Raleigh, N.C., has built a solid economy around financial services, software and energy, a major retail shipping operation and its renowned Research Triangle.
The metro area is also blessed with quality schools, low crime, lots of oak trees and a low cost of living relative to its residents’ rising level of income. About two-thirds of locals own their own homes. Among America’s major population centers, is there a better place to raise a family? We don’t think so. Raleigh gets the nod in 2014, edging out Grand Rapids, Mich.; Ogden, Utah; and Omaha, Neb.
We ranked America’s 100 largest metro areas on the following criteria:
- Median household income (data from Census Bureau)
- Cost of Living Index (Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness)
- Housing affordability (the percentage of homes in the area affordable to those making the local median income, via the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo)
- The percentage of residents who own their homes (Census Bureau)
- Average commuting delays (Texas Transportation Institute)
- Crime-rate rankings (FBI via CQ Press)
- Local school quality (greatschools.org)
- Read more about these cities on Forbes.com