These Are The 10 Happiest Places In North Carolina

We analyzed over 143 places in North Carolina to determine where it’s all rainbows and sunshine.

Chris Kolmarby Chris KolmarRankings - 2 years ago

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There’s a search that we are all on that dwarfs our job or career search — the search for happiness.

And as we all know, where we live and the job we have can all play a big part in our overall sense of contentment and happiness. For that reason, we took a dive into a the most recent census data to help you identify which places in North Carolina have the biggest smile of them all.

On our happy data journey, we settled on seven criteria to help determine which North Carolina places are the happiest. The criteria include things like having insurance, owning a home, and having a job.

As it turns out, life is all rainbows and butterflies in Oak Ridge, the happiest place in North Carolina.

Don’t start feeling sad, there’s plenty of happy to go around as life is still pretty sweet in the following “Happiest Places in the Tar Heel State”:

  1. Oak Ridge
  2. Pinehurst
  3. Holly Springs
  4. Summerfield
  5. Clemmons
  6. Mills River
  7. Marvin
  8. Myrtle Grove
  9. Fletcher
  10. Porters Neck
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There’s Nothing We’d Rather Do Than Measure Happiness In The Tar Heel State

There’s a bunch of different studies out there that try to measure what makes people truly happy. And while we all know that money doesn’t buy happiness, it definitely removes anxieties and helps keep you healthy. It’s just that anything past about $70,000 a year doesn’t help as much.

So what else besides money contributes to your happiness? Well we think the following certainly do:

  • Being well educated (Population with at least a bachelor’s degree)
  • Having a job (As measured by the unemployment rate)
  • A short commute to work (God do people hate traffic)
  • Low cost of living
  • Having a family (Getting, and staying married, has a ton of happiness benefits, on average)
  • Owning a home (That’s a big plus)
  • And the poverty rate (Money definitely helps out)

That’s a ton of fun — and happiness — for the whole family, backed by science. The data all comes from the 2010-2014 American Community Survey.

After we decided on the criteria, we gathered the data for the 143 places in North Carolina with over 2,000 people.

We then ranked each place from one to 143 for each of the seven criteria with a score of one being the happiest (Any ties were given to the larger place).

Next, we averaged the seven rankings into a Happiness Index for each place with the lowest overall Index being crowned “Happiest Place In North Carolina”.

Read on for more happy information about the top ten or skip to the end to see a list of how every places in North Carolina ranked. Our apologies to Cary which ranked 11th overall and just missed the list.

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1. Oak Ridge

Oak Ridge, North Carolina

Source: Flickr

Population: 6,435People Who Own Their Home: 89.5%
Married Adults: 68.4%

2. Pinehurst

Pinehurst, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 15,052People Who Own Their Home: 67.2%
Married Adults: 70.6%

3. Holly Springs

Holly Springs, North Carolina

Source: Flickr

Population: 27,339People Who Own Their Home: 82.2%
Married Adults: 66.4%

4. Summerfield

Summerfield, North Carolina

Source: Flickr

Population: 10,477People Who Own Their Home: 82.9%
Married Adults: 65.8%

5. Clemmons

Clemmons, North Carolina

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 19,101People Who Own Their Home: 68.5%
Married Adults: 57.9%

