North Carolina is home to a couple of the fastest growing cities in the United States, including, most notably, the cities of Cary and Concord. North Carolina’s largest city, Charlotte, witnessed its population grow by 126.7%, from 395,934 in 1990 to 897,720 in 2022. In recent studies, we analyzed and identified the richest cities in several states of the U.S. South, including Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina. based on scoring several key financial factors. Here, we’re going to evaluate North Carolina and identify its wealthiest cities.
We analyzed over 690 cities in the state in order to identify the richest cities in North Carolina. Read on to find out what the richest city in North Carolina is, as well as the top 50 wealthiest cities in the state overall.
What Are the Richest Cities in North Carolina?
In order to compile our list of the richest cities in North Carolina, we sourced data from the Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey. We then constructed a four-factor scoring system to help identify the wealthiest cities in North Carolina based on data points from the Census Bureau:
- Median household income
- Mean (average) household income
- Median home value
- Median property taxes paid
Here are some important notes about Census data: For certain factors, the Census has upper limits on the number values. For example, for median household income, the Census Bureau has an upper limit of “$250,000+”. For median home value, the upper limit is “$2,000,000+”. Finally, for median property taxes paid, the upper limit is “$10,000+”. Thus, the mean household income (or average household income) dataset is significant because the Census Bureau has exact figures for it. All four of these metrics were scored, added up, and then ranked by the cities’ combined scores.
Below you’ll find a table detailing the top 50 richest cities in North Carolina and their respective dollar figures for each metric:
The No. 1 richest city in North Carolina is the town of Biltmore Forest, located in the increasingly popular Asheville metro area. Home to 580 total households, Biltmore Forest has the highest median home value in North Carolina, with a reported $1,074,500. The median property taxes paid per year is a very high $7,287. Meanwhile, the median household income in Biltmore Forest is $173,750. Its average household income is markedly higher, $317,802, the second highest in North Carolina. The job breakdown of Biltmore Forest’s workforce is interesting when compared to some of the other richest cities. According to Data USA, the top three industries by employment are Health Care & Social Assistance (30.4% of the workforce), Educational Services (17.8% of the workforce), and Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services (11%).
The second richest city in North Carolina is a very unique entry — the village of Granfather. This tiny village of 36 total households is a fully gated community within the Granfather Golf and Country Club. The median household income in Grandfather Village is $173,750, while its mean household income of $329,828 is the highest in North Carolina. The reported median home value in Grandfather Village is less than No. 1 Biltmore Forest’s: $916,700 versus $1,074,500, respectively.
Out of the top 50 richest cities in North Carolina, the largest is Cary, which has 64,512 households and ranks as the 23rd richest city in the state. The median household income in Cary is an impressive $113,782, while its average household income is $145,378.