10 Best Places To Raise A Family In North Carolina For 2019

We used science and data to determine which cities in North Carolina have the best set up for children: a lot to do, good schools, and no crime.

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for . This is our second time ranking the best cities for families in North Carolina.

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If you’re like the rest of us, you’re looking for the perfect place for your family. But you have a strict criteria; the city has to be safe, affordable, and stimulating. Basically, the place you move – or even visit – has to be outright perfect.

Is that attainable? Perhaps not, but we’ll get you as close as we can.


According to the United States Census, the number of American families who move is trending downwards Why is that? Perhaps it has to do with the ‘safety net’ factor: We get comfortable where we live, and we’re afraid to try a new move. What if the schools are bad? What if it’s dangerous?

Well, we can pretty much guarantee that if you choose the cities we’re mentioning below, you won’t lose any sleep whatsoever.

So, where are the best cities for families in North Carolina? We’ve got the answers here.

These are the best cities to raise a family in the Tar Heel State for 2019:

  1. Cary (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Davidson (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Concord (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Wake Forest (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Lincolnton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Chapel Hill (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Morrisville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Stallings (Homes For Sale)
  9. Holly Springs (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Tarboro (Photos | Homes For Sale)

If you’re thinking of making a move to North Carolina, and want a family-friendly place, we’ve got you covered. And if you already have kids, we’re surprised you made it this far into the article and hope your little ones give you a couple of more minutes of free time.

Keep on reading for a detailed methodology.

Or, check out some more reading about North Carolina and the best places for families in the country:

How do you determine which place is best for families in North Carolina anyways?

To give you the places in North Carolina which are best for families, we have to look at a handful of metrics. Of course, we want to measure the type of people who live in each city, and make some assumptions about what’s family-friendly and what isn’t.

So we researched the internet for a database that contains all that information.

How we crunched the family friendly numbers for the Tar Heel State

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using U.S. Census data produced for the state of North Carolina, we looked at every single city in the state. We paid particular attention to:

  • Crime (Both violent and property)
  • Quality of local schools
  • Distance to a major city without necessarily being in it
  • % of households with children
  • Family-friendly amenities nearby (museums, libraries and colleges)

We then gave each city a Family Score.

The higher the score, the better the city is for families. We also limited our results to cities with populations over 10,000 people. For North Carolina, that meant a total of 60 cities.

Read on to see why Cary is where all the families are headed, while Reidsville is probably a place made for singles.

Cary, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 159,715
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 33
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 38.1%
More on Cary: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Cary is the seventh-largest municipality in North Carolina. Cary is predominantly in Wake, with a small area in Chatham counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina and is the county’s second-largest municipality and the third-largest municipality in The Triangle after Raleigh and Durham. The town’s population was 135,234 as of the 2010 census, making it the largest town and seventh-largest municipality statewide. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the town’s population to be 159,769 as of July 1, 2015. Cary is the second most populous incorporated town in the United States.

Davidson, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,325
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 41
Closest Major City: Charlotte
Households with kids: 34.2%
More on Davidson: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Davidson is a lakeside town on Lake Norman in northern Mecklenburg County in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The population was 10,944 at the 2010 census. It is home to Davidson College. The town is centered on the college from which it takes its name.

Concord, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 87,607
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 47
Closest Major City: Charlotte
Households with kids: 37.7%
More on Concord: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Concord is a city in Cabarrus County, in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 79,066, with an estimated population in 2016 of over, 89,891. It is the county seat and the largest city in Cabarrus County. In terms of population, the city of Concord is the second-largest city in the Charlotte Metropolitan Area and is the eleventh largest city in North Carolina.

Wake Forest, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 38,473
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 43
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 46.4%
More on Wake Forest: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Wake Forest is a town in Franklin and Wake counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina; located almost entirely in Wake County, it lies just north of the state capital, Raleigh. The population was 30,117 at the 2010 census, up from 12,588 at the 2000 census. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the city’s population to be 34,752 as of July 1, 2013. In 2007, the town was listed by Forbes magazine as the 20th fastest growing suburb in America, with a 73.2 percent increase in population between 2000 and 2006. Wake Forest was the original home of Wake Forest University for 122 years before it moved to Winston-Salem in 1956.

Lincolnton, NC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,574
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 53
Closest Major City: Charlotte
Households with kids: 30.1%
More on Lincolnton: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Lincolnton is a small city in Lincoln County, North Carolina, United States, within the Charlotte metropolitan area. The population was 10,683 at the 2010 census. Lincolnton is northwest of Charlotte, on the South Fork of the Catawba River. The junction of State Highway 27 and U.S. Route 321 is located nearby. The city is the county seat of Lincoln County, and is the only legally incorporated municipality wholly within the rural county.

