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The Surprising Reality of Moving to North Carolina: Cost of Living and Diversity Challenges

North Carolina

Tara Theden-Hart decided to move to another state after 62 years in California. Despite considering Tennessee and Florida, she and her family chose moving to North Carolina due to its lush scenery and hands-off government.

“We fell in love with how spacious, free, and affordable it is here,” Theden-Hart said to Insider.

For $350,000, Theden-Hart purchased a three-bedroom home in Salisbury, North Carolina – a 35,760-person town between Greensboro and Charlotte.

Her property tax bill has not yet been received, but she expects it to be significantly lower than her California bill.

“My property taxes won’t be anything,” she said. “They won’t even be close to what they were in California, which were about $5,000 to $6,000.”

Moving to North Carolina isn’t the only choice for Theden-Hart.

Between July 2021 and July 2022, North Carolina added 133,088 new residents, ranking third behind Texas and Florida.

A broker at Charlotte’s Finest Properties, who said North Carolina has seen a lot of movement. It has great weather, is close to the mountains and the beach, and has an excellent airport so it is easily accessible throughout the country.”

From its natural scenery to its lack of diversity, North Carolina stands out among recent movers.

North Carolina has better weather, according to a Californian

A lot of people moving to North Carolina for better weather, but after living in Big Bear, where snowfall averages 67 inches per year, Theden-Hart prefers the climate in North Carolina.

She said, “It’s very different. You don’t have to shovel rain and you don’t have to shovel sunshine.” So we picked a place where it didn’t snow.

She described herself as an American history buff and was drawn to Salisbury’s connection to the past.

“It’s really a beautiful place,” she said. “Everyday I just go, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I live here.'”

She paid $350,000 for her three-bedroom home in North Carolina, and it’s about 75 years old. Theden-Hart also pointed out the beauty of the houses in Salisbury, and their history.

The lack of diversity in food in North Carolina has been hard for her to adjust to.

It’s hard to find some things I’m used to eating in California, she said, such as artichokes. They’re everywhere in California. Here, they’re out of reach.”

For this relocator, starry skies rival city skylines

Also moving from California to North Carolina was Rochelle Woodruff, a coding manager.

She settled in Caswell County, a Virginia-border town 45 miles north of Greensboro, after moving last May from Newcastle, a small town about 30 miles up the interstate from Sacramento.

It’s not for me to live in the city,” Woodruff said. “I love the country life. I like being out here without a lot of people or traffic, and all that fun stuff that goes with it.”

Leaving California was mainly because of politics. The characteristics of North Carolina better align with Woodruff’s values, like “parental involvement in schools, the ability to have a voice in your community, and being more free.”

She traded her three-bedroom, 900-square-foot house in California for a three-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot house in North Carolina. North Carolina’s mortgage payment is about $100 more than California’s.

Natural beauty is one of prime reason for her moving to North Carolina.

“Even though we were far from the city in California, there was still a light filter in the middle of the night so it was never really dark,” she said. “The stars are absolutely beautiful when it’s dark here.”

Activities can be enjoyed year-round thanks to the forgiving winters

The natural beauty of North Carolina also attracted Alexandra Shaw.

I remember the first time I came in early October 2019, Shaw told Insider. “I had never flown into a city with so many trees before.”

In April 2022, Shaw and her husband, who works in pharmaceuticals, moved to the Raleigh suburb of Cary from the UK.

North Carolina’s mild winters encourage Shaw to engage in more outdoor activities than she would in the UK.

It’s nice to be able to enjoy the whole year instead of always wondering when summer will arrive,” she said.

Currently, Shaw and her husband do not have credit and are unable to buy a home. They are renting a three-bedroom house, and Shaw says the rent is five times as expensive as their mortgage in England.

The state of North Carolina still holds a special place in Shaw’s heart.

It’s just nice to be part of a community that’s a mix of locals who’ve seen the growth and also people like us,” she said. “It’s my first time feeling part of a community as an adult.”

North Carolina was so appealing to an Ohio man that he moved there twice

In 2012, John Yuschak moved from Columbus, Ohio, to Raleigh, North Carolina. Five years later, he moved back to Ohio, but missed North Carolina’s weather.

Yuschak told Insider that after three more winters in Ohio, he and his family decided to return to North Carolina. “We’ve been here ever since.”

Yuschak recently moved to Lillington, a small town about 30 miles south of Raleigh, where he bought a three-bedroom, 2,700-square-foot house for $259,000.

Raleigh’s tech scene was a major factor in Yuschak’s decision to return to North Carolina as an engineering manager.

The technical sector is a very forgiving area, he said. “You can lose your job today and be working somewhere else in a week or two.”

His first stint in North Carolina was spent in Charlotte, but he preferred the Raleigh area.

“It’s a lot more open and inviting than Charlotte,” he said. “Charlotte is much more guarded. It just didn’t have that open feel.”

A couple moved to North Carolina expecting a cheaper lifestyle, but are leaving after only a year

It won’t be long before Cielo De Jose and William Scott leave Charlotte.

De Jose, 37, and Scott, 50, relocated from Riverside, California, in order to escape its high cost of living and experience a different climate.

North Carolina offers four seasons, but they expected higher savings

It’s not as cheap as it seems,” Scott told Insider. “The only thing that’s cheaper is rent and real estate, which is rapidly rising, and gas.”

In addition, they noticed that their wages were significantly lower than they were in California, which did not reduce their cost of living.

As a hospice nurse at one of Charlotte’s largest hospitals, De Jose said, “I made over $100,000 in California, but here I will make about $70,000.”

Scott and De Jose gave it a try, but ultimately decided to move back out west.

Scott said, “We are finding that our experience of living in Charlotte is very different from what it appeared on paper. In truth, we won’t stay here for long.”

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Editorial Director
I'm Shruti Mishra, Editorial Director @Newsblare Media, growing up in the bustling city of New Delhi, I was always fascinated by the power of words. This love for words and storytelling led me to pursue a career in journalism. In this position, I oversee the editorial team and plan out content strategies for our digital news platform. I am constantly seeking new ways to engage readers with thought-provoking and impactful stories.

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