The second most populous city in North Carolina is also the state’s capital, Raleigh. Raleigh, located in the central part of the state and nicknamed the ‘City of Oaks’, is a planned urban epicenter of culture, arts, and education. As Raleigh has developed rapidly in recent years, condominiums have become one of the most practical and affordable forms of housing in the city. Duplexes, apartment complexes, and multi-family structures of many different sizes have become very popular in Raleigh.
A number of distinctive segments of the metropolitan area divide Raleigh between its residential areas and its more commercial and business districts. While the Downtown is known for its historical architecture and its business sector, the Midtown area of Raleigh is a fairly new development that is both residential and commercial, with major shopping centers such as North Hills and the Crabtree Valley Mall. East Raleigh and West Raleigh are located along the main thoroughfares of the city and are mixed-use districts with some residences and some retail areas. North Raleigh, however, is suburban, expansive, and rapidly growing, with many subdivisions and residential enclaves that are fairly spread out. Finally, Southeast Raleigh, with neighborhoods such as Chastain, Raleigh Country Club, Kingwood Forest, Rochester Heights, and Emerald Village, is home to Shaw University and much recreational and green space for residents to enjoy.
The backbone of the Raleigh economy is made up of banking and finance, professional and business services, electronics and research, government, education, medical sciences and healthcare, retail and commerce, food services, clothing and apparel, and pharmaceuticals. Raleigh is notably part of North Carolina’s Research Triangle and is home to many institutes of medical and technological development. The top employers in Raleigh include the State of North Carolina, the Wake County Public School System, North Carolina State University, WakeMed, Rex Hospital, Red Hat, Wake County, the City of Raleigh, and Progress Energy.