North Carolina-Raleigh-Durham

NWR: Need some feedback

Hey NC!

FI and I currently live in KY. We are getting married this June and we've been talking about what happens after the wedding. FI has been out of work since Jan. and the job market here is not so good. We've talked about relocating and I have always liked NC. I've been considering Charlotte for years, but lately I've read that Raleigh/Durham is a nice place for families and raising children. What do you think?

Also, what's the job market like? Is it big city or small town living or a combo? How much crime? School systems? Looking for any and all feedback!

Thanks :)

Re: NWR: Need some feedback

  • Chapel Hill and Raleigh has great school systems, Durham has lots of crime, and a university with a lot of pompus people
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  • The Triangle has something for everyone. Some of the towns cater to folks who are a bit snobby. Others are a bit more down to earth. There are good schools in all of the areas; the state has a great school evaluation site that lets you evaluate the specific schools for a given house or area, since I think all the towns are big enough to have multiple public schools at each level (elementary, middle, high). 

    There are three counties in the Triangle: Orange County (including the towns of Carrboro, Chapel Hill, and Hillsborough); Durham County (including the city of Durham); and Wake County (the city of Raleigh and the ever-growing Cary). Some of the farther-flung towns are Garner, Wake Forest, Apex, and Holly Springs. 10 years ago, these wouldn't have been "Triangle", but there's been so much growth and development that it's hard to tell where Raleigh ends and Cary begins, and where Cary ends and Apex begins. The Triangle enjoys a diverse economic base -- there's lots of education, health care, and research, but there's also sports and arts and the state government. Charlotte's unemployment rate got a lot higher than ours, since their economy depends a lot on the financial sector. I've heard lots of good things about Charlotte, too. People are moving to North Carolina all the time, in part for the weather, I think!

    I for one love the Triangle, and I love where I live and where I work. You'd want to have a sense of what kind of environment you want to live in, and how long you're willing to commute, and that would probably help you narrow down a town/city to start looking in. (And when we're talking "city" -- Durham has about 250,000 people, and Raleigh/Cary maybe 500,000.) There are places to live in all of the towns/cities where you'd be close enough to walk to restaurants or museums -- if that's "urban" to you, then we've got it. But all the towns/cities also have neighborhoods or areas that are more spread out or farther away from things. I like to tease my fiance that we "moved to the country" because now we can't walk to restaurants, and that my commute is FOUR TIMES longer -- it used to be just a mile, and I used to walk. : ) I would have preferred that we stayed in the old neighborhood, but we just couldn't afford a house there big enough for kids and grandparents. 

    I'd be happy to help steer you more if you want to let me know what kind of place appeals to you. My fiance teases me that my big plan is to get all my family and friends to move here!
  • I'm not sure if you've ever been to Louisville, KY---but we're like a 20 min city. You can basically drive from one end of town to the other in about 20 min. On the outskirts, it may be a bit longer, but my commute to work has never been longer than that here. When I moved to Nashville a few years back, it was a pretty rude awakening. I lived in an outlying suburb town about 30 miles from downtown. But traffic makes it a whole other ballgame and commuting was easily an hour or longer from home to the business side of Nash where I was working. I guess if I had a preference, I would choose a shorter commute... a more localized place where work isn't far from home and just about everything I need is in a pretty close radius. We plan to start a family soon after we're married and I can't see either os us wanting to spend anymore time away from each other or our kids than we have to.

    Does that help to narrow the field? I'd like to be close enough to the big city to visit it from time to time... and close enough to the beach to make a day out of it on the weekend...

  • Sorry for the delay -- I couldn't find the local boards, just the month boards!

    Well, the Triangle is two hours from the beach at Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach and ~4 hours from the beaches at the Outer Banks (Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk). Closer if you're on the east (Raleigh, Rocky Mount) or southeast side (Garner), farther if you're on the west side (Durham, Hillsborough). I think the big question for you to figure out before you decide on where to move, is where you both would be most likely to find jobs. You can definitely live and work within minutes of each other if you like. I live in Durham and work at Duke -- my duplex apartments that I rented when I first moved here were less than a mile from campus in a nice, diverse neighborhood. My fiance and I bought a bigger house than the little one I had gotten about 5 years ago, and now we're about 4 miles from campus. Duke is one of the biggest private employers in the state, with both a major hospital and university; we are struggling as is everyone else, but our Board of Trustees allowed us to spread out economic adjustments instead of immediately jumping off a cliff, so that's helped a lot. UNC is also a large (public, since it's a state university) employer, with a hospital and university, and it's located in Chapel Hill. I'm sure there are places to live close the there as well, although the walking-distance houses are hugely expensive because they're old, big, and fancy.

    But depending on what you and your husband do for a living, there are any number of potential employers, from the community hospital in Durham (operated by the Duke Health System but owned by the County) to retail business and pharmaceutical companies throughout the Triangle. Raleigh might look like more of the "big city", but both Durham and Raleigh are still in the process of revitalizing and re-envisioning their downtowns.

    What do you guys do, and where or what kind of place do you think you'd like to work? It's also possible to live and work in the towns around here -- Burlington, Mebane, Hillsborough -- just depends on what kind of work you do.
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