18 Mar

So you need to move to North Carolina? Maybe it’s because of a job opportunity or just because you want some change of scenery. Whichever reason it might be, the concept of moving somewhere else can cause anxiety. Well … we are here to try and give you all the information necessary in order to make the best calculated decision and make this change easy for you.

There are many places to live in North Carolina that sparked our interest. Some for job opportunities, others for family life, affordability for retirees and safety. We are going to cover the 10 best cities to live in the state of North Carolina and give you all the reasons for which they are so amazing.

  1. Cary 

With a safety rating of 8.5 on HomeSnacks.net, Cary is the 4th safest city in North Carolina with one of the lowest unemployment rates, this is why he gets to be one of the best places to live in North Carolina. It’s median household income of $101,000 and median home price at $338,000 it is one of the most affordable places to live in North Carolina and has a steady population growth of around 2.7% over the last few years. Tied with Pinehurst for second place on this list, Cary has some of the best schools in the state. It is a great destination for young families because of its superb education and healthcare system. Here, it’s affordable to both own a home as well as rent. With the focus on technology, the city of Cary is part of the Research Triangle Park with companies like IBM and Cisco. This attracts students as they have great job opportunities available to them in this field of the future.

  1. Apex

The next city on our list of best places to live in North Carolina is the city of Apex, with a rating of 8 for safety on HomeSnack.net being the 5th safest city in North Carolina right behind Cary. With similar employment rates as well as slightly higher salaries and lower house prices, you might wonder why it’s in second place on our list of best places to live in NC. The downside to Apex is safety, education and diversity. All three have very good ratings but Cary’s are better. The median price for a home is around $307,000 with a median household income of $105,000. Apex has excellent school systems and high paying jobs in the tech industry, which both make it great for families. Some of the best parks can be found here and Apex is great for outdoor activities. For those who like to enjoy clubs, Apex has a great nightlife too.

  1. Raleigh 

The capital of North Carolina is one of the best places to live in North Carolina. With few limitations, Raleigh is safer than most cities in North Carolina which comes as a surprise as it is the second largest city in the NC state. Also known as the “City of Oaks” the streets in the center of the city are lined with oak trees; it's also a city fluttering with excitement. With a population growth of 20% in the past decade the city’s education and job market are attracting young employees from all over the country. Millennials roam the restaurant filled streets as Raleigh doesn’t have the traffic, stress and parking issues that big cities usually have. Both the city as well as its suburbs allow for a high quality of life for both young employees as well as families with young children. This is the second most educated city in the U.S. with Research Triangle’s universities like Duke, North Carolina State. Raleigh also holds the 16th place as the best U.S. city for starting a business in 2020. With a median household income of $72,800 and the median house price of $285,000 Raleigh has a cost of living similar to the national average.

  1. Davidson 

Davidson is the third safest city in North Carolina and it’s considered a very walkable town. This city wins us over with its diversity but not the racial one. It holds the fourth place when the cities of North Carolina were ranked by number of LGBT+ residents. It comes second to last on our list in regards to population and it’s a perfect town for jobs as well as housing. Among the best places to live in North Carolina, Davidson gets the award for best education due in large part to it’s excellent universities . It somehow wound up being the richest city in North Carolina with the median house price of $406,000 and median household income of $128,000 and still remains a great city for both retirees as well as families.

  1. Charlotte

The largest city in North Carolina made it on our list as well. As the most populous city in the state many people tend to blame its rapid growth on it’s high affordability. As any of the real estate agents in Charlotte NC can tell you, there are several other things that prove this city’s worth. The city has a great racial diversity with large Caucasian, African-American and Hispanic communities, as well as a rapidly growing Asian community. There are numerous entertainment options in Charlotte such as the U.S. National Whitewater Center, one of the best outdoor entertainment centres with zip lines, craft brews, biking and more. Educationally speaking, the University of North Carolina is the reason for such an achieving population and companies like Amazon and Bank of America are a part of the 7 Charlotte companies that appear in the Fortune 500 list. It is also the 22nd best city for starting a business in 2020. Having a median home value of $250,000 and a medium household income of $68,000 it is a great city for millennials.

  1. Greensboro

One of the most interesting cities in regards to history, Greensboro tells the story of change and the power of the people. It is both the place of the Greensboro Sit-in as well as a vibrant city with beautiful parks. The city of Greensboro is perfect for young professionals, growing families and retirees because of the affordable housing. Greensboro is also known as the City of Flowers in spring and summer. When you look at millennial migration Greensboro attracted more young professionals than Raleigh but it’s listed in sixth place because of its safety. With the median housing price of $160,000 and a median household income of $61,300, Greensboro is affordable for millennials as well as families, as realtors in Greensboro NC won’t fail to point out. 

  1. Wake Forest

Coincidentally, Wake Forest ranks as the 7th safest city in North Carolina. Located on the north-east side of Raleigh, it has a population over 40,000 which allows for that small town charm that attracts families there. The outdoors activities, safety and education are pillars that make for a great quality of life. With the median home price of $330,000 and a median household income of $85,000 the downtown area attracts growing families that are looking for a suburban life close to the state capital.

  1. Durham

If you’re looking for racial diversity then Durham is the perfect place for you. With a high quality of life because of the lower than national average cost of living, Durham attracts many young professionals due to its research and technology centers as part of the Research Triangle. From our list, the only downside is that Durham is the least safest city. With the median home price at $251,000 and a median household income of $56,000 it is a place that attracts those looking for a thriving culture and education.

  1. Pinehurst

With the infamous Pinehurst Resort and “The Home of American Golf”, Pinehurst might seem a bit inaccessible for most pockets but it is the safest city in North Carolina. Its safety is what makes it come in at number nine on our list as well as the incredible job opportunities in both the healthcare and hospitality industry. One downside of the city is that those great jobs need great qualifications. The education system in Pinehurt will give you the opportunity to obtain a degree as it’s also tied for second place with Cary. With the median home price at $289,000 and a median household income at $80,000, the city attracts a large range of middle and upper class home buyers. 

  1. Carolina Beach 

As one of the best cities to retire in North Carolina, Carolina Beach offers great recreational activities and amenities. With six miles of hiking trails and being known as the home of fishing sports, Carolina Beach sits by Cape Fear River with its wildlife and camping sites. With pristine beaches and many bicycle lanes it is the city with the 10th lowest unemployment rate. With the median home price at $326,000 and a median household income at $74,000 it’s a lovely place to retire and relax by the beach.


After looking at safety, education, diversity, job markets and housing prices you can start narrowing down your own list. If you find yourself falling for one of the cities on this list, then do yourself a favor and contact one of our excellent real estate agents near you.  Find the best real estate agents that are closest to you on RealEstateAgent.com! Pick your choice from the list for any city you might consider and let us know in the comments which city sparked your interest the most! Like & Share if you know friends or family that might find this article helpful! 

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