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These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In The Triangle

These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In The Triangle

Author: Admin

North Carolina’s Triangle region conjures up images of technology and startups, tons of safe neighborhoods, and amazing colleges and health care. The region consistently ranks as one of the best places to live across the country thanks in part to a strong economy and tons of entertainment

There seems to be a little mini competition among cities within the greater Triangle. Which city is the best? Perhaps it’s a pride thing, or due to the fact that many cities in this area rank nationally on a lot of leading publications for being among the best places to live in the nation, not just here in the Tar Heel State.

So the question arises, which Triangle cities are the best of the best? We’re finally ready to settle this debate once and for all.

We examined the 23 of the largest cities that are considered towns in the Triangle, and these are the 10 best cities you can live here:

  1. Cary
  2. Chapel Hill
  3. Apex
  4. Holly Springs
  5. Morrisville
  6. Wake Forest
  7. Carrboro
  8. Durham
  9. Fuquay-Varina
  10. Raleigh

Read on to see how we determined the places in the Triangle that deserve a little bragging rights. And remember, don't blame the messenger.

How we determined the best Triangle cities to call home

To figure out how good a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the highest amount of those things. We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, this is the criteria we used:

  • Most jobs
  • Highest incomes
  • High population density (Lots of things to do)
  • High home values
  • Lower crime
  • Low cost of living

We crunched the numbers from the Census's 2009-2014 American Community Survey and -- like magic -- got the list from best to worst. Then, we ranked the list based on places that are the best in all of these categories.

Read on below to learn more about these places around the Triangle to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 23 cities ranked best to worst.

Note: Crime index numbers are based on an average of 100, so anything higher than 100 is worse. Cost of living numbers are also based on a scale of 100.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

1. Cary

best triangle
Source: Wikipedia

Population: 636,645
Crime Index: 2nd safest
Median Income:$91,349

Well it’s officially settled then. According to science and data, Cary is the best place you can live in the Triangle. Apex, which is usually mentioned in the same breath as Cary, is the third-best place to live in the area.

Both are exceptional.

Cary is the second safest place in the Triangle, where you have a 1 in 90 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime every year. To put that into perspective, in Rocky Mount, the most dangerous city in the Triangle, you have a 1 in 20 chance of being a victim every year.

The residents in Cary are the wealthiest, and 2nd most employed in the area, too. The only knock on Cary is the schools are somewhat more crowded than they are in other cities in the region. But that might be a matter of the schools catching up to the population explosion here.

Cary has seen a 37% increase in its population over the last 10 years. And many, like the stereotypes indicate, are from the northeast.

2. Chapel Hill

best triangle
Source: Wikipedia

Population: 57,088
Schools:Best
Unemployment rate 3.7%

It’s common knowledge that Chapel Hill public schools are great. But they’re the most funded, and Chapel Hill kids get the most personal attention of all kids in the Triangle.

Chapel Hill is the most expensive place in the Triangle, but there are far more amenities than there are in either Cary or Apex. Plus, only 3.7% of Chapel Hill residents are out of work, which is the 2nd lowest rate in the region.

3. Apex

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image source: Wikipedia


Population: 37,598
Crime Index: 3rd safest
Median Income: $89,398

Apex, the smaller of the two Raleigh suburb powerhouses, ranks as the 3rd best place to live in the Triangle, when you factor in the unbiased data.

Crime is also far lower in Apex than in most other places in the region. (Chapel Hill is actually a bit above average, crime wise). Apex residents can sleep well at night knowing they’re safe, and they have great, high-paying jobs.

The population in Apex has almost doubled in the last 10 years, and Apex is growing twice as fast as Cary is. Plus, there are lots of happy people here, as two-thirds of the population is married.

4. Holly Springs

best triangle

image source: Wikipedia


Population: 25,000
Crime Index: Safest
Median Income: $89,187

You won’t find a safer place to raise your kids in the region than in the tiny Town of Holly Springs, where you have a 1 in 111 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime for every year you spend living here.

No wonder the population is exploding here. Actually, Holly Springs has more than doubled in size since 2006, making it one of the fastest-growing places in the Triangle, and the cost of living hasn’t caught up yet, meaning there are a ton of affordable homes in the area.

