The Forrest Firm and our Triangle-area clients know why this is a great area to work, live, and play, but the numerous rankings Raleigh and Durham consistently receive are great reminders to us and the rest of the world about what makes this place so special. The Triangle ranked highly on numerous lists in 2014 – and already several more this year. Here are some highlights of those rankings over the past few months.downtown-panorama-1500

In 2014, Raleigh ranked #1 on the list of best places for business and careers by Forbes. Business costs are 18 percent below the national average, and 42 percent of the adult population has a college degree. Durham ranked #26 on that list, with annual job growth projected at 2.3 percent and the cost of living slightly below the national average.

In November of last year, Raleigh was named the #7 smartest city in America among largest metro areas. Highly educated cities general indicate a strong economy, which is immensely important during this economic recovery period. The Durham-Chapel Hill area came in at #15 on the list of smartest smaller metro areas. Raleigh also ranked as the #3 best metro area for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) professionals and the #2 easiest place to find a job, based on its number of job openings per capita.

Not only does RDU rank highly overall, but the City of Oaks has also landed on some best-of lists for ethnic minority populations as well. Just this month, Raleigh ranked #2 in cities where African-Americans are doing best economically. Four factors – each weighted equally – were measured in this ranking: home ownership, entrepreneurship, median household income, and growth in African-American population. Southern cities accounted for a whopping 13 of the top 15 cities on the list. Raleigh also ranks highly in fastest-growing cities for Hispanics (#2), Asians (#2), and African-Americans (#6).

But let’s face it. People don’t just come here to work. We all strive for a good balance of playtime as well, and the Triangle has that going for it, too! Here’s just a sampling:

• RDU International Airport — #9 best airport in America
• Durham – The South’s Tastiest Town
• Scratch Bakery (Durham) – Delicious Pies Around the South
• Busy Bee Café and Raleigh Times Bar (Raleigh) – America’s 100 Best Beer Bars
• Trophy Brewing Company (Raleigh) – Best Pizzeria in N.C.

What’s important to remember is that these rankings aren’t just good publicity or fun fodder for competing with your friends from Charlotte, but they’re solid indications that we live, work, and play in a diverse area full of opportunity and growth. The Forrest Firm is proud to call the Triangle home.