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 $40,778
Alexander 2 $32,263
Alleghany 2 $29,655
Anson 1 $33,358
Ashe 2 $34,855
Avery 2 $30,472
Beaufort 1 $37,611
Bertie 1 $30,317
Bladen 1 $35,419
Brunswick 3 $37,501
Buncombe 3 $41,229
Burke 2 $35,759
Cabarrus 3 $38,695
Caldwell 2 $38,957
Camden 2 $34,993
Carteret 2 $31,610
Caswell 1 $33,090
Catawba 2 $42,068
Chatham 3 $36,731
Cherokee 2 $31,820
Chowan 1 $34,112
Clay 2 $30,348
Cleveland 1 $38,751
Columbus 1 $33,817
Craven 2 $38,100
Cumberland 1 $36,425
Currituck 3 $33,554
Dare 2 $30,655
Davidson 2 $39,787
Davie 3 $35,277
Duplin 1 $34,265
Durham 3 $68,731
Edgecombe 1 $34,401
Forsyth 2 $52,232
Franklin 2 $41,849
Gaston 2 $39,852
Gates 1 $32,581
Graham 1 $34,009
Granville 2 $40,932
Greene 1 $30,947
Guilford 2 $47,955
Halifax 1 $32,216
Harnett 2 $33,061
Haywood 3 $35,538
Henderson 3 $38,297
Hertford 1 $36,593
Hoke 1 $34,186
Hyde 1 $27,565
Iredell 3 $47,345
Jackson 2 $32,238
Johnston 3 $39,716
Jones 1 $33,147
Lee 2 $41,567
Lenoir 1 $36,766
Lincoln 3 $39,479
Macon 2 $33,226
Madison 2 $34,019
Martin 1 $30,494
McDowell 2 $35,905
Mecklenburg 3 $66,709
Mitchell 1 $37,324
Montgomery 2 $35,919
Moore 3 $39,129
Nash 1 $39,515
New Hanover 3 $42,663
Northampton 1 $35,973
Onslow 2 $29,534
Orange 3 $46,112
Pamlico 2 $27,268
Pasquotank 1 $34,929
Pender 3 $32,627
Perquimans 1 $33,985
Person 2 $40,698
Pitt 2 $39,569
Polk 2 $31,042
Randolph 2 $35,401
Richmond 1 $34,008
Robeson 1 $32,438
Rockingham 1 $34,716
Rowan 2 $42,221
Rutherford 1 $34,115
Sampson 1 $36,921
Scotland 1 $35,707
Stanly 2 $33,102
Stokes 2 $30,607
Surry 1 $35,533
Swain 1 $29,372
Transylvania 2 $33,262
Tyrrell 1 $29,873
Union 3 $43,868
Vance 1 $34,457
Wake 3 $58,138
Warren 1 $28,356
Washington 1 $44,004
Watauga 3 $32,136
Wayne 1 $35,485
Wilkes 2 $35,331
Wilson 1 $44,012
Yadkin 2 $34,783
Yancey 2 $32,490