N.C. Town Named #5 in 2018 Top 50 Best Places to Live in USA by Money Magazine

October 22, 2018

Congrats to those living in what Money magazine calls one of the best spots for both families and retirees: Cary, N.C., is number 5 on the 2018 Top 50 Best Places to Live list. The small city is celebrated for having an urban feel that embraces arts, music, and local film, while still having ample room for natural activities at local parks and on hiking trails. The magazine declares: “If you’re in the market for a hometown with some southern charm, Cary is a great place to look.”


A music festival in Cary, North Carolina, courtesy of Money magazine. 

The top four locations to beat out Cary as best towns in the US were Frisco, Texas; Ashburn, Virginia; Carmel, Indiana; and Ellicott City, Maryland.

Money magazine’s annual list uses a detailed methodology to determine its rankings, taking into consideration thousands of data points and factors like economy, cost of living, diversity, education, income, housing, crime, amenities, and ease of living.

“We looked only at places with populations of 50,000 or greater,” Money magazine states. “We eliminated any place that had more than double the national crime risk, less than 85% of its state’s median household income, or a lack of ethnic diversity. This gave us 583 places.”

Also among those winning places were Chapel Hill, N.C. (#33) and neighboring Rock Mill, S.C. (#49) and Mount Pleasant, S.C. (#25). Chapel Hill was the only other N.C. town to make the list, but the Rock Hill entry notes that the town’s close location to Charlotte serves as a thriving suburb for commuters to the Queen City.

Cary is lauded for its 87 percent high school graduation rating, short average commute time, and a 9.6 percent projected job growth in 2017-2022. Money also notes the friendliness to transplants from neighboring Raleigh and beyond.

“Stephanie Hall and her family relocated to Cary from Raleigh, making the move when she was expecting her second child, six years ago,” Money writes. “Hall wanted a bigger house and more of a neighborhood feel, and though her husband was reluctant to pull up stakes, she wooed him with the prospect of living in a golf community. (He now frequently takes their son to the putting green.) She even convinced her parents and sister to relocate about four years ago. Retired and living in Long Island, N.Y., her parents welcomed the warmer climate and lower cost of living.”

The News & Observer notes that this isn’t the first time Cary and the surrounding area have shown up on a Money magazine list:

“In 2016, Money named Cary North Carolina’s top place to live and the No. 37 spot in the nation. Another western Wake town took highest honors in being named the best place to live in the country by Money in 2015. The magazine praised Apex’s ‘small-town charm, plus all the benefits of being close to a big city.’”

Are you a resident of Cary or Chapel Hill? Would you consider moving to one of the best towns in the state? Let us know in the comments, or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

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