5. Morrisville

best triangle

image source: Flickr Dan DeLuca


Population: 18,959
Crime Index: 3rd safest
Median Income: $78,949

If you haven’t been to the Town of Morrisville, know this - this place is just about as cute and safe a place as you’ll see in the Triangle. There are less ‘things to do’ in Morrisville proper, but it’s centrally located, meaning you’d have a short drive to get to whatever it is you want to do.

Word must be out, because the population in Morrisville has gone up an astounding 232% in just the last 10 years, making it the fastest-growing place in the Triangle.

6. Wake Forest

best triangle

image source: Wikipedia


Population: 30,000
Crime Index: 8th safest
Unemployment rate: Lowest

Just about everyone who wants a job in the Town of Wake Forest has one. At 3.2%, the unemployment rate in this north Raleigh suburb is the lowest in the region. Does that alone make it a great place to live? Not exactly.

The cost of living can make it out of reach for some Triangle residents, but if you can afford to live here, your home will continue to rise in value. Wake Forest also has a reputation for being a quieter place to live, and you get to know the people who run area bakeries, stores and coffee shops.

7. Carrboro

best triangle

image source: Wikipedia


Population: 280,000
Schools: 2nd best
Unemployment rate: 4%

Being so close to Chapel Hill means you get the trickle down effect of a great school system. Carrboro kids get to attend some of the best schools in the Triangle.

It can be expensive to live here, and Carrboro is a solid mix of business professionals, university professors and hipsters, making it the most culturally diverse places in the region outside of Raleigh.

8. Durham

best triangle

image source: Wikipedia


Population: 229,663
Schools: 7th best

You might be surprised to hear it, but Durham is really making a comeback. If you live there, you've noticed for sure. Crime is down, lots of businesses have opened up shop, and there's a young, hip, excited vibe around town.

What else makes Durham one of the better places to live in the Triangle? It has better than average schools, and most residents have good jobs.

Outside of Raleigh, there's simply no other place in the Triangle to go for fun, whether it's on a Friday night or a Sunday afternoon.

9. Fuquay-Varina

best triangle

image source: Wikipedia


Population: 18,154
Crime Index: 8th safest
Median Income:$59,345

Internet forums are filled with people raving about how much they love living in Fuquay-Varina, a small town with a funny name on the southern fringes of Raleigh’s sprawl.

Here, the crime is below average, there are a lot of parks, and most residents have decent jobs. Many make the drive into Raleigh or the Research Triangle for work.

10. Raleigh

best triangle

image source: Wikipedia


Population: 405,444
Crime Index: Average
Median Income: $53,699

Triangle cities to call home is Raleigh.

Of course, there is far more to do to keep you entertained in Raleigh than anywhere else in the Triangle region. It’s growing in all aspects - everything from commercial and real estate to technology. And the cost of living makes it affordable for most families.

You’d be hard pressed to find a better ‘big’ city to live in America, actually. That says volumes about how great the cities are that are listed above, and about the quality of life in general for those of us who are lucky enough to live in the center of the Tar Heel State.

The areas around the Triangle where dreams are made

Well there you have it -- the best of the 'burbs surrounding North Carolina’s Triangle region, with Cary carrying itself to the head of the pack.

For the chart below, these are ranked from best to worst.

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In The Triangle

City Population Crime Index Home Prices Rank
Cary 136,627 58.4 $271,700 1
Chapel Hill 57,088 88.6 $311,300 2
Apex 37,589 74.9 $245,000 3
Holly Springs 24,663 49.4 $212,500 4
Morrisville 18,566 71.7 $228,900 5
Wake Forest 29,889 78.5 $237,800 6
Carrboro 19,702 103.1 $216,600 7
Durham 229,663 128.8 $148,300 8
Fuquay-Varina 18,143 81.8 $170,700 9
Raleigh 405,007 105.6 $179,400 10
Hillsborough 6,114 134.3 $200,300 11
Knightdale 11,567 93.4 $139,900 12
Clayton 16,078 78.5 $157,900 13
Garner 25,784 91.9 $151,200 14
Mebane 11,502 116.6 $148,900 15
Durham 229,963 128.8 $148,300 16
Wendell 5,892 75.3 $128,300 17
Siler City 7,967 113.7 $132,900 18
Sanford 28,081 142.7 $114,100 19
Butner 7,566 102.3 $98,400 20
Smithfield 11,118 134.9 $111,500 21
Dunn 9,310 139.6 $92,800 22
Rocky Mount 57,523 155.4 $70,500 23
Selma 6,125 139 $70,600 23

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