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Charlotte Observer—Getty Images

No. 38

Concord, North Carolina

Over 200 years ago, when two settlements compromised over the location of a county seat, the resulting town was named Concord, meaning “harmony.” Today, Concord tries to live up to that tradition, bringing people together in a pedestrian-friendly downtown that features shops, restaurants, historic buildings, two live theaters, a gourmet chocolatier, and regular events. (The climate is similarly hospitable, with 214 clear days per year.)

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Located about 25 miles outside of Charlotte, Concord boasts modest home sale prices, and a median income that’s above the state median. The local economy is healthy, with many residents employed by local government and the health care industry; Moody’s Analytics predicts strong job growth for the county through 2021.

Concord is also home to the largest outlet mall in North Carolina, with over 200 stores, and NASCAR’s Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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