Moving to North Carolina is a great choice for anybody. This beautiful state offers beach and mountainside living as well as vibrant urban areas and plenty of charming, safe neighborhoods.
But as with any move, you don’t know what to expect until you’re finally there. This alone can stir up plenty of worry and anxiety — and along with planning and packing, moving is one of the most stressful events you can go through.
Whether you’re in the beginning stages of planning your move or still considering it, you can move with peace of mind if you have the right information.
Doing research when moving to North Carolina is essential. To get you started, we’ve put together this moving guide — it contains important information like climate, taxes, cost of living, education, and healthcare. Read on to learn the ins and outs of moving to North Carolina before you make any commitments.
North Carolina Climate
North Carolina is a favorite for both tourists and residents as it has a warm, subtropical climate year-round. This is because the Appalachian Mountains shield North Carolina from the low temperatures that move in from the Midwest.
The winters are mild, with snow only occurring on the mountains at about four inches per year, and the summers are long and hot. While the weather in the summer can become uncomfortably humid, there are also 213 sunny days per year to enjoy!
If you’re moving to North Carolina, be sure to pack your umbrella and a good raincoat. The state gets plenty of rainfall, with an average of about 50 inches of precipitation every year. Compared to the national average of 38 inches per year, North Carolina sees more rain than other parts of the country.
North Carolina is about 54 thousand square miles wide, which is large enough to fit neighboring West Virginia inside its border more than two times. Therefore, its average temperatures vary depending on the part of the state you’re in.
- Asheville (Western North Carolina): 26°F to 83°F
- Henderson (Mountain Range in Western North Carolina): 27°F to 81°F
- Charlotte (Central North Carolina): 32°F to 90°F
- Raleigh (Eastern North Carolina): 30°F to 89°F
- Wilmington (Southeastern North Carolina): 36°F to 90°F
North Carolina Taxes
North Carolina ranks #22 in the nation when considering its real-estate, vehicle property, income, and sales and excise taxes.
Overall, it’s a relatively tax-friendly state with a 5.25% personal income tax rate, a 5.75% sales tax rate, and a low property tax of 0.77%. Additionally, because of its zero tax on Social Security and no state estate tax, it’s an attractive state for retirees.
- Average real estate tax: $1,833, ranked at #21
- Effective vehicle property tax rate: 0.48%, ranked at #32
- Effective income tax rate: 2.87%
- Average income tax paid: $1,817, ranked at #36
- Effective sales and excise tax rate: 4.36%
- Average sales tax paid: $2,757, ranked at #27
- Effective total tax rate: 10.61%
North Carolina also has low corporate taxes, which is why it’s an excellent state for businesses. It has one of the top 10 most competitive business tax climates.
North Carolina Economy and Cost of Living
Over the past century, North Carolina has become a leader in agriculture, finance, and manufacturing — but today, five primary industries fuel the bulk of North Carolina’s economy:
- Aerospace & Defense
- Automotive, Truck & Heavy Machinery
- Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals
- Business & Financial Services
Because of these booming industries, North Carolina’s job opportunities are constantly growing. The state has a 4.3% unemployment rate, which is below the national average of 4.8%.
Its employment rate remains promising: Following the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Carolina’s demand for labor grew by 42%.
North Carolina’s cost of living is lower than the national average. A two-bedroom rental costs $974 in North Carolina. The U.S. average of $1,278.
The median house price is $267,112, which is less expensive than the national average of $269,039. All in all, North Carolina has a fairly affordable housing market for being such a popular inbound state.
The average salary in North Carolina is $53,703, which is lower than the national average of $66,665. This may seem like bad news, but North Carolina’s affordability rate hardly exceeds 24% for most people.
North Carolina Healthcare
When you look at North Carolina compared to the rest of the country, the Tar Heel State could improve its healthcare landscape. It was rated as one of the most expensive states for healthcare, ranking #47 out of #50. Broken down, North Carolina is sitting at rankings of #49 for cost, #43 for access, and #35 for health outcomes.
Another survey found North Carolina ranking 45th for average monthly premium costs and 42nd in hospital beds per capita.
The average cost of healthcare per month is $482 per person, which is $13 lower than the national average of $495. Under the Affordable Care Act, North Carolinians are required to have healthcare. However, around 13% of residents are uninsured, much higher than the national average of 10.4%.
Most residents are covered by their employer, whereas 15% are on Medicare, and the rest are dispersed between Medicaid, nongroup insurance, and military insurance.
North Carolina Education
North Carolina could put more effort into improving its education system since it is ranked #33 out of #50.
There are a few theories as to why North Carolina’s education system is below average: Its per-pupil spending has declined 6% over the past ten years and sits at $11,193, whereas the national average for pupil spending is $15,114.
