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 $38,137
Alexander 2 $30,631
Alleghany 1 $27,644
Anson 1 $31,933
Ashe 1 $31,705
Avery 2 $28,709
Beaufort 1 $35,474
Bertie 1 $28,582
Bladen 1 $33,062
Brunswick 3 $35,857
Buncombe 3 $39,192
Burke 2 $34,645
Cabarrus 3 $37,808
Caldwell 1 $34,744
Camden 1 $38,471
Carteret 3 $29,017
Caswell 1 $30,962
Catawba 2 $39,774
Chatham 3 $33,879
Cherokee 1 $29,879
Chowan 1 $31,916
Clay 1 $27,945
Cleveland 2 $36,576
Columbus 1 $32,908
Craven 2 $36,194
Cumberland 2 $34,512
Currituck 2 $32,377
Dare 2 $28,992
Davidson 2 $36,836
Davie 2 $32,961
Duplin 2 $31,367
Durham 3 $66,166
Edgecombe 1 $32,642
Forsyth 3 $49,378
Franklin 2 $40,397
Gaston 2 $38,438
Gates 1 $31,793
Graham 1 $33,236
Granville 2 $38,857
Greene 1 $27,652
Guilford 2 $45,602
Halifax 1 $30,750
Harnett 2 $31,148
Haywood 3 $33,786
Henderson 3 $35,924
Hertford 1 $34,983
Hoke 2 $30,749
Hyde 1 $28,413
Iredell 3 $47,705
Jackson 1 $30,651
Johnston 3 $36,521
Jones 1 $31,638
Lee 2 $38,250
Lenoir 2 $33,904
Lincoln 3 $35,990
Macon 1 $31,408
Madison 2 $31,560
Martin 1 $28,287
McDowell 1 $33,057
Mecklenburg 3 $62,741
Mitchell 1 $33,219
Montgomery 1 $33,388
Moore 3 $37,130
Nash 2 $38,105
New Hanover 3 $40,418
Northampton 1 $34,828
Onslow 2 $27,939
Orange 3 $43,396
Pamlico 2 $26,122
Pasquotank 1 $33,881
Pender 3 $30,553
Perquimans 2 $31,619
Person 1 $37,468
Pitt 2 $36,985
Polk 2 $29,160
Randolph 2 $33,974
Richmond 1 $32,624
Robeson 1 $30,280
Rockingham 2 $34,408
Rowan 2 $39,741
Rutherford 2 $32,265
Sampson 2 $34,422
Scotland 1 $34,037
Stanly 2 $31,584
Stokes 2 $28,741
Surry 2 $32,703
Swain 1 $27,704
Transylvania 2 $31,808
Tyrrell 1 $28,056
Union 3 $41,035
Vance 1 $32,768
Wake 3 $53,783
Warren 1 $27,194
Washington 1 $40,913
Watauga 3 $30,720
Wayne 2 $34,219
Wilkes 2 $33,657
Wilson 2 $40,490
Yadkin 1 $31,593
Yancey 1 $28,800