Moving to North Carolina Guide: Things To Know Before You Move –

Video What is it like living in north carolina

Ready to move somewhere with mild temperatures, scenic surroundings and friendly faces? Consider a move to North Carolina. Located on the East Coast, this strikingly beautiful state has plenty to offer newcomers. Students will find excellent educational institutions, young professionals will find a thriving job market, families will find plenty of kid-friendly towns, and retirees will find a low cost of living. From hiking and exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains to surfing and sailing in the Outer Banks, there’s also no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy while living here.

Is North Carolina a good place to live?

If you like outdoors, North Carolina is unsurpassed in its natural bounty of coastal plains, beaches, barrier islands (Outer Banks), rivers, waterfalls and mountains. The Blue Ridge Mountains have the highest point east of the Mississippi, Mount Mitchell. The state has 34 state parks and 10 national parks, including the most visited national park in the U.S., the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Besides its natural beauty, North Carolina offers booming business and a low cost of living. Its Triangle area, which consists of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill has morphed into a research and technology hub, and has no signs of slowing down. In addition to its larger cities that are popular with younger transplants and offer all the trappings of the big-city lifestyle, you’ll find plenty of charming historic towns like New Bern and Pinehurst.

North Carolina is the ninth most populous state in the country, with a population of a little over 10.8 million, per World Population Review. It has a healthy growth rate of 1.13%, which ranks 14th in the nation. And, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in North Carolina is currently $56,600.

10 reasons to move to North Carolina

Here are some strong reasons to consider moving to North Carolina.

  1. There’s so much to do outdoors

    Given the state’s diverse terrain, scenic views and fun destinations, you can bet there’s no shortage of things to do outdoors in North Carolina. In fact, tourists and visitors travel to North Carolina from all over the country to experience the state’s natural beauty and outdoor activities. Popular recreational activities enjoyed by residents include hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, boating, tubing and kayaking. From the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains to the beautiful beaches, there’s much to explore throughout the state. The gorgeous 88 miles of the Appalachian Trail run through the North Carolina mountains, bisecting the Blue Ridge Mountains. Not to mention, North Carolina boasts about 322 miles of coastline, including the world-renowned beaches of the Outer Banks (Rodanthe, Kitty Hawk and Cape Point are just a few of the long list).

    Then there are historic towns to explore. Founded in 1705, Bath is the oldest in the state and its first port of entry. It was briefly home of the English pirate Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. The eastern town of Beaufort has about 150 historic homes and offers tours of its historic district. And the port city of Wilmington has a large riverfront historic district that skirts the Cape Fear River and makes it a must-see destination.

  2. The weather is relatively mild

    North Carolina consists of three geographical areas: the coastal plains (flat and swampy), the sloping hills of Piedmont, and the mountains in the westernmost part of North Carolina that covers one-fifth of the state. Based on its geography, North Carolina’s climate is most humid and subtropical except in the mountains, where it can be cool and dry, varying with altitude. Summer is the state’s wettest season, fall is the driest. Sunshine is plentiful year-round, averaging over 2,600 hours.

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    So, if you are moving from a climate with extreme weather, you’re in luck. The weather in North Carolina is relatively mild compared to many other areas of the country. Residents are able to experience all four seasons, including a spectacular leaf-peeping fall, snowy winters, blooming springs and warm summers. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll experience many (if any) frigid blizzards or sweltering heat waves while living in North Carolina.

  3. The economy is booming

    With a growing economy and a thriving job market, it’s easy to see why so many college graduates, professionals and families choose to settle down in North Carolina. The state has one of the healthiest economies in the country – not to mention, a highly educated and skilled workforce.

    Among the top companies that call North Carolina home include Compass Group, Lowe’s, Bank of America and Honeywell International. The state’s current economy includes banking, energy, food processing, pharma, and more. By 2020, North Carolina ranked third in the nation in total installed solar power generating capacity and fourth in solar generation. The bigger energy companies include Duke Energy, Siemens and GE Hitachi. And North Carolina’s largest city, Charlotte, is home to the second-largest banking center in the nation.

    North Carolina is also a large furniture manufacturer, with industry leaders like Ashley Furniture, Ethan Allen, Century and Sealy all doing business in the state. Furniture manufacturing has been a big part of the state economy since the beginning, and the town of High Point is known as the Furniture Capital of the World. The bi-annual High Point Furniture Market attracts about 160,000 people and features millions of square feet of retail and trade furniture showrooms.

