10 Pros and Cons of Living in North Carolina Right Now

Things To Know Before Moving To North Carolina

Today I will dive into the pros and cons of living in North Carolina.

Perhaps you are considering living in North Carolina vs. South Carolina? Or, mulling over the retirement in North Carolina pros and cons?

Whatever your reasons for considering North Carolina living, I have them covered.

Better yet, I want you to leave with the information to answer this question: Is North Carolina a good place to live?

So, I see no need for delay. Let’s move on with the top living in North Carolina pros and cons right away.

Pros And Cons Of Living In North Carolina

Here are my top 10 North Carolina pros and cons:

  • Great sense of community
  • Low cost of living and economic opportunity
  • Temperate weather and mild winters
  • Abundant outdoor activities
  • Access to quality healthcare
  • High tax burden
  • Sub-par K-12 education
  • High crime rates
  • Lack of weather variety
  • Threat of hurricanes

Today’s North Carolina living review will cover these 10 points in detail.

But stick with me to the end. Here’s why…

First, I will expand this summary list of opinions and facts about North Carolina living into a more detailed list of 25 pros and cons.

Second, I will highlight some of the best places to live in North Carolina.

So, let’s get moving and hit the big question of the day.

pros and cons of living in North CarolinaPin

Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Is North Carolina A Good Place To Live?

There is no question about it. The North Carolina quality of life is pretty good from my perspective.

Why move to North Carolina? Here’s why…

Benefits Of Living In North Carolina

First, don’t let the word north in this state’s name fool you because plenty of southern hospitality is here to soak up and enjoy.

And where does that come from? It is the friendly people living in this state.

Furthermore, you can stretch a dollar farther here. Since most North Carolina living costs fall below the national average.

The lower costs include median home values, apartment rents, grocery bills, and transportation.

Finally, you can stay fit and healthy in this state by being physically active in a range of beautiful outdoor settings and taking advantage of the state’s good healthcare services when the time presents itself.

But, just like all the bests states, life in North Carolina is not perfect.

Let’s discuss this topic next…

Bad Things About North Carolina

First, North Carolina presents a higher tax burden than other states in the region. Income tax rates, property taxes, and sales taxes all take a good cut out of the money you make and spend.

Furthermore, the state’s family-friendly reputation takes a hit too. Here’s why.

First, when you consider the crime rates in certain areas. And second, the need to be very selective when it comes to the school district in which you reside.

Finally, you won’t enjoy the four weather seasons if that’s something you are accustomed to. And damaging hurricanes are a threat every year.

Okay. With those highlights about the pros and cons of moving to North Carolina covered, it’s time to dig into the specifics.

As a result, it’s time to fully cover the ten advantages and disadvantages of living in North Carolina.

living in North Carolina pros and consPin

To begin with a positive spin, I will start with the best reasons to move to North Carolina…

1. Great Sense Of Community

Suppose you are looking for a place that makes you feel like you belong. If so, then the North Carolina lifestyle may be for you.

Here’s why…

History Of North Carolina

First, the state has a patriotic feel and a rich history. It is one of the original 13 colonies that sought independence from British rule.

Interesting historical sites can be found all over the state. For example:

  • The Biltmore Estate
  • The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
  • Civil War battlefields
  • Roanoke Island Festival Park
  • Wright Brothers National Memorial

Source: NC.gov

Diversity Of People Living In North Carolina

I’ve already mentioned the friendly people. Plus, the southern hospitality and the charm this state exudes.

But there is a diverse mix of backgrounds too.

For example, there is the younger generation. Many attend and graduate from the state’s top-notch universities.

Then there are the down-to-earth locals. Those who have resided in the area for generations.

Plus the many retirees flocking to the state. They come to escape the cold winters and urbanization up north.

Next, moving to North Carolina means having choices.

Small-Town Or Big-City Living In North Carolina

Fortunately, the charm and sense of community aren’t reserved for the state’s small towns.

Because it is present in the bigger cities too, such as Raleigh-Durham.

The Raleigh metropolitan area is home to state-of-the-art businesses and universities. Many are located in what is called the research triangle.

Also, the state has a bustling regional financial center second only to “The Big Apple” in New York. I’m referencing the state’s largest city of Charlotte. It too is a great place to live.

In these places, some of the most diverse communities can be found.

