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 $43,282
Alexander 1 $33,431
Alleghany 2 $32,461
Anson 1 $35,083
Ashe 2 $36,429
Avery 2 $33,213
Beaufort 2 $38,541
Bertie 1 $32,276
Bladen 1 $38,052
Brunswick 2 $40,184
Buncombe 2 $44,847
Burke 1 $37,414
Cabarrus 3 $41,255
Caldwell 1 $41,157
Camden 3 $37,398
Carteret 3 $34,953
Caswell 1 $37,128
Catawba 2 $43,920
Chatham 3 $38,935
Cherokee 1 $33,148
Chowan 2 $36,430
Clay 2 $32,387
Cleveland 1 $40,466
Columbus 1 $35,138
Craven 2 $40,352
Cumberland 1 $38,214
Currituck 3 $34,847
Dare 2 $33,681
Davidson 2 $42,274
Davie 2 $39,598
Duplin 1 $36,490
Durham 3 $75,892
Edgecombe 1 $36,170
Forsyth 2 $54,914
Franklin 2 $44,826
Gaston 2 $42,018
Gates 2 $38,178
Graham 1 $37,074
Granville 2 $42,326
Greene 1 $32,853
Guilford 2 $50,063
Halifax 1 $34,225
Harnett 2 $35,637
Haywood 2 $37,577
Henderson 3 $40,529
Hertford 1 $39,777
Hoke 1 $33,928
Hyde 1 $31,555
Iredell 3 $51,136
Jackson 2 $36,241
Johnston 3 $41,776
Jones 2 $34,339
Lee 2 $42,516
Lenoir 1 $39,839
Lincoln 3 $43,214
Macon 3 $36,942
Madison 2 $35,775
Martin 1 $32,137
McDowell 2 $37,962
Mecklenburg 3 $71,689
Mitchell 1 $40,351
Montgomery 2 $38,237
Moore 3 $42,255
Nash 1 $41,827
New Hanover 2 $46,383
Northampton 1 $38,433
Onslow 2 $32,760
Orange 3 $52,155
Pamlico 2 $30,448
Pasquotank 1 $37,746
Pender 3 $35,036
Perquimans 2 $37,046
Person 2 $42,446
Pitt 2 $42,801
Polk 3 $33,383
Randolph 1 $37,865
Richmond 1 $35,874
Robeson 1 $35,033
Rockingham 1 $35,953
Rowan 1 $44,412
Rutherford 1 $37,031
Sampson 1 $39,034
Scotland 1 $38,063
Stanly 2 $35,420
Stokes 2 $32,264
Surry 2 $37,836
Swain 1 $29,024
Transylvania 3 $35,833
Tyrrell 1 $33,463
Union 3 $46,386
Vance 1 $36,717
Wake 3 $63,966
Warren 1 $30,494
Washington 1 $42,747
Watauga 3 $35,053
Wayne 1 $38,401
Wilkes 1 $38,362
Wilson 1 $46,904
Yadkin 2 $36,674
Yancey 2 $37,476