Best Places To Raise A Family In North Carolina For 2020

We used science and data to determine which cities in North Carolina have the best set up for children: a lot to do, good schools, and no crime.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best cities for families in North Carolina.

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Childhood. This time in people's lives is most often referred to as the most magical time of life.

Remember stopping by Krispy Kreme on the way home from middle school to get freshly made donuts filled with Cheerwine-flavored jelly? Or maybe you spent your long, hot summer nights chasing fireflies as the heat lightning chased across the sky. Perhaps you spent time studying with an order of Chick-fil-A waffle fries next to your textbooks. Or maybe you set up an Eno under the piers scattered along the beaches. Or, like me, your favorite summer activity was driving up to Boone in the summer for a weekened in the mountains.

If this preamble didn't bring up fond memories, you may not be from North Carolina, a state that can make childhood truly magical. Why else is North Carolina a great state for families? North Carolina is an affordable state with lots of job prospects and amazing colleges. Vacations are diverse, cheap, and close by. You can live out in the country in North Carolina and live within 15 minutes of a city. You can have houses with a lot of land or live in downtown apartments. You can send your kids to public school, private school, charter school, or even join the NC masses in homeschooling.

No matter where you pick, North Carolina is a great choice for raising your kids. But which cities are the best of the best for the family?

We looked at 46 cities in terms of "family-friendliness," i.e. crime levels, schools, etc. What's the best place for families in North Carolina? Wwe had a clear winner: Concord, North Carolina.

If you are from North Carolina, you probably would have guessed Concord in an instant. It is one of the safest cities in America and is like one large, happy suburb packed with other happy families. The schools are great, the jobs are excellent, and the neighborhoods are safe. What more could you ask for?

If you are looking for the small-town vibe, Davidson, NC, ranks well on our list, followed by Concord, NC. These towns are close to Charlotte so you can have a night on the town without driving a few hours.

Interested in seeing how your favorite North Carolina city ranked? Read on to learn more about our methodology and to see why each of our top cities are the best for families for 2020.

Check out some more reading about North Carolina and the best places for families in the country:

The 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In North Carolina For 2020

Concord, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 89,729
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 61
Closest Major City: Charlotte
Households with kids: 38.6%
More on Concord: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Concord is a city in Cabarrus County, in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 79,066, with an estimated population in 2016 of over, 89,891. It is the county seat and the largest city in Cabarrus County. In terms of population, the city of Concord is the second-largest city in the Charlotte Metropolitan Area and is the eleventh largest city in North Carolina.

Wake Forest, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 40,159
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 61
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 48.5%
More on Wake Forest: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Wake Forest is a town in Franklin and Wake counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina; located almost entirely in Wake County, it lies just north of the state capital, Raleigh. The population was 30,117 at the 2010 census, up from 12,588 at the 2000 census. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the city's population to be 34,752 as of July 1, 2013. In 2007, the town was listed by Forbes magazine as the 20th fastest growing suburb in America, with a 73.2 percent increase in population between 2000 and 2006. Wake Forest was the original home of Wake Forest University for 122 years before it moved to Winston-Salem in 1956.

Davidson, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,666
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 39
Closest Major City: Charlotte
Households with kids: 37.2%
More on Davidson: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Davidson is a lakeside town on Lake Norman in northern Mecklenburg County in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The population was 10,944 at the 2010 census. It is home to Davidson College. The town is centered on the college from which it takes its name.

Review Of Davidson by HomeSnacks User

ive. Does have some problems, but at least it has not run all its middle class and minority people away like Davidson. Lived in Davidson from 1980 to 2015. Loved it! Well, loved it most of the time. Was a great small town for most of that time, but in the last 10 years or so, my ability to live there was not financially viable.

Couldn't retire there.

When I moved to Davidson, I might see a dozen cars between Exit 30 and Sunset Road. I am happy that Davidson is moving in the direction their citizens embrace. Change is always happening. And I am sure my friends, long time residents and new arrivals are thrilled to be there.

