The North Carolina Department of Commerce annually ranks the state’s 100 counties based on economic well-being and assigns each a tier designation. The 40 most distressed counties are designated as Tier 1, the next 40 as Tier 2 and the 20 least distressed as Tier 3. This tier system is incorporated into various state programs to encourage economic activity in the less prosperous areas of the state.

North Carolina County Tier Designation Map

North Carolina county tier designation map

North Carolina County Tier Designation Table

County Tier Avg. Annual Wage
Alamance 2 $40,024
Alexander 2 $32,070
Alleghany 1 $29,119
Anson 1 $32,593
Ashe 1 $33,155
Avery 2 $29,459
Beaufort 2 $36,354
Bertie 1 $29,668
Bladen 1 $34,873
Brunswick 3 $36,825
Buncombe 3 $40,572
Burke 2 $34,954
Cabarrus 3 $39,244
Caldwell 2 $37,614
Camden 1 $34,503
Carteret 3 $30,463
Caswell 1 $31,591
Catawba 2 $41,531
Chatham 3 $35,969
Cherokee 1 $30,804
Chowan 1 $33,064
Clay 1 $29,064
Cleveland 2 $37,910
Columbus 1 $33,736
Craven 2 $37,174
Cumberland 2 $35,434
Currituck 2 $32,686
Dare 2 $30,313
Davidson 2 $38,422
Davie 2 $34,680
Duplin 2 $33,085
Durham 3 $67,537
Edgecombe 1 $33,487
Forsyth 2 $51,131
Franklin 2 $41,785
Gaston 2 $38,780
Gates 1 $31,823
Graham 1 $32,432
Granville 3 $40,440
Greene 1 $30,182
Guilford 2 $46,744
Halifax 1 $31,838
Harnett 2 $32,522
Haywood 3 $35,272
Henderson 3 $37,470
Hertford 1 $35,356
Hoke 2 $32,559
Hyde 1 $28,442
Iredell 3 $47,842
Jackson 1 $31,779
Johnston 3 $38,132
Jones 1 $33,086
Lee 2 $39,092
Lenoir 1 $35,543
Lincoln 3 $38,487
Macon 1 $32,603
Madison 2 $32,107
Martin 1 $29,907
McDowell 1 $35,503
Mecklenburg 3 $65,285
Mitchell 1 $34,894
Montgomery 1 $34,536
Moore 3 $38,398
Nash 2 $38,486
New Hanover 3 $43,307
Northampton 1 $35,351
Onslow 2 $28,957
Orange 3 $45,190
Pamlico 2 $26,701
Pasquotank 1 $33,828
Pender 3 $31,928
Perquimans 1 $32,582
Person 1 $39,543
Pitt 2 $38,404
Polk 2 $29,826
Randolph 2 $34,819
Richmond 1 $33,716
Robeson 1 $31,166
Rockingham 2 $34,620
Rowan 2 $41,062
Rutherford 2 $33,810
Sampson 2 $35,632
Scotland 1 $35,330
Stanly 2 $32,604
Stokes 2 $29,529
Surry 2 $34,165
Swain 1 $28,782
Transylvania 2 $33,382
Tyrrell 1 $29,507
Union 3 $42,627
Vance 1 $33,946
Wake 3 $56,245
Warren 1 $26,997
Washington 1 $41,840
Watauga 3 $31,788
Wayne 2 $35,345
Wilkes 2 $34,599
Wilson 2 $42,376
Yadkin 1 $33,280
Yancey 1 $29,108