The state could also improve school funding. It has been given grades of “F,” “C,” and “F” for funding levels, funding distribution, and funding effort.
“It would just do a little bit more to invest in the education system by raising revenue for schools, it would improve,” says Danielle Farrie, Education Law Center research director. “[It would] lead to such drastic improvements, or the opportunities for the students.”
Despite its primary and secondary school rankings, North Carolina has a renowned university and college system. Some of the best-ranked schools in North Carolina are:
- Duke University
- University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
- North Carolina State University
- Davidson College
- Western Carolina University
- University of North Carolina Wilmington
- Catawba College
- Elon University
- Appalachian State University
- Queens University of Charlotte
- East Carolina University
North Carolina very proudly wears its “First in Flight” motto on its license plates. It was in Kitty Hawk—a beach town on the Outer Banks— where the Wright brothers had their first flight.
After four years of trials, on December 17, 1903, aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully flew the first powered, sustained, and controlled airplane. Two years later, the Wright brothers flew the first efficient airplane on the beaches of the Outer Banks.
Today, you can visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial in person to learn more about their invention, which inspired the way airplanes operate today.
Aside from its alluring beach towns, North Carolina offers tons of access to camping in the mountains. The subranges of the Appalachian Mountains—the Blue Ridge and the Great Smoky Mountains—are particularly stunning. They’re renowned for their hiking trails and breathtaking scenery.
There are numerous camping, trail riding, and fishing sites throughout the Blue Ridge and the Great Smoky Mountains. Some popular spots are Cascade Falls, Flat Rock, Chestoa View Overlook, The Blue Ridge Parkway, Maggie Valley, Oconaluftee Center & Mountain Farm Museum, and the Harrah’s Casino.
Best Places to Consider When Moving to North Carolina
If moving to North Carolina is on your horizon, then you should put these top-rated locations on your list. Using state-to-state transportation, you can move to any of North Carolina’s best places to live:
As North Carolina’s capital and second-largest city, Raleigh sits just off-center of the state with a booming population of nearly 465,000 residents. This bustling city has an urban-suburban mix and is a highly rated place for families and professionals to live — and was recently ranked as the best place to live in the country!
And there’s no question as to why: The cost of living, education, and the thriving job market are appealing to all walks of life.
Asheville was rated #27 on the Top 100 Places to Live in 2019. Located in the far western corner near the Tennessee border, Asheville is a quaint city of 92,000. It’s ideal for growing families and young professionals.
Asheville is also home to some of the liveliest nightlife and beautiful scenic views. You get access to the Blue Ridge Mountains, which offer plenty of camping and hiking. You can also explore downtown for entertainment and fantastic dining. Asheville is one of North Carolina’s most affordable cities, but it still has plenty to do.
Durham is part of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, along with Chapel Hill and Raleigh. As more people relocate to the area for all the tech jobs and Southern charm, Durham will keep growing. Right now, there are about 270,000 residents.
Durham is nicknamed “The City of Medicine” and “Bull City” and is known for being home to Duke University, one of the nation’s highest-ranking universities for college basketball. But whether you’re a sports fan or enjoy entertainment and culture, Durham has something for just about everybody.
Known as “The Queen City,” Charlotte is North Carolina’s most populous city, with nearly 860,000 residents. It’s located near the border with South Carolina and is about a three-hour drive from both the mountains and the beach.
Although rent prices and home costs are a little higher than surrounding towns, this bustling city has everything you could want from your neighborhood. Charlotte and its metropolitan area have clubs, bars, entertainment, art, and more than 40 colleges and universities.
Winston-Salem sits just outside of Greensboro, with a population of around 245,000 people. This large city is home to a mixture of college students, professionals, and families who enjoy the undeniably inexpensive rent and affordable housing market.
Winston-Salem has excellent value for those looking to relocate and buy. Plus, there’s always something to do, from checking out the local craft breweries to exploring the art museums — or the Black Mountain Chocolate Factory when you’re in the mood for something sweet!
North Carolina is a perfect blend of mountain, city, and beach living, but a move here won’t break the bank. It combines city living with southern hospitality and small-town charm — a blend you can’t find just anywhere!
So if you’re ready to move to North Carolina, you’re in for a treat. But no matter how exciting the prospect of relocating to the Tar Heel State is, moving to North Carolina — or anywhere — is no easy task. To make things a little simpler, you can plan ahead by setting up car transport to North Carolina for your vehicle.
This is where Guardian Auto Transport comes in: With years of experience, we know the kind of quality service you expect when it comes to shipping your car.
Our carriers can safely transport your vehicle from anywhere in the U.S. to anywhere in North Carolina so you can focus on your move. Get your free instant quote now.
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