Located in the North Carolina Research Triangle, Durham is a mid-sized city with plenty of parks and access to recreational facilities and activities. New arrivals moving to Durham will have access to all the big-city conveniences but still experience a small-town feel, where the local community is tight-knit yet welcoming.  

Whether newcomers are moving to Durham for the many job prospects, excellent healthcare or good schools, the quality of life in the city is unrivalled, and Durham continues to attract newcomers from all over the US and further afield.

Cost of living in Durham 

Thanks to a robust labour market with many high-paying jobs, the cost of living in Durham is relatively affordable for its residents. Accommodation costs in the city are 9 percent above the national average, but homes in Durham offer great value. Most of the city's homes are on secluded, beautiful tree-lined streets, while still boasting quick access to the city's amenities.

Another considerable expense facing new residents in Durham is transportation costs, as the city is essentially car-dependent. While public transport is available, it is considered inefficient, and newcomers living in more suburban areas may have limited access to a bus station.  

Fortunately, utilities are affordable, so this is an area where newcomers can save. Groceries are also priced similarly to the rest of the country. While good healthcare in Durham is largely accessible, it is expensive. New arrivals are encouraged to purchase comprehensive health insurance to help cover unexpected healthcare costs.  

Getting around in Durham 

Getting around in Durham can be challenging. The city is mainly car-dependent and has a growing population, contributing to grid-locked rush-hour traffic. That said, Durham still has an average commute time of under 25 minutes.  

The City of Durham offers two fixed public bus routes throughout Durham and the greater Triangle area. GoDurham provides bus routes to Durham's commercial centres and several residential areas, available Monday to Saturday, with shorter hours on Sunday. GoTriangle buses connect Durham to Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Apex, and Cary.  

Newcomers looking for healthier and more sustainable travel methods can use bikes and electric scooters to get around the city. Thanks to the efforts of Bike Durham, an advocacy group for sustainable transportation in the city, the local government continues to invest in more cycling and pedestrian infrastructure. Two private companies, Bird and Spin, allow residents to rent an electric scooter or bike daily, monthly or annually. 

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Healthcare in Durham 

Famously known as the 'City of Medicine', Durham is home to more than 300 health-related companies. Duke University Hospital is ranked as North Carolina's top hospital and among the best in the US. The hospital is a teaching healthcare facility best known for offering top-tier cancer care, lung disease management, and neurosurgery, all underpinned by a commitment to exceptional patient care. 

The UNC hospitals are also highly rated. These hospitals have developed cutting-edge treatments using the latest technologies. The UNC Family Medicine Centre at Durham offers specialised sports medicine and primary care.  

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Schools in Durham 

Part of the Durham Public Schools district, Durham has many exceptional schooling options. Parents will find everything from magnet and private schools to renowned higher education institutions in Durham.  

Public schools in Durham cater for children of diverse abilities, with the district's exceptional education programmes tailoring lessons to students' individual needs. Private schools are ideal for parents seeking alternative educational approaches and curricula.  

Most private schools in Durham teach the American curriculum through a religious lens. International Montessori School makes use of Montessori principles to educate children from 18 months to 12 years. Duke School is a nationally renowned independent school offering tuition from pre-school to middle school. The school prides itself on employing pioneering approaches like project-based learning to drive holistic student development.  

Although Durham has no international schools, the nearby Montessori School of Raleigh is the only Montessori high school in North Carolina that teaches the globally recognised International Baccalaureate programme.  

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Weather in Durham  

The weather in Durham is one of the city's biggest drawcards, as it experiences relatively mild weather patterns. The climate in Durham is categorised as subtropical humid, with cold winters, hot and humid summers, and mild autumn and spring seasons.  

The average winter temperature in Durham is 53°F (12°C), with January being the coldest month of the year. Though rare, heavy snowfall can occur in winter. Summers in the city can be muggy, with average highs reaching 88°F (31°C).  

Working in Durham 

As part of North Carolina's Research Triangle, along with Chapel Hill and Raleigh, Durham is home to a thriving job market. Newly arrived Durham residents with skills and experience in the science and technical industries will find plenty of job opportunities. Companies like Apple, Cisco, Meta and Google have bases in the Triangle area. As the 'City of Medicine', many of Durham's major employers are in the healthcare industry.

The unemployment rate in Durham generally remains below the national average, indicating a strong job market. Other major employment industries include the education and service sectors.  

Accommodation in Durham 

The housing market in Durham is growing, with homes remaining on the market for less than two months on average. Newcomers moving to Durham will have access to various properties, including condos, single-family homes, waterfront homes, and luxury homes complete with golf courses.  

Downtown Durham is undergoing revitalisation, with its industrial districts like Brightleaf and the American Tobacco Historic District attracting young professionals who love craft breweries and exciting restaurants. Many professionals and young new arrivals base themselves in Parkwood. 

Parkwood has apartments, townhouses, and single-family homes perched on tree-lined streets. The best part about living in Parkwood is the suburb's proximity to the Research Triangle through the I-40 highway.  

Families looking for spacious lots can explore neighbourhoods such as Forest Hills and Fairfield. These homes are a little further from the downtown centre but offer a beautiful and peaceful rural setting. For more affordable family homes, Northgate Park has plenty of options, with many fantastic amenities to keep children entertained.  

Fitness-loving families and outdoor enthusiasts will love living in Woodcroft. The suburb is a master-designed community with six miles (10km) of hiking, walking, and cycling trails. The Woodcroft Club golf course and community pool cater to residents' recreational needs. 

Lifestyle in Durham 

Durham is one of North Carolina's most diverse cities, offering its residents many friendly communities and a lifestyle that caters to people from all walks of life. Sports, performing arts, and fitness lovers will find plenty to see and do while the city continues developing its image as a foodie destination.

As an American college town, it's natural that Durham's residents are sports fanatics, with basketball and football being the city's most popular sports. The Durham Bulls are the city's minor league baseball team, and residents can head to Downtown Durham to watch a game. It's also easy to catch the Carolina Hurricanes playing professional games at the PNC Arena in Raleigh.  

Durham's arts and culture scene is thriving, with the performing arts taking centre stage. Music lovers will have no shortage of live concerts in Durham. The Blue Note Grill, Motorco Music Hall, and The Pinhook are some of the city's most popular live music venues. Theatre lovers moving to Durham can enjoy Broadway musicals at the Durham Performing Arts Centre.  

Gourmands and craft beer lovers typically spend their weekends congregating in Brightleaf to enjoy Durham's fantastic restaurants. Those with an adventurous palate are in for a treat, as Brightleaf boasts everything from Southern cuisine to Mexican and Ethiopian restaurants.  

Home to more than 60 parks, Durham is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The young and old will have plenty of opportunities to get outside, with many playgrounds, dog parks, hiking and cycling trails available. Nearby Lake Michie and Little River Lake are the perfect spots for fishing and boating. The North Carolina coast and the Blue Ridge mountains are each less than three hours away by car.

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