Next, I have another one of the best reasons to live in North Carolina…

2. Low Cost Of Living And Economic Opportunity

As I said, you can stretch a dollar further in this state.

Because the price of living in North Carolina is more affordable versus other places in the United States.

Some reasons why include…

Average Cost Of Living In North Carolina

First of all, according to BestPlace.net, the state’s median home prices are about 9% lower than the national average.

Furthermore, a World Population Review study suggests affordable apartment rental rates since they come in at approximately 17% less than average rates across the country.

Finally, residents also tend to pay a little less for groceries, utilities, and transportation.

Next, allow me to offer a couple of other suggestions for making the most of the financial benefits of moving to North Carolina.

Or, better yet, anywhere you decide to move…

Get The Best Deal On Your North Carolina Home

Whether you purchase real estate or rent, ensure your credit score is in good shape.

Because mortgage lenders and landlords will check to see if you have good credit, thus, stay one step ahead and check your credit for free using Credit Karma.

Suppose you have decided to buy instead and are looking for a mortgage. Shop for the best mortgage rate you can find.

Then, to save more money…

Save On Your Everyday Living Expenses In North Carolina

Sign up for the rebate service from Rakuten to earn cashback on everything you buy online.

Better yet, Rakuten gives you $10 for signing up and making your first purchase.

Rakuten is a great way to save money no matter where you live.

Get Your Finances In Order Before Moving To North Carolina

Next, remember that moving to North Carolina is a big deal. So, don’t let it ruin your finances.

To manage our money, we use the Empower app to pull all our expenses and investments together in one place.

The app also allows me to handle the monthly budget and investments.

Empower saves time and makes managing money less of a chore. Best of all it’s FREE to sign up and use.

But cutting costs is not the only way to make ends meet after relocating to North Carolina…

Jobs And Economic Opportunity When Living In North Carolina

You will find that good jobs are plentiful here because the job market is strong. And the unemployment rate typically runs at or below the national average.

Furthermore, do you own a business or are you considering starting one?

That’s great because the corporate tax rate here is a competitive advantage. The state has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the county.

Access To World Class Higher Education After Moving To North Carolina

Finally, are you looking for top-notch higher education to kick-start your career? Or send the kids off to college?

Then be sure to look into the following elite schools:

  • North Carolina State University
  • University of North Carolina
  • Duke University

They are world-renowned centers of research, higher education, and learning. All are located in one of the best southern states in the country, North Carolina.

Okay. Enough about money and all the jobs and economic opportunities “The Tar Heel State” offers.

Next, onto everyone’s favorite topic. It is another one of the best things about North Carolina…

3. Temperate Weather And Mild Winters

benefits of living in North CarolinaPin

The weather is great because it is mild during the winter months. Especially when compared to other parts of the country.

For example, many other states have intense periods of cold and multiple snowstorms every year. But not North Carolina living.

Unless you are in the mountains, extreme cold and frequent or heavy snow are relatively rare.

So, enjoy the great outdoors in comfort. You can even play outside with your children in winter to let them burn off some energy.

“Halfbacks” Are Living In North Carolina

Here’s an interesting point. Have you heard of people referred to as “halfbacks”?

They are Northerners who first decided to migrate or retire to Florida. However, they found the hot, humid, tropical climate too much.

So, they moved halfway back. To where? North Carolina! That’s why they are called “halfbacks.”

Now, I have one of my favorite perks of living in North Carolina…

4. Abundant Outdoor Activities

I love getting out and enjoying the outdoors. And the state shines bright with an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities.

What is one of the cool things about North Carolina living?

Well, you can drive across the whole state in about 6 hours to find the outdoor activity you want.

So, let’s dive deeper into what North Carolina is like regarding the outdoors.

For The Adventuresome Living In North Carolina

Hiking. There are 100s of miles of hiking trails serving both beginners and highly advanced hikers.

Pick between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains for mountain terrain. The Appalachians are shared with Tennessee, the state next door to the west.

Biking. The same terrain loved by hikers makes for some awesome mountain biking. Or challenge your road biking fitness on some steep mountain roads.

Boating and fishing. This state has many lakes and rivers that are wide, long, and deep. Thus, many great spots exist for fishing, water sports, and boating.

For The Less Adventurous Living In North Carolina

Beaches. There are miles and miles of sandy beaches here along the state’s seacoast.

