NC Cities Rank High on Forbes Annual List of Best Places for Business

by Jessica Ambrose, on 11/6/19 10:31 AM

Tar Heel State Earns Five Spots in the Top 30

Raleigh, North Carolina, USA skyline.

Forbes is a long trusted source for rankings of businesses, schools, cities, and more. Many hope to see their name on a Forbes list one day. With the recent Forbes annual list of best places for businesses and careers, the hope of seeing one’s name on the list is now a reality for a few lucky North Carolina cities. These cities have worked hard in becoming a place of prosperity and growth for those who live there, a feat that can take years. For these North Carolina cities, that work has paid off.

The magazine's annual Best Places for Business & Careers list is a ranking of 200 major metropolitan areas in the United States. They judge based on the criteria of a 14-metric system related to cost, income over five years, education availability, and projected economic growth through 2021.

The data provided was by Moody’s Analytics, Sperling’s Best Places, U.S. Census, Cushman & Wakefield and the Movement Advancement Project.

Here are the top five North Carolina Cities that made the cut:

Raleigh, North Carolina, USA downtown city skyline.

#3 Raleigh, NC

The capital of North Carolina comes in strong at number 3 on the list. As part of North Carolina’s research triangle, Raleigh leads in the fields of high-tech and bio-tech research. Additionally, the area surrounding it is home of many high-ranking colleges such as Duke University. Raleigh is also a great preserver of art as they contain one of the most premier art collections at The North Carolina Museum of Art.

#32 in Cost of Doing Business

#22 in Job Growth

#13 in Education

Population: 1,362,500

Major Industries: Technology, Health care, Education

Gross Metro Product: $81.7 B

Median Household Income: $74,177

Median Home Price: $283,000

Skyline of Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina.

#7 Charlotte, NC

The city of Charlotte is considered a major banking center second only to New York City.  It is home to major league teams (the Panthers and the Hornets). It's also home to a few big schools such as UNC Charlotte and Johnson & Wales University.

#42 in Cost of Doing Business

#20 in Job Growth

#61 in Education

Population: 2,569,200

Major Industries: Financial services, Motorsports, Energy

Gross Metro Product: $156.7 B

Median Household Income: $62,765

Median Home Price: $250,000


#14  Asheville, NC

Asheville is a city that thrives on tourism. One of the biggest attractions is the live music scene. From nightclubs and concerts to seasonal festivals; this city has a wide variety for all music lovers to enjoy. Located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is home to many satellite campuses for major universities. The city is also a major hub for white water rafting, so much so that many white water rafting manufactures are based in the area.

#9 in Cost of Doing Business

#65 in Job Growth

#45 in Education

Population: 459,600

Major Industries: Tourism, Health care

Gross Metro Product: $21.8 B

Median Household Income: $50,785

Median Home Price: $265,000


#17  Durham, NC

Durham is a part of the Research Triangle Park, which is one of the most prominent research centers in the United States. The city thrives in the fields of technology and health care. But the arts are just as important. Additionally located in Durham is the Nasher Museum of Art, which is nationally recognized for its traveling exhibitions of global and contemporary art.

#48 in Cost of Doing Business

#75 in Job Growth

#11 in Education

Population: 575,400

Major Industries: Technology, Health care, Education

Gross Metro Product: $41.5 B

Median Household Income: $63,520

Median Home Price: $296,000


#30  Wilmington, NC

This city has a great summer vacation location as it sit minutes away from the ocean and three beaches. The city itself contains a bustling downtown and historic districts. History is a major attraction for this city as it holds the World War II memorial battleship the USS North Carolina and Cape Fear Museum. The University of North Carolina Wilmington brings the city a variety of cultural and sports events.

#12 in Cost of Doing Business

#48 in Job Growth

#38 in Education

Population: 294,400

Major Industries: Telecommunications, Education

Gross Metro Product: $15.2 B

Median Household Income: $53,022

Median Home Price: $259,000

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Topics:North CarolinaSmall BusinessRankingsEconomic Development

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