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 $46,999
Alexander 2 $36,614
Alleghany 2 $35,216
Anson 1 $37,270
Ashe 2 $37,853
Avery 2 $35,820
Beaufort 2 $40,255
Bertie 1 $34,023
Bladen 1 $38,556
Brunswick 3 $42,500
Buncombe 3 $47,677
Burke 1 $39,499
Cabarrus 3 $43,687
Caldwell 1 $43,905
Camden 3 $41,972
Carteret 3 $36,750
Caswell 1 $39,139
Catawba 2 $48,028
Chatham 3 $41,638
Cherokee 1 $35,651
Chowan 1 $39,274
Clay 2 $35,066
Cleveland 1 $42,511
Columbus 1 $37,680
Craven 2 $43,435
Cumberland 1 $40,760
Currituck 3 $36,926
Dare 2 $36,525
Davidson 2 $45,117
Davie 2 $43,425
Duplin 1 $39,111
Durham 3 $82,247
Edgecombe 1 $39,222
Forsyth 2 $57,351
Franklin 2 $47,568
Gaston 2 $44,781
Gates 2 $42,768
Graham 1 $39,411
Granville 2 $45,096
Greene 1 $34,316
Guilford 2 $53,994
Halifax 1 $36,309
Harnett 2 $37,947
Haywood 2 $40,306
Henderson 3 $43,698
Hertford 1 $44,007
Hoke 1 $35,846
Hyde 1 $33,402
Iredell 3 $59,411
Jackson 2 $40,351
Johnston 3 $44,150
Jones 1 $36,922
Lee 2 $45,743
Lenoir 1 $42,321
Lincoln 3 $45,011
Macon 2 $39,181
Madison 2 $38,074
Martin 1 $33,338
McDowell 2 $39,071
Mecklenburg 3 $75,907
Mitchell 1 $40,950
Montgomery 2 $45,284
Moore 3 $46,471
Nash 1 $44,377
New Hanover 3 $53,421
Northampton 1 $41,307
Onslow 2 $35,576
Orange 3 $59,026
Pamlico 2 $31,613
Pasquotank 1 $40,149
Pender 3 $36,711
Perquimans 2 $37,602
Person 2 $44,066
Pitt 2 $45,723
Polk 2 $35,612
Randolph 2 $40,522
Richmond 1 $38,035
Robeson 1 $37,649
Rockingham 1 $38,563
Rowan 2 $48,360
Rutherford 1 $39,588
Sampson 1 $40,199
Scotland 1 $40,894
Stanly 2 $37,466
Stokes 2 $33,674
Surry 2 $40,686
Swain 1 $31,311
Transylvania 3 $39,028
Tyrrell 1 $32,506
Union 3 $49,129
Vance 1 $40,159
Wake 3 $68,317
Warren 1 $31,563
Washington 1 $43,302
Watauga 2 $37,294
Wayne 1 $40,996
Wilkes 1 $40,441
Wilson 1 $47,863
Yadkin 2 $39,302
Yancey 2 $38,506