    But, more than anything, North Carolina is increasingly a tech hub, attracting graduates and young professionals from all over the U.S. Information technology, aerospace, biotech and pharmaceuticals are all growing sectors of the state economy. They are primarily concentrated in the “Research Triangle” of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. The STEM hubs of Duke University, North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill attract a lot of talent.

  4. The colleges and universities are top-notch

    As mentioned above, North Carolina is home to several of the nation’s top colleges and universities. Perhaps the most well-known and competitive school in the state is Duke University. This premier research university continues to rank exceptionally high among colleges and universities throughout the country. Other well-regarded, top-notch schools include the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wake Forest University, Davidson College, North Carolina State University, Elon University and Appalachian State University.

    The University of North Carolina (UNC) System is a leading employer statewide. Among North Carolina’s counties, there are four where a university employs the most residents: Durham (Duke), Jackson (Western Carolina), Orange (UNC-Chapel Hill), and Watauga (Appalachian State). And the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the oldest state university in the U.S., sharing the title with the University of Georgia and the College of William and Mary.

  5. There’s plenty of southern charm

    Don’t be alarmed when strangers smile your way. No matter where you go in North Carolina, you can’t escape the state’s southern charm. In general, North Carolina residents are friendly, warm and welcoming. In fact, one of the best things about North Carolina is its people. The quintessential southern hospitality is real and permeates most interactions, from small towns to big cities.

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    Expect to be embraced quickly as a new resident, which means you won’t feel like an outsider when moving to North Carolina. The state is populated by a diverse mixture of people, from outdoor enthusiasts to tech talent to coastal dwellers. There are also sizeable communities in Appalachia, including Indigenous Americans. Fort Bragg and the surrounding area host the community of about 54,000 military personnel and the many civilians who support the base.

  6. The cost of living is relatively low

    North Carolina is an exceptionally affordable place to live. According to Best Places, the overall cost of living index for the state is 90.5, below the national average of 100. In addition, home prices are reasonable – even in large metro areas. For example, the median sold price for homes in Raleigh is $364,000 (as of June 2022, according to Realtor.com). The cost of living index score for housing is 81, also below the national average. According to Niche, the three cities with the lowest cost of living in North Carolina are Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point. Charlotte and Raleigh are also on the list.

    North Carolina residents also enjoy paying less in taxes than many other Americans – at least where property taxes are concerned. The average property tax rate in North Carolina is 0.77%, compared to the national average of 1.07%.

  7. The food and drink are both innovative and classic

    Foodies love North Carolina for its tasty food and dining scene. The state is the birthplace of several American classics, including Pepsi-Cola, Cheerwine (cherry soda that, if you ask a North Carolinian, pairs really well with BBQ), Krispy Kreme donuts, Texas Pete hot sauce, Bojangles and Mt. Olive Pickles. Other staple foods in the state include Lexington-style barbecue, fried green tomatoes and shrimp n’ grits – among others. In addition to classics, North Carolina is also home to many foodie-focused destinations, innovative chefs, top-notch restaurants, craft breweries and over 200 wineries.

  8. The state has plenty of cultural attractions

    Looking to live in a place with plenty of arts and culture? North Carolina has everything one needs in terms of art museums, performing arts centers, theatres, music venues and art galleries. The state is also home to a number of art and music festivals. Popular cultural attractions in North Carolina include the Wright Brothers National Museum, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the Biltmore.

  9. Healthcare options are excellent

    North Carolina is home to several nationally ranked hospitals and world-renowned academic medical centers. Duke University Hospital in Durham is one of the most well-known teaching hospitals in the country. U.S. News ranks it as the number one hospital in North Carolina. Nationally, it’s ranked ninth for children’s specialties and 11th for adult specialties. Other excellent hospitals in North Carolina include the University of North Carolina Hospitals, Carolinas Medical Center, UNX Rex Hospital and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center – among others.

  10. Sports are a big deal

    North Carolina’s love for sports runs deep, both college teams and professional sports. The state cheers for its NFL football team, the Carolina Panthers, the NHL team of Carolina Hurricanes, and the men’s basketball team of Tar Heels. Golf is also big in the state. Pinehurst No. 2 gulf course will be home to the U.S. Open for the fourth time in 25 years when the national championship returns to Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in 2024.

    Here are three sports-related fun facts:

    • Babe Ruth hit his first-ever home run in Fayetteville on March 7, 1914.
    • NASCAR held its first Strictly Stock race on June 19, 1949, at the Charlotte Speedway.
    • The former insurance salesman Don Clayton created the first Putt-Putt (that’s mini gulf) in Fayetteville in 1954.

What are the pros and the cons of moving to North Carolina?

