Where are the best places in the state of North Carolina?
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Tar Heel State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in North Carolina.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 129 places in North Carolina, we came up with this list of the best places:
- Cary (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Davidson (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Apex (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Holly Springs (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Pinehurst (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Morrisville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Chapel Hill (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Elon (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Wake Forest (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Fletcher (Photos | Homes For Sale)
Well, it looks like you should check out Cary if you’re thinking of moving to North Carolina — it’s the best the Tar Heel State has to offer according to the data.
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in North Carolina.
For more North Carolina reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In North Carolina
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In North Carolina
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In North Carolina
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Raleigh with a population of 441,326 against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.
So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:
- Cities — Populations over 5,000
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This left us with 129 cities, 295 towns, and 250 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Place To Live In North Carolina
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in North Carolina across a number of criteria from one to 129, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In North Carolina”.
The criteria we looked at were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in North Carolina.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Cary at the end of the cul-de-sac.
If you don’t have a job in Cary, you’re most likely not trying very hard. The unemployment rate here is almost as low as you can get — 4.0%. In fact, there are probably enough butler and landscaping jobs available here to put every single unemployed resident to work, what with a median income of $94,617.
That’s actually not a bad idea…
Davidson isn’t just the nicest place to live in North Carolina – it’s also the one of the fastest growing places in the state. And with good reason.
It’s got the 30th lowest unemployment rate, the 3rd highest adjusted income, and rates above most places in education.
When you’re looking at science and data, Davidson definitely deserves a spot on the list for 2018.
It’s obvious why Apex ranks 3rd in the state for best places to live: they have the 19th lowest unemployment rate and the 14th highest home values.
Plus, they’re known for their quality education and relatively low crime, making Apex a great place to live.
When you’re looking at the best places you could live in North Carolina, Holly Springs came in 4th. Let’s see why.
It has a low unemployment rate and high incomes.
Plus, Holly Springs has an impressive history for a place of just over 30,126 people. The median home costs a cool $249,500 and households make $98,041 which is good for 7th in North Carolina.
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s A LOT of demand to live in Pinehurst.
Pinehurst ranked impressively high for its crime rate (1st overall) and its short commute times (73rd).
We think that’s worth the price of admission.
We wouldn’t be surprised to see CNN call Morrisville one of the best places to live in the United States. Not only do the residents all make great livings, there’s essentially no crime in the entire city. And the residents are very involved in the community.
They can’t build homes fast enough here as it seems everyone wants a piece of Morrisville.
If you live in Chapel Hill, you probably know how great it is already.
Chapel Hill has a stable economy where residents earn a large salary ($65,373). And the crime is really, really low (26th lowest in North Carolina).
If we could afford to move here, we probably would.
Tiny Elon (population 9,781) packs a big punch when it comes to desirability in the state of North Carolina.
It looks like the mayor has things going in the right direction: Crime is the 2nd lowest in the state and incomes are the 61st highest. Top that off with the 25th most educated adult population and Elon won’t be staying tiny for much longer.
Wake Forest has been called one of the best small towns in America. If you live here, you’re most likely already aware of how great it is to live there.
Just about everyone who wants a job in Wake Forest has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 5.7% and lowering. And the Wake Forest police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 33rd lowest in the state here.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?
Looks like little Fletcher might be a hidden gem in North Carolina. The population is shrinking a bit, despite the fact that home values are still rising ($186,400) and crime is really low (15th lowest in the state).
Perhaps the cat’s now out of the bag — quick better move in before prices go up more.
Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In North Carolina
If you’re looking at areas in North Carolina with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Cary made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for 2018.
Best Towns To Live In North Carolina
- Wrightsville Beach (Pop. 2,546)
- Royal Pines (Pop. 4,751)
- Biltmore Forest (Pop. 1,516)
- Trent Woods (Pop. 4,194)
- Avery Creek (Pop. 2,716)
- Fearrington Village (Pop. 2,984)
- Weaverville (Pop. 3,886)
- Bermuda Run (Pop. 2,556)
- St. James (Pop. 4,438)
- Lake Park (Pop. 3,678)
Best Small Towns To Live In North Carolina
- Walnut Creek (Pop. 936)
- Bald Head Island (Pop. 284)
- Hatteras (Pop. 481)
- Washington Park (Pop. 577)
- Barker Ten Mile (Pop. 834)
- Deercroft (Pop. 476)
- Cedar Rock (Pop. 324)
- JAARS (Pop. 508)
- Alamance (Pop. 902)
- Montreat (Pop. 521)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in North Carolina according to the data:
- Henderson (Pop. 15,258)
- Selma (Pop. 6,325)
- Wadesboro (Pop. 5,577)
For more North Carolina reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In North Carolina
- 10 Safest Cities in North Carolina
- 10 Worst Places To Live In North Carolina
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In North Carolina
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|75||Boiling Spring Lakes||5,703|