The 10 Best College Towns In North Carolina For 2019


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Believe it or not, America has the best colleges in the world. It's been proven by data (and surveys) that the U.S. educational system is of the highest quality

It's actually not even close and North Carolina is home to a handful of them.

While we could debate which colleges within the are the 'best,' that's not the goal of this post.

Instead, ride along with us as we determine which college towns in North Carolina are the best.

You know, the type of places where there's energy and stimulation, but the type of place you can walk around at night. The happiest, chillest, most downright fun places where you can send your kids off to college where you won't break the bank, or worry about their well being.

Without further ado, here are the best college towns in North Carolina for 2019:

  1. Chapel Hill, NC (Photos | Homes)
  2. Boone, NC (Photos | Homes)
  3. Greenville, NC (Photos | Homes)
  4. Raleigh, NC (Photos | Homes)
  5. Davidson, NC (Photos | Homes)
  6. Greensboro, NC (Photos | Homes)
  7. Brevard, NC (Photos | Homes)
  8. Elon, NC (Photos | Homes)
  9. Wilmington, NC (Photos | Homes)
  10. Morrisville, NC (Photos | Homes)

While some of these may not seem like a 'real' college town per se, when you look at the numbers, it's hard to argue against.

And for those who live in Chapel Hill, Boone and Greenville - we tip our hats to you and we'll schedule a tour for next week. You can see where Chapel Hill ranks in terms of the best college town in America.

Finally, if you live in High Point, NC - it's officially the worst college town in North Carolina. Sorry, High Point!

Read on to find out more or for more on North Carolina check out:

How'd we figure out the best college towns in North Carolina?

To crunch our data on North Carolina's best college towns, we had to first decide which qualities (or rankings) make sense to use in the data, and then crunch the numbers for our rankings.

First off, we firmly decided that only cities with a 4 year college should make the cut -- so there has to be at least one college granting bachelors degrees in town.

You might be surprised to hear that there are only 22 places in North Carolina with an institution of higher learning with that criteria.

Source of data include OpenStreetMaps, the College Scorecard, the U.S. Census, and FBI reporting data to include the following factors:

  • Students Make Up Large % of the Population
  • College-specific Factors
    • Graduation rate
    • Tuition Cost
    • Student Body Diversity
  • Town Characteristics
    • Safety
    • Affordability
    • Income and Employment Opportunities
  • Things to Do
    • Bars
    • Museums & Libraries
    • Population Density

We ranked each city across each of the criteria, with one being the best.

We rolled up the individual scores into the category and ranked them again based on the category.

Finally, we took the average rank across each category, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best College Town In North Carolina For 2019".

And it looks like Chapel Hill placed Summa Cum Laude.

Chapel Hill, NC
Overall SnackAbility
8.5
/10

Population: 59,234
% Undergrad Pop.: 26.3% (3rd best)
Median Rent: $1,130 (20th best)
Unemployment Rate: 490.0% (6th best)
Crime Rank: 7th best
More on Chapel Hill: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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.

Colleges: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Aveda Institute-Chapel Hill

Boone, NC
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 18,493
% Undergrad Pop.: 65.5% (1st best)
Median Rent: $841 (10th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1590.0% (23rd best)
Crime Rank: 6th best
More on Boone: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Colleges: Appalachian State University

Greenville, NC
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 90,347
% Undergrad Pop.: 16.6% (4th best)
Median Rent: $776 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1030.0% (17th best)
Crime Rank: 17th best
More on Greenville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Greenville is the county seat and the most populous city in Pitt County, North Carolina, United States. The principal city of the Greenville metropolitan area, and the 10th-most populous city in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Greenville is the health, entertainment, and educational hub of North Carolina's Tidewater and Coastal Plain. The city's official population as of the 2013 United States census estimate is 89,130 residents while the Greenville Metropolitan Area includes 174,263 people. In January 2008 and January 2010, Greenville was named one of the nation's "100 Best Communities for Young People" by the America's Promise Alliance. In June 2012, Greenville was ranked in the top ten of the nation's "Best Small Places For Business And Careers" by Forbes magazine. In 2010 Greenville was ranked twenty-fourth in mid-city business growth and development by Forbes Magazine.