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Like elsewhere, moving to North Carolina has its pluses and drawbacks. As we’ve outlined above, the pros are plenty. Those include:

  • Affordability
  • Diverse communities
  • The abundance of outdoor activities
  • The rich history and culture
  • Booming economy
  • State of the art hospitals

No place is without its negatives. For North Carolina, the biggest ones are:

  • Crime is higher than the national average in some towns (Wadesboro and Henderson, among others).
  • The hurricanes. If you’re moving somewhere on the coast and aren’t used to experiencing hurricanes, adjusting to life in North Carolina might take some time. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. Just be vigilant and heed the warnings.

Is North Carolina a good place to retire?

If you’re moving to North Carolina and wondering what retirement life looks like, we can assure you that the state is retiree-friendly. Not only North Carolina has an affordable housing market but your Social Security benefits won’t be taxable in North Carolina. Plus, with the moderate weather and all this natural beauty imagine all of your hikes, beach days and day trips to explore the historic towns.

The list fluctuates with time and depending on the source, but, according to the World Population Review, the five most popular places to retire in North Carolina in 2022 are:

  • Eden. This small town is located near Greensboro and is perfect if you are seeking a quiet, relaxing lifestyle. The housing is affordable too, with the median value of home properties around $83,000.
  • Kinston. Want to be on the water, surrounded by nature but feeling like you still live in a city? This revitalized charmer is located by the river and has a robust food scene.
  • Lexington. Located in the Piedmont area, Lexington is known as “The Barbeque Capital of the World.” It also has a historic downtown, wineries nearby, and a lot to offer in terms of art and shopping.
  • Newton. Located in Catawba County, Newton has Asheville to the northwest, Winston-Salem to the northeast and Charlotte to the southeast, all within an hour to 1.5-hour drive. The foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains offer plenty of outdoor activities and scenic attractions, yet you’ll be close to the urban amenities of the nearby big cities.
  • Lenoir. If you like nature, Lenoir is the retirement destination for you. This place is close to some of the most striking forests North Carolina has to offer. This makes for a quiet, nature-friendly lifestyle. The cost of living is fairly affordable and the crime rate is very low.

Another town close to Charlotte that you want to consider for retirement is Davidson. For a more isolated lifestyle, head to Highlands, located in the southern Appalachian Mountains. But if you’re craving bustling art, food and music scenes, Chapel Hill and Asheville are affordable options that offer just that.

What else do I need to know about moving to North Carolina?

  • You will probably need a car. Public transportation is available, of course, and city centers are walkable, but the areas outside downtowns are less so.
  • The best time to buy a home in North Carolina are spring and summer, when more properties typically hit the market. This comes with higher prices and more competition though. If you want to pay a lower price, it’s more likely to happen in the fall or winter.
  • You have 60 days to apply for a driver’s license in North Carolina and title and register your vehicle. You can make an appointment online but must visit the NCDMV office in person.

Interesting facts about North Carolina

  • The land that is now known as North Carolina was originally inhabited by Cherokee, Hatteras, and Tuscarora Indigenous American tribes.
  • North Carolina harvests over four billion pounds of sweet potatoes annually, making it the largest producer of the vegetable in the country.
  • Sticking to it its beginnings, North Carolina is still a leader in tobacco, brick, textile and furniture production.
  • Pepsi-Cola was invented and served in 1898 in New Bern, and Krispy Kreme Donuts was founded in 1937 in Winston-Salem.
  • The Biltmore Estate of Asheville, built for George Washington Vanderbilt, is the largest private residence in the United States, spanning 175,000 square feet and 250 rooms.

How much does it cost to move to North Carolina?

Your moving expenses will depend on how much you’re moving and how far you’re moving. Keep in mind that the average cost of an out-of-state, long-distance move is $4,890 based on a two- to three-bedroom move of approximately 7,500 pounds and an average distance of 1,000 miles. To obtain a cost estimate for your specific move, try Moving.com’s moving cost calculator. This easy-to-use tool gives users an accurate and reliable estimate of how much a move will cost, based on a number of factors.

Ready to move to North Carolina?

Think you want to make North Carolina your new home? For more information about cities within North Carolina, check Moving.com’s City Profile Report feature. Our reports include city demographics, real estate information, quality of life factors and more. Simply enter the zip code or the state and city of your potential move to get a free report at the click of a button. For help finding and booking the best moving company, check Moving.com’s extensive network of reputable and reliable interstate movers. Best of luck and happy moving!

Sources

Mount Mitchell State ParkNational Parks in North Carolina: Discover All 10Great Smoky Mountains National Park (U.S. National Park Service)U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: North Carolina25+ Best Beaches to Visit in North Carolina

Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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