Living in Charlotte, NC: 14 Pros and Cons (Video & Prices)


Living in Charlotte 3
Charlotte, North Carolina, US (Sourced: via twenty20)

Moving from one city to another is a big, life-changing decision that requires weighing all your options carefully and doing a lot of research. Charlotte is a major city and commercial hub located in North Carolina, which may be one of the main reasons you may be considering relocating there. But is it the best option for you?

Population Median Age Bachelor Degree or Higher
857,42534.244.30%
Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Pro: the cost of living in Charlotte is quite low

The cost of living in this city is 5% lower than the national average. Here is a list of basic expenses.

Median Home PriceMedian Household incomeMedian Earnings for MaleMedian Earnings for Female
$310,399$62,817$53,128$43,844
Data sourced from Zillow Median Home Sale Prices and the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Meal/DrinkAvg. Prices
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant13.00$
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course64.00$
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)8.00$
Domestic Beer (1 pint draught)4.75$
Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle)6.00$
Cappuccino (regular)4.46$
Coke/Pepsi (12 oz small bottle)2.07$
Water (12 oz small bottle)1.70$
Utilities (Monthly)Prices
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 915 sq ft Apartment 138.48$
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)60.75$
Rent Per MonthAvg. Prices
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre1,594.93$
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre1,089.13$
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre2,925.95$
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre1,770.32$
Service NamesPrices
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)2.20$
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)80.00$
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)2.50$
Taxi 1 mile (Normal Tariff)4.02$
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)35.00$
Gasoline (1 gallon)2.30$
Food NamesAvg. Food Prices
Milk (regular), (1 gallon)3.02$
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb)2.44$
Rice (white), (1 lb)1.71$
Eggs (regular) (12)1.97$
Local Cheese (1 lb)4.15$
Chicken Fillets (1 lb)3.05$
Beef Round (1 lb) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)5.95$
Apples (1 lb)2.44$
Banana (1 lb)0.66$
Oranges (1 lb)2.41$
Tomato (1 lb)1.94$
Potato (1 lb)1.40$
Onion (1 lb)1.32$
Lettuce (1 head)1.18$
Water (1.5 liter bottle)1.53$
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)12.00$
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)2.06$
Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle)1.94$
Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)7.49$
Service NamesAvg. Prices
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult42.53$
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend)25.33$
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat12.00$

Data sourced from numbeo.com

Con: traffic congestion can be a bit of an issue

Charlotte, like many other major metropolitan areas, has an issue with traffic congestion. Although the rush hour is not nearly as severe as you would find in Seattle or New York City, commuters still have a hard time getting from work to home each day. The average time the commuters spend on the road in Charlotte is 26 minutes. If you opt to live in the city, it may be worth test-driving your commute so that you know how long you’ll need to be in the vehicle.

Median Charlotte Commuting Time Median U.S. Commuting Time
25.9 Minutes26.9 Minutes
Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Means of Transportation to Work/SchoolPercentage %
Car91.07%
Bus0.00%
Train/Metro0.00%
Bike0.00%
Walking3.57%
Working from Home5.36%

Data sourced from numbeo.com – Jul 2021

Pro: the job market in the city is on an upwards trajectory

With a median salary that is greater than the U.S. average and an unemployment rate of 4.9% in 2017, Charlotte has an appealing job market that draws in professionals from all over the nation. Two of the top employers in the city are Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Other employers with company headquarters in Charlotte include Lowe’s and American Airlines.  

There are plenty of jobs in the Finance and Insurance field and the Health Care and Social Work industry. Tech is also becoming much more focused in Charlotte, with companies like Amazon setting up several warehouses in the city.

Con: mosquitoes can be a nuisance

Because Charlotte experiences a somewhat temperate climate, mosquitoes can be a nuisance, especially if you live in the city all year long. The presence of these critters is particularly noticeable during the hot, humid months of summer. This season is a cause for concern with insects, especially since there isn’t much breeze to provide relief. You will want to avoid being outside during the early hours of the morning or late in the evening to avoid being targeted by these insects. Other effective solutions to keep mosquitoes at bay include:

  • wear long sleeves and use an effective insect repellent to protect yourself and your loved ones
  • use fine mesh screens in all open windows and doors.
  • Get rid of standing water to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds.

