These Are The 10 Most Expensive Cities In North Carolina For 2018


We used science and data to determine which cities in North Carolina that will put a big dent in your wallet.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and North Carolina does this very well. Families love the Tar Heel State’s beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state — and that’s how we’re going to help you.

These are the places in North Carolina that cost a pretty penny — the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in North Carolina for 2018:

  1. Carolina Beach (Photos)
  2. Oak Island (Photos)
  3. Kill Devil Hills (Photos)
  4. Wilmington (Photos)
  5. Leland
  6. Boiling Spring Lakes
  7. Morehead City (Photos)
  8. Jacksonville
  9. Havelock
  10. New Bern (Photos)

So hopefully Eden (the cheapest place to live in North Carolina) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out the best places to live in North Carolina or the cheapest.

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How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Tar Heel State For 2018

There are basic necessities that you have to buy no matter where in the country you live. Those things include:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Gas
  • Health Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Transportation

You can then compare the cost of these things in each of the places in North Carolina to figure out which is the most expensive.

What you are left with is a ‘Cost of Living Index’ that normalizes to 100 for an average place in the United States.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 133 places in North Carolina that have more than 5,000 people.

And just so you can better understand how the cost of living index works, 100 is the average cost of a place in the United States. A score of 90 means that the place cost 10% less than average.

San Francisco has a score of 243 meaning it’s almost 2.5 times as expensive as the average place in the country.

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1. Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,755
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 141
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111

2. Oak Island

Oak Island, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,899
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 135
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
Oak Island is a seaside town located mostly on the barrier island of Oak Island (which also contains the town of Caswell Beach), in Brunswick County, North Carolina, United States. The town extends onto the mainland north of the island’s bridge. The population was 6,783 at the 2010 census. It was founded in 1999 by the consolidation of the towns of Long Beach and Yaupon Beach. Its main industry is tourism; the town has an average summer population of 30-50,000.

3. Kill Devil Hills

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,714
Services: 117
Groceries: 104
Health Care: 107
Housing: 140
Transportation: 99
Utilities: 115
Kill Devil Hills is a town in Dare County, North Carolina. The population was 6,683 at the 2010 census, up from 5,897 in 2000. It is the most populous settlement in both Dare County and on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Kill Devil Hills Micropolitan Statistical Area is part of the larger Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC Combined Statistical Area.

4. Wilmington

Wilmington, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 107,116
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 118
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
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.

5. Leland


Population: 13,732
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 107
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
Leland is a town in Brunswick County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 13,527 at the 2010 census, up from 1,938 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Myrtle Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area. A number of movies, such as Maximum Overdrive (1986), Domestic Disturbance (2001), and We’re the Millers (2013) have been shot in or around Leland.

6. Boiling Spring Lakes


Population: 5,329
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 98
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
Boiling Spring Lakes is a city in Brunswick County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 5,372 at the 2010 census, up from 2,972 at the 2000 census.

7. Morehead City

Morehead City, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,720
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 94
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
Morehead City is a port town in Carteret County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 8,661 at the 2010 census. Morehead City celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding on May 5, 2007. It forms part of the Crystal Coast.

8. Jacksonville


Population: 69,393
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 92
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
Jacksonville (/dæksnvl/) is a city in Onslow County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 United States census, the population stood at 70,145, which makes Jacksonville the 14th largest city in North Carolina. Jacksonville is the principal city of Onslow County and is included in the Jacksonville, North Carolina metropolitan area. In 2014, Forbes magazine ranked Jacksonville as the fifth fastest-growing small city in the United States. Demographically, Jacksonville is the youngest city in the United States with an average age of 22.8 years old, which can be attributed to the large military presence. The low age may also be in part due to the population drastically going up over the past 80 years, from a mere 783 in the 1930 census to 70,145 in the 2010 census.

9. Havelock


Population: 20,670
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 88
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
Havelock is a city in Craven County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 20,735 at the 2010 census. The city is home to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, the world’s largest Marine Corps air station, and home to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. Havelock is also home of the 4 time NCHSAA 3A State Champions in football.

10. New Bern

New Bern, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 29,420
Services: 98
Groceries: 101
Health Care: 111
Housing: 85
Transportation: 111
Utilities: 111
New Bern /nubrn/ is a city in Craven County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 29,524, which had risen to an estimated 30,242 as of 2013. It is the county seat of Craven County and the principal city of the New Bern Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck

Well there you have it, the places in North Carolina that have the highest cost of living, with Carolina Beach ranking as the most expensive city in the Tar Heel State.

If you’re curious, here are the least expensive cities in North Carolina:

  1. Eden
  2. Siler City
  3. Graham

For more North Carolina reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In North Carolina

