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Last updated: March 28, 2024 • Traveling Around the World

Living in the City of Wilmington, North Carolina

Many tried to define the city of Wilmington’s essence. Is it a living and breathing reminder of Civil War history, (also) displaying modern-warfare artifacts like the Battleship North Carolina from WW2? Does the city of Wilmington NC qualify as a breathtaking beach resort and trendy tourist hotspot featuring crystal-clear waters and fresh seafood? Or is it an up-and-coming, genuinely metropolitan city with countless economic opportunities? 

Living in Wilmington NC, will provide newcomers with a unique combination of all these things and much more! Let’s check whether the proportion between the pros and cons of living in Wilmington NC, qualifies this extraordinary city as one of the best places to live in the United States

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The city of Wilmington, North Carolina, draws more new residents as we speak.

buildings homes architecture

One thing is sure, the exceptional city of Wilmington NC, from its inception in the 1730s, has known an uninterrupted and steady growth in its population! Today, “The Port City” or “Hollywood of the East” hosts about 118,000 souls, with 12,000 more than in 2010. 

Professional local real estate agents in Wilmington NC, will confirm that their beloved city has become a trendy relocation destination for various demographics. No wonder it evolved to the eighth most densely-populated city in the state, though it’s far from the most populous US cities.

The city of Wilmington NC, caters to the housing, economic, artistic, cultural, and recreational needs of young and more established professionals, singles, families, and retirees.

Getting up close and personal with the fabulous city of Wilmington, North Carolina

river walk cape fear

You can find the port city of Wilmington in North Carolina’s coastal southeastern region in New Hanover County. Imagine the Atlantic Ocean only about 16,000 feet away! On a larger economic scope, our charming city is a crucial part of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area. 

Wilmington is a beach resort and historic city.

The city of Wilmington NC certainly delivers more than you’d expect from a mid-sized American city. Tourist attractions are aplenty, and the USA Today readers named its legendary riverfront the Best American Riverfront. Besides, Congress designated the place as Coast Guard City in 2003. 

However, Wilmington excels not only as a trendy visitor destination in North Carolina. It is also acclaimed as one of the top historical cities in America. Did you know that The National Trust for Historic Preservation picked The Port City as one of the Dozen Distinctive Destinations in 2008? And that President Trump named Wilmington the number-one WW2 Heritage City in the States. 

You must be familiar with the heroic battleship called USS North Carolina. Here’s your perfect chance to have a front-row seat to inspect it!

Attend the reputable University of North Carolina at Wilmington!

There’s a third reason why moving to Wilmington, North Carolina, won’t seem such a bad idea. Suppose you’re either a graduate or undergraduate student. Or you can be an adult scholar looking to deepen your knowledge. In that case, you couldn’t find a better alternative than the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. 

The university is only one of the more outstanding facilities that have propelled Wilmington and North Carolina into the US elite states for education. It goes without saying that the school is “responsible for” facilitating sports life (go North Carolina Tar Heels and Charlotte 49ers!) and countless cultural events in the city.

Let’s dive deep into the thriving real estate market in the city of Wilmington, North Carolina!

downtown wilmington street

Living in Wilmington NC, is inseparable from its housing market. For example, you might be interested in whether it is worth selling or buying a house in Wilmington. To cut a long story short, the median home sale price was $355,000 in December 2022. Property prices have increased by about two percent since 2021. 

How do local property prices compare to others? Wilmington’s homes for sale are pricier than the North Carolina average by about forty percent. Also, you can purchase real estate in Wilmington NC substantially cheaper than the US average. Simultaneously, on average, you can rent an apartment for seven percent more affordable than in “The Turpentine State.”  

Discover real estate trends in Wilmington throughout the years!

Real estate prices in the city of Wilmington NC follow contemporary economic trends. During the last few years, the housing market has steadily been growing with climbing prices, not considering a few bumps on the road. 

In retrospect, December 2019 marked the perfect timing to invest in a Wilmington asset, as the median sale price was a mere $240,000. At the same time, homebuyers had to pay the most for a house in Wilmington in October 2022 (the median being about $425,000!) 

Asset prices have been dropping since then. Thus, circling back to our original question, we advise buying and investing in Wilmington’s residential and commercial properties in the first quarter of 2023! 

How does the city of Wilmington, North Carolina, hold up regarding its economy?

wilmington usa 8 march

The overall presentation of thriving and living in Wilmington NC, can be completed by shedding light on its impressive economic background. For starters, Wilmington’s 4.3 percent unemployment rate is considerably lower than the national average of six percent. Additionally, the job market will flourish in the upcoming period (see the following section!)

