Life in the Old North State does spark curiosity in a lot of people. It is quite the interesting place to be in with just about everything, but in a manner that derives its charm from the ‘not so obvious’. North Carolina does have a rich tradition of art and music, with the activities being a significant driving force of the economy. But moving to this state would require some information regarding the kind of life you can expect here. To know that, continue reading our guide on moving to North Carolina.
What Should I Know Before Moving To North Carolina?
Located in the south-eastern region of the United States, North Carolina is the 28th largest state in the country and is spread across an area of 53,819 square miles (139,390 km2), of which 1972 square miles (5108 km2) is water. It is also the 9th most populous state in the country with 10,488,048 people. The state has royal roots, with it being originally established as a royal colony and being named after King Charles I.
When it comes to the nightlife of North Carolina, keep in mind that this is a place that is famous for its beaches and attracts quite the number of tourists, which means that the nightlife is as colorful as can be. The scene here is diverse with certain pockets catering to certain kinds of crowds like working professionals, college students and even older people who prefer a sophisticated touch to their nightlife. On the other hand, there are also nightlife scenes where people from all walks of life revel in.
When it comes to food, North Carolina has been the starting point for a lot of food items. Were you aware that this is the place where Pepsi and Krispy Crème were originally made? Do try the Cheerwine doughnut without fail whenever you visit North Carolina. Also, one of the favorite lunches of this state is the barbecue sandwich. Something else that is very popular with the locals are the fried green tomatoes served with pimento sauce. And then there is something that is quite a tradition and fried and delicious, which is the Bojangles.
This city is quite the haven for nature and adventure lovers, with its wide landscapes that include mountains and beaches and a thriving music and nightlife scenario, this state will warm your heart and fill your soul with its zest for life.
Also Read: North Carolina DMV Change of Address
Crime Rate In North Carolina
The crime rate in North Carolina per 1000 residents is 3.72, which is less than the national crime rate of 4. This means that your chances of being the victim of a violent crime are 1 in 269.
The rate of property crime, per 1000 residents is 23.57 which means that the chances of being a victim to such a crime are 1 in 42. It’s only marginally higher than the national median of 21.
The statistics, as per NeighbourhoodScouts, show that the crime rate of the state is lower than the national average, making North Carolina a relatively safe place to stay in.
North Carolina Weather
While the climate of North Carolina can be largely classified as ‘humid subtropical’, the weather varies from the Atlantic in the east to the Appalachian Mountains in the west.
Summers in North Carolina are hot, though the occasional winds from the north can cool down the area for short periods of time. But the higher elevations don’t experience particularly hot weather, with the average summer temperature at Mount Mitchell being 680F (200C).
Winters are on average, on the cooler side, with temperatures rarely dropping below zero degrees Fahrenheit. The Appalachian Mountains on the west play a role in this as they protect the state from the cold winds on the west.
The temperatures on the coast are more mellow, thanks to the heat from the ocean. Due to the range of weather in the state, snow bunnies will find quite a personal paradise in the mountains during the winter months where it does snow regularly enough. While the state as a whole averages 5 inches (130 mm) of snow per year, the area of Raleigh receives about 20 inches (510 mm) of snow. Of course, the snowfall is much higher in the mountains.
There is an average of 45 inches (114.3 mm) of rain every year with July being the wettest month.
Is North Carolina Expensive To Live In?
When you weigh the pros and cons of moving to a new place, the side with the financial concern weighs the heaviest. Before deciding to move to North Carolina, you need to understand the kind of effect it would have on your wallet.
Let’s look at the most obvious expense, that being of taxes. North Carolina charges a 4.75 % state sales tax. Combined with the county sales tax, the rate may be as high as 6.75-7.5%. the state has a flat income tax rate of 5.25% and it also does not charge social security retirement benefits, making it quite tax-friendly for retirees. The effective property tax rate is 1.07%, which is a lot lower than that of other states.
See Also: Relocation Guide for South Carolina
Cost of Living In North Carolina
North Carolina offers a low cost of living to its residents with the cost-of-living index being 90.6 when you consider the US national index at 100. Numbeo estimates that a family of four would require $3,452 per month, minus the rent, for their living expenses. A single person on the other hand would need $962.
When you go to the supermarket, the cost of a litre of milk would be $0.79 and that of a loaf of bread is $2.73. A dozen eggs would cot $1.93 and a kilogram of potatoes would be $3.12. If you don’t like cooking much, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant can be $14 and if you are two people eating at a mid-range restaurant, the price would be $65.
Do you plan on taking a medical insurance plan in North Carolina? Well then expect to pay $482 for a major one. Premiums will be lower if you keep good health in general. Also, there is Medicaid that provides free healthcare which includes prescription drugs and basic eye and dental work to the lower income groups.
Buying A House
The median home price of the state of North Carolina is $174,380, though the median price would vary when assessed in individual cities. The average cost of that of a two-bedroom house stands at $180,000.
Renting A House
The average rent of a two-bedroom house in North Carolina is $1,200, though this varies by city and local neighborhoods.
The cost of utilities in North Carolina are $151.29 for an average apartment. These include water, garbage, electricity, heating and cooling. An unlimited internet plan would cost approximately $59.45.
When it comes to transportation costs, a one-way ticket on the local transport would cost $2.2 while a monthly pass would be $87.50. The base taxi fare is $2.5 and the rate per kilometre would be another $2.5. Similarly, if you are the owner of your own vehicle, the cost of gasoline is $0.60 per gallon.
Read Also: Best Places to Raise a Family in U.S.
