In 2000, my parents moved our family to Raleigh, North Carolina. We have lived in the same house since 2003 and have watched the town grow immensely. I did all of my elementary and secondary schoolings in Raleigh and have spent most of my life there.
I surveyed many people who currently live in Raleigh and those who have moved away to find out why they decided to leave Raleigh. The surveys were over social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook.
17. Homeless Population
With the rise of living costs, the homeless population has gone up 8% since 2016. Raleigh has started to have issues with homeless people and this has affected many beloved parts of town.
What’s even worse is that there is not much that anyone is doing for these people so nothing is getting better.
16. Strange Bugs and Creatures
There are a variety of bugs that exist in Raleigh that do not exist anywhere else. Instead of just one type of moth, there are 247 different types of moths that live in North Carolina. Some are hairy, while some do not have hair, but are the size of your hand.
Raleigh has beautiful bugs like lightning bugs, but also dangerous bugs like ticks. With all of the trees, there are also many ticks. Ticks can carry Lyme’s Disease. It is not deadly but can cause severe medical issues.
A side note about strange creatures in Raleigh is the snakes. In Raleigh, you can easily find venomous snakes such as the copperhead and cottonmouth snakes in your own backyard. I sure have.
15. Poor School Systems
Raleigh is located in Wake County, which is the largest county in the state. With such a large county and it also being the capital of the state, education can struggle with being a priority.
There were never enough textbooks in my classrooms and I always heard stories about how bad the public school system was (and still is) in Raleigh.
If you have children, the failing school system may deter you away from living here.
14. Lack of Arts
As the capital of the state, you would think there would be a great art community, but unfortunately, that is not true.
If you want to see a show such as a musical, you would actually have to drive twenty minutes (without traffic) west to Durham.
There is a small performing center, but the major productions are done at DPAC, which is in Durham.
Red Hat Amphitheater is a small, outdoor location for smaller artists to perform. If you are wanting to see bigger artists, you will have to travel twenty minutes (without traffic) out of downtown to the PNC Arena.
While there are options to find some performances, they are spread far apart and will take a bit to travel there.
13. No Large Sports Teams
If you are a fan of college sports, you are in a great spot. You have NC State right in town, with Duke thirty minutes away, and UNC fairly close as well.
But, if you are a fan of professional sports, you are in trouble. The Panthers, North Carolina’s NFL team is almost three hours away. North Carolina’s NBA team, the Charlotte Hornets, is also three hours away.
There are no MLB teams in Raleigh, but there are many minor league teams within thirty minutes of Raleigh. Raleigh does have an NHL team, the Carolina Hurricanes, so you are in luck there, but that is about it.
For those not used to the Raleigh trees, they can be quite claustrophobic.
Raleigh is the City of Oaks, so there are many trees in this city. With all of the trees, it is hard to tell where you are, so you could easily get lost and confused.
This is also confusing because Raleigh does not use a grid system for their streets, but that is another story for another day.
With any city there is traffic, but Raleigh does not have many roads to spread out the traffic, so at rush hour, you will get stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Also, since there is no real public transportation, everyone has to drive in and out of the city, adding to the traffic.
If you choose to live outside the city, you will find that you won’t waste your time sitting, basically parked, on the highway.
10. Lack of Public Transportation
As mentioned above, there is no real public transportation.
Raleigh has a bus system, but it is rather unreliable. The R-Line is Downtown Raleigh’s bus service, which runs every 15 minutes, but only has two buses.
There are no trams or a track system, so if you need public transportation, you have to rely on the bus.
As the City of Oaks, Raleigh comes with a lot of trees. This means there is also a lot of pollen.
If you do not know what pollen is, consider yourself lucky. Pollen is a yellow powder that floats around during springtime when flowers are starting to bloom.
The thing about pollen though is it gets everywhere. It covers your car to the point that when you shut your car door, pollen falls off because there is so much.
When it is pollen season, there is a yellow tint to everything. The sky, the trees, everything.
Many people have pollen allergies, which makes springtime absolutely miserable. Your eyes get red and itchy, while you are uncontrollably sneezing.
Pollen season is something that the people of Raleigh have to suffer through every year, and I truly mean suffer. You are not a true North Carolinian if you have not suffered from pollen allergies.
With all of the traffic and people driving, it makes sense that Raleigh road conditions are poor.
The issue though is that Raleigh does not take care of its roads. There are many potholes that have never been filled.
I have personally seen a pothole that has taken up the whole lane. Luckily no one was in the other lane, so I swerved into that lane.
Also, the lanes are very narrow. When you are trying to drive with cars next to you in the other lane, it can be scary.
