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 $36,346
Alexander 2 $29,627
Alleghany 1 $27,519
Anson 1 $31,071
Ashe 1 $31,262
Avery 2 $27,419
Beaufort 1 $35,083
Bertie 1 $27,797
Bladen 1 $32,448
Brunswick 3 $35,435
Buncombe 3 $37,491
Burke 2 $33,741
Cabarrus 3 $36,446
Caldwell 1 $32,833
Camden 1 $40,615
Carteret 3 $27,912
Caswell 1 $29,859
Catawba 2 $38,238
Chatham 3 $32,773
Cherokee 2 $28,529
Chowan 1 $32,878
Clay 1 $26,634
Cleveland 2 $35,885
Columbus 1 $32,379
Craven 2 $35,623
Cumberland 2 $33,896
Currituck 2 $32,125
Dare 2 $27,764
Davidson 2 $35,284
Davie 2 $32,103
Duplin 2 $30,772
Durham 3 $66,913
Edgecombe 1 $32,725
Forsyth 3 $49,817
Franklin 2 $39,067
Gaston 2 $37,547
Gates 1 $31,016
Graham 1 $34,904
Granville 2 $36,903
Greene 1 $26,997
Guilford 3 $45,405
Halifax 1 $30,395
Harnett 2 $30,443
Haywood 2 $33,127
Henderson 3 $35,287
Hertford 1 $35,302
Hoke 2 $29,160
Hyde 1 $27,288
Iredell 3 $46,189
Jackson 1 $29,269
Johnston 3 $35,094
Jones 1 $30,462
Lee 2 $38,163
Lenoir 1 $33,142
Lincoln 3 $34,524
Macon 1 $30,794
Madison 2 $29,796
Martin 1 $27,967
McDowell 1 $32,070
Mecklenburg 3 $61,275
Mitchell 2 $31,951
Montgomery 1 $32,556
Moore 3 $36,290
Nash 1 $36,933
New Hanover 3 $39,271
Northampton 1 $32,942
Onslow 2 $27,232
Orange 3 $41,065
Pamlico 2 $25,294
Pasquotank 1 $33,456
Pender 3 $30,160
Perquimans 1 $32,015
Person 2 $36,905
Pitt 2 $36,351
Polk 2 $29,094
Randolph 2 $33,079
Richmond 1 $31,984
Robeson 1 $29,579
Rockingham 2 $33,944
Rowan 2 $39,201
Rutherford 1 $31,068
Sampson 2 $32,683
Scotland 1 $34,128
Stanly 2 $30,974
Stokes 2 $28,635
Surry 2 $31,724
Swain 1 $27,637
Transylvania 2 $30,406
Tyrrell 1 $25,825
Union 3 $40,399
Vance 1 $32,047
Wake 3 $52,315
Warren 1 $28,738
Washington 1 $40,534
Watauga 3 $29,857
Wayne 2 $33,363
Wilkes 2 $32,784
Wilson 2 $40,812
Yadkin 2 $30,886
Yancey 1 $27,872