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 | Homes For Sale)
  2. Davidson (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Cary (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Wake Forest (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Holly Springs (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Chapel Hill (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Apex (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Stallings (Homes For Sale)
  9. Newton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Clayton (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 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: 69
Closest Major City: Charlotte
Households with kids: 41.2%
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.

2. Davidson

Davidson, NC

Population: 12,076
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 48
Closest Major City: Charlotte
Households with kids: 36.5%
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.

3. Cary

Cary, NC

Population: 155,822
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 54
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 40.2%
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.

4. Wake Forest

Wake Forest, NC

Population: 36,472
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 51
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 48.6%
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.

5. Holly Springs

Holly Springs, NC

Population: 30,126
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 38
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 55.2%
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.

6. Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC

Population: 59,005
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 76
Closest Major City: Durham
Households with kids: 26.6%
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.

7. Apex

Apex, NC

Source: Public domain

Population: 43,893
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 36
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 49.0%
More on Apex: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

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: 55
Closest Major City: Charlotte
Households with kids: 42.1%
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.

9. Newton

Newton, NC

Population: 12,999
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 44
Closest Major City: Charlotte
Households with kids: 31.7%
More on Newton: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

10. Clayton

Clayton, NC

Population: 18,553
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 40
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 47.3%
More on Clayton: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

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

Rank City Population Amenities Score
1 Concord 85,753 65
2 Davidson 12,076 50
3 Cary 155,822 42
4 Wake Forest 36,472 35
5 Holly Springs 30,126 37
6 Chapel Hill 59,005 72
7 Apex 43,893 41
8 Stallings 14,759 33
9 Newton 12,999 59
10 Clayton 18,553 49
11 Huntersville 51,701 56
12 Fuquay-Varina 22,722 55
13 Waxhaw 12,398 38
14 Tarboro 11,206 65
15 Knightdale 13,787 43
16 High Point 108,982 61
17 Rocky Mount 56,175 69
18 Pinehurst 15,522 54
19 Asheboro 25,978 52
20 Mooresville 35,387 65
21 New Bern 30,075 72
22 Carrboro 20,867 47
23 Salisbury 33,674 65
24 Hickory 40,274 66
25 Kings Mountain 11,053 38
26 Henderson 15,258 43
27 Kannapolis 45,685 37
28 Mint Hill 25,024 56
29 Laurinburg 15,601 52
30 Graham 14,506 59
31 Eden 15,434 58
32 Thomasville 27,178 34
33 Albemarle 15,968 66
34 Lumberton 21,646 57
35 Mount Holly 14,058 51
36 Belmont 10,494 40
37 Monroe 34,212 51
38 Fayetteville 203,670 73
39 Matthews 30,054 59
40 Shelby 20,259 50
41 Garner 27,625 45
42 Lenoir 17,956 49
43 Southern Pines 13,258 49
44 Hope Mills 16,189 58
45 Burlington 52,570 62
46 Kinston 21,393 66
47 Goldsboro 35,924 43
48 Boone 18,241 58
49 Roanoke Rapids 15,454 47
50 Mebane 13,592 54
51 Asheville 87,531 72
52 Wilmington 113,724 79
53 Hendersonville 13,548 41
54 Kernersville 23,736 31
55 Leland 17,023 58
56 Mount Airy 10,364 57
57 Reidsville 14,107 49

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