There are always accidents on the roads and since the lanes are small there is not much of a shoulder to pull over in. So, the accident takes up the whole lane, causing a lot of traffic back up.
7. Conservative People
Now, do not get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with conservative people, but it is something to think about before moving there.
Since Raleigh is in the South, there are many people who are stuck in the past and struggle to think progressively. Some people have said a reason they struggle with Raleigh is that it is not progressive, so marijuana is still not legalized there, even though many cities and states have legalized it.
There is also a “we vs. them” mindset with the city and rural towns. Raleigh is growing quickly while the smaller towns around are still in the country, which creates a divide.
If you ask anyone in Raleigh, they will talk about how you could have all four seasons in one day.
You could wake up with it being in the 30s and have to wear a sweater, but when you go out for your lunch break, it is already in the 60s. Just as you think about thinking it is getting warm, it will start to rain and will cool off again. Then, as you are leaving to go home from work, it will be 70 and sunny. That is just Raleigh for you!
Another thing people from Raleigh will tell you about the weather is the afternoon thunderstorm in the summer.
You can pretty much count on a thunderstorm to blow through each summer afternoon because of the heat. And Raleigh thunderstorms are no joke.
The thunder can be loud enough to shake buildings and lightning can start fires. The rain can drop so fast that you have to pull over on the side of the road before you can keep driving.
And these are just every day occurrences.
North Carolina has many natural disasters as well.
Raleigh has seen floods, ice storms, tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes, just to name a few.
Even though Raleigh is in the middle of the state, it is still affected by hurricanes. Most of the time it is just rain and thunderstorms, but sometimes the hurricane will make its way on land and cause severe damage with winds.
Most recently was Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Matthew. If you talk to someone who has lived in Raleigh for a long time though, they will definitely mention Hurricane Fran.
Weather is a huge issue in Raleigh and it will always keep you on your toes.
5. It is Getting Expensive
Many people have moved to Raleigh in the last few years, which is great for those trying to sell their homes, but it has made the housing market expensive.
I know some people whose houses have doubled in price since they have moved in.
With the housing market rising, it also encourages businesses to raise their prices, so Raleigh has become quite expensive.
As mentioned above, many people are moving to Raleigh. It has gotten to the point though that Raleigh is now overpopulated.
Traffic is terrible, everything is expensive, and it is crowded.
Raleigh was not expected to grow as fast as it did, so nothing really fits the crowd. The roads were not prepared for the volume of people, so the roads have worn down immensely.
Raleigh is growing so fast that the resources are not able to keep up with it.
Parking lots are too small, the roads are small, so both have to expand, which causes construction traffic. It is just a headache.
3. Lack of Nightlife
For a town that is quickly growing, there is a lack of nightlife.
There are not many clubs in Raleigh or really anything to do in the evenings in Raleigh. A lot of places close early, so there is not anything open to go to at night.
While Raleigh is fairly safe, there are some areas that scary to walk in at night. Raleigh has a crime rate that is higher than 59% of the state’s cities and towns.
For those wanting things to do after work, Raleigh may not be the best choice.
Building upon that there really is no nightlife in Raleigh, there is not much to do in the day either.
You can visit the museums and walk around downtown and that is about it. There are restaurants, but nothing really to write home about.
One of the biggest things I heard when surveying people from Raleigh was that there is nothing to do in Raleigh. There is not a cool district or area for millennials, which makes it boring.
If Downtown Raleigh upped its style a bit more, it would be fun. There is only so much you can do before you have done it all and are stuck with the question, “Now what?“
The number one thing I heard about Raleigh when surveying the locals was how terrible the humidity is.
From April to September (sometimes October) Raleigh is immensely humid. It is the kind of humid that when you walk outside to check your mail, you are soaked in sweat by the time you get back inside.
You are never dry during the summer months because it is so humid. The only way to survive is to have a really good AC unit.
Humidity prevents sweat from evaporating, which makes you feel hotter. This makes summers in Raleigh miserable because it is already 95 degrees Fahrenheit out.
If being sweaty was not bad enough, humidity also makes you sticky. When sweat does not evaporate, it becomes sticky. So you are hot, sweaty, and sticky, which is the worst combination if you ask me.
The humidity will make your hair frizzy, no matter what products you use. It is almost impossible to keep your hair from frizzing in Raleigh humidity.
With humidity comes mosquitos and other pesky pests. They thrive in warm, wet, sticky air, so humidity is perfect for mosquitos and gnats. Adding annoying bugs flying around you to the hot, sweaty mess of humidity is enough to drive someone mad.
We hope this post has informed you about life in Raleigh and helps you with your decision of moving to Raleigh or not.
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