Cary, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 163,266
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 36
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 39.3%
More on Cary: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Cary is the seventh-largest municipality in North Carolina. Cary is predominantly in Wake, with a small area in Chatham counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina and is the county's second-largest municipality and the third-largest municipality in The Triangle after Raleigh and Durham. The town's population was 135,234 as of the 2010 census, making it the largest town and seventh-largest municipality statewide. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the town's population to be 159,769 as of July 1, 2015. Cary is the second most populous incorporated town in the United States.

Review Of Cary by HomeSnacks User

Teacher's in cary are very kind and helpful, and can give you the best education you can get. So far as a child I've lived in cary all my life and I want it to stay like that, you can also get very kind, respectful and caring Neighbors.

My favorite places are either restraints because I love.. food or trampoline parks because they are very fun and enjoyable for about anyone. There isn't really anything to watch out for because Cary, NC is the most safest city in America.

Holly Springs, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 33,341
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 37
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 56.0%
More on Holly Springs: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Holly Springs is a town in Wake County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 24,661, over 2 times its population in 2000.

Smithfield, NC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,117
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 70
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 29.7%
More on Smithfield: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Apex, NC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 48,254
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 40
Closest Major City: Raleigh
Households with kids: 48.5%
More on Apex: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Apex is a town in Wake County, North Carolina and a suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the town's population to be 43,907 as of July 1, 2014.

Huntersville, NC

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 54,572
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 31
Closest Major City: Charlotte
Households with kids: 41.8%
More on Huntersville: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Mooresville, NC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 37,165
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 43
Closest Major City: Charlotte
Households with kids: 40.5%
More on Mooresville: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Mooresville is a town in southern Iredell County, North Carolina, USA. It is in the Metrolina metro area, and is on Lake Norman. The population was 32,711 at the 2010 United States Census, making it the largest town in Iredell County. It is located approximately 25 miles north of Charlotte.

High Point, NC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 111,035
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 55
Closest Major City: Greensboro
Households with kids: 35.6%
More on High Point: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

High Point is a city located in the Piedmont Triad region of the State of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census the city had a total population of 104,371, with an estimated population of 108,629 in 2014. High Point is currently the ninth-largest municipality in North Carolina.

How do you determine which place is best for families in North Carolina anyways?

To give you the places in North Carolina which are best for families, we have to look at a handful of metrics. Of course, we want to measure the type of people who live in each city, and make some assumptions about what's family-friendly and what isn't.

So we researched the internet for a database that contains all that information.

How we crunched the family friendly numbers for the Tar Heel State

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using U.S. Census data produced for the state of North Carolina, we looked at every single city in the state. We paid particular attention to:

  • Crime (Both violent and property)
  • Quality of local schools
  • Distance to a major city without necessarily being in it
  • % of households with children
  • Family-friendly amenities nearby (museums, libraries and colleges)

We then gave each city a Family Score.

The higher the score, the better the city is for families. We also limited our results to cities with populations over 10,000 people. For North Carolina, that meant a total of 46 cities. You can download the data here.

There You Have It - The Best Places To Raise A Family In North Carolina

If you're looking for a breakdown of cities in North Carolina ranked by criteria that most would agree make a place a great spot for families, this is an accurate list.

Here's a look at the best cities for singles North Carolina according to the data:

  1. Reidsville
  2. Leland
  3. Kernersville

For more north carolina reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places For Families In North Carolina?

Rank City Population Amenities Score
1 Concord, NC 89,729 50
2 Wake Forest, NC 40,159 49
3 Davidson, NC 12,666 44
4 Cary, NC 163,266 41
5 Holly Springs, NC 33,341 33
6 Smithfield, NC 12,117 52
7 Apex, NC 48,254 56
8 Huntersville, NC 54,572 47
9 Mooresville, NC 37,165 50
10 High Point, NC 111,035 40

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

2 thoughts on “Best Places To Raise A Family In North Carolina For 2020

  1. I live in Concord. I think a lot if crime is not reported of the worse places for crime is Concord Mills. It is a scary place after dark. Schools may be good but traffic is getting horrendous and should be considered in favorability of cities. There is a lot of drug dealing that goes on that is being overlooked. There is also alot of homelessness and a tent city of homeless people.

  2. Oh no, Smithfield is terrible.
    Hospital is awful, I feel completely unsafe walking in the downtown area, definitely the last place I would live again. Only highlights of Smithfield are the Outlet mall and plenty of places to eat…

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