22 Living in North Carolina Pros and Cons

You will find some breathtaking mountain views waiting for you every day when living in North Carolina. There are stunning beaches to explore all along the Atlantic Coast. Employers are finding that the state is an excellent location for diversity, creating numerous career opportunities that could help you to find a great job that pays well. It is also a place where independent thought and personal belief systems are given an extra level of respect.

The first colonies from Europe were established in North Carolina in the late 16th century. Both of them ended up failing. Settlers from Virginia began to wander into the state a few decades later to eventually create a formal British Colony. In 1775, legend says that it is this colony that was the first to declare their independence from Great Britain. After the Revolutionary War, it would become the 12th state to join the new Union.

North Carolina was also one of the states that decided to secede from the United States during the Civil War, joining the Confederacy in 1861. Just four years later, troops from the state offered their surrender. It would be brought back into the overall Union in 1968.

The Wright Brothers took their historic first flight on the state’s beaches. Raleigh-Durham has been ranked as the best place to live in the United States. If you are thinking about moving here, then these are the crucial pros and cons of living in North Carolina to consider today.

List of the Pros of Living in North Carolina

1. The cost of living in North Carolina is reasonable for the average family.
When you consider the presence of affordable homes in North Carolina, the lower tax rates compared to the rest of the region, and lower rental prices, then it does not cost as much to live in this state than in other places in the country. The average price of a home in the state is just $183,400, which is significantly lower than what it is in other coastal states around the country. Renters pay a median price of $1,345.

The sales tax rate in North Carolina is 4.75% across the state, although county and local taxes can add to it. Most pay between 6.75% to 7%, although there are a handful of counties where the rate is 7.5%.

2. North Carolina offers a relatively temperate climate to enjoy.
The average temperature in the state of North Carolina during the month of January is 50°F. Although a polar vortex can bring down this average in some years, the temperatures are typically quite mild, especially when you live in or around the Wilmington area. During the summer months, the average temperature in the state does not climb above 90°F. There are some areas that will go above that threshold in July (Charlotte and Wilmington), but you can use those days to escape to the beach or the mountains.

3. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in North Carolina.
You will find that living life outdoors is always a possibility when living in North Carolina. The hot summers and typically warmer winters make it possible to go exploring all year long without feeling uncomfortable. If the weather is too hot and sticky for your liking, then you can head into the Great Smoky Mountains to enjoy a weekend. Try seeing Lake Norman to cool down. You can always enjoy the coastal communities of the state as well. The U.S. National Whitewater Center is also located in the state.

4. The hospitality in North Carolina is almost always warm and welcoming.
Although you will always find the occasional grumpy person who treats you with suspicion no matter where you happen to live, North Carolina tends to be a state where the hospitality tends to welcome you with open arms. People typically have a smile on their face, and they want to get to know you a little better. If you are familiar with the stereotype of Southern hospitality, then there is an excellent chance that the inventor of the phrase was exploring this state. Most households are very eager to temporarily extend their family to include you.

5. Life tends to move a little slower in North Carolina.
You can always find some communities where everyone seems to be rushing around all of the time. The metropolitan areas of Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham are excellent examples of this. What you will also discover is that as soon as you make your way to the suburbs and smaller towns of the state, the Southern charm and a slower way of life begins to kick in with full force. There are numerous paths from which to choose if you are ready to shift out of the fast lane. From farming to lazy afternoons at the beach, you will find that there is at least one community in the state that has a personality which matches yours.

6. There are excellent food and beverage choices available in the state.
You will find some of the best restaurants in the United States located in the Raleigh area when you live in North Carolina. Nana’s is an excellent example of this advantage. Opening in 1992 before the city experienced a renaissance of sorts, they offer a monthly menu, tasting options, and specialty wines that are perfectly matched to each dish. There are also stately locations for dining to consider, such as the majestic Biltmore Estate in Ashville.

There are also over 170 breweries currently operating in North Carolina, giving you the opportunity to explore numerous craft flavors that you cannot find anywhere else in the country.