Another pro of living in Wilmington NC is that it’s cheaper than you’d expect. The cost of living is about 3.5% lower than the US average. At the same time, it’s slightly higher than the North Carolina median by six percent. 

How do Wilmington’s salaries hold up to scrutiny, you may wonder. A resident’s average annual income was slightly shy of $30,000 instead of Average Joe’s $28,500. However, a local citizen’s yearly median household earnings were approximately $42,000 instead of the $53,500 national average. Suffice it to say that you won’t regret moving to Wilmington financially.

Building a promising career won’t be a problem in Wilmington, NC!

close hands stack together

As we covered, Wilmington’s local economy is booming. It doesn’t only have commendable low unemployment. But the recent job growth in the city has also increased. 

Moreover, analysts predict an astonishing development in Wilmington’s job market, approximately 37.3 percent, instead of the American median of 33.5 percent in the following ten years. Simply put, jobs in the city of Wilmington NC, will provide every job-hunter with a colorful variety of vacancies.

What are the primary industries shaping Wilmington’’s economy?

The city of Wilmington, North Carolina, features an undisputed industrial base that includes many “moving parts.” The heavy and manufacturing industries produce top-quality telecommunication, electronic, electrical, and medical equipment. Food processing is another leading domain that provides many candidates with well-paying jobs in Wilmington. 

By all means, we must mention the clothing industry, nuclear fuel production, and pharmaceuticals. Did you know that our charming city boasts a nationally acknowledged scientific history by being part of North Carolina’s Research coast?

Tourism is another essential field where you can easily find a profitable job. If we can trust stats, tourists visiting Wilmington spend approximately 24 billion Dollars yearly! No one can say that Wilmington’s proximity to the Ocean, terrific nightlife and trendy entertainment venues don’t pay! 

And the list doesn’t end here! The city of Wilmington NC is the region’s most important seaport. As such, it hosts North Carolina State Ports Authority’s Port in charge of regulating maritime traffic and regional trade. 

What types of jobs are available in Wilmington?

Suppose you wish to provide your company with a head start. In that case, we recommend you join the Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce and be among such elite members as Live Oak Bank.

Let’s look at Wilmington’s vital economic players and top employers! According to Zippia, Pharmaceutical Product Development leads the list, followed by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Interroll (automation products manufacturer.) Wilmington Health, Well care Health, and the AAIPharma Services Corp concluded the top ten list. 

Undoubtedly, you’ll find a career-defining job vacancy at these top Wilmington companies!

Explore the must-do things to do in Wilmington, North Carolina!

public access on the beach

As you’d expect, the city of Wilmington NC, doesn’t fall short of incredible things to do. On the contrary, covering all the trendiest places and most renowned festivals in Wilmington would be impossible. Let’s explore the most notable ones, shall we?

Give in to the outdoor fun on Wilmington Beaches!

The perfect day in Wilmington NC should start by visiting the beach(es.) Wilmington beaches are ideal for improving your surfing, boating, or deep-sea fishing skills. You’ll have three mindblowing beaches: Wrightsville, Kure (the most tranquil one), and Carolina Beach. 

Wrightsville is considered the most popular because it features five-star hotels, exquisite restaurants, and must-see landmarks like Johnnie Mercer’s Fishing Pier.

Carolina Beach is along the Cape Fear River, and Snows Cut Bridge cuts it from the city. Thus, it’s an island with blatantly showy vibes and a great boardwalk. 

Enjoy a refreshing picnic at Airlie Gardens!

Next stop: Airlie Gardens! Discover this fantastic 67-acre botanical garden featuring seasonal flowers and majestic oaks. Besides, this family-friendly place features some genuinely breathtaking outdoor art. Due to the idyllic environment, many couples come here to spend a romantic day to remember. No wonder the Gardens became one of the best places to propose on Valentine’s Day.

Downtown Wilmington is open for fun times!

saturated early morning buildings

Downtown Wilmington is awe-inspiring, and fully appreciating it should take at least a few days! The best way to explore Wilmington’s historical attractions is by hopping on the Trolley Tour. Seeing the historical museums, such as Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens and Zebulon Latimer House, will offer you a precious insight into the region’s progress through time. 

Where to eat, drink, and have fun in Wilmington?

Suppose fun times at the beach and the historical journey used up your batteries. Then, it’s time to taste the best food in town! Did you know that due to its colorful variety of local and national dishes, Wilmington qualifies as one of the most highly-rated food cities in America? On top of our mind, we recommend Indochine, Casey’s Buffet And BBQ, RX Restaurant, and Pop’s Diner.

