The cost of living in the Triangle is probably one of our area’s best attributes. The Triangle offers many of the amenities of larger metropolitan areas, but falls near or just above the national average cost of living. In a way, residents get some of the city perks without the city costs. As such, this relatively low cost of living makes the Triangle an ideal place for families, couples looking to retire, and even businessmen setting out to start up new companies.

According to statistics from, the cost of living in Raleigh is 0.7% below the national average. Comparatively, Durham falls well below the national average (10.2% below) and Chapel Hill is slightly above the national average at +2.7%. When comparing Raleigh to many other parts of the country, however, it’s much easier to see the cost-of-living advantages Raleigh offers.


                                              Cost of Living
City                                      Compared to National Average

Raleigh, NC                          -0.7%

Durham, NC                         -10.2%

Chapel Hill, NC                    +2.7%

Ashville, NC                         -0.4%

Tucson, AZ                           +0.3%

Wilmington, DE                   +7.1%

Orlando, FL                          +3.4%

Atlanta, GA                          -3.9%

Richmond, VA                     +6.4%


* National Average = 0

A number of other organizations have produced similar cost-of-living figures. The ACCRA Cost of Living Index takes into account the variances in the cost of consumer goods and services for each region and is considered one of the dependable stats on cost of living in U.S. metropolitan areas. According to the ACCRA, the Triangle’s composite cost-of-living index is 99.1 (National cost of living = 100), which is considered relatively low for the U.S.

City                                        Cost of Living Index

Raleigh, NC                           102.6

Chapel Hill, NC                     101.2

Durham, NC                          93.5

Austin, TX                             95.5

Denver, CO                           105.0

Richmond, VA                      104.2

Chicago, IL                            112.5

Las Vegas, NV                      107.9

Orlando, FL                           101.0


Regardless of which data is used, the bottom-line is the same: When compared to other large metropolitan areas in the United States, Raleigh’s cost-of-living advantage is clear. While this advantage may not be as prominent with some of the more mid-sized cities in the Southeast, Raleigh still maintains a competitive level when it comes to cost of living.

Combine this cost of living with the other advantages Raleigh has to offer, and it creates an area that bodes well for a wide range of people and lifestyles. For example, Raleigh’s affordability, its temperate climate, job opportunities within “industries, professions, and occupations are particularly age-friendly,” and quality healthcare make it a great option for retiring couples and singles.

Affordability also plays a key role in where businesses decide to set up headquarters and satellite offices, and Raleigh’s affordability makes it an appealing city in which to do business. According to, Raleigh’s combination of strong job growth, low business costs, and a highly educated workforce make it the top place to do business in the United States.