North Carolina Economy And Employment Opportunities
Let’s start with the fact that the gross state product of North Carolina in 2019 was $591 billion. Some of the very favourable factors for North Carolina’s economy are its easy access to hydroelectric power, the favourable climate and the wide range of soils. It is one of the leading regions of industry and agriculture. Also, this is the state that manufactures the highest amount of tobacco, textiles and furniture in the country. North Carolina is also the leading producer of sweet potatoes and stands second in the farming of pigs, hogs, trout and turkeys. It is also the second highest producer of Christmas trees.
The state’s employability extends to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These industries have grown exponentially resulting in the growth of the area around the capital by 17.9%, making this a state where technology is booming. The banking and finance industry is also a major player in the economy, with Charlotte owing this sector a lot of its growth. The city is the second only to New York in banking in the United States. The area is not only home to six Fortune 500 companies but also houses Bank of America and Truist Financial.
The Research Triangle Park (RTP), situated between Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill is a prominent research centre across the globe and is responsible for the steady rise of information and biotechnology industries in the country.
The state has been selected as one of the best places for business by multiple polls. While it has fifteen metropolitan areas, there is a demarcation in the prosperity of the urban and rural areas with the rural areas having a lot of catching up to do.
There are film studios located in Shelby, Raleigh, Durham, Asheville and other cities. Wilmington has EUE Screen Gems Studios, the second largest film and television production facility in the country. Some of the prominent films that were shot in North Carolina are Forrest Gump, Blue Velvet, A Walk to Remember and Nights in Rodanthe. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
Tourism sector is a major employer in the state with over 190,000 residents being employed in this industry. The tourist attractions include parks, golf, wine, beaches, mountains and sports venues. What’s great is that North Carolina is the 6th most visited state in the country. But that’s not all, as the state is working on encouraging rural tourism even more. In terms of how much you earn, the median household income in North Carolina happens to be $54,602.
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is responsible for the schools of the state. The North Carolina State board of Education holds the legal responsibility for the public education policy. Overall, you will find a total of 115 school systems in the state, with 2,425 schools including 200 charter schools.
When it comes to higher education, North Carolina is home to 17 public universities, some of which are North Carolina State University, UNC Wilmington, Elizabeth City State University and Fayetteville State University. All of them fall under the umbrella of the University of North Carolina system.
There are also quite a number of private universities that are quite popular across the country. Some of these are Duke University, Pfeiffer University, Elon University, Guilford College and Wingate University.
Getting Around North Carolina
The state has two non-commercial airports and other commercial ones. The former are the Hickory Regional airport in Hickory and the Kinston Regional Jetport in Kinston. The commercial airports include the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Wilmington international Airport, the Albert J. Ellis Airport and others.
Amtrak runs the passenger lines in North Carolina. The Piedmont and Carolinian train between Raleigh and Charlotte is subsidized. All the trains run daily except the Piedmont which runs twice daily.
Some of the trains that run through the state are the Crescent between New York and New Orleans, the Palmetto between New York and Savannah, Silver Star between New York and Tampa and others. The trains serve quite a few destinations between their origin to the ending point.
The cities are served by different bus services. Cary is taken care of by GoCary, via six routes. Durham has GoDurham with 22 routes and Wake Forest has GoRaleigh with 2 loop routes. There is the Fayetteville Area System of Transit (FAST) with ten bus routes and two shuttle routes. There is also the GoTriangle which operates between Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary through local bus systems.
There is the Higher Education Area Transit (HEAT) that operates for students who go to particular universities.
Similarly, other cities operate their own bus systems. It is to be said that local transport is pretty well established in the state.
The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and the GoRaleigh operate historic trolley lines in their areas, which serve the purpose of transport as well as tourism.
The Interstate Highways running through North Carolina include Interstate 26, 40, 73, 74, 77, 85 and 95. It also has a number of US and state highways. The state has the largest number of highways maintained by the state, stretching over 77,400 miles (124,600 km).
Best Cities To Live In North Carolina
Some would call this city not just the best place in the state but the best in the country. As a destination for IT talent that can rival Silicon Valley while keeping housing affordable, no wonder this city is the next big thing. Companies like IBM and Walmart are the major employers and as the feather in its cap, the nightlife scene has kept pace with the growing pace of the city.
The average cost of buying a house here is $321,559 and the average cost of renting a similar two-bedroom house is $1100.
Also See: Guide for Relocating to Raleigh
This is the biggest city in North Carolina and is one of the best places to stay in the country. It’s all thanks to the size of the paychecks people employed here get, and the complementary cultural scene that enables you to live your life to the fullest while eating the best food ever. Charlotte is especially a great place to be if you prefer a job in the financial sector.
The average home price in the city is $287,022 and the average rent of a similar house is $1,000 approximately.
While Durham and Raleigh are often clubbed together, Durham deserves an individual mention for what it offers. The city’s biggest employer is Duke University and considering the prevalent college-going crowd, the arts and music scene is distinct and is worth revelling in.
The average home price in the city is $283,077 and the average rent of a house here is $1,200 approximately.
Wilmington or ‘Wilmywood’, as it is popularly called due to the huge number of television shows and films set here, is never forgotten once visited. The diversity of the economy means that getting a job as per your requirements is easier than in most places. On top of that, the number of biking and hiking trails means that you can sweat out the stress after working at your job.
The average cost of a house here is $270,531 and the average rent of a house in this place is $1050.
Is Moving to North Carolina A Good Idea?
One has yet to meet someone who would think that moving to North Carolina was a bad idea. It is always a good idea to assess a move as big as moving to a different city, from all possible angles. Estimate your financial situation, assess the culture of the place and objectively consider how you fit in here and you would know how good of an idea moving to this state is.
As next steps, you can start your planning and researching if moving to North Carolina is really for you. Think you could use the help of experts with the relocation tasks? Read our feature on the 5 BEST LONG DISTANCE MOVING COMPANIES to get yourself started.