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THE BEST SMALL TOWN TO RETIRE TO IN NORTH CAROLINA

No doubt Andy Griffith’s creation of the fictitious town of Mayberry instilled in many Baby Boomer’s psyches a romanced version of the ideal southern town -- complete with down-home hospitality, friendly neighbors and little to no crime. It is believed that Mayberry was based on Griffith’s hometown of Mt. Airy, in Surry County, NC, with a present-day population of just over 10,000.

The pursuit of “Mayberry” as your retirement destination is potentially tricky. What constitutes "Mayberry" for you? Many ask us what “the best small town” to retire to is. "Best," of course, is partly a subjective measure, but one that will likely include both tangibles factors (tax rates, housing prices, cost of living, etc.) and intangibles (is the town near water, golf, a large city, etc.)

And how do we define “small?” For the purposes of the comparison chart below, we define a “small town” as cities, towns, or CDPs (census-designated places) in North Carolina with populations between 6,000 and 20,000 residents, according to the 2010 census.

The Cost of Living Index for each location is referenced against the national average. So, for example, a city with a Cost of Living Index rating of -4% means that this town is 4% below the national average. The index is an overall rating, which includes food, housing, utility, transportation, health and miscellaneous costs.

NORTH CAROLINA SMALL TOWN COST OF LIVING INDEX

 

City/Town/CDP 2010 Population Cost of Living Index
  Marion 7,838 -19%
  Lexington 18,931 -16%
  Hamlet 6,495 -16%
  Forest City 7,476 -15%
  Rockingham 9,558 -14%
  Selma 6,073 -14%
  Eden 15,527 -13%
  Mount Airy 10,388 -13%
  Roanoke Rapids 15,754 -12%
  Henderson 15,368 -12%
  Kings Mountain 10,296 -12%
  Washington 9,744 -12%
  Clinton 8,639 -12%
  Butner 7,591 -12%
  Laurinburg 15,962 -11%
  Dunn 9,263 -11%
  Spring Lake 11,964 -10%
  Lincolnton 10,486 -10%
  Reidsville 14,520 -9%
  Piney Green 13,293 -9%
  Roxboro 8,362 -9%
  Lenoir 18,228 -8%
  Albemarle 15,903 -8%
  Tarboro 11,415 -8%
  Siler City 7,887 -8%
  Mount Holly 13,656 -7%
  Newton 12,968 -7%
  Smithfield 10,966 -7%
  Oxford 8,461 -7%
  Half Moon 8,352 -7%
  Gibsonville 6,410 -7%
  Elizabeth City 18,683 -6%
  Morganton 16,918 -6%
  Clayton 16,116 -6%
  Hope Mills 15,176 -6%
  Graham 14,153 -6%
  King 6,904 -6%
  Trinity 6,614 -6%
  Archdale 11,415 -5%
  Belmont 10,076 -5%
  St. Stephens 8,759 -5%
  Conover 8,165 -5%
  Winterville 9,269 -4%
  Mebane 11,393 -3%
  Elon College 9,419 -3%
  Pineville 7,479 -3%
  Waynesville 9,869 -2%
  Aberdeen 6,350 -2%
  Woodfin 6,123 -2%
  Stallings 13,831 -1%
  Leland 13,527 0%
  Knightdale 11,401 0%
  Brevard 7,609 0%
  Lewisville 12,639 1%
  Morehead City 8,661 1%
  Kings Grant 8,113 2%
  Cullowhee 6,228 2%
  Clemmons 18,627 3%
  Murraysville 14,215 3%
  Hendersonville 13,137 3%
  Waxhaw 9,899 3%
  Hillsborough 6,087 3%
  Southern Pines 12,344 4%
  Etowah 6,944 4%
  Harrisburg 11,526 5%
  Black Mountain 7,848 6%
  Boone 17,122 9%
  Fuquay-Varina 17,937 10%
  Fletcher 7,187 10%
  Lake Norman 7,411 12%
  Oak Island 6,783 13%
  Pinehurst 13,457 16%
  Myrtle Grove 8,875 16%
  Summerfield 10,232 17%
  Oak Ridge 6,185 17%
  Masonboro 15,000 18%
  Ogden 6,766 18%
  Kill Devil Hills 6,683 18%
  Carrboro 19,582 22%
  Weddington 9,459 26%
  Morrisville 18,576 27%
  Davidson 10,944 27%

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