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NC Department of Commerce: Carteret County Drops To Tier 2 Classification Economically. But, It’s Not Bad News

In January 2019, The NC Department of Commerce will drop Carteret County NC from a Tier 3 county to a Tier 2 economically opening the doors for commissioners, mayors, school officials, and other leaders to get more financial help and grants to help boost the local economy.

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The State of NC uses a Tier system to classify counties on their economic level and many factors go in to deciding which Tier a certain county gets designated. Those include: 1) Adjusted property tax base per capita 2) Population growth 3) Median household income and 4) Unemployment.

A Tier 3 county is considered at the highest level of economic prosperity while a Tier 1 county is considered economically distressed which opens the doors for more state money.

Using the comment system below, subscribe to comments for this post and let’s have a discussion about it. More information on the NC Department of Commerce’s decision is below.

  • Carteret County is ranked the 76th most prosperous county out of 100 North Carolina counties.
  • This was a 2% drop from last year when the county was at 78%.
  • Population growth is a 1.07 percent annual rate.
  • Median household income is $51,557.
  • Unemployment rate is 4.2%.
  • Lowest property tax rate in the state.
  • Ranks second in the state for SAT scores.

Area Attractions and Public Interest

Hoke, Granville, Wilson, Wayne, Surry, Sampson, Rutherford, Rockingham, Duplin, Cumberland, Cleveland and Beaufort counties represent other counties in NC that saw their Tier level drop. Edgecombe County represents the most economically distressed county in the state. Wake and Brunswick counties represent the most prosperous on the Tier level.

In the summer of 2018, we talked with several business owners that are highly dependent on tourism. All reported that in 2018 sales and traffic were both down by 17% over previous Spring and Summer tourism season.

Despite the downgraded Tier level, many county officials noted that the level drop is not indicative of a bad economy or problems with economic development and growth in the area. In fact, many county leaders have for years advocated for the Tier 2 level based on population adjustment metrics used by the State of NC.

Despite the drop, county commissioners and area area leaders are now in a position to get increased money and grants to aid in economic prosperity. Area that will likely benefit from this include 1) The school system and help with the MaST (Marine Science and Technologies Early College High School on the campus of Carteret Community College) and 2) Opening the doors to get more money from the N.C. Education Lottery.

Another area to consider is the Interstate 42 corridor is likely going to be spurring dramatic economic growth and development in the county over the next 10-15 years.

If you are concerned about the Carteret County economy or the NC Department of Commerce designation drop and want to talk with county commissioners and your local municipal leaders, we strongly encourage you to attend their scheduled meetings and have your voice heard. Another way to ensure that we maintain a prosperous area is to get involved in your local community and advocating for the area.

Again, please subscribe and use the comment section below to have your voice heard.

Further Reading

Michael Sharp

Native of Carteret County NC, Father to Makayla and Savannah. You can add me on Facebook. Interest include web development, encryption, and other technologies.

One thought on “NC Department of Commerce: Carteret County Drops To Tier 2 Classification Economically. But, It’s Not Bad News

  • December 7, 2018 at 1:08 am

    I feel like the Carteret County economy is going to look much different in the next 10 years because of Interstate 42. Then area commissioners and leaders are going to have to either find a way to maintain our down home quiet and quaint clean beaches despite a boom or go the route of Myrtle Beach or Wrightsville Beach. Things are about to change big time.

    I also feel like we need to get advanced medical facilities closer to down east communities who are in some cases well over an hour away from any medical care.


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