The 10 Best Durham Suburbs To Live In For 2024

The best Durham suburbs are Cary and Apex for 2024 based on Saturday Night Science.

While big cities like Durham offer culture, cuisine, and charisma, they also deliver terrible traffic, towering expenses, and a taxing quality of life.

With that in mind, we wanted to uncover the best suburbs around Durham. These burbs have all of the benefits of being near Durham without actually having to be in the city.

Of course, not all suburbs of Durham are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. Using Saturday Night Science, we delve into the factors that matter most, from commutes and housing costs to community vibes, to help you uncover the perfect suburban spots in the Greater Durham area.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

What’s the best suburb of Durham? Cary ranks as the best suburb of Durham for 2024 based on the most recent Census and FBI data. If you happen to be a resident of Cary, you’re probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We’ll tell you what makes each of these 10 Durham ‘burbs better than the rest–but first, a bit about our methodology.

Feel free to check out some more reading about North Carolina:

The 10 Best Durham Suburbs To Live For 2024

Cary, NC

Source: Flickr User James Willamor | CC BY-SA 2.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 174,880
Median Income: $125,317
Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
Poverty Rate: 5.2%
More on Cary: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Cary is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Durham area. We’ll tell you the good about “Awesome Cary.”

Everyone here is rich; families average $125,317 a year, which is the 4th highest in the Durham region. And only 3.36% are out of work. Homes average more than $600,101 each.

Review Of Cary by HomeSnacks User

Aside from a handful of very good private schools, Cary doesn’t even have schools that are separate from the system that includes Raleigh, which isn’t on this list. I lived in Cary for several years, and no way should it be put in the same category as cities like Wilson and Burnsville.

Apex, NC

Source: Public domain
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Population: 65,541
Median Income: $129,688
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
Poverty Rate: 2.9%
More on Apex: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Apex is the second best ‘burb we looked at near Durham for 2024.

It ranks 2nd for incomes in the area and only 4.15% of residents lack insurance, good for 3rd best.

Holly Springs, NC

Source: Wikipedia User Jon Harrison | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 42,023
Median Income: $127,755
Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
Poverty Rate: 4.9%
More on Holly Springs: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Here in Holly Springs, it’s really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you’ll see in the Durham metro area.

The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.

But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in Holly Springs.

Rolesville, NC

Source: Wikipedia User Mkrpowers | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 9,696
Median Income: $145,166
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
Poverty Rate: 1.7%
More on Rolesville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Rolesville ranks as the 4th best suburb of Durham for 2024.

You won’t find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Rolesville and the schools are some of the best around.

Wake Forest, NC

Source: Wikipedia User Ildar Sagdejev (Specious) | GFDL
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Population: 48,047
Median Income: $115,159
Unemployment Rate: 4.3%
Poverty Rate: 3.0%
More on Wake Forest: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Coming in as the fifth best is Wake Forest.

Wake Forest gets kudos for having the 6th most expensive homes in the Durham area, where houses sell for an average of $513,842. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Morrisville, NC

Source: Town of Morrisville
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Population: 29,756
Median Income: $114,075
Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
Poverty Rate: 5.8%
More on Morrisville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Morrisville is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here’s why.

Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 3.64%.

According to online reports, Morrisville is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Durham area, meaning you need to get in soon.

Chapel Hill, NC

Source: Wikipedia User Caroline Culler (User:Wgreaves) | GFDL
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Population: 58,919
Median Income: $85,940
Unemployment Rate: 4.7%
Poverty Rate: 18.6%
More on Chapel Hill: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Chapel Hill.

Chapel Hill schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.

And, it’s only 8.4 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

Pittsboro, NC

Source: Wikipedia User Gerry Dincher | CC BY-SA 2.0
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Population: 4,555
Median Income: $62,513
Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
Poverty Rate: 8.6%
More on Pittsboro: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Pittsboro is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.

A solid 2.67% of people lack insurance, good for 1st in the area.

Carrboro, NC

Source: Wikipedia User Elizabeth B. Thomsen Ethomsen | GFDL
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Population: 21,242
Median Income: $76,933
Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
Poverty Rate: 11.7%
More on Carrboro: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Is ‘Everything Better In Carrboro?’


It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it’s really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.

Fuquay-Varina, NC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 35,428
Median Income: $94,142
Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
Poverty Rate: 10.6%
More on Fuquay-Varina: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

And rounding out the top ten for 2024 is Fuquay-Varina.

This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It’s far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.

Methodology: How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Durham for 2024

Figuring out the best suburbs around Durham was simple. We used Saturday Night Science to find things people like about living in the suburbs and then locate the suburbs with those things.

We analyzed the newest American Community Survey data for 2018-2022 to research each suburb. We decided upon the following criteria:

  • Low unemployment rate
  • High median household incomes
  • Population density (lots of things to do)
  • High home values
  • A lot of college-educated people
  • Low poverty
  • High rate of insured families

We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Durham.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 25 suburbs to evaluate around Durham.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 25 in each category, where 1 was the “best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality-of-life index.

Finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index, the “Best Suburb near Durham.” We’re lookin’ at you, Cary.

This result may differ from our state-wide data as we did not include commute times and crime for this analysis to allow for a more extensive selection of suburbs.

We updated the data for 2024. This report is our tenth time ranking the best Durham suburbs. Skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.

Summary: Welcome to the Best Durham ‘Burbs of 2024

We said it once, and we’ll say it again–life in the big city isn’t for everyone. At least not all the time.

The best suburbs of Durham are .

So if you’re craving the amenities of a larger city like Durham but don’t want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might be for you.

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Table: Best Durham Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income Average Home Price
1 Cary, NC 174,880 $125,317 $600,101
2 Apex, NC 65,541 $129,688 $591,542
3 Holly Springs, NC 42,023 $127,755 $550,787
4 Rolesville, NC 9,696 $145,166 $497,136
5 Wake Forest, NC 48,047 $115,159 $513,842
6 Morrisville, NC 29,756 $114,075 $486,190
7 Chapel Hill, NC 58,919 $85,940 $603,034
8 Pittsboro, NC 4,555 $62,513 $534,931
9 Carrboro, NC 21,242 $76,933 $438,237
10 Fuquay-Varina, NC 35,428 $94,142 $496,644
11 Knightdale, NC 19,127 $79,364 $363,028
12 Youngsville, NC 2,421 $73,472 $402,931
13 Mebane, NC 17,899 $78,419 $339,769
14 Garner, NC 31,684 $77,171 $374,654
15 Raleigh, NC 465,517 $78,631 $431,992
16 Hillsborough, NC 9,534 $86,250 $440,106
17 Swepsonville, NC 2,464 $84,737 $335,184
18 Creedmoor, NC 4,871 $78,750 $343,602
19 Green Level, NC 3,111 $42,695 $166,502
20 Franklinton, NC 2,477 $59,911 $342,186
21 Graham, NC 17,136 $51,482 $259,204
22 Haw River, NC 2,894 $57,404 $209,057
23 Oxford, NC 8,685 $42,016 $232,049
24 Butner, NC 8,374 $68,604 $258,713
25 Roxboro, NC 8,131 $39,787 $197,436
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.