Durham comes in at number 9 on a list of the top ten cities for creatives by SmartAsset, which points out that a thriving creative class is a key feature of “nearly every successful modern city.” Durham is the only East Coast city to make the list. Nine of the top ten are in the South or the Midwest.

Many of the large cities historically the home of creative fields such as dance, photography, music, and art, such as New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are just too expensive for many creatives these days, the report says. To find which cities provide the best opportunities for today’s creative workers, SmartAsset compared the cost of living to the concentration of creatives in those cities.

It considered 28 different professions in its analysis, including jobs such aa graphic designer (which many tech startups require); choreographer and photographer, actor, musician, entertainer, curators, reporters and correspondents, and others.

For each city, SmartAsset calculated an affordability score and a creative culture score between 1 and 100.

Any city with a cost of living that is 85 percent of the national average or lower scored a perfect 100 for affordability and any city with a cost of living at least 115% of the national average scored a zero.) Similarly, the greater the number of creative workers, the higher the creative culture score. Any city with a concentration of at least 125 creative workers per 10,000 scored a 100 for that factor, while any city with 10 or fewer creatives per 10,000 scored a zero.

No West Coast cities and only one East Coast city ranked in the top 10. Coastal living has become expensive – except in Durham, the study reports. Durham offers strong support for the arts. Duke University holds the world class American Dance Festival every summer (it’s going on now) and a number of art and food festivals. It’s home to a number of small art galleries, hosts the Full Frame documentary film festival every April and just landed the Moog fest.

Durham is also home to a music scene that boasts a number of independent record labels, including Merge Records, and has produced multiple national acts over the past decade. The Durham Performing Arts Center, which opened in 2008, is among the largest such centers in the nation.

Its American Tobacco Campus and satellite entrepreneurial hub have made the city a mecca for startups and new ventures. Its cost of living compares

New Orleans topped the list with a score of 98.4 percent, followed by Salt Lake City, UT, Kalmazoo, MI, Austin, TX, Nashville, TN, Columbus, Ohio, Omaha, NE, Des Moines, IA, Durham, and Kansas City, MO.

For more information see: https://smartasset.com/mortgage/the-top-ten-cities-for-creatives