Furthermore, going wrong with any beach you visit after moving to North Carolina is hard to do.

Consider the historic port city of Wilmington or a beach farther north near Surf City. Don’t forget about the spectacular sandy beaches of the Outer Banks.

The Outer Banks are barrier islands separating the Atlantic Ocean from the mainland. They are similar to Assateague Island. A 37-mile barrier island and national park off the coastal state of Maryland.

Golf. After moving to North Carolina, there are so many golf courses.

There is a course to match every player’s game. Plus the temperate climate means you can hit the links almost year around.

Views. And for the less adventurous outdoorsmen and women. Just get out and enjoy the views.

There are colorful sunsets to the west. The sun rises over an Atlantic beach. Or the mist on the peaks of the Smoky Mountains not far from the North Carolina city of Asheville.

What does all of this outdoor action mean? It means a big appetite.

And what is North Carolina like? Well, it’s an awesome place for anyone who loves barbecue.

For The Hungry Appetite After A Hard Day Outside In North Carolina

Eating barbecue doesn’t qualify as an outdoor activity exactly.

However, preparing this food can be a competitive outdoor sport in the state. Centered around pork that is smoked low and slow.

Furthermore, there are two regional styles of barbeque and sauce.

First, the eastern style has a vinegar and pepper-based sauce. Here, the focus is on the smoked meat, with the sauce acting as a complement.

Second, the western style has a classic ketch-up-based sauce using plenty of flavorful seasonings. The sauce and meat come together, making for a fantastic combination.

Okay. Enough of the outdoors and the hunger it creates.

Thus, I want to share one last of my top pros of living in North Carolina…

5. Access To Quality Health Care

Health care will probably cost you a little more here. But it may be worth it. Because, more often than not, you get what you pay for.

First of all, the state is home to several excellent medical schools at

  • Duke University
  • East Carolina University
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Wake Forest University 

Furthermore, there is the Duke University Medical Center. Also the UNC Hospitals. Two highly respected health care centers.

These healthcare systems house dozens of specialty divisions, clinics, and departments. They seek to diagnose and treat illness or injury anywhere within your body or mind.

Finally, the advanced medical facilities in the state include dozens of highly trained medical specialists ready to work with you.

Okay. That concludes my five advantages of living in North Carolina.

But, the pros and cons of living in North Carolina would not be complete without covering these next 5 points. Specifically, an honest assessment of some reasons not to move to North Carolina in the first place.

So, here goes…

moving to North Carolina pinnable imagePin
Save for later on Pinterest!

6. High Tax Burden

Moving to North Carolina means you will have to deal with a relatively high tax burden.

And the state hits you in several different ways when paying taxes…

Individual Income Tax Rates

The state has a flat income tax system. That means no matter how much money you make. Everyone is subject to the same tax rate.

And the rate is fairly high at 4.75%.

Especially when you consider a state like Washington. Or closer by states like Tennessee and Florida. None of which levy a state income tax.

However, there is some good news. Specifically, the state government steadily reduced the income tax rate over the past decade. As recently as 2016, the income tax rate was 5.25%.

Why decrease taxes? Because the trend toward remote work and workforce mobility has created competition for residents.

Think of it this way. Given a choice, would you rather move to a state with a high or low tax rate?

The answer: of course, a low one.

Sticking with the topic of taxes, here is another one of the reasons not to move to North Carolina.

Property Taxes When Living In North Carolina

Real estate taxes are no bargain. However, you can find more than one state with higher property taxes without trying hard.

But, North Carolina’s average property tax rate is still north of .8%. Applied to the assessed value of your property.

That is a lot. Considering you can hop the state’s southern border.

And find property tax rates up to one-third less just by choosing to live in the state of South Carolina.

Next, I have another one of the tax cons of living in North Carolina…

Sales Taxes

The state’s sales tax rate is high too.

Combining the state’s base sales tax rate with the additional amount local municipalities can add, you will see rates pushing 7% on your purchases.

This too is a lot of tax on your everyday purchases. Say you need to replace the appliances in your kitchen and spend $3,000. Then the sales tax here will add another $210 to your cost.

Think about a state like Oregon or New Hampshire. Although in the minority, they represent states that have no sales tax.

Next, I have one good thing about the state’s tax rates.

This point rings especially true for anyone considering this question: is North Carolina a good place to retire?

