10 Pros and Cons of Living in North Carolina

Living in North Carolina, you’ll find beautiful scenery, a friendly community, and a booming economy. From the bustling city life of Charlotte to the laid-back vibe of Wilmington, North Carolina has something for everyone. Are you considering buying a home in Greensboro or renting an apartment in Raleigh? Here are 10 pros and cons of living in North Carolina to consider if this state is a good place to live.

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Charlotte skyline North Carolina

Quick Facts about North Carolina

Population 10,439,388
Median home sale price $384,500
Average rent in North Carolina $1,438
Largest cities in North Carolina Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro

Pros of living in North Carolina

Living in North Carolina presents numerous advantages, including a diverse range of scenic landscapes from the mountains to the coast. The state offers a relatively affordable cost of living compared to national averages, making North Carolina a good place to live. Read on for what North Carolina has to offer.

1. The state offers various outdoor activities

Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, or camping, North Carolina has plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy. The state is home to the Great Smoky Mountains, which offer some of the best hiking trails in the country. It has over 300 miles of ocean shoreline, providing ample fishing, swimming, and surfing opportunities.

Champion Hills, a local private community located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains shares, “The area is home to some of the best hiking, mountain biking, ziplining, kayaking and so much more. It’s a veritable outdoor paradise, and of course, as a golf community, we recommend playing golf.”

2. The cost of living is affordable

North Carolina offers an affordable cost of living compared to many other states, making it an attractive choice for residents. For instance, the median home sale price in the state is $384,500, which is lower than the national median of $439,716. This affordability extends across various regions, from the research triangle of Raleigh-Durham to the charming coastal towns like Edenton, providing diverse housing options for prospective homeowners. If you’re deciding which city to call home, using tools like a cost of living calculator will help you make an informed decision and help you budget your expenses. 

North Carolina also has a relatively low sales tax of 4.75% compared to other states like Rhode Island which has a sales tax of 7%. This makes North Carolina an ideal place to live for those on a budget – and there plenty of affordable places to live in North Carolina.

North Carolina grey house

3. North Carolina has abundant history and culture

As one of the thirteen original colonies, North Carolina has a rich history and culture. The settlers who arrived in North Carolina in the 1600s were diverse. They included the English, Scots-Irish, German, and Swiss. This diversity is still evident in the state’s food, music, and art.

Historical landmarks and sites can be found all over North Carolina. This includes the Biltmore Estate, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the Wright Brothers National Memorial, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. North Carolina played a key role in the Civil War, and numerous battlefields and museums across the state preserve this aspect of American history.

4. The climate is mild

North Carolina has a temperate climate, with average temperatures ranging from 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter to 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. The state experiences four seasons, but the winters are relatively short and mild. Snow is not common, but it occasionally forms in the mountains. This makes North Carolina an ideal place to live if you prefer less extreme weather fluctuations. 

5. Home to some of the best barbecue you’ll find in the U.S.

If you relocate to North Carolina, you’ll soon find that North Carolinians love their barbecue and are very proud of it. As some of the best barbecue you’ll find throughout the U.S., you’ll be familiar with their two styles of barbeque – Eastern and Western. Eastern-style BBQ uses a vinegar and pepper based sauce spread onto the whole pig while Western-style BBQ incorporates a tomato-based sauce over pulled pork shoulder. If your mouth isn’t watering yet, North Carolina has its own slaw for each style of barbecue. 

Greensboro North Carolina

Cons of living in North Carolina

However, living in North Carolina does have its drawbacks, such as occasional hurricanes and tropical storms affecting coastal areas. The climate risks in the state may not suit everyone’s preferences. Below are a few more cons to learn.

1. There is limited public transportation

Public transportation in North Carolina is not as developed as in other states. The state has a few bus systems that are not extensive and do not cover all areas. This can make it challenging to get around, especially if you do not own a car. This is true even if you live in one of the state’s largest cities. For example, Raleigh has a Walk Score of 31 and a Transit Score of 29.

2. The state is prone to natural disasters

North Carolina is located in a hurricane zone, and the state experiences an average of one hurricane every three years. The state is also susceptible to tornadoes, flooding, and severe storms. When natural disasters occur, they disrupt transportation, power, and other services.

Properties in coastal areas may have high climate risk and be vulnerable to damage from hurricanes and flooding. Repairs are costly, so keep this in mind if you are thinking of purchasing a home in North Carolina. It is important to have adequate insurance coverage to protect your investment, as well as to have natural disaster safety protocols in place.

3. Traffic in larger cities can be a burden 

The traffic in North Carolina is challenging in urban areas such as Charlotte and Raleigh. The state’s population is growing, and the roads can become congested. If you live in or near a major city, be prepared for traffic delays and plan your routes accordingly. Allow extra time for your commute, and consider alternatives like carpooling or working from home when possible.

Traffic in North Carolina

4. The roads and infrastructure are in poor condition

On top of the traffic problem, the roads and infrastructure quality in most North Carolina areas are poor. The state ranks among the worst in the country for the condition of its roads. Potholes are common, and many roads need repair. While some areas like the Research Triangle have well-maintained roads, others like Charlotte need improvement. Be aware of the condition of the roads in your area, and drive carefully to avoid accidents and damage to your vehicle. 

5. The weather is unpredictable

While the climate in North Carolina is generally mild, the weather can be unpredictable. From a chilly morning to a hot afternoon to scattered thunderstorms, it’s hard to truly predict a typical day in North Carolina. Be prepared for the changing weather and pack your wardrobe with appropriate clothing for different seasons.


Methodology: The population data is from the United States Census Bureau and the median home sale price and average rent is from the Redfin Data Center.

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