It must be the verandas: Orange County among the easiest places to live in the U.S. | News

It must be the verandas: Orange County among the easiest places to live in the U.S.


The Triangle is an island of blue in North Carolina's sea of orange. Blue is where the living is easy(ier), according to The New York Times, which mapped the hardest places to live in the U.S. Orange is the land of hardship.
  • Lisa Sorg

Unless you live in Orange County, which ranked 93rd of 3,135 counties in the U.S. That places the home of Hillsborough, Chapel Hill, Carrboro and UNC in the top 3 percent of the country. In other words, with a median household income of $55,000 and a life expectancy of 80.2 years, it's easy to live there. Just look at all the verandas.

The authors evaluated each of the U.S. counties on "education (percentage of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree), median household income, unemployment rate, disability rate, life expectancy and obesity." They then averaged each county’s relative rank in these categories to create an overall ranking.

Wake County came in at 163—and has a life expectancy of 80.6 years, half of which is spent in traffic on I-40. Could that explain the 32 percent obesity rate?

At 231, Chatham County has a low disability rate—0.6 percent. The amount of people with bachelor's degrees—more than a third of residents—buoyed this rural (until Chatham Park is built) county into the top 10 percent in the nation.

A lot of people are moving to Durham County, home of artisan everything, for its cultural and culinary amenities. Well, if you're on the wrong end of the economic divide—and not by choice, but because of generational poverty, then life isn't so cool here. Durham ranked No. 922, with 1.3 percent disability rate, and, despite having two major universities (although Duke is beyond many of our means), only 44.7 percent of residents have at least a bachelor's degree.

The hardest place to live in North Carolina? Halifax County, which 3,089 of 3,133.

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