And the answer is part of the retirement in North Carolina pros and cons. Let’s go through it.

Social Security Taxes

Fortunately for retirees, North Carolina does not include social security benefits as part of your taxable income.

Thus, retirement living in North Carolina and collecting federal social security benefits after you move means one thing.

It means this state cuts you a tax break.

Okay. That’s enough about taxes.

But I’ve got another one of the reasons not to live in North Carolina…

7. Sub-Par K-12 Education

Education in "The Tar Heel State"Pin

The K-12 education system is average here versus other states in the country. And some things, in particular, keep education quality ratings down.

For example, you can specifically point to poorer performance as it relates to:

  • High school graduation rates
  • ACT and SAT standardized test scores
  • Reading scores
  • Student-to-teacher ratios
  • Percentage of residents without high school diplomas

So, for a state with excellent options in higher education. The K-12 school system falls a little short.

However, there are pockets of quality in specific school districts across this state. Thus, parents must be selective in where they choose to live.

Or find a place in the budget for private school tuition.

Next, one of the worst things about North Carolina…

8. High Crime Rates

First of all, this state has higher crime rates. Unfortunately, potentially new and law-abiding residents would prefer not to see this trend.

Specifically moving to a new state where crime is prevalent and a recurring problem.

It means you and your family must be cautious about how you live. And where you choose to settle down.

Since North Carolina ranks in the bottom half of all states. For both violent crimes. And property crime.

That said, plenty of safe places to live in the state exist. However, it’s just like picking a good school district.

Do your research before settling down.

On the other hand, if you are looking for some of the safest states to live in. Consider a state like New Hampshire. Or its border states of Maine and Vermont.

Those places have some of the lowest crime rates in the country. But they also have very cold winters to deal with.

Yet that is an example of the good and bad of each different state.

Next, back to everyone’s favorite topic! The weather.

Because there are a few things to consider as part of the negatives of living in North Carolina…

9. Lack Of Weather Variety

There are some disadvantages to living in a climate with mild winters.

No Four Weather Season Living In North Carolina

Suppose you are moving to North Carolina from a place with distinct seasonal weather patterns. Then, you may not like North Carolina life.

Because most of the state does not experience the chill of late fall and early winter.

Furthermore, there is little snowfall if you dream of a white Christmas.

So, the dramatic reawakening from a spring thaw is not part of the weather dynamic here.

Thus, if you must have 4-season weather conditions and like to shovel a little snow around the winter holidays, then maybe you should consider living in a state like Indiana.

Just to throw out one example that comes to mind.

And another one of the things to know about living in North Carolina…

North Carolina Living Means Hot Summers

The summers are hot and humid here.

In some cases, it gets to 90 degrees or more. And for many days in a row.

So, if you have a problem with high temperatures, then this state is not the one for you to move to. Or, retire in.

On the other hand, if you are firm about coming to North Carolina. But the summer heat is not your thing.

Then relocate near the mountains in the western part of the state where the temperatures will be moderately cooler.

Finally, it is time for the last item on our list of top living in North Carolina, pros and cons.

This point may be one of the worst things about North Carolina living…

10. Threat Of Hurricanes

If you are considering moving to North Carolina, remember this one point.

When you choose to live here, you select a location that is always at risk for hurricanes. They occur mostly during the summer and early fall months.

So, does this type of weather freak you out? Well, I don’t blame you if it does.

However, you should consider relocating to another state with less potential for ocean storms like hurricanes.

Or, just like beating the summer heat. Consider relocating farther inland to a location closer to the mountains.

Doing so reduces the potential for devasting destruction that the state’s hurricanes can dish out.

Okay. That concludes my review of the pros and cons of North Carolina.

Allow me to wrap it up with a summary.

Pros And Cons Of Living In North Carolina: Wrap Up

cons of living in North CarolinPin

Here is an expanded list of the pros and cons of living in North Carolina, building upon the ten highlights I shared at the beginning of this article.

Pros Of Moving To North Carolina

Living in North Carolina means you get to benefit from the following.

  • A patriotic and historic state
  • Friendly residents
  • A diverse mix of people
  • A popular place for retirees
  • Big cities or small towns
  • Great sense of community
  • Low cost of living
  • Jobs and economic opportunity
  • No tax on social security income
  • Excellent universities
  • Temperate weather and mild winters
  • Scenic outdoor beauty
  • Access to the ocean and mountains
  • Abundant outdoor activities
  • Awesome barbecue
  • Access to quality healthcare

Cons Of Moving To North Carolina

Living in North Carolina also means you must deal with these possible drawbacks.