Chapel Hill, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 59,234
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 76
Closest Major City: Durham
Households with kids: 24.8%
More on Chapel Hill: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Chapel Hill is a town in Orange and Durham counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Its population was 57,233 in the 2010 census, making Chapel Hill the 15th-largest city in the state. Chapel Hill, Durham, and the state capital, Raleigh, make up the corners of the Research Triangle, with a total population of 1,998,808.

Morrisville, NC

Source: Town of Morrisville
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 23,873
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 43
Closest Major City: Durham
Households with kids: 47.1%
More on Morrisville: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Morrisville is a town located in both Wake and Durham counties of the U.S. state of North Carolina. The population was 18,576 at the 2010 census. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the town’s population to be 21,932 as of July 1, 2013. Morrisville is part of the Research Triangle metropolitan region. The regional name originated after the 1959 creation of the Research Triangle Park, located midway between the cities of Raleigh and Durham. The Research Triangle region encompasses the U.S. Census Bureau’s Combined Statistical Area of Raleigh-Durham-Cary. The estimated population of the Raleigh-Durham-Cary CSA was 1,565,223 as of July 1, 2006, with the Raleigh-Cary Metropolitan Statistical Area portion estimated at 994,551 residents. The U.S. headquarters of Chinese multinational Lenovo are located in the municipal limits.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,970
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 46
Closest Major City: Charlotte
Households with kids: 42.2%
More on Stallings: Homes For Sale | Data

Stallings is a suburban town in Union and Mecklenburg counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The population was 13,831 at the 2010 census.

Holly Springs, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 31,827
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 52
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 53.7%
More on Holly Springs: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Holly Springs is a town in Wake County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 24,661, over 2 times its population in 2000.

Tarboro, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,038
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 61
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 25.0%
More on Tarboro: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Tarboro is a town located in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, United States. It is part of the Rocky Mount Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the town had a population of 11,415. It is the county seat of Edgecombe County. Tarboro is located near the western edge of North Carolina’s coastal plain. It has many historical churches, some dating from the early 19th century.

There You Have It – The Best Places To Raise A Family In North Carolina

If you’re looking for a breakdown of cities in North Carolina ranked by criteria that most would agree make a place a great spot for families, this is an accurate list.

Here’s a look at the best cities for singles North Carolina according to the data:

  1. Reidsville
  2. Mount Airy
  3. Kernersville

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places For Families In North Carolina

Rank City Population Amenities Score
1 Cary, NC 159,715 32
2 Davidson, NC 12,325 34
3 Concord, NC 87,607 57
4 Wake Forest, NC 38,473 48
5 Lincolnton, NC 10,574 57
6 Chapel Hill, NC 59,234 74
7 Morrisville, NC 23,873 49
8 Stallings, NC 14,970 55
9 Holly Springs, NC 31,827 39
10 Tarboro, NC 11,038 59
11 Apex, NC 45,899 38
12 Waxhaw, NC 13,343 48
13 Mooresville, NC 36,577 43
14 Knightdale, NC 14,363 44
15 Huntersville, NC 53,302 60
16 Clayton, NC 19,306 30
17 Jacksonville, NC 73,661 44
18 High Point, NC 109,849 39
19 Pinehurst, NC 15,580 46
20 Albemarle, NC 15,874 66
21 Smithfield, NC 11,824 41
22 Asheboro, NC 25,863 42
23 Mint Hill, NC 25,600 51
24 Archdale, NC 11,509 56
25 New Bern, NC 29,664 47
26 Mount Holly, NC 14,948 56
27 Henderson, NC 15,009 66
28 Newton, NC 12,991 53
29 Matthews, NC 30,760 39
30 Carrboro, NC 21,099 51
31 Fayetteville, NC 210,324 73
32 Rocky Mount, NC 55,373 58
33 Greensboro, NC 284,816 75
34 Kings Mountain, NC 10,929 44
35 Belmont, NC 11,373 31
36 Hickory, NC 40,157 43
37 Eden, NC 15,235 61
38 Southern Pines, NC 13,426 57
39 Kannapolis, NC 46,498 46
40 Lenoir, NC 17,890 47
41 Garner, NC 28,048 58
42 Durham, NC 257,232 90
43 Goldsboro, NC 35,432 63
44 Havelock, NC 20,404 56
45 Kinston, NC 21,004 57
46 Thomasville, NC 26,901 42
47 Greenville, NC 90,347 74
48 Wilmington, NC 115,261 76
49 Asheville, NC 89,318 88
50 Roanoke Rapids, NC 15,107 38
51 Gastonia, NC 74,381 44
52 Boone, NC 18,493 34
53 Mebane, NC 14,426 32
54 Hendersonville, NC 13,620 43
55 Leland, NC 18,023 32
56 Burlington, NC 52,813 50
57 Hope Mills, NC 16,106 52
58 Kernersville, NC 23,988 49
59 Mount Airy, NC 10,198 33
60 Reidsville, NC 13,933 34

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