City population: 367,959
Metro population: 1,084,404
Mean family income: $94,975
Median home value: $200,900
Employment growth: 6.4%
City school rating: 7
Violent crimes per 100,000 residents: 578
Employment is up, and the cost of living is down in North Carolina’s capital, a mecca for stable high-tech jobs. The region is also home to more acres of parks per capita than most cities of its size. The Wake County School District is strong, too, with 77 schools of excellence and distinction — the highest designations in North Carolina. And Tarheel State residents live in a higher-ed sweet spot where academic quality meets high levels of financial aid. The result: The top-notch University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is perennially No. 1 on Kiplinger’s list of Best Values in Public Colleges, N.C. State is #10, and other UNC-system schools dot our top 100.
PROS: High family income, affordable family housing, strong employment growth (especially in biotechnology, textiles and medical technology), lauded city schools, mild weather year-round, moderate and falling crime rates.
CONS: Lagging wage growth, blighted downtown in the midst of a stop-and-go redevelopment.
Article from Kiplinger.com by Caitlin Dewey