Nightlife in Wilmington has traditions. For starters, you can choose from the three famous areas: The Wrightsville Beach Bars, Carolina Beach, and Downtown Wilmington. Since we’ve just given the city center a look-see, let’s stick to bars in downtown Wilmington. Cape Fear Beer & Wine, Satellite, Duck and Dive, etc. 

A superb alternative is spending the evening outdoors and attending the Downtown Sundown Concerts during summertime. Beware, though! Local musicians and cover bands create a fantastic atmosphere, and you won’t resist singing along! Through the power of rock’n’roll and audience dedication, the city of Wilmington NC can put even the live music capital of the world to shame.

What are the pros and cons of living in Wilmington, North Carolina?

wrightsville beach view

Living in Wilmington NC, has its fair share of pros and cons. Despite minor bumps, life in Wilmington can be a fun and lucrative experience. Let’s bring you up to speed with the perks and disadvantages of living in Wilmington, NC! Spoiler alert! 

For starters, people in Wilmington are just warm, easy-going, and purely lovable! You can make new acquaintances at Meetup groups, the Azalea festival during spring, or at one of the numerous craft workshops.

The housing market and living costs in the city of Wilmington, NC, won’t leave you penniless.

The most important aspect of living in Wilmington NC is its housing affordability. And “Wilmywood” delivers in this chapter. With licensed realtors’ assistance, you can get your hands on a home in Wilmington on a budget and not feel financially overwhelmed. After a short-termed price surge, properties now cost less, marking an excellent time to invest in Wilmington’s real estate.

Secondly, living costs are also cheaper than in other major or mid-sized American cities. Food, utilities, transportation, and household items cost substantially less than the national average. However, healthcare costs are somewhat higher. The more-than-decent median income of a Wilmington resident can finance housing costs and utility fees. Moreover, you can enjoy the city’s outstanding recreational and entertainment facilities.

To top it all, Wilmington’s job market will reach new heights in the following ten years!

The local cuisine will melt your tastebuds!

shrimps grits cheese chives

Life in Wilmington, NC, revolves around water. For this reason, most exotic culinary dishes include fresh fish and seafood you’ve never heard of before. Wilmington boasts numerous old-school (even 100 years old), country-style culinary establishments. Suppose you wake up craving Southern comfort cuisine. Then, your best should be the Dixie Grill on Market Street, operating since 1906!

Wilmington schools are top-notch.

The city of Wilmington NC provides students and scholars with a first-class education in any domain you can think of. Firstly, you have one of the best state colleges, UNC-Wilmington. Then, we recommend Walter L Parsley Elementary, Isaac M Bear High, and John T Hoggard High as one of the most esteemed schools in North Carolina. All of them feature special extracurricular activities as well.

What disadvantages does life in Wilmington, North Carolina, entail?

wilmington usa road signs

Is the city of Wilmington NC, safe? To be completely honest, Wilmington has to improve its safety. Presently, Wilmington’s crime rates are about twenty percent higher than the state average and almost double the US average. 

For instance, property crime is recurrent. Based on 2022 stats, the chances of becoming a victim was 1 in 32, instead of 1 in 45 in North Carolina. However, you can take effective measures against such instances by implementing the most reliable home security systems.

Secondly, the city traffic can be overwhelming due to a still operating old-school grid system. Thus, traffic jams in Wilmington are something one must get used to before new infrastructure is implemented.

And lastly, Wilmington’s coastal region might be problematic as hurricanes can take you by surprise, especially if a strong storm forms. For this reason, monitoring reliable weather forecasts is a must from June to November. As the hurricane season is knocking on our doors, we advise you to update your home insurance policy!


Living in Wilmington NC, offers locals a suburban feel with cosmopolitan vibes. The Wilmington community is family-friendly and will reach out a helping hand to newcomers. The city of Wilmington NC excels in terms of affordable housing options. People moving to Wilmington will find many vacancies as the job market is picking up impressively. In addition, public schools are also universally acclaimed. 

On the downside, the city of Wilmington NC, isn’t exactly the safest city in the United States. Plus, they need to invest a substantial sum of money in the road infrastructure as traffic congestions are frequent in the city.

Small towns in North Carolina have their own unique and incontestable appeal. However, suppose you’re looking for a place with a more metropolitan touch featuring fair housing and promising economic options. In that case, moving to Wilmington, North Carolina, should be on the top of your list!

What’s your impression of Wilmington NC? Is visiting or living in Wilmington NC worthwhile? Please send us your feedback regarding this unique city in the comment section below! If you enjoyed reading about Wilmington, North Carolina, please share it on social with your friends! And as always, come back for more revealing articles on the best US cities!


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