If you live in the Triangle, chances are you are among the more than half of Americans that are putting money into retirement accounts. In fact, the region ranks among the most active in preparing for the future, according to a new study.

The Durham-Chapel Hill and Raleigh metro areas both rank in the top 25 of the 100 largest metro areas for retirement investing, according to financial website SmartAsset and its SmartAdvisor Match solution.

Tracking top 10. SmartAsset graphic.

According to data from 2016 and 2017, Durham-Chapel Hill ranked ninth and Raleigh came in 19th.

The survey found that Durham-Chapel Hill residents invest 10.6 percent of their income in retirement investments.

In Raleigh, the percentage is 9.2 percent.

More than 20 percent of Durham-Chapel Hill residents filed tax returns showing capital gains.

In Raleigh, the percentage was 19.3 percent.

Also, Durham-Chapel Hill residents showed 61.8 percent of average investment income as a percentage of their housing costs.

The Raleigh area percentage came in at 52.6 percent.

Based on those three criteria, Durham-Chapel Hill scored 87.07 on an index of 100.

About Durham-Chapel Hill, the survey noted that it “ranked in the top 20 for all our metrics, but its highest score was only 10th. In investment income as a percent of overall income, Durham ranked 18th. In percent of tax returns with capital gains income, Durham ranked 10th, and in average investment income as a percent of annual housing costs, Durham ranked 15th.”

Raleigh finished with a 75.51 score.

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA and  Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT shared the top ranking with an index score of 100.

Overall nationally, some 52 percent of families in the US were investing in retirement in 2016, up from 37 percent in 1989. That’s according to the Survey of Consumer Finances as cited by SmartAsset.

The survey’s results are based on investment income as a percent of average income, percent of returns with capital gains income and average investment income as a percent of local housing costs.

SmartAsset graphic


In order to rank the places where residents are investing the most, we looked at data for the 100 largest metro areas. Specifically, we compared them over the following three metrics:

  • Investment income as a percent of overall income. This is total investment income, including income from dividends and capital gains, as a percent of all income.
  • Percent of tax returns with capital gains income. This is the number of tax returns reporting capital gains income divided by the total number of tax returns.
  • Average investment income as a percent of annual housing costs. This is average investment income divided by annual housing costs.
  • Data on investment income and tax returns comes from the IRS and is for 2016. Data on housing costs comes from the Census Bureau’s 2017 1-Year American Community Survey.

Source: SmartAsset