Chapel Hill ranks 10th on Money Magazine’s annual list of the 100 top places to live. Cary is the only other North Carolina city that makes the list, in 56th place.
The list aims to rank the best places to live and raise a family. The last time the list ranked cities of this same size, in 2010, Cary ranked 23rd and Chapel Hill 40th.
The magazine noted the charm of the many trees in Chapel Hill, which lead to what it calls a “rain forest-like charm.” The positives of the town mentioned are its proximity to the Research Triangle, the Triangle’s high number of Ph.Ds per capita and UNC-Chapel Hill, the nation’s oldest public university.
Cary’s advantages are its weather, safe streets, accommodations for bicyclists and the U.S.A. Baseball National Training Complex, as well as its proximity to universities and Research Triangle Park.
The magazine ranks the top places to live from statistics provided by data company Onboard Informatics. This year, the list ranked cities with populations between 50,000 and 300,000. Last year’s list focused on small towns with populations between 8,500 and 50,000.
Cities were screened out if they ranked above 200 percent or below 85 percent of the state average, had a population that is more than 95 percent one race, scored poorly in education or crime, had major job losses. Retirement communities were also ruled out.
The remaining cities were then ranked based on their economy, home affordability, schools, safety, health care, culture and leisure, diversity, and ease of living. State and local governments were also taken into account, as well as happiness, with the most weight given to economic conditions.
Each of the cities received visits where residents were interviewed and traffic, parks, gathering places and community spirit were assessed.