North Carolina city view

12 Most Liberal Cities in North Carolina in 2023

Most Liberal Cities in North Carolina

Visiting a variety of cities and small towns in North Carolina was an amazing, but eye-opening experience. Although the state is widely recognized as red, there are some places that seriously lean to the left. 

There places are appealing for people who share left-leaning political, social and economic ideals. This detailed article provides a list of the 12 most liberal cities in North Carolina.

However, there are several interpretations for the term “liberal”. It usually refers to everything from progressive politics to a vibrant arts scene. The criteria used for establishing this ranking included voting trends, diversity indexes, LGBTQ+ rights, environmentally friendly practices and other social considerations.

This article should serve as a guide whether you’re considering relocating or simply want to learn more about North Carolina’s political climate.

Want to know the most liberal cities in Pennsylvania? Click here.

12. Asheville

Cultural Beacon in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Asheville city view
View of the large buildings in Asheville, NC.

So is Asheville NC Liberal? Yes! Asheville, a thriving city situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is well-known for its creative culture, historic buildings and liberal viewpoints. Numerous progressive community groups are based in the city, and its residents are well-renowned for their action on issues including social justice and environmental sustainability. Asheville is one of the most liberal mountain towns in North Carolina, and has voted liberal in the last 4 presidential elections [1].

Progressive initiatives like its dedication to renewable energy are examples of how Asheville’s political leanings are apparent. By 2030, the city plans to use only renewable energy sources [2]. The liberal city is best shown by Asheville’s strong sense of community, diverse culture and environmental activities. When I spoke to citizens in the city, the majority were pleased with the strategies in place to meet these renewable energy goals.

Asheville is also one of the best places to live in North Carolina for black families.

Key Statistics (US Government Census)

Median Age – 39.4 (higher than national average)

Same sex spouse – 0.6%

Ethnic Minorities – 24.2% (lower than national average) [16]

11. Chapel Hill

A Quintessential College Town

View of Chapel Hill North Carolina
Downtown view of Chapel Hill, showing apartment blocks and business centers.

Next on the list of the most liberal cities in North Carolina is Chapel Hill. The University of North Carolina, one of the first public colleges in the United States, is located in Chapel Hill, a center for liberal philosophy and intellectual engagement. The city’s liberal atmosphere is greatly influenced by its students, who frequently support liberal causes like LGBTQ+ rights and racial justice. After touring the campus I could see this with my own eyes.

The city is popular for its steadfast support of environmental practices. It also has an outstanding public transit system. For instance, Chapel Hill Transit offers fare-free bus transportation across the city, lowering carbon emissions and promoting a more inclusive community [3].

Key Statistics

Median Age – 25.6 (much lower than national average, likely due to the University of North Carolina)

Foreign born population – 15.8% (higher than national average) [17]

Ethnic Minorities – 34.5% (higher than national average) [17]

10. Durham

Durham City North Carolina
Skyline view of Durham City, including the Duke Clinical Research Institute.

A Fusion of Southern Charm and Liberal Modernity

Durham, known for its thriving tech economy and revivified downtown, fuses southern charm with contemporary liberal values. Durham supports several projects that promote inclusion and fairness since its population is quite diverse in terms of race and ethnicity.

Durham county had the largest percentage of democratic voters in the last election, with over 80% of voters choosing Joe Biden to lead the nation [4]. When I visited Durham I felt extremely welcomed by the people I met in shops and restaurants.

For instance, the Racial Equity Task Force of the city specializes in developing and putting into action strategies to decrease disparities between races. Durham also has a number of institutions, including Duke and North Carolina Central, whose intellectual environments frequently promote progressive conversation [5].

These reasons make Durhan one of the most liberal areas of North Carolina. 

Key Statistics

Median age – 35 (Lower than national average)

Ethnic Minorities – 57.4% (much higher than national average) [18]

9. Carrboro

A Small Town with a Big Liberal Heart

Carrboro downtown
The Time-Out Restaurant I visited while in Carrboro. The food was delicious.