Pro: there are plenty of educational opportunities in the city

Living in Charlotte 2
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Sourced: via twenty20)

Charlotte is a popular relocation option with families due to the quality of education in the city. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg area is the most expansive school district in the Charlotte metropolitan area, including 169 schools and around 150,000 students K-12.

Charlotte places high importance on higher learning institutions, with colleges like Davidson, UNCC, NC State, Duke, University of North Carolina, and Wake Forest, all within a couple of hours’ drive. These in-state colleges all offer quality learning for Charlotte residents.

Con: religion is a way of life in charlotte

If you are not religious, then relocating to Charlotte may prove to be quite an adjustment. The city has strong religious beliefs – Elevation Church has nine different satellite congregations throughout Charlotte and another nine in the various communities throughout the state. It is one of the biggest church groups in the United States, with far-reaching influence in the city. 

You’ll also find the Billy Graham Library in the city. If you don’t mind spirituality, then this may not be a huge concern. Otherwise, you will want to brace yourself for the Christian community you’ll undoubtedly encounter living in the city.

Pro: there are several ways to get around charlotte even without a vehicle

Living in Charlotte - 3
Morning run Charlotte, NC (Sourced: via twenty20)

Charlotte offers you several different modes of transport to use to get around the city if you don’t plan on driving. The Charlotte Area Transportation Service (CATS) provides several bus routes throughout the city and a convenient airport shuttle. A high-speed rail system stops in different locations in the city known as the Lynx Light Rail.

Another option is to rent a bicycle for your commuting needs, which you can do daily, or purchase the more affordable annual pass. Run by B-Cycle, it is one of the most significant urban bike-sharing systems in the region.

Con: charlotte is prone to natural disasters 

If you decide to start living in Charlotte, there is a chance that you might experience natural disasters such as floods. North Carolina has an extensive history of storms,  especially during the season that runs from June until the end of November. Even though Charlotte is located about 200 miles from Myrtle Beach, it is still prone to flooding and often takes the brunt of the storm’s impact.

There is a secondary issue with this downside since the city often serves as the evacuation point for coastal residents in North Carolina and South Carolina. If a hurricane is strong enough, it can displace as many as tens of thousands of people.

Pro: plenty of outdoor locations to explore in charlotte

Lake Norman
Lake Norman NC (Sourced: via twenty20)

Charlotte is only a couple of hours from the mountains or the beach, which means you have two vastly different yet equally exciting outdoor settings to choose from. There are also plenty of outdoor sites that are not too far from the city to make for the perfect day trip. Here are some great options:

  1. US National Whitewater Center 

This is an outdoor recreation and athletic training facility located just west of the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. The facility sits on 1300 acres of land adjacent to the Catawba River. 

It provides various outdoor thrills to those of all skill levels – you can go white water rafting, mountain bike over 45 miles of well-developed trails, and then take in the scenery on one of the many walking trails, all within the same day. Other activities include rock climbing, canoeing, and ice skating.  After a long day of adrenaline-pumping activity, you can unwind with their River Jam concert series, held during the summer.

  1. Lake Norman

Lake Norman is an ideal getaway for a sunny afternoon or weekend for water sport enthusiasts and those looking for a fun and relaxing time by the water. This 34-mile-long body of water is located just an hour north of Charlotte. You can bring your boat, kayak, jet skis, or paddleboards and have a good time. You can also opt to sunbathe on one of the several beaches or enjoy a picnic in the nearby State Park.

Con: population overgrowth has resulted in the reduction in the number of parks and green space

Because more and more people are flocking Charlotte each year, the parks and green spaces available in and around the city are starting to shrink. The infrastructure of the city is also struggling to keep up with everyone who wants to be here. That said, there are efforts to expand the city with minimal impacts on the natural surroundings.

Pro: charlotte has a vibrant nightlife scene

Living in Charlotte - 4
Fillmore concert Charlotte, NC (Sourced: via twenty20)

Charlotte has a great nightlife scene that is worth experiencing at least once. 

