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Best Places to Live in North Carolina for Young Adults

The Tar Heel State sits on a landmass that offers more than just sweet potatoes and Cheerwine. If you are a young adult looking to relocate to the East Coast, North Carolina is a top option. The state offers some of the best areas for youthful living.

When we say North Carolina offers some of the best places for young people to live, we draw conclusions from specific factors. They include crime rate, average income, cost of living, social life, and housing. Based on the said factors, below are fifteen of the best places to live in North Carolina for young adults.


Raleigh, North Carolina, USA Skyline

Raleigh is the capital city of North Carolina, so the quality of living there is not too surprising. This city is not only one of the best places to live in North Carolina but also one of the best in America.

Raleigh boasts a significantly younger population with a median age of around 37. The level and quality of education in this city are high. Many people know Raleigh for its vibrant technology and research involvement.

Raleigh has a solid job market and a low unemployment rate. The average annual salary is neither too high nor low. Housing in Raleigh is fair; rents and median home prices are slightly above the national average.

When it comes to social life, Raleigh doesn’t fall short. There are many parks, microbreweries, restaurants, and museums in Raleigh. The landscape is also green and beautiful. So, moving to Raleigh will not leave you short on beautiful moments.


Charlotte, North Carolina, USA Uptown Skyline and Park

The economic activity and job market in Charlotte are pretty solid. Getting a job there should not be too complicated.

Charlotte has a young population. Its landscape is green, beautiful, and clean, with many large, old trees. The greenery of Charlotte intertwines with the commercial landscape. Overall, the city-country vibes are well mixed.

Charlotte’s rent and median house prices are on par with the national average. The average annual income is higher than the state and national average. So, earning here should not be difficult. All in all, Charlotte’s earnings and cost of living are in equilibrium.

If you reside in Charlotte, you get the chance to visit Lake Wylie, Lake Norman, and Carowinds. Charlotte boasts many other fun sights, including coffee shops, the SouthPark mall, museums, restaurants, hiking trails, biking trails, and running trails. The sports scene in the city is also pretty active.


Durham, North Carolina, USA Downtown Skyline

Durham has a brimming younger population like Raleigh. The job market is solid, the unemployment rate is relatively low, and the cost of living is on par with the national average.

In Durham, house prices and rent are about the same as the national average. Unsurprisingly, more than half the population own homes. So, finding accommodation should not be challenging if you are moving there.

Durham has an active sports scene. But besides that, there are many parks and restaurants to explore. The county also has the Durham Performing Arts Center for those who enjoy cultural activities.


Wilmington offers so much to young people, so the influx of new residents in recent times is not surprising. The cost of living and crime rate is relatively low, the options for outdoor recreation are decent, and the job market is not bad.

There’s a fair chance your rent would be lower than the national average in Wilmington. Unsurprisingly, many people rent houses there.

The city has many restaurants, parks, coffee shops, and a cross-city trail. So, if you ever feel bored, you can liven things up outside. There’s also a beach if you wish to relax close to the water.

building home architechture wilmington north carolina

Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill offers an urban-suburb feel. Its crime rates are lower than the national average. So, safety in the area is generally favorable.

The cost of living in Chapel Hill is slightly high. Rent and median house prices are somewhat higher than the national average. But then, the median household income in Chapel Hill is higher than the national average. So, the cost of living is not unbearable.

In Chapel Hill, there are many nature and wildlife activities. You can go on boat tours or visit the cat café. You can go biking, hiking, jet skiing, water skiing, or golfing. There’s always some activity to help you have fun outside.


Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

Housing in Winston-Salem is relatively cheap. Rent and median house prices are below the national average, so affording accommodation should not be much of a problem.

The median annual income in Winston-Salem is below the national average. But since the cost of living is not extreme, you should be fine.

In Winston-Salem, you can visit art centers or go hiking or biking. You may also see the beautiful view at the Piedmont Quarry or just drive around and enjoy the surrounding landscapes.


Like Winston-Salem, housing in Greensboro is relatively inexpensive. Whether you are buying a house or paying rent, there’s a good chance you’ll pay less than the national average.

The job market in Greensboro may not be as great as you would want. The average annual income is also less than the national average. But the low cost of living makes up for these factors.