6. Mills River

Mills River, North Carolina

Source: Flickr

Population: 6,917People Who Own Their Home: 74.9%
Married Adults: 59.6%

7. Marvin

Marvin, North Carolina

Source: Marvinnc.Org

Population: 5,806People Who Own Their Home: 93.3%
Married Adults: 80.9%

8. Myrtle Grove


Population: 9,030 People Who Own Their Home: 79.7%
Married Adults: 59.9%

9. Fletcher

Fletcher, North Carolina

Source: Flickr

Population: 7,320People Who Own Their Home: 72.7%
Married Adults: 48.9%

10. Porters Neck


Population: 6,476 People Who Own Their Home: 67.5%
Married Adults: 74.0%

Detailed List Of Happiest Places In North Carolina

City Rank Population People Who Own Their Home Married Adults
Oak Ridge 1 6,435 89.5% 68.4%
Pinehurst 2 15,052 67.2% 70.6%
Holly Springs 3 27,339 82.2% 66.4%
Summerfield 4 10,477 82.9% 65.8%
Clemmons 5 19,101 68.5% 57.9%
Mills River 6 6,917 74.9% 59.6%
Marvin 7 5,806 93.3% 80.9%
Myrtle Grove 8 9,030 79.7% 59.9%
Fletcher 9 7,320 72.7% 48.9%
Porters Neck 10 6,476 67.5% 74.0%
Cary 11 146,041 65.2% 60.8%
Lewisville 12 13,037 82.2% 65.1%
Apex 13 40,631 67.5% 60.5%
Harrisburg 14 13,549 84.2% 60.9%
Unionville 15 6,180 74.1% 68.3%
Murraysville 16 14,305 73.6% 51.5%
Weddington 17 9,906 92.2% 64.5%
King 18 6,732 71.6% 57.5%
Trinity 19 6,648 73.6% 59.9%
Morrisville 20 20,728 45.4% 63.8%
Wesley Chapel 21 7,882 94.1% 66.0%
Gibsonville 22 6,565 72.5% 56.0%
Stallings 23 14,185 84.5% 59.7%
Winterville 24 9,424 79.3% 57.0%
Davidson 25 11,492 68.5% 48.7%
Huntersville 26 49,279 70.1% 62.8%
Wake Forest 27 33,319 68.9% 63.6%
Matthews 28 28,677 71.3% 59.6%
Lake Norman of Catawba 29 7,331 61.2% 68.8%
Ogden 30 6,653 84.1% 66.7%
Mint Hill 31 23,934 76.7% 61.2%
Waxhaw 32 10,878 81.3% 67.1%
Archdale 33 11,322 66.3% 53.6%
James City 34 5,635 69.6% 52.8%
Leland 35 15,316 66.7% 60.0%
Stokesdale 36 5,177 74.6% 59.1%
Indian Trail 37 34,950 80.2% 63.5%
Kernersville 38 23,522 50.5% 52.6%
Wrightsboro 39 5,780 71.2% 51.3%
Cornelius 40 26,246 58.5% 54.3%
Wendell 41 6,085 62.5% 53.5%
Conover 42 8,200 58.1% 50.1%
Knightdale 43 12,692 63.2% 54.5%
Mebane 44 12,509 54.1% 51.7%
Etowah 45 6,862 78.1% 60.1%
Kings Grant 46 8,504 61.7% 48.8%
Hillsborough 47 6,256 54.4% 44.3%
Clayton 48 17,274 63.0% 54.8%
Belmont 49 10,346 60.2% 47.0%
Mooresville 50 34,466 59.3% 53.4%
Cherryville 51 5,826 60.6% 49.1%
Fuquay-Varina 52 20,246 68.7% 56.1%
Roanoke Rapids 53 15,653 48.6% 47.9%
Hope Mills 54 16,024 52.4% 47.1%
Mount Airy 55 10,411 51.8% 47.1%
Nashville 56 5,469 61.7% 40.3%
Southern Pines 57 12,782 50.2% 44.0%
Black Mountain 58 7,977 48.3% 46.3%
Havelock 59 20,850 37.0% 53.5%
Aberdeen 60 6,702 43.5% 48.0%
Jacksonville 61 69,300 31.7% 48.8%
Garner 62 26,723 58.9% 48.1%