Colleges: East Carolina University, Miller-Motte College-Greenville, Grace College of Barbering

Raleigh, NC
Overall SnackAbility
7.5
/10

Population: 449,477
% Undergrad Pop.: 6.5% (11th best)
Median Rent: $1,010 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 500.0% (7th best)
Crime Rank: 11th best
More on Raleigh: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Raleigh is the capital of the state of North Carolina and the seat of Wake County in the United States. Raleigh is the second largest city in the state of North Carolina, behind only Charlotte. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees, which line the streets in the heart of the city. The city covers a land area of 142.8 square miles. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population as 451,066 as of July 1, 2015. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. The city of Raleigh is named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who established the lost Roanoke Colony in present-day Dare County.

Colleges: North Carolina State University at Raleigh, Wake Technical Community College, Meredith College

Davidson, NC
Overall SnackAbility
10
/10

Population: 12,325
% Undergrad Pop.: 13.6% (5th best)
Median Rent: $1,095 (19th best)
Unemployment Rate: 430.0% (3rd best)
Crime Rank: 3rd best
More on Davidson: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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.

Colleges: Davidson College

Greensboro, NC
Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 284,816
% Undergrad Pop.: 7.0% (9th best)
Median Rent: $813 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 650.0% (11th best)
Crime Rank: 16th best
More on Greensboro: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Greensboro ; formerly Greensborough) is a city in the U.S. state of North Carolina. It is the 3rd-most populous city in North Carolina, the 68th-most populous city in the United States, and the county seat and largest city in Guilford County and the surrounding Piedmont Triad metropolitan region. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 269,666, and in 2015 the estimated population was 285,342. Three major interstate highways in the Piedmont region of central North Carolina were built to intersect at this city.

Colleges: University of North Carolina at Greensboro, North Carolina A & T State University, Guilford College

Brevard, NC
Overall SnackAbility
7
/10

Population: 7,759
% Undergrad Pop.: 9.2% (6th best)
Median Rent: $624 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 630.0% (9th best)
Crime Rank: 8th best
More on Brevard: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Colleges: Brevard College

Elon, NC
Overall SnackAbility
9
/10

Population: 9,939
% Undergrad Pop.: 39.2% (2nd best)
Median Rent: $1,166 (22nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 440.0% (4th best)
Crime Rank: 1st best
More on Elon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Colleges: Elon University

Wilmington, NC
Overall SnackAbility
6
/10

Population: 115,261
% Undergrad Pop.: 8.5% (7th best)
Median Rent: $889 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 750.0% (14th best)
Crime Rank: 15th best
More on Wilmington: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Wilmington is a port city and the county seat of New Hanover County in coastal southeastern North Carolina, United States. The population is 112,067; according to the 2010 Census it is the eighth most populous city in the state. Wilmington is the principal city of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that includes New Hanover and Pender counties in southeastern North Carolina, which has a population of 263,429 as of the 2012 Census Estimate.

Colleges: University of North Carolina Wilmington, Cape Fear Community College, Miller-Motte College-Wilmington

Morrisville, NC
Source: Town of Morrisville
Overall SnackAbility
8
/10

Population: 23,873
% Undergrad Pop.: 0.0% (22nd best)
Median Rent: $1,262 (23rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 390.0% (2nd best)
Crime Rank: 4th best
More on Morrisville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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.

Colleges: Strayer University-North Carolina, Harrison College-Morrisville

There You Have It -- The Best College Towns In The

If you're looking for the best college towns in North Carolina, you came to the right place.

These places all have great college sports programs, tons of stuff to do, and are great places to raise a family.

If you're curious, these are the worst college towns in North Carolina, starting with the absolute worst, High Point:

  1. High Point
  2. Rocky Mount
  3. Belmont
  4. Dunn
  5. Charlotte
  6. Fayetteville
  7. Laurinburg
  8. Wilson
  9. Concord
  10. Asheville

For more reading, check out:

22 Best College Towns In North Carolina

Rank City Population
1 Chapel Hill, NC 59234
2 Boone, NC 18493
3 Greenville, NC 90347
4 Raleigh, NC 449477
5 Davidson, NC 12325
6 Greensboro, NC 284816
7 Brevard, NC 7759
8 Elon, NC 9939
9 Wilmington, NC 115261
10 Morrisville, NC 23873
11 Durham, NC 257232
12 Salisbury, NC 33561
13 Asheville, NC 89318
14 Concord, NC 87607
15 Wilson, NC 49237
16 Laurinburg, NC 15320
17 Fayetteville, NC 210324
18 Charlotte, NC 826060
19 Dunn, NC 9657
20 Belmont, NC 11373
21 Rocky Mount, NC 55373
22 High Point, NC 109849

Best College Towns By State

Enjoy The Snack?