Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

A new study revealed the best places to retire in North Carolina.

It wasn’t Raleigh or Charlotte, with their bustling downtown events and local food and beer scenes.

It wasn’t Wilmington, with the beach and ocean right next door, or Asheville, with easy access to the mountains and hiking trails.

The study, which was done by SmartAsset, analyzed communities across multiple criteria, including:

  • Tax burden
  • Access to medical care
  • Opportunities for recreation
  • Opportunities for social activities

Their interactive map shows each county’s national rank, including annual retirement expenses for living in specific cities and how many seniors already live there.

Top 10 places to retire in NC

  1. Hendersonville
  2. Hickory
  3. Marion
  4. Brevard
  5. Roxboro
  6. Pinehurst
  7. Williamston
  8. Forest City
  9. Reidsville
  10. Black Mountain

Henderson County earned the rank of the number one place to retire in North Carolina due to a combination of factors. First of all, its tax burden is 15.7%. It has nearly seven doctors’ offices per 1,000 residents. Seniors make up over 30% of the population, and there are recreation centers and senior centers, allowing access to socialization and recreation.

Wake County, by comparison, has a similar tax burden, but only around 11% of the population are seniors. There are only 1.4 doctors’ offices per 1,000 people. There’s also very low access to senior centers and recreation centers as compared to higher ranking areas.

In short, with its festivals and rapidly-growing downtown scene, more expensive real estate and fast-paced lifestyle, Wake County is likely a better match for younger people, not as a place to retire.

Six of the 10 highest ranked areas to retire are in the North Carolina mountains, and none were in the Triangle.

The website has an interactive feature to allow people to see how much money they need to save for retirement, depending on their income and where they plan to live.

By senior