7. You can find pockets of excellent educational opportunities in North Carolina.
There are several excellent universities available in North Carolina that can help you to pursue a degree in almost anything that you love. Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Davidson, North Carolina State, Appalachian State University, Elon University, and several others all make it possible to secure a spot in a field that you love.

Although the knock on the educational system has always been the public K-12 opportunities that are available to families, there are a few schools in the state which always score consistently high for quality. Magellan Charter, which serves grades 3-8, offers an average standard score of 98.4, which is tops in the state. David Drive Elementary in Wake County and Rea View Elementary in Union County are both Top 10 schools in 2017 and 2018 as well.

8. The barbecue in North Carolina is some of the best in the world.
You can find North Carolinians arguing about plenty of things during the average day, but there is also one thing that everyone agrees upon in the state: good barbecue. Although some might have a passionate debate about the type of BBQ that is best, you will find that get-togethers with incredible sauces, smoked items, and all of the fixings is one of the best reasons to live in the state.

There are two primary types of barbecue that you can experience in the state: Eastern and Lexington. The former offers a pepper-based sauce which offers some vinegar to give the food a bite of a bite. Then the latter offers a combination that includes ketchup and a few other spices. It is rare that someone likes both, so give them a try and then join the debate!

9. Make sure that you order food “all the way” if given the option.
If you have ever been to a Five Guys burger franchise, then you know that the toppings for your burger are free. When you tell the attendant that you want your item “all the way,” then you get every ingredient. In North Carolina, hot dogs receive this treatment too. Make this order and you’ll receive coleslaw, mustard, onions, and chili. Even if it doesn’t sound good when reading this advantage, it is a delicious reason to start calling this state your home.

10. The people in North Carolina love their country.
North Carolina frequently ranks as one of the top 10 most-patriotic states in America. As Brenda Barron describes this advantage of Movoto, it is a place that is “more patriotic than a bald eagle in a Statue of Liberty Costume waving an American flag.” If you served in the military, then you will find that the levels of veterans funding here are significantly higher than you can find in other parts of the country.

11. There are some really fun roadside attractions to find in North Carolina.
Every state has some fantastically odd roadside attractions to find, and North Carolina is no exception to the rule. The best one just happens to be the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers, which you can find in High Point. This Victorian dresser is actually a building, located in the self-declared furniture capital of the world, and it was originally constructed in 1926. Two large socks dangle from one of the drawers.

Furnitureland South decided to take this concept a step further by creating a building attachment that is 80 feet tall that resembles a giant dresser as well. It doesn’t receive notoriety because it isn’t a freestanding structure, but still – you can find some items that offer major fun when living in the state.

12. Sunsets are spectacular in this state.
Although the sunrises over the ocean are better than average, it is the sunsets which receive all of the glory when you move to this state. Although the weather can turn away from being favorable at times, there are often glorious pinks, oranges, and purples to see every night from at least one window of your home. When you add in all of the other benefits which are possible when living in this state, it typically feels like the perfect ending to another wonderful day after deciding to make the move.

List of the Cons of Living in North Carolina

1. The crime rate in North Carolina is higher than average in the United States.
Oxford and Lumberton are usually higher than what you will see in communities of a similar size throughout the country. The latter was named the most dangerous city in which to live in North Carolina for 2018, while Oxford remains second. There were 393 violent crimes recorded in Lumberton in 2016 (the last year FBI data is available), which means there is a 1 in 55 chance of begin physically or sexually assaulted or killed. You also have a 1 in 14 overall risk of being the victim of a crime in Oxford.

These high rates push the state of North Carolina into the above average category when compared to the rest of the country for the crime rate.

2. You do not experience the same seasons in North Carolina.
If you are a person who loves to experience the differences that each of the four seasons bring to the world each year, then North Carolina is not the place where you will want to live. You will discover that the summers in this state are hot, even if you happen to live near the cost. Snow is rare in the state, even when you move toward the mountainous regions toward the west. If you like the idea of escaping the cold to live somewhere temperature, then you’ll love the weather. If not, then it will take some time to get used to it.