Carrboro, even if it’s a smaller city, is a shining example of progressive ideals in North Carolina [6]. Carrboro, which is well-known for its active cultural community and steadfast support for small businesses, epitomizes a liberal sense of community. Completely off topic here but the local food was so delicious! Carrboro stood out to me while on the rest of my trip round NC.

The community has remained an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights despite becoming the first in North Carolina to elect an out homosexual mayor. Programs like the yearly Carrboro Energy Fair, which informs residents on energy efficiency and renewable energy show Carrboro’s dedication to sustainability.

Key Statistics

Median Age – 32.6 (Lower than national average) [19]

Ethnic Minorities – 32% (Lower than national average) [20]

8. Raleigh

A Capital City with Progressive Ideals

An aerial view of skyscrapers in Raleigh.

Raleigh, the state’s capital, exemplifies the combination of history with contemporary liberalism. Numerous colleges and information technology companies are located there, which promotes an innovative and forward-thinking environment.

As seen by programs like the Raleigh Human Relations Commission, which advocates for justice and equality for all city residents, Raleigh supports social justice and inclusion [7]. During my trip to the city, it was evident these programs are popular with locals, and help improve equality in the city as time goes on.

The Raleigh Environmental Awards, which honor excellent environmental leadership in the community, are one of the numerous environmental campaigns Raleigh has established.

Key Statistics (

Median Age – 34.6 (Lower than national average)

Ethnic Minorities – 44.5% (Higher than national average) [21]

7. Greensboro

A City with a Rich History of Civil Rights Activism

Greensboro, North Carolina
Aerial view of central Greensboro, including First National Bank Field baseball stadium.

Next on the list of the most liberal cities in North Carolina is Greensboro. The city continues to preserve its tradition of progressive thinking and activism while being historically recognized for the Greensboro Sit-ins, a series of nonviolent protests during the Civil Rights Movement.

It emphasizes on a wide range of social concerns, including racial fairness, environmental justice as well as housing and homelessness. The International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, which is situated where the original Woolworth’s was and where the sit-ins were held, is an example of the city’s steadfast dedication to social justice.

Over 60% of voters in Greensboro voted democratically, showing the large majority of citizens in the area prefer left wing views [8].

Key Statistics (

Median Age – 34.1 (Lower than national average)

Ethnic Minorities – 58.2% (Higher than national average) [22]

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6. Winston-Salem

A Thriving City with Progressive Policies

A bridge leading into Winston-Salem city center.

Another liberal bastion in North Carolina is Winston-Salem, a city renowned for its robust cultural scene and progressive politics. Winston-Salem promotes a friendly and compassionate community because to its diverse population. It also has a municipal administration that is dedicated to equity and inclusion.

Over recent years, Winston-Salem’s liberal voice has grown. Throughout most of the 21st century, the city has swayed from right to left, and the last 2 elections has seen the democrats dominate [9].

The Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, a pioneer in medical research and patient care and the valued healthcare programs of Winston-Salem State University are located in the city, which also has a modern approach to healthcare.

Key Statistics (

Median Age – 35.9 (Lower than national average)

Ethnic Minorities – 49% (Higher than national average) [23]

5. Charlotte

A Metropolis with a Liberal Pulse

Charlotte North Carolina.
The road leading into Charlotte’s business district.

The largest city in North Carolina, Charlotte, has recently seen a change toward more liberal viewpoints and policies. Charlotte, which is well-known for its thriving nightlife and financial industry, also takes pride in its diversity and inclusion.

Every year, the city holds the Charlotte Pride Festival in honor of the LGBTQ+ community, drawing hundreds of thousands of attendees. This was a wonderful event to attend, and showed me first hand that the city is extremely welcoming, and has people from all walks of life.

Charlotte has also made great progress in sustainability, announcing a Strategic Energy Action Plan that aims to make the city carbon-free by 2050 [10].

Charlotte is one of the most liberal cities in NC because it has stood liberal even with the sea of red around it [11].