The nightlife scene in the city center includes a wide variety of bars, clubs, restaurants, pubs, and live music. Music lovers are spoilt for choice – whether it’s rock, country, jazz, hip-hop, or bluegrass, you’ll find it playing in Charlotte. You can often hear live music playing when you walk down some of the streets in the city. Each venue offers a distinct vibe, so you may find yourself hopping from one hotspot to another to immerse yourself in the city’s culture fully.

Con: the air quality in charlotte is poor

The poor air quality in Charlotte is attributed to a combination of PM2.5 and ozone pollution. In 2019, Charlotte exceeded the federal attainment limits for both pollutants. While the city has failed to meet ozone standards consistently in recent years, its failure to meet annual PM2.5 targets was out of the ordinary. Except for 2019, Charlotte has managed to stay within the federal attainment levels for PM2.5 since 2010.

The burgeoning population in Charlotte has brought about new construction as new residential units, and office buildings rise to meet the demand. Additionally, Charlotte has also become an important trucking and freight transportation hub for the East Coast. While these changes contribute to the increasing emissions and present challenges to lowering pollution levels, long-standing emission sources in Charlotte comprise the largest portion of city-wide pollution.

Best month to visit Charlotte, NC

April, May, June, July, August, September, October.

Charlotte, NC Temperatures table

MonthTemp. Low. Avg.Temp. High Avg.
Jan30℉52℉
Feb36℉57℉
Marc39℉63℉
Apr50℉73℉
May59℉81℉
Jun68℉88℉
Jul70℉90℉
Aug68℉88℉
Sep63℉84℉
Oct52℉75℉
Nov39℉63℉
Dec37℉57℉

Data sourced from numbeo.com

Pro: although it’s a metropolitan area, it has a small-town feel

Charlotte may be a rapidly growing city, but it still has that small-town charm. As a resident, you’ll come across locals who are passionate about making the city a great place to live. The residents are also welcoming and friendly, making getting around in the city a newbie a bit easier.

Pro: a thriving beer and wine scene

Charlotte is largely invested in the beer and wine scene, with many breweries and excellent vineyards.

Some great breweries worth checking out include: 

  • Legion Brewing 
  • Triple C Brewing
  • Catawba Brewing
  • Birdsong Brewing

A couple of the Charlotte area vineyards you may want to explore include Stony Mountain Vineyards, Dennison Vineyards, and Vesuvius Vineyards.

Final thoughts

Charlotte is quickly becoming the go-to city to relocate to for many people. It offers many advantages, including a lower cost of living, job opportunities, and plenty of outdoor spaces to explore. However, it’s also important to keep in mind the downsides of living in the city – if you can get past the traffic congestion, surging population, and mosquitoes, Charlotte may be just the place for you.

Charlotte compared to other cities (June 2021 rent price data from Zumper national rent report)

CitiesStudio1-BR Avg. Rent 2-BR Avg. Rent 3-BR Avg. RentMedian Home PricesMedian Household Income
Charlotte$1,282$1,277$1,477$1,762$296,603$62,817
Chicago$1,039$1,400$1,750$2,223$296,603$58,247
Columbus$677$901$1,091$1,525$208,768$53,745
Denver$1,203$1,446$1,935$2,583$543,544$68,592
Houston$1,265 $1,192$1,521$1,761 $222,540 $52,338
Indianapolis$864$921$993$1,399$187,628$45,670
Jacksonville$764$991$1,198$1,683$236,615$54,701
Philadelphia$1,070$1,341$1,693$1,882$221,996$45,927
Phoenix$962$1,103$1,392$2,046$350,077$57,459
San Antonio$893$950$1,184$1,572$221,886$52,455
San Diego$1,603$1,921$2,558$3,374$829,062$79,673
Seattle$1,195$1,594$2,056$2,923$863,058$92,263
Washington$1,663$2,129$3,033$3,499$692,178$86,420
Data sourced from Zumper national rent report and the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Melanie Asiba

Melanie is an author. She enjoys traveling, reading and trying out new things. In addition to writing for Apartment ABC. Connect with her at [email protected]

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