Living in Greensboro, you can visit art galleries, bars, antique shops, and breweries. There are also museums and lounges. You can also go biking, walking, hiking, and golfing.

Overlooking Greensboro, North Carolina


The cost of living in Fayetteville is generally low. For one, the average rent and median house prices are below the national average.

The job market in Fayetteville is fair. The unemployment rate is slightly higher than the national average. Also, the average annual income is lower than the average across the nation. But then, the low cost of living balances the low average annual income.

Fayetteville is not short on outdoor recreation. Activities like visiting parks and restaurants, biking, jogging, and hiking on different trails make the city fun. The city also offers nature and wildlife experiences and a lively sports following.


Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Asheville has a dense urban feel, and the cost of living there is comparatively high. The average annual income below the national average does not make things better. But if you can afford to live in Asheville, there’s a whole new world to see and enjoy.

The prices of food, gas, homes, and daily expenses in Asheville are somewhat steep. So, as we said, the cost of living is high. But rent is on par with the national average. Also, the job market is decent.

Living in Asheville gives you access to the Blue Ridge Parkway – the longest linear park in America.

You can also visit the Blue Ridge Mountains and see other places along the Appalachian Trail. Asheville also offers water sports, hiking, skiing, and snow tubing facilities.

Asheville has museums, art centers, and arts festivals. So, your interests are not left out if you love art.

If you love your beer, you will love living in Asheville. The city has the most breweries per capita of any US city. So, there’s a lot to enjoy.


Hickory is becoming a hot relocation destination for families and young adults. The increasing influx of new residents is not surprising considering Hickory’s quality of life and cost of living.

The cost of housing in Hickory is far lower than the national average. Rent is also low, but the supply of houses is not adequate for the influx. So, while you may have no problem paying for accommodation, finding some might be an issue.

The unemployment rate in Hickory is pretty close to the national average. Also, the average annual income is less than the national average. But with the low living costs, that should not be a problem.

Hickory offers many recreational activities, including water sports, hiking, and biking. The town also has bars, parks, restaurants, museums, and a library. Then throughout the year, you can be a part of various festivals.

aerial view of Hickory North  Carolina


Aberdeen is a town with a population of just around 7000 to 8000. So, the suburban atmosphere is understandably sparse.

The crime rate is relatively low, making it one of the safest towns in North Carolina. The job scene in Aberdeen is pretty fair; the average annual income is not far from the national average, and the cost of living is low. Aberdeen’s median housing and rent prices are not as high as the national average. Getting a place to stay shouldn’t be as much as in other cities.

Aberdeen offers outdoor leisure in its parks, restaurants, museum, mall, antique shops, and coffee shops. You may also visit historic sites like Malcolm Blue Farm.


Greenville is one of the top places to live in Pitt County, NC. The cost of living there is low; rent and housing prices are below the national average. The average annual income is also low, but it is usually no problem since living costs are low.

Greenville has parks, breweries, art museums, antique shops, landmarks, theaters, hiking trails, gift shops, golf courses, and many other fun spots. So, you have many options for leisure activities.

Southern Pines

Southern Pines has a dense suburban atmosphere even though its population is only around 14000. The cost of living here is somewhat low; housing prices are above the national average, while rent is low. The unemployment rate is low, and the average annual income is slightly below the national average.

Southern Pines offers parks, restaurants, art centers, breweries, museums, golf courses, and theaters. So, there are many ways to have fun there.

Downtown Southern Pines North Carolina


With a population not far off 3000, Sylva gives a rural-suburban impression. Crime rates are low, making it one of the safest towns in North Carolina.

The cost of living in Sylva is generally lower than the national average. House prices are far below the national average, and rent is very cheap. The average annual income in Sylva is far below the national average. But with the low cost of living, it is rarely a problem.

Even with its rural-suburban feel, Sylva has many recreational spots. Breweries, antique shops, parks, trails, bars, and art galleries are some of the many options available.

Emerald Isle

The Point at Emerald Isle, NC

Emerald Isle is a top location for new residents in Carteret County. It has low crime rates and a high average annual income. However, the housing cost is higher than the national average.

Emerald Isle is home to many retirees, and the population is not very diverse. Still, you can have a lot of fun living here. Emerald Isle has many fun water activities, from beaches to water parks and sports. The town has parks, bars, games centers, art galleries, and trails.