Published in: Banks | Jan. 15, 2020

6 Reasons Why Raleigh, N.C. Is One of the Best Places to Raise a Family on a Budget

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Quality education, low housing costs, and a thriving job market make this city in The Research Triangle an excellent place to raise kids.

Concerns about safety, education, and quality of life are all important when deciding where to raise a family, but it's equally important to consider financial concerns too. Living in a place that allows you to stash more money in your savings account means your child can take advantage of everything from school trips to athletic competitions to college -- without you worrying about the cost. It also allows you to budget for things like life insurance and medical care that protect your child's health and well-being.

The key to saving money to meet these costs is to raise a family somewhere with relatively high salaries and a low cost of living, and Raleigh, North Carolina might be just the place. It was recently named by The Ascent as one of the 10 best places in the country for high salaries and low costs of living.

A happy family walking through a park with the young kids on the parents' shoulders.

Image source: Getty Images

But there's more than one reason for new families to fall in love with Raleigh. Apart from a blossoming savings account, you'll also find quality education, a rich cultural scene, and plenty of fun activities for children of all ages. Here are the best reasons to raise a family in Raleigh.

1. You'll enjoy a higher-than-average salary and diverse job opportunities

At $52,580, the mean annual salary in Raleigh is slightly higher than the national average. It's also part of "The Research Triangle," an area in North Carolina anchored by three top-tier universities. As such, greater Raleigh offers some of the best job opportunities in the country in fields like education, research, medicine, science, technology, advanced manufacturing, and more. 

2. At the same time, the cost of living is lower

Raleigh offers a below-average cost of living to residents, which is made even more attractive by the fact that the city is decently sized and full of opportunity. According to Zillow, the median home value in Raleigh is $283,278. It's also worth noting that because Raleigh is still relatively compact, the average one-way commute is just over 23 minutes. This is slightly below the national average and far below what you'd face in a large city.

3. It's home to some of the nation's best public schools

According to Wake County Economic Development, the county in which Raleigh is located houses some of the nation's highest-rated K-12 schools. This area is also home to the No. 1 school district in the U.S. for the number of teachers who are nationally board certified. Regardless of which school your child ends up attending, when compared to other affordable school districts, the Wake County School District is home to better-than-average public schools.

4. Your child will have a plethora of affordable, prestigious college options

Perhaps the most worrying cost of raising a family is figuring out how to pay for your child's college education. If you live in Raleigh, your kid will have access to 12 colleges and universities within commuting distance, including three tier-one research universities, which can save them money on housing, food, and travel. If they prefer to go to college farther afield, there are 17 universities throughout North Carolina, all of which offer low in-state tuition to North Carolina residents. On top of that, the North Carolina Promise drops tuition to only $500 per semester for in-state students at select universities, making it possible to avoid student loans altogether.

5. The Research Triangle is full of educational activities and fun museums for the whole family

Being in both The Research Triangle and the state capital gives you and your family access to endless educational and fun activities for kids. They'll grow up surrounded by world-class museums like the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the North Carolina Museum of History. For a little family fun, you can enjoy the Marbles Kids Museum, Pullen Park, or a game from one of the area's dozens of professional and college sports teams.

6. From great food and craft beer to a lively music scene, Raleigh is buzzing

Named as one of the South's top 10 tastiest towns by Southern Living magazine, Raleigh is a food mecca with something for everyone. As home to many immigrants from all over the world, you'll find a diversity of dining options. If you're into craft beer, The Raleigh Beer Garden beat out Munich, Germany in 2015 for the title of largest beer garden in the world, with 366 beers on tap. Finally, the city is a music hub, boasting 85 live music venues and a flourishing local music scene.

You shouldn't have to sacrifice your children's quality of life to raise a family on a budget. In Raleigh, you don't have to.

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