  • A high income tax rate
  • No breaks on property taxes
  • Excessive sales taxes
  • Sub-par K-12 education
  • Property crime rates
  • Violent crime rates
  • Lack of traditional weather seasons
  • Hot and humid summers
  • Threat of hurricanes

Okay. One more essential topic before I wrap up.

Best Places To Live In North Carolina

Since you have made it this far, your next question might be: where to live in North Carolina? Please allow me to suggest a few places.


Located in the far western part of the state, Asheville is one of the best places to live in North Carolina. And one of the best places to settle down in the United States.

Because of the city’s location, nestled in a very scenic area of the Blue Ridge Mountains, there are numerous outdoor activities to enjoy. Plus, arts, culture, music, and an incredible restaurant scene.

Read more about Asheville living.


Charlotte is considered one best places to live in the United States by reputable sources, including US News & World Report, Niche.com, and Livability.com.

Their studies indicate that solid job opportunities, good schools, and abundant recreational options improve the quality of life for residents in Charlotte.

Furthermore, the city has attracted many working professionals because of the robust job market. For example, Charlotte is one of the largest banking centers in the country. And the region is the headquarters for almost 20 Fortune 1000 companies.

Read more about living in Charlotte.


Jacksonville, North Carolina, might be the perfect spot for anyone desiring to live near the Atlantic Ocean. For example, there are three significant beaches here and many more intimate ones too.

Although Jacksonville is small, residents can access many popular stores and local restaurants.

Finally, you should know this is a military town. Thus, the main economic engine is Camp Lejeune Marine Base and its associated facilities at Camp Johnson, Camp Geiger, and New River Air Base.

To sum it up, Jacksonville provides a unique blend of small-town coastal living and military culture for a reasonable cost of living.

Read more about living in Jacksonville.


Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina.

The city is known for abundant job opportunities, pleasant neighborhoods, modest living costs, excellent schools, and fun activities. Be sure to check out The Raleigh Market for a fun-filled family adventure.

Most noteworthy, the Raleigh region stands out for its higher education opportunities, including the following schools:

  • NC State University calls the city home
  • Duke University in nearby Durham
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Adding it all up, life in this family-friendly city is hard to beat.

Read more about life after moving to Raliegh.


Winston Salem offers a blend between moderate size city living and a small town.

Plenty of parks, green spaces, and great local businesses are here. In addition, Wake Forest University and several major hospitals and healthcare providers call the city home.

People who like living in Winston enjoy the close-knit community. While also having access to more significant city-like amenities without the many drawbacks of high-population urban centers.

Finally, the city’s convenient location allows access to the mountains and the beaches for day trips and weekend getaways.

Read more about Winston-Salem’s pros and cons

Now you know a bit about what North Carolina is like. And you can better answer these questions for yourself.

  • What is North Carolina like?
  • Is North Carolina a good state to live in?
  • Is North Carolina a good state to retire in?

I think the answer to the last two questions is yes. North Carolina is a great place to live. However, ultimately it’s up to you to decide!

More Reading About The Pros And Cons Of Life In North Carolina And Far Beyond.

Best Money Resources For Moving To North Carolina (or anywhere)

Before you go, save this image to Pinterest so you can return again later.

pros and cons of moving to North CarolinaPin

Author Bio, Disclosure, & Disclaimer: Please join me (Tom) as I try to achieve my goals, find my next place to live, and make the most of my money. However, I am not a licensed investment adviser, financial counselor, real estate agent, or tax professional. Instead, I’m a 50-something-year-old, early retired CPA, finance professional, and business school teacher with 40+ years of DIY dividend investing experience. I’m here only to share my thoughts about essential topics for success. As a result, nothing published on this site should be considered individual investment, financial, tax, or real estate advice. This site’s only purpose is general information & entertainment. Thus, neither I nor Dividends Diversify can be held liable for losses suffered by any party because of the information published on this website. Finally, all written content is the property of Dividends Diversify LLC. Unauthorized publication elsewhere is strictly prohibited.

conclusion of postPin

The Pros And Cons Of Living In North Carolina Explained