Durham, North Carolina (population 187035 in 2000 census) is located in the Heartland of NC. Beautiful weather with three growing seasons, and central location made this area ideal for agriculture, education, medicine, and a hub of economic activities.
Forbes Magazine lists Raleigh-Durham, NC as #3 on the Top Best Places to live and work in the United States. Durham’s tobacco community of blue-collar workers with unshakable values and work-ethics, is also known world-wide as the City of Medicine USA. The combined annual payroll of Durham’s 300 medical and health-related businesses is over $1.5 billion. The medical industry provides employment for 28% of the population.
Time Magazine extolled the medical facilities here in a 36 page article listing Duke University Medical Center as #4 medical center in the US, #2 in physical therapy, #1 in physician assistants, #2 healthiest city for women, #9 in microbiology, and #5 in pharmacology/toxicology. US News has called Duke among the best Graduate Schools in the United States. The VA Medical Center is listed in the top 11% of all hospitals nationally, and has been cited for outstanding work in Geriatric Research. (The VA Medical Center research funding in FY02 was $14,000,000.00)
The famed Research Triangle Park is located in Durham and 50% of the biotech firms based in North Carolina are located in Durham.
Education and family are valued in Durham, which is home to the famed Duke University. One of the world’s leading institutions for education, research and medical care, Duke began as a rural schoolhouse in 1838. Higher education is also served in Durham by North Carolina Central University, Durham Technical Community College, Center for Employment Training-Research Triangle Park, Dudley Beauty College, Carolina Beauty College 3, and Watts School of Nursing.
Long a hotbed of alternative journalism, a community of new Southern writers has sprung up in Durham: Claude Edgerton, Laurel Goldman, Allan Gurganus, Reynolds Price, and Lee Smith. The hot and edgy magazine DoubleTake is now on hiatus, but The Independent, and the Africa News Service are still making their journalistic mark.
The black race population percentage is significantly above the NC average, as is the percentage of population with a bachelor’s degree (or higher). North Carolina Central University, a black university, and Pear Street, (known as the black Wall Street), began attracting upper middle class blacks back in the late 1920’s. Many of Durham’s Historic Landmarks are markers of Afro-American history and influence.
And Durham has not forgotten tobacco. When faced with a dying downtown area, the business leaders of Durham commissioned a new baseball stadium modeled after Baltimore’s venerable Camden Yards. Durham’s minor league team, the Bulls (named in 1902 for Bull Durham – tobacco, not the movie), now draw 10,000 people downtown for an average game.