CHARLOTTE, NC (Joe Marusak/The Charlotte Observer) - Charlotte is the most socially responsible big city in America, according to a national survey.
The Conscious Consumer Spending Index ranked America's 50 largest cities on their earth-friendly practices, socially conscious shoppers and nonprofit giving.
Long Beach, Calif., ranked highest for earth-friendly practices and the most socially conscious consumers, while Virginia Beach, Va., was the nation's most charitable big city, the index found. Charlotte's second-place finish in each category propelled the Queen City to No. 1 overall. Raleigh ranked 12th, the only other Carolinas city on the list.
The index sampled 5,096 Americans on their buying habits, nonprofit giving and environmental practices, according to Good.Must.Grow, a marketing consultant for socially responsible businesses, nonprofit causes and organizations. The firm conducts the index and city rankings.
Charlotte has appeared near the top of a lot of such national rankings of late.
The city placed eighth among the top 10 most affordable metro areas for renters, according to a recent study by Apartment List, an online rental marketplace. Raleigh was No. 3 in the study, which used census data on rents and incomes to determine which metropolitan areas were the most affordable for renters in 2016.
Another study, by the personal finance company SmartAsset, ranked Charlotte and Raleigh among the five cities with the fastest-growing incomes from 2015 to 2016. The study analyzed U.S. Census data on median household income from 2015 and 2016.
Not all such national studies are so favorable to the city and North Carolina.
A recent study by Freddie Mac found that rising rents are pushing more apartments out of reach for very low-income renters in Charlotte – and North Carolina – so quickly that such housing is on the verge of disappearing. Rents are going up fast at the more affordable apartments as well.
A study released in September found that more than a third of teachers in North Carolina's traditional public schools are chronically absent – double the rate of their peers in the state's charter schools,
Yet another study found that North Carolina residents aren't the fattest in the country, but they're far from the most fit.
The state ranked 16th on a list of the "fattest" states in America, according to the WalletHub personal finance site. The higher the number, the healthier the state.