What's it like to live in Raleigh & Durham, NC?

Profile written by local expert:

Chika Gujarathi

Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill are known for their research/technology roots and collegiate rivalries. This tri-city region (known as the Triangle) is luring new residents every day with strong job growth and a high quality of life. 

Many people who call the Raleigh and Durham metro areas home are young, friendly, diverse and educated. They enjoy dining out in local restaurants – many of which have earned national accolades – and gathering over craft beers in one of the region's many microbreweries. A strong sense of community is evident, as strangers are quick to provide a friendly conversation when standing in line at the supermarket.

Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill also encompass beautiful green spaces, family-friendly museums and a growing art and music scene defined by monthly gallery walks, summer concerts and music festivals like Hopscotch. 

See all the best places to live in North Carolina.


U.S. News analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Raleigh & Durham, North Carolina is ranked:

#11 in Best Places to Live

#28 in Best Places to Retire

#2 in Best Places to Live in North Carolina

#24 in Fastest-Growing Places




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Raleigh & Durham, NC Quick Stats

  • 1,861,123

    Metro Population

  • $54,789

    Average Annual Salary

  • 71.6° / 49.9°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 36.7

    Median Age

  • $259,429

    Median Home Price

  • 43.3 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 3.4%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $1,047

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 25.6 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in Raleigh & Durham, NC?

Living in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill means having access to cultural facilities like the Durham Performing Arts Center, the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Contemporary Arts Museum and the North Carolina Symphony.

Meanwhile, cafes and bars around the area's university campuses are enjoyed by students and residents alike. More than 20 craft breweries have made the region their home, further improving a growing food scene. Also, the area has the most live music venues in North Carolina. 

This family-friendly area also has a children's museum, 200-plus parks and a 152-mile greenway system for safe biking and hiking. Raleigh and Durham is a great place for sports fans, with college athletics and professional hockey, soccer and baseball teams.

Find out more about what there is to see and do in Raleigh & Durham, NC.

What's the cost of living in Raleigh & Durham, NC?

The cost of living in the Raleigh and Durham areas is slightly lower than the national average, with home prices climbing significantly over the past few years. Housing costs will continue to rise as more people flock to the area in search of a career. However, relatively low property taxes make home ownership easier than in other major cities. Compared to other technology and research hubs like San Francisco, the North Carolina Research Triangle is relatively affordable. 

Looking for financial advice? Find a local financial advisor in Sanford, North Carolina, or Raleigh, North Carolina, or Oxford, North Carolina, or Hendersonville, North Carolina, or Durham, North Carolina, or Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Value Index

Index Score: 7.6 /10

How we calculate this.

Raleigh & Durham offer a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2019

Raleigh & Durham


Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Raleigh, NC and Durham, NC.

What's the weather like in Raleigh & Durham, NC?

Summers here are hot and humid. Meanwhile, winter rarely calls for snow, but icy road conditions are known to happen (though salting roads is not the norm). Businesses and schools tend to shut early for winter weather advisories. 

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)









Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

3.5 in


4.1 in


4.7 in


4.4 in


Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Raleigh & Durham, NC?

The R-LINE and Bull City Connector buses provide free transportation in downtown Raleigh and Durham, respectively. The city centers are also walkable, though outside the downtown areas, walking is not very common as points of interest are more spread out. Public bus systems in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill provide an affordable (albeit somewhat slow) way to get around the cities and the surrounding suburbs. A commuter rail system connecting Raleigh and Durham and a light rail line between Durham and Chapel Hill are part of the area's urban expansion. However, for now, cars remain the quickest and most popular mode of transportation in and around the cities.

Traffic congestion is an issue during weekday rush hours, when getting between Raleigh and Durham can take well over an hour. Biking as a commuting option is slowly gaining strength as the local government invests millions of dollars in improving biking awareness and infrastructure within and between the two cities.

Commuting in Raleigh & Durham, NC

Means of Transportation
Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

25.6 minutes

1.0 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Raleigh & Durham, NC?

The population in Raleigh and Durham is diverse, and the cities' international communities grow every day. Although the median age in Raleigh and Durham is roughly 36 years old, the area has a youthful vibe that's amplified by the presence of several universities.

The availability of good jobs and good schools makes the region a desirable place to raise a family. People under the age of 20 make up more than a quarter the area's population.

The majority of those in the metro area who identify as religious affiliate with the Protestant faith.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

About the same number of single people in Raleigh & Durham as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.