These Are The 10 Best Raleigh Suburbs For 2019

We analyzed over 26 places around Raleigh to identify the most in demand places to live.

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Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the best Raleigh suburbs.

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Big city living isn’t for everyone–but at the same time, urban areas certainly have their perks.

There’s the culture, the food, the arts, the food, the energy, and you know, the food. But there are drawbacks. There’s traffic, expensive parking, expensive housing–pretty much, expensive everything, depending on which big city you’re looking at.

But that’s where the suburbs come in–they have all of the benefits of being near big cities, without actually having to be big cities.

Of course, not all suburbs of Raleigh are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…

If you happen to be a resident of Apex, you’re probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We’ll tell you what makes each of these 10 Raleigh ‘burbs better than the rest–but first, a bit about our methodology.

Or feel free to check out some more reading about North Carolina:

Editor’s Note: If you see a slight difference between the best in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it’s because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.

How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Raleigh for 2019

Figuring out the best ‘burbs around Raleigh was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Low unemployment rate
  • High Median household incomes
  • Population density (lots of things to do)
  • High home values
  • A lot of college educated people
  • Low poverty
  • High rate of insured families

Then we used the newest American Community Survey data (2013-2017) to research each suburb.

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Raleigh.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 24 suburbs to evaluate around Raleigh.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 24 in each category, where 1 was the “best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the “Best Suburb near Raleigh.” We’re lookin’ at you, Apex.

Read on below to learn more about what it’s like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.

Apex, NC

Source: Public domain
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Population: 45,899
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Median Income: $100,305
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Poverty Rate: 5.0%
More on Apex: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Apex is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Raleigh area. We’ll tell you the good about “Awesome Apex.”

Everyone here is rich; families average $100,305 a year, which is the 2nd highest in the Raleigh region. And only 3.9% are out of work. Homes average more than $289,300 each.

Holly Springs, NC

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Population: 31,827
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $101,341
Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
Poverty Rate: 4.0%
More on Holly Springs: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Holly Springs is the second best ‘burb we looked at near Raleigh for 2019.

It ranks 1st for incomes in the area and only 4.5% of residents lack insurance, good for 4th best.

Review Of Holly Springs by Le Dork

Yay, i live in a good town in NC! Holly Springs…

Cary, NC

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Population: 159,715
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Median Income: $97,755
Unemployment Rate: 3.8%
Poverty Rate: 5.6%
More on Cary: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Here in Cary, it’s really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you’ll see in the Raleigh metro area.

The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.

But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in Cary.

Review Of Cary by HomeSnacks User

I grew up in Cary and lived there until I moved away for college. It is a town that I would recommend to anyone for any reason. Cary is a place for everyone, great for seniors, great for raising kids, and great for young adults and professionals. The schools are fantastic, there is a great selection of food, activities, and experiences. It was a wonderful place for me to grow up and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for their forever home.

The schools in Cary were excellent, providing high quality education and service to the community. There are also various restaurants catering to different national cuisine. The only issue I’ve had as a young adult going back to Cary is that there is very little nightlife and the young adult population is on the lower end, mostly being kids coming home from college while on breaks. This is not unmanageable, as a city with a bustling nightlife is nearby, about 15 minutes away.

Morrisville, NC

Source: Town of Morrisville
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Population: 23,873
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $95,763
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Poverty Rate: 5.1%
More on Morrisville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Morrisville ranks as the 4th best suburb of Raleigh for 2019.

You won’t find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Morrisville and the schools are some of the best around.

Wake Forest, NC

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Population: 38,473
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $85,155
Unemployment Rate: 5.4%
Poverty Rate: 6.2%
More on Wake Forest: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coming in as the fifth best is Wake Forest.

Wake Forest gets kudos for having the 6th most expensive homes in the Raleigh area, where houses sell for an average of $278,600. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Rolesville, NC

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Population: 6,308
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Income: $96,384
Unemployment Rate: 10.6%
Poverty Rate: 2.5%
More on Rolesville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Rolesville is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here’s why.

Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 10.6% which is 21st best in the area.

According to online reports, Rolesville is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Raleigh area, meaning you need to get in soon.

Chapel Hill, NC

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Population: 59,234
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Income: $67,426
Unemployment Rate: 4.9%
Poverty Rate: 20.3%
More on Chapel Hill: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Chapel Hill.

Chapel Hill schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.

And, it’s only 23.1 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

Carrboro, NC

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Population: 21,099
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $56,573
Unemployment Rate: 4.4%
Poverty Rate: 16.4%
More on Carrboro: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Carrboro is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.

A solid 11.0% of people lack insurance, good for 14th in the area.

Knightdale, NC

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Population: 14,363
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Income: $70,540
Unemployment Rate: 4.5%
Poverty Rate: 5.2%
More on Knightdale: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Is ‘Everything Better In Knightdale?’


It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it’s really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.

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Population: 4,372
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Income: $74,755
Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
Poverty Rate: 10.5%
More on Creedmoor: Real Estate | Data

And rounding out the top ten for 2019 is Creedmoor.

This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It’s far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.

Welcome to the Best Raleigh ‘Burbs of 2019

We said it once and we’ll say it again–life in the big city isn’t for everyone. At least not all the time.

So if you’re hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like Raleigh, but don’t want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Raleigh Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income
1 Apex 45,899 $100,305
2 Holly Springs 31,827 $101,341
3 Cary 159,715 $97,755
4 Morrisville 23,873 $95,763
5 Wake Forest 38,473 $85,155
6 Rolesville 6,308 $96,384
7 Chapel Hill 59,234 $67,426
8 Carrboro 21,099 $56,573
9 Knightdale 14,363 $70,540
10 Creedmoor 4,372 $74,755
11 Archer Lodge 4,688 $64,845
12 Garner 28,048 $60,797
13 Clayton 19,306 $59,338
14 Durham 257,232 $54,284
15 Wendell 6,516 $53,730
16 Angier 5,151 $45,428
17 Zebulon 4,943 $50,267
18 Louisburg 3,503 $27,581
19 Butner 7,709 $48,870
20 Coats 2,255 $35,625
21 Wilson’s Mills 2,504 $43,558
22 Smithfield 11,824 $34,551
23 Franklinton 2,248 $35,714
24 Selma 6,375 $28,933

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