North Carolina welcomes newcomers and rewards residents with gorgeous scenery, comfortable weather, a reasonable cost of living and a strong sense of community. From the majestic Great Smoky Mountains to the impressive views from the Blue Ridge Parkway, from the scenic coast to the hundreds of lakes, rivers and waterfalls, the Tarheel State (aka Old North State) is a land of great beauty and opportunity.
When considering North Carolina's economy, perhaps the first product that comes to the forefront is tobacco. No wonder.the state grows 40% of the nation's supply, and it provides a major source of income. North Carolina is also a leading manufacturer of textiles and furniture. In recent years, high-tech and research & development firms in the state have grown notably in numbers. Tourism is also an important factor in the economy, with visitors to North Carolina spending more than $1 billion annually. They come to appreciate the natural scenery, learn from historic sites like the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk, and enjoy outdoor recreation including golf, skiing, fishing and hunting.
North Carolina's overall cost of living is 4% below the national average, making this a fairly affordable state for people to consider when looking for apartments. Housing costs--including apartments for rent--are at 6% below the national average.
The state's largest city with more than half a million residents, Charlotte is a great place to call home. But don't take our word for it--it's been rated by numerous publications as one of the best places to live in America. Recently, Charlotte was designated the "Most Livable City" by the Partners for Livable Communities, and Money Magazine rated it one of the top three places to live in the country based on quality of life, housing options and affordability. Charlotte's residents enjoy their tree-lined streets, where they're likely to run into neighbors venturing out of their apartments to enjoy the fresh air and year-round mild climate. When it comes to apartment rentals, you'll find a nice variety of location, price and amenities, from basic studio apartments to luxury complexes with pools, tennis courts, clubhouses, social events and other desirable features. Rentals range from $400 for one-bedroom apartments up to $3,000 for really snazzy three-bedroom apartments (but don't worry--the average cost is $725). With almost 100,000 apartments and condos in the area, it won't be hard to find the place that's right for you.
As the state capital and second largest city, Raleigh offers a very livable blend of urban amenities and Southern charm. They call it "City Life, Carolina Style," and they prove it with trendy restaurants and cutting-edge culture tempered with good old-fashioned Southern manners. Raleigh is a hub for politics, culture, trade and industry; it produces products including electronics, health care, apparel, food products, paper products and pharmaceuticals. Along with Chapel Hill and Durham, Raleigh is part of North Carolina's Research Triangle, utilizing the scientific talent of the three cities' universities. Residents enjoy the many libraries, museums, the opera, professional hockey team, an arboretum and several 18th-century houses, including the birthplace of President Andrew Johnson. The cost of living here is 7% below the national average, and you'll pay around $775 for average apartment rentals.
North Carolina's third largest city, Greensboro enjoys a lower cost of living and fewer big-city attributes than Charlotte and Raleigh, but there's no lack of cultural activities and interesting destinations for its 235,000 residents. The city is a financial, insurance and distribution center for the region, and its significant industries include manufacturing auto parts, electronic and telecommunications equipment, and food and beverages. Greensboro's downtown has the look of a mini metropolis with its handful of skyscrapers, but the real attraction is the charming, historic downtown district--while you.re looking for apartments here, be sure to check out the Historical Museum and the new public library and children's museum. The city is also proud of its burgeoning theater scene. Housing costs are more affordable here than in much of the rest of the state; average apartments for rent go for about $650 per month.