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Best Places to Raise a Family in North Carolina

best places to raise a family in north carolina

North Carolina is a wonderful place to live, with its beautiful landscapes, friendly people, and great schools. If you’re thinking about moving here with your family, it’s important to find the right spot. This guide will help you discover the best places to raise a family in North Carolina.

Best Places to Raise a Family in North Carolina

1. Cary


Cary is a town located near Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina. It has a population of about 170,000 people and is known for being very family-friendly.


One of the best things about Cary is its excellent public schools. Many of the schools here are top-rated, which is great if you have kids. Cary also has low crime rates, so it’s a safe place to live. There are lots of parks and recreational facilities, so your family will have plenty to do. People in Cary are very friendly, and there’s a strong sense of community.

  • Statistic: Cary’s public schools consistently rank in the top 10% of schools in North Carolina.
  • Statistic: Cary’s crime rate is 57% lower than the national average.


The cost of living in Cary is a bit higher than in some other places in North Carolina. During rush hour, traffic can be pretty bad too.

  • Statistic: The cost of living in Cary is about 15% higher than the national average.

2. Chapel Hill


Chapel Hill is another great place for families. It’s located near the University of North Carolina and has a population of around 60,000 people.


Chapel Hill is known for its top-rated schools and educational opportunities. The town has a vibrant cultural and arts scene, with lots of museums, theaters, and music events. It’s also very safe, with low crime rates. The healthcare facilities are excellent, thanks to the nearby university hospital.

  • Statistic: Chapel Hill’s public schools are among the top 5% in the state.
  • Statistic: Chapel Hill’s crime rate is 45% lower than the national average.
  • Statistic: Chapel Hill has more than 10 major cultural events each year.


Housing in Chapel Hill can be expensive, and there aren’t a lot of public transportation options, which means you’ll probably need a car to get around.

  • Statistic: The median home price in Chapel Hill is around $420,000, which is higher than the national median.

3. Apex


Apex is a charming town with a population of about 60,000. It’s known for its historic downtown and suburban feel.


Apex has high-performing schools, which is great for families. The town hosts many family-friendly events and festivals throughout the year. Housing in Apex is more affordable compared to some other towns. The community is very involved, and there are lots of activities for kids.

  • Statistic: Apex’s schools are ranked in the top 10% statewide.
  • Statistic: Apex hosts over 20 community events annually.


Apex is growing quickly, which can lead to overdevelopment. If you’re looking for nightlife and entertainment, you might find the options a bit limited here.

  • Statistic: Apex’s population has grown by nearly 50% in the last decade.

4. Davidson


Davidson is a small town near Charlotte, with a population of about 12,000. It’s known for its small-town charm and close-knit community.


Davidson has excellent schools and educational resources. The neighborhoods are safe and walkable, making it a great place for kids. The community spirit is strong, and there are plenty of activities to keep everyone busy. Plus, it’s close to Lake Norman, so there are lots of outdoor activities.

  • Statistic: Davidson College is ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the nation.
  • Statistic: Davidson’s crime rate is 60% lower than the national average.


The cost of living in Davidson is higher than in many other places in North Carolina. There aren’t as many shopping and dining options, but Charlotte is nearby for those needs.

  • Statistic: The median home price in Davidson is around $480,000.

5. Holly Springs


Holly Springs is a rapidly developing town with a population of about 40,000. It’s very family-oriented.


Holly Springs has top-rated schools, which is a big plus for families. There are many parks and sports facilities, so your kids will have plenty of places to play. Housing is affordable, and the community hosts lots of events.

  • Statistic: Holly Springs’ schools are ranked in the top 15% of the state.
  • Statistic: Holly Springs has over 10 parks and recreational facilities.


As Holly Springs grows, traffic is becoming more of a problem. There aren’t as many cultural and entertainment options, but Raleigh is close by.

  • Statistic: Holly Springs’ population has doubled over the past 10 years, leading to increased traffic.