Mount Holly 63 13,815 58.6% 48.5%
Waynesville 64 9,770 48.0% 46.0%
Hickory 65 40,108 45.8% 44.0%
Reidsville 66 14,249 45.9% 44.1%
Concord 67 82,266 59.9% 51.8%
Boiling Spring Lakes 68 5,529 73.0% 54.2%
Piney Green 69 13,701 49.8% 58.6%
Brevard 70 7,651 46.7% 37.6%
Carrboro 71 20,337 34.8% 42.3%
Asheville 72 85,783 45.6% 39.3%
Chapel Hill 73 58,379 44.3% 36.2%
Half Moon 74 8,655 55.8% 59.1%
Raleigh 75 423,287 48.4% 40.1%
Rockingham 76 9,444 51.5% 43.6%
Burlington 77 51,740 49.8% 42.9%
Butner 78 7,661 61.2% 35.8%
Durham 79 240,107 45.7% 40.7%
Mocksville 80 5,086 58.7% 43.6%
Fayetteville 81 202,421 41.8% 45.0%
Kill Devil Hills 82 6,810 26.0% 42.5%
Silver Lake 83 6,024 63.7% 46.2%
Spring Lake 84 13,101 17.5% 53.8%
Sawmills 85 5,164 55.0% 48.0%
Tarboro 86 11,323 48.0% 39.4%
High Point 87 106,797 50.1% 43.1%
New Bern 88 30,171 43.2% 46.1%
Lenoir 89 18,061 49.2% 43.7%
Morganton 90 16,816 50.1% 39.0%
Charlotte 91 774,807 50.4% 42.6%
Greensboro 92 276,225 46.4% 39.6%
Elon 93 9,516 43.5% 33.1%
Oak Island 94 7,051 26.4% 54.5%
Winston-Salem 95 234,469 49.1% 40.3%
Morehead City 96 9,030 38.1% 42.8%
Clinton 97 8,729 43.7% 37.7%
Graham 98 14,384 50.6% 45.8%
Wilson 99 49,389 45.7% 40.1%
Wilmington 100 110,100 39.4% 38.5%
Newton 101 12,998 50.4% 41.7%
Williamston 102 5,410 44.9% 37.9%
Hendersonville 103 13,350 37.6% 43.8%
Thomasville 104 27,042 53.0% 42.6%
Kannapolis 105 43,865 49.6% 47.6%
Kings Mountain 106 10,743 49.5% 44.1%
Hamlet 107 6,566 50.3% 41.1%
Sanford 108 28,798 47.5% 45.2%
Woodfin 109 6,167 41.1% 36.0%
Asheboro 110 25,573 46.0% 44.4%
Albemarle 111 15,924 49.2% 41.7%
Carolina Beach 112 5,888 23.1% 46.3%
Rocky Mount 113 57,071 45.6% 36.3%
Bessemer City 114 5,410 60.1% 37.1%
Goldsboro 115 35,908 33.1% 36.2%
Lumberton 116 21,707 42.3% 36.8%
Washington 117 9,768 39.5% 36.0%
Monroe 118 33,588 52.1% 47.3%
Shelby 119 20,283 44.5% 41.5%
Greenville 120 87,546 31.9% 29.4%
Gastonia 121 72,664 48.3% 43.8%
Boone 122 17,802 17.4% 10.4%
Oxford 123 8,585 41.7% 31.6%
Marion 124 7,948 46.2% 35.4%
Laurinburg 125 15,799 45.6% 35.6%
Dunn 126 9,570 46.6% 39.7%
Smithfield 127 11,357 44.3% 41.5%
Whiteville 128 5,465 46.0% 34.6%
Salisbury 129 33,524 42.8% 35.1%
Forest City 130 7,387 34.8% 41.7%
Statesville 131 25,132 40.2% 39.9%
Kinston 132 21,589 36.3% 33.1%
Ahoskie 133 5,017 36.8% 32.4%
Lincolnton 134 10,601 42.8% 43.2%
Eden 135 15,543 48.4% 38.7%
Henderson 136 15,325 36.8% 30.1%
Pineville 137 7,855 30.7% 30.4%
Elizabeth City 138 18,343 35.1% 32.6%
Lexington 139 19,029 35.7% 41.1%
Siler City 140 8,109 45.7% 39.0%
Wadesboro 141 5,711 47.6% 33.1%
Roxboro 142 8,330 29.9% 28.4%
Selma 143 6,172 28.3% 34.9%

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