3. There is always the threat of a hurricane stopping by.
Although most people who live in North Carolina feel like the weather is enjoyable throughout most of the year, there is also the risk of hurricane damage to consider in this state. The risks are typically higher for households who live closer to the coast, but there are times when moisture surges can cause flooding for dozens of miles inland as the storm tracks through. The season runs from June 1 to November 30 each year, with the occasional outlier coming a little before or after in some years.

The records of the United States show that over 400 tropical or subtropical storms have impacted North Carolina over the years, causing over $11 billion in damage and causing almost 1,100 fatalities. Roughly 35% of the storms occur in September each year.

4. The educational system in North Carolina could use an improvement.
You will find prestigious university systems in North Carolina that offer some of the best educational opportunities in the world today. These benefits do not extend to the public educational system for K-12 students, unfortunately, as the state ranks just 32nd in the country for the safety and quality of which children receive. Metrics including ACT and SAT scores, student-teach ratio, graduation rates, and reading scores all went into the overall rating.

One of the reasons why their K-12 scores may be so low is the fact that North Carolina has the sixth-lowest per-student expenditure rate in the U.S. at just $9,217 per student.

5. Tax burdens in North Carolina are typically higher than in other states.
Although the overall tax rates in North Carolina are usually lower than what you will find in other states, there is a more significant financial burden placed on families through taxation as well. The personal income tax rate for the state is above 5%, whereas a state like Washington doesn’t have this issue at all. Property taxes in most counties are less than 1% of the value of the home, which is lower than the national average, but most people find that they typically pay a little more living here than at other destinations.

6. Residents of North Carolina rate their state poorly.
In Gallup polls that ask state residents about how they feel regarding where they live, people who call North Carolina home typically say that their state is not as good when compared to the others in the country. They also report having a lower wellbeing than residents in most other states in the U.S. each year. There are plenty of places where you can find some happiness when living here, but you might also discover some unique challenges that you may not have considered otherwise.

7. There are university factions that you must consider in the state.
The rivalry between Duke and the University of North Carolina is legit. People from one side do not like anyone from the other. There is no middle ground either. You will want to select the answer between dark blue or light blue very carefully when interacting with your neighbors. If you opt for an out-of-school state like Wisconsin or Washington, then both sides might treat you with a level of distrust. This disadvantage is a lot like how people treat politics today. You cannot root for both, and trying to find some middle ground is not allowed.

8. Basketball is life in North Carolina.
It is not unusual for teachers in North Carolina to roll a television into the classroom and skip the agenda for the day when the ACC Tournament begins each year. If Duke and North Carolina play each other here (or in the NCAA Tournament), then everything stops for the day. People will call off from work. Some parents don’t even send their kids to school. If you are not a fan of college basketball, then this passion will take some time to get used to seeing every year when February and March come around.

9. It is remarkably easy to get lost when traveling in North Carolina.
Do you have someone at home who cooks without using a recipe? Then that is similar to what locals use when offering directions to get to a destination. GPS is not always an option when living in the state because there are occasional gaps in cell coverage. When you ask someone how to get somewhere, they will use landmarks as their guide instead of telling you what streets to use. The only problem with this solution is that many of the guide posts are no longer there, so it can be challenging to find where you need to go after first moving to the state.

10. The city and state governments rarely get along.
You will find numerous points of contention arise each year between the local and state governments in North Carolina. Although the “Bathroom Bill” controversy is the issue which most people know about, there are usually 2-4 different stressors that occur each year – especially if you decide to live in one of the cities that tends to lean toward the left politically in a state which usually leans more to the right. Although this disadvantage is present in most states, the passion of the debate can be surprising if you are not used to it.

The pros and cons of living in North Carolina are something that you must evaluate personally. You will find some stunning communities along the coast, such as Wilmington and Jacksonville, that can give you fast access to the beach, a temperate climate, and the chance to make some new friends. There are significant urban areas, such as Winston-Salem and Charlottesville, while there are plenty of small towns to find too. If you are ready to make a change, then this state might be the solution that you want.

North Carolina Median Income Statistics

North Carolina Unemployment Statistics

Blog Post Author Credentials
Louise Gaille is the author of this post. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Louise has almost a decade of experience in Banking and Finance. If you have any suggestions on how to make this post better, then go here to contact our team.