6. Wake Forest


Wake Forest is a town with a mix of urban and suburban living, with a population of about 45,000. It has a rich history and offers a balanced lifestyle.


Wake Forest has good-quality schools and safe neighborhoods. There are many parks and green spaces for families to enjoy. The economy is growing, providing job opportunities. The town also has a nice mix of old and new, with historic sites and modern amenities.

  • Statistic: Wake Forest’s schools rank in the top 20% statewide.
  • Statistic: Wake Forest has over 560 acres of parks and greenways.


Traffic can be an issue, especially during peak hours. Public transportation options are limited, so having a car is important.

  • Statistic: The average commute time in Wake Forest is 28 minutes.

7. Huntersville


Huntersville is a family-friendly town near Charlotte, with a population of about 60,000. It offers a good balance of suburban and urban living.


Huntersville has excellent schools and safe, quiet neighborhoods. It’s close to Lake Norman, offering lots of outdoor activities. There are diverse housing options, so you can find something that fits your budget and needs.

  • Statistic: Huntersville’s schools rank in the top 15% in North Carolina.
  • Statistic: Huntersville has over 40 parks and recreational facilities.


Huntersville is experiencing suburban sprawl, which can lead to longer commutes. The cultural amenities are not as extensive, but Charlotte is nearby for those needs.

  • Statistic: Huntersville’s population has grown by over 30% in the last decade.

Other Notable Mentions


Raleigh, the capital city, is an excellent place for families with its top-rated schools, diverse job market, and cultural amenities. It has a population of about 470,000 and offers many parks and recreational activities.

  • Statistic: Raleigh has over 9,000 acres of parkland and 180 miles of greenway trails.


Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina, has numerous family-friendly neighborhoods, parks, and educational resources. With a population of around 880,000, it offers plenty of opportunities for both work and play.

  • Statistic: Charlotte has over 210 parks covering more than 21,000 acres.


Durham is known for its educational institutions and growing cultural scene. It has a population of about 270,000 and is home to Duke University and a vibrant downtown area.

  • Statistic: Durham’s crime rate is 25% lower than the national average.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Place to Raise a Family

1. School Quality

Good schools are crucial when choosing a place to raise a family. Look for areas with highly rated public and private schools. You can check school ratings and reviews online to find the best options for your children.

2. Safety

Safety is a top priority for families. Research crime rates and community safety in different neighborhoods. There are online tools and resources that can help you find this information.

3. Amenities and Services

Access to parks, recreational facilities, and healthcare is important. Look for places that offer plenty of family-friendly activities and events. Check if there are good hospitals and clinics nearby.

4. Cost of Living

Consider the cost of living, including housing costs, taxes, and overall affordability. It’s important to find a place where you can comfortably afford to live and raise your family.

5. Community and Lifestyle

A supportive community can make a big difference in your family’s happiness. Look for places with active community events and a lifestyle that matches your family’s values and interests.


What is the safest city to raise a family in North Carolina? 

Cary is considered one of the safest cities in North Carolina, with very low crime rates and family-friendly neighborhoods.

Which city in North Carolina has the best schools? 

Chapel Hill is known for its top-rated schools and excellent educational opportunities.

Is North Carolina affordable for families? 

Yes, many areas in North Carolina have a lower cost of living compared to the national average, making it affordable for families.

What outdoor activities are available for families in North Carolina? 

North Carolina offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, visiting the beaches on the Outer Banks, and exploring numerous state parks.

Are there good healthcare facilities in North Carolina? 

Yes, North Carolina has excellent healthcare facilities, especially in cities like Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Charlotte.

North Carolina offers many wonderful places to raise a family, each with its own unique advantages. Whether you choose Cary, Chapel Hill, Apex, Davidson, Holly Springs, Wake Forest, or Huntersville, you’ll find excellent schools, safe neighborhoods, and plenty of activities for your family to enjoy. When moving to North Carolina, consider factors like school quality, safety, amenities, cost of living, and community to find the perfect place for your family. By exploring these great towns and cities, you’ll discover the best place to call home.