Chapel Hill Ranks on Best Places to Live List

Post Date:08/06/2010

Franklin Street, Chapel HillChapel Hill ranks as one of the Best Small Cities in America to Live, according to the August 2010 issue of Money Magazine. (

This year's survey focused on the nation’s small cities, those with populations of 50,000 to 300,000. Chapel Hill ranked 40th on the list.

Money magazine said its reporters crunched reams of data to find the optimal combination of job opportunities, fiscal strength, top-notch schools, low crime, good health care, lots to do, and many other factors that help make a town great for raising a family.

Chapel Hill boasts good education (noting than nearly half of adult residents have a graduate degree), abundance of healthcare jobs, and quality of life advantages.

Lovely in all seasons with woodland wildflowers, greenways and trails, dazzling gardens that bloom in multicolor, Chapel Hill clearly has a thing for nature. Popularly referred to as “the southern part of heaven,” the town is adopting an additional description that embraces its principles of sustainability – “A Town within a Park.”

"With more than 700 acres of parks and additional protected natural areas, locals say it's sometimes easy to forget that you're in an urban area and not in the middle of a forest," according to the Money Magazine article.

The Best Places to Live recognition ties in closely with numerous other rankings that praise the livability of the community. In 2009, Chapel Hill was named “Most Livable City” in America by the Mayors’ City Livability Awards Program. Find a video about this award by searching You Tube and "Chapel Hill Named Most Livable City in America."

In 2009, Chapel Hill was named Top 10 Best Places to Raise Kids by Business Week. One of the most important criteria for determining the Best Place to Raise Your Kids was affordability, said the report’s author, Prashant Gopal. Although the median income of Chapel Hill ($98,873) is above the national average ($50,233), it is still an affordable place to call home.
Clearly still a college town, Chapel Hill touts an exciting nightlife and abundant activities for singles. Earlier this summer, Chapel Hill ranked on CNN Money Magazine’s list of Best Places for the Rich and Single. (

The magazine stated that 50.6 percent of the Chapel Hill population is single, and the median family income is $106,865. Those stats give Chapel Hill ninth place in a list of 25 cities.
“This college town has a lively nightlife, rowdy Tar Heel games and home-style cooking for singles of all ages to enjoy,” the article stated.

Chapel Hill also was named among the Top 15 Cities for People Who Hate Driving and Long Commutes. (  The average commute time in Chapel Hill is about 20 minutes, a full four and half minutes less than the national average. And 26.2 percent of Chapel Hill residents commute without using a car. Chapel Hill Transit buses are free and very convenient to ride all over the community.

The Southern Part of Heaven enjoys top billing in the Top 25 Small Cities for the Arts by American Style Magazine (June 2009). This is a community that clearly supports public art, and it has received national recognition for the caliber of its projects. An environmental art project at Southern Community Park in Chapel Hill was named one of the 2010’s best public art works in the United States by the Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts.

"Elemental Landscape," by Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan, commissioned by the town of Chapel Hill's Public Arts Office, was among the 40 projects named the nation's best in the 2010 Public Art Year in Review.

For a listing of more awards and accolades about Chapel Hill, visit

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