City Rank Population Services Groceries Health Care
Carolina Beach 1 5,755 98 101 111
Oak Island 2 6,899 98 101 111
Kill Devil Hills 3 6,714 117 104 107
Wilmington 4 107,116 98 101 111
Leland 5 13,732 98 101 111
Boiling Spring Lakes 6 5,329 98 101 111
Morehead City 7 8,720 98 101 111
Jacksonville 8 69,393 98 101 111
Havelock 9 20,670 98 101 111
New Bern 10 29,420 98 101 111
Elizabeth City 11 18,645 117 104 107
Washington 12 9,731 117 104 107
Edenton 13 5,037 117 104 107
Summerfield 14 10,160 114 98 105
Whiteville 15 5,347 98 101 111
Oak Ridge 16 6,202 114 98 105
Williamston 17 5,484 117 104 107
Clemmons 18 18,680 114 98 105
Stokesdale 19 5,002 114 98 105
Lewisville 20 12,785 114 98 105
Boone 21 17,261 99 102 100
Kernersville 22 23,062 114 98 105
Mills River 23 6,806 99 102 100
Asheville 24 83,796 99 102 100
Winston-Salem 25 230,030 114 98 105
Marvin 26 5,484 97 100 101
Davidson 27 10,903 97 100 101
Weddington 28 9,577 97 100 101
King 29 6,659 114 98 105
King 30 6,659 114 98 105
Wesley Chapel 31 7,462 97 100 101
Black Mountain 32 7,885 99 102 100
Fletcher 33 7,089 99 102 100
Mocksville 34 5,034 114 98 105
Brevard 35 7,566 99 102 100
Cornelius 36 24,818 97 100 101
Huntersville 37 46,656 97 100 101
Waxhaw 38 9,743 97 100 101
Hendersonville 39 13,122 99 102 100
Waynesville 40 9,864 99 102 100
Matthews 41 27,516 97 100 101
Harrisburg 42 11,360 97 100 101
Stallings 43 13,638 97 100 101
Mount Airy 44 10,449 114 98 105
Mint Hill 45 22,890 97 100 101
Unionville 46 6,020 97 100 101
Woodfin 47 6,044 99 102 100
Indian Trail 48 33,246 97 100 101
Mooresville 49 32,462 97 100 101
Charlotte 50 740,931 97 100 101
Concord 51 79,171 97 100 101
Morganton 52 16,932 99 102 100
Belmont 53 10,156 97 100 101
Pineville 54 7,562 97 100 101
Monroe 55 33,101 97 100 101
Mount Holly 56 13,506 97 100 101
Hickory 57 40,075 97 100 101
Gastonia 58 71,865 97 100 101
Statesville 59 24,803 97 100 101
Kannapolis 60 42,845 97 100 101
Lenoir 61 18,171 99 102 100
Pinehurst 62 14,000 91 102 111
Cary 63 136,627 100 100 99
Morrisville 64 18,566 100 100 99
Conover 65 8,118 97 100 101
Forest City 66 7,480 99 102 100
Apex 67 37,589 100 100 99
Chapel Hill 68 57,088 97 96 101
Marion 69 7,997 99 102 100
Lincolnton 70 10,536 97 100 101
Carrboro 71 19,702 97 96 101
Wake Forest 72 29,889 100 100 99
Holly Springs 73 24,663 100 100 99
Lumberton 74 21,595 98 104 97
Southern Pines 75 12,439 100 100 99
Laurinburg 76 15,965 98 104 97
Albemarle 77 15,913 97 100 101
Cherryville 78 5,765 97 100 101
Raleigh 79 405,007 100 100 99
Newton 80 12,991 97 100 101
Shelby 81 20,331 97 100 101
Kings Mountain 82 10,835 97 100 101
Fuquay-Varina 83 18,143 100 100 99
Bessemer City 84 5,372 97 100 101
Knightdale 85 11,567 100 100 99
Reidsville 86 14,463 112 102 93
Winterville 87 9,117 100 100 99
Garner 88 25,784 100 100 99
Sawmills 89 5,200 97 100 101
Wadesboro 90 5,795 97 100 101
Hillsborough 91 6,114 97 96 101
Clayton 92 16,078 100 100 99
Rockingham 93 9,524 97 100 101
Durham 94 229,963 97 96 101
Aberdeen 95 6,311 100 100 99
Hamlet 96 6,554 97 100 101
Roxboro 97 8,400 112 102 93
Ahoskie 98 5,074 104 91 109
High Point 99 104,394 91 102 111
Greenville 100 84,445 100 100 99
Wendell 101 5,892 100 100 99
Fayetteville 102 200,439 100 100 99
Wilson 103 49,086 100 100 99
Archdale 104 11,205 91 102 111
Nashville 105 5,319 100 100 99
Hope Mills 106 15,139 100 100 99
Sanford 107 28,081 100 100 99
Elon 108 9,354 94 100 99
Smithfield 109 11,118 100 100 99
Salisbury 110 33,548 91 102 111
Oxford 111 8,518 97 96 101
Trinity 112 6,639 91 102 111
Butner 113 7,566 97 96 101
Spring Lake 114 12,465 100 100 99
Goldsboro 115 36,738 100 100 99
Asheboro 116 25,109 91 102 111
Rocky Mount 117 57,523 100 100 99
Roanoke Rapids 118 15,783 100 100 99
Clinton 119 8,640 100 100 99
Dunn 120 9,310 100 100 99
Lexington 121 19,038 91 102 111
Thomasville 122 26,760 91 102 111
Kinston 123 21,746 100 100 99
Henderson 124 15,389 97 96 101
Tarboro 125 11,401 100 100 99
Mebane 126 11,502 94 100 99
Selma 127 6,125 100 100 99
Gibsonville 128 6,377 94 100 99
Greensboro 129 270,619 94 100 99
Burlington 130 50,355 94 100 99
Graham 131 14,152 94 100 99
Siler City 132 7,967 94 100 99
Eden 133 15,488 96 96 88

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