systems are notorious for their not-so-high standards. (Although, I must say that I think there have been improvements in the last 11 years.) Public school teachers and police officers are paid so little down here it is shameful! I'd be more than willing to pay more taxes to give them better pay.
Electricity is way cheaper. Back in NY we paid about 14 cents a kilowatt hour. Down here we pay about 8 cents a kilowatt hour. SC just about always has the lowest gas prices in the nation. (Right now, 8/27/2008, it is about $3.30 a gallon. Family just told us that gas is still over $4.00 a gallon up there.) We find we spend a lot less money on car repairs because there is so little (really no) snow. In NY you had to regularly have muffler and other repair work done because all the snow and salt literally destroyed the underside of your car. And rusted the body!
There are random things that cost more down here. Like dental care and veterinary care for example! Who knows why...
But the bottom line: Compared to upstate western NY, the pay is good down here (for RN's at least!) and the cost of living lower. So it has been a win-win situation for us! Depending on where you are moving to and from though will make a difference. Other areas of SC are more expensive - like the coastal regions. And I think that upstate, western NY has a particularly high cost of living compared to even other areas of NY. So many things must be taken into consideration.