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 $41,611
Alexander 2 $32,779
Alleghany 2 $31,465
Anson 1 $34,125
Ashe 2 $34,960
Avery 2 $31,700
Beaufort 1 $38,008
Bertie 1 $30,994
Bladen 1 $34,856
Brunswick 3 $39,253
Buncombe 3 $43,134
Burke 2 $36,801
Cabarrus 3 $38,892
Caldwell 1 $40,124
Camden 2 $35,078
Carteret 2 $33,002
Caswell 1 $36,427
Catawba 2 $43,133
Chatham 3 $37,603
Cherokee 2 $32,400
Chowan 1 $35,615
Clay 2 $31,206
Cleveland 1 $40,019
Columbus 1 $34,675
Craven 2 $39,166
Cumberland 1 $37,686
Currituck 3 $34,583
Dare 2 $31,628
Davidson 2 $40,499
Davie 3 $37,253
Duplin 1 $35,585
Durham 3 $71,756
Edgecombe 1 $35,732
Forsyth 2 $52,050
Franklin 2 $44,244
Gaston 2 $41,739
Gates 2 $34,220
Graham 1 $35,024
Granville 2 $40,831
Greene 1 $31,960
Guilford 2 $49,002
Halifax 1 $32,853
Harnett 2 $34,242
Haywood 3 $36,674
Henderson 3 $39,512
Hertford 1 $38,812
Hoke 2 $32,422
Hyde 1 $30,790
Iredell 3 $49,696
Jackson 2 $33,008
Johnston 3 $40,734
Jones 1 $33,512
Lee 2 $41,784
Lenoir 1 $38,241
Lincoln 3 $40,985
Macon 2 $33,744
Madison 2 $34,465
Martin 1 $30,577
McDowell 2 $36,753
Mecklenburg 3 $68,070
Mitchell 1 $39,792
Montgomery 2 $37,675
Moore 3 $39,889
Nash 1 $40,806
New Hanover 3 $44,620
Northampton 1 $39,376
Onslow 1 $30,859
Orange 3 $48,362
Pamlico 2 $28,441
Pasquotank 1 $35,805
Pender 3 $33,978
Perquimans 1 $34,509
Person 2 $42,249
Pitt 1 $41,008
Polk 2 $32,077
Randolph 2 $36,622
Richmond 1 $34,438
Robeson 1 $33,454
Rockingham 1 $35,146
Rowan 2 $43,883
Rutherford 1 $35,976
Sampson 1 $36,995
Scotland 1 $36,308
Stanly 2 $34,211
Stokes 2 $31,792
Surry 2 $37,222
Swain 1 $27,760
Transylvania 2 $34,018
Tyrrell 1 $30,502
Union 3 $44,989
Vance 1 $35,727
Wake 3 $62,395
Warren 1 $29,130
Washington 1 $44,720
Watauga 3 $33,134
Wayne 1 $37,063
Wilkes 1 $36,535
Wilson 1 $45,705
Yadkin 2 $36,129
Yancey 2 $36,466