These Are The 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In North Carolina For 2018

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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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:

  1. Concord (Photos)
  2. Davidson (Photos)
  3. Cary (Photos)
  4. Wake Forest (Photos)
  5. Holly Springs
  6. Chapel Hill (Photos)
  7. Apex (Photos)
  8. Stallings
  9. Newton
  10. Clayton

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 the best places to live in North Carolina and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in North Carolina.

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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 57 cities.

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

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1. Concord

Concord, Nc

Population: 85,753
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 43
Closest Major City: Charlotte
Households with kids: 41.2%
Concord (/kn.kd/ or /ka.kd/) 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.

2. Davidson

Davidson, Nc

Population: 12,076
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 56
Closest Major City: Charlotte
Households with kids: 36.5%
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.

3. Cary

Cary, Nc

Population: 155,822
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 31
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 40.2%
Cary /kæri/ 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 (an increase of 43.1% since 2000), 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 (behind only Gilbert, Arizona) in the United States.

4. Wake Forest

Wake Forest, Nc

Population: 36,472
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 50
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 48.6%
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.

5. Holly Springs

Holly Springs, Nc

Population: 30,126
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 54
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 55.2%
Holly Springs is a town in Wake County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 24,661, over 2½ times its population in 2000.

6. Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, Nc

Population: 59,005
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 50
Closest Major City: Durham
Households with kids: 26.6%

Chapel Hill is pretty much heaven in a nutshell. It’s really safe, cute and quaint. And Orange County has the best schools in the state.

If you’re thinking about moving to Chapel Hill, it is far more expensive than pretty much everywhere else in the region. But, you get what you pay for.

7. Apex

Apex, Nc

Source: Public domain

Population: 43,893
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 30
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 49.0%
Apex is a town in Wake County, North Carolina and a suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the town’s population to be 43,907 as of July 1, 2014.

8. Stallings

Population: 14,759
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 47
Closest Major City: Charlotte
Households with kids: 42.1%
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.

9. Newton

Newton, Nc

Population: 12,999
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 59
Closest Major City: Charlotte
Households with kids: 31.7%

10. Clayton

Clayton, Nc

Population: 18,553
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 33
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 47.3%
Clayton is a town in Johnston County, North Carolina, and considered a satellite town of Raleigh. As of 2010, Clayton’s population was 16,116 people. Much of that growth can be attributed to the town’s close proximity to the Research Triangle area and access to major highways such as I-40, U.S. 70, and NC 42.

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. Leland

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places For Families In North Carolina

City Rank Population Amenities Score
Concord 1 85,753 54
Davidson 2 12,076 40
Cary 3 155,822 41
Wake Forest 4 36,472 53
Holly Springs 5 30,126 30
Chapel Hill 6 59,005 70
Apex 7 43,893 37
Stallings 8 14,759 44
Newton 9 12,999 41
Clayton 10 18,553 33
Huntersville 11 51,701 39
Fuquay-Varina 12 22,722 54
Waxhaw 13 12,398 37
Tarboro 14 11,206 51
Knightdale 15 13,787 50
High Point 16 108,982 61
Rocky Mount 17 56,175 71
Pinehurst 18 15,522 53
Asheboro 19 25,978 43
Mooresville 20 35,387 37
New Bern 21 30,075 48
Carrboro 22 20,867 35
Salisbury 23 33,674 75
Hickory 24 40,274 44
Kings Mountain 25 11,053 53
Henderson 26 15,258 38
Kannapolis 27 45,685 48
Mint Hill 28 25,024 51
Laurinburg 29 15,601 38
Graham 30 14,506 43
Eden 31 15,434 39
Thomasville 32 27,178 53
Albemarle 33 15,968 61
Lumberton 34 21,646 54
Mount Holly 35 14,058 48
Belmont 36 10,494 39
Monroe 37 34,212 54
Fayetteville 38 203,670 67
Matthews 39 30,054 30
Shelby 40 20,259 38
Garner 41 27,625 59
Lenoir 42 17,956 40
Southern Pines 43 13,258 41
Hope Mills 44 16,189 36
Burlington 45 52,570 57
Kinston 46 21,393 68
Goldsboro 47 35,924 63
Boone 48 18,241 49
Roanoke Rapids 49 15,454 53
Mebane 50 13,592 34
Asheville 51 87,531 78
Wilmington 52 113,724 70
Hendersonville 53 13,548 39
Kernersville 54 23,736 47
Leland 55 17,023 49
Mount Airy 56 10,364 47
Reidsville 57 14,107 40

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