Key Statistics 

Median Age – 34.5 (Lower than national average)

Ethnic Minorities – 55.3% (Higher than national average) [24]

4. Boone

A Mountain Town with Liberal Leanings

Boone County view
Aerial view of a stunning country cottage in Boone.

Moving up the list of the most blue cities in North Carolina is Boone. Boone is a small mountain town with a sizable liberal population. Based in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Boone is one of the liberal mountain towns you should consider relocating to. It is home to Appalachian State University, and the population of students has a significant impact on the political atmosphere in Boone.

It’s a community that supports social justice and sustainability. Boone’s farmers markets, community co-op and yearly Earth Day events emphasize the town’s dedication to local and sustainable business practices, two fundamental principles of the liberal perspective on life [12].

Boone is one of the most liberal towns in North Carolina that’s extremely welcoming. You’ll fit right in with your liberal values.

Key Statistics 

Median Age – 20.9 (much lower than national average)

Ethnic Minorities – 9% (much lower than national average) [25]

3. Davidson

An Intellectual Hub with Progressive Values

Downtown Davidson
Street view of downtown Davidson, including the infamous Raeford’s Barber Shop.

The 3rd most liberal city in North Carolina is Davidson A small town where Davidson College is located, is a hub of liberal thinking and intellectual curiosity. Students and locals frequently had conversations with me on social justice, environmental issues and other progressive matters.

The extensive bicycle infrastructure and its farmers market promoting regional, organic products show the community’s dedication to sustainability [13]. When I visited I could see the bicycle roots were regularly used by students to get about the town.

Key Statistics 

Median Age – 39.6 (Higher than national average) 

Ethnic Minorities – 17% (much lower than national average) [26]

2. Fayetteville

A Military Town with a Heart for Diversity and Inclusion

Downtown Fayetteville, NC
View of downtown Fayetteville including the Systel Office building.

Fayetteville, which is home to Fort Bragg, is well-recognized for being a military community. However, the city also demonstrates a dedication to inclusiveness and diversity. The city hosts events like the International Folk Festival, which celebrates cultural variety. I was lucky enough to attend the 45th year of this festival, which was still very well attended considering the bad weather.

Fayetteville also has a Human Relations Commission, whose mission is to promote understanding and respect in the community.

For more of the best places to live near Fort Brag, check out this article, which covers areas within a 1 hour drive of the military installation.

It is impressive that even though Fayetteville has military roots, the area has voted liberal in every election since 2008 [14].

Key Statistics 

Median Age – 30.5 (Lower than national average) 

Ethnic Minorities – 65% (much higher than national average) [27]

1. Wilmington – Most Liberal City in North Carolina

A Coastal City with a Commitment to Sustainability

View of Wilmington alongside the riverside.

Wilmington, which is located on the Cape Fear River, blends the elegance of the coast with  progressive principles. The city supports sustainability and has initiated a number of eco-friendly programs, including an extensive recycling program. Furthermore, Wilmington encourages inclusion by supporting celebrations of the LGBTQ+ community like the Wilmington Pride Festival.

Wilmington is one of the only liberal beach towns in North Carolina. There really aren’t many other liberal parts of North Carolina on the coast. North Carolina liberal cities are hard to find, so this is really your only choice if you want to live close to the beach.

Wilmington is one of the most liberal NC cities as it is the only liberal area in New Hanover County [15]. Its’ citizens have managed to keep a hold of their liberal status and held off the large areas of red around them.

Key Statistics 

Median Age – 37.6 (Slightly lower than national average) 

Ethnic Minorities – 28.5% (lower than national average) [28]

Conclusion – 12 most liberal cities in North Carolina

These 12 most liberal cities in North Carolina provide a fascinating glimpse into the state’s progressive side. Whether you’re a liberal looking for like-minded neighbors, or simply want to learn more about the state’s diverse political environment.

Every city expresses liberal principles in a distinctive way, offering a range of experiences to both locals and visitors. For more information on the 12 most liberal cities in the South of the USA read here.






























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