Lowest-earning counties in North Carolina

Written by:
July 14, 2022
Ymblanter // Wikimedia Commons

Lowest-earning counties in North Carolina

Americans on the whole were doing well financially heading into 2020, with major markers like unemployment reaching 50-year lows. The pandemic changed all that: During the second quarter of the 2020 fiscal year, our nation’s real GDP fell by a whopping 31.4%, a number that hasn’t been seen since the Great Depression. Since then the GDP has recovered, the first quarter of 2022 was 11% above the fourth quarter of 2019.

While GDP has recovered since the height of the pandemic, wage growth has not kept pace with inflation. In 2021 average hourly wages increased 4.7% while there was 7% inflation, meaning the worker’s purchasing power dropped by 2.4%.

Where you live can make a big impact on your financial situation. The highest earning county in the U.S. earns $147,111, while the lowest earns $22,292. Stacker compiled a list of the lowest-earning counties in North Carolina using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the Census’ 2020 5-year estimate median household income.

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David Byron Keener // Shutterstock

#50. Beaufort County

- Median household income: $48,051
--- 15.2% below state average, 26.1% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 19.0%
--- #1,784 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 15.5%
--- #1,007 highest among all counties nationwide
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NatalieMaynor from Jackson, Mississippi, USA // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Caswell County

- Median household income: $47,938
--- 15.4% below state average, 26.2% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 15.2%
--- #2,473 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 12.9%
--- #994 highest among all counties nationwide
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Wayne County

- Median household income: $47,221
--- 16.6% below state average, 27.3% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 17.6%
--- #2,023 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 13.3%
--- #933 highest among all counties nationwide
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RnR // Wikimedia Commons

#47. McDowell County

- Median household income: $47,085
--- 16.9% below state average, 27.6% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 15.0%
--- #2,507 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 10.9%
--- #921 highest among all counties nationwide
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Wasrts // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Yadkin County

- Median household income: $46,954
--- 17.1% below state average, 27.8% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 16.1%
--- #2,322 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 10.1%
--- #907 highest among all counties nationwide

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AbeEzekowitz // Wikimedia Commons

#45. Jackson County

- Median household income: $46,820
--- 17.3% below state average, 28.0% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 15.5%
--- #2,430 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 14.6%
--- #893 highest among all counties nationwide
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Canva

#44. Hyde County

- Median household income: $46,667
--- 17.6% below state average, 28.2% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 4.4%
--- #3,138 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 11.5%
--- #878 highest among all counties nationwide
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G Keith Hall // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Watauga County

- Median household income: $46,453
--- 18.0% below state average, 28.5% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 20.7%
--- #1,488 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 18.0%
--- #860 highest among all counties nationwide
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Toribio93 // Shutterstock

#42. Madison County

- Median household income: $46,190
--- 18.5% below state average, 28.9% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 19.3%
--- #1,734 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 14.5%
--- #834 highest among all counties nationwide
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Nolichuckyjake // Shutterstock

#41. Caldwell County

- Median household income: $46,094
--- 18.6% below state average, 29.1% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 16.3%
--- #2,267 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 12.8%
--- #823 highest among all counties nationwide

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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#40. Gates County

- Median household income: $45,871
--- 19.0% below state average, 29.4% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 17.7%
--- #2,004 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 11.4%
--- #808 highest among all counties nationwide
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JNix // Shutterstock

#39. Macon County

- Median household income: $45,703
--- 19.3% below state average, 29.7% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 16.9%
--- #2,170 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 15.8%
--- #793 highest among all counties nationwide
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Rockingham County

- Median household income: $45,697
--- 19.3% below state average, 29.7% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 15.7%
--- #2,395 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 15.6%
--- #790 highest among all counties nationwide
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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Swain County

- Median household income: $45,554
--- 19.6% below state average, 29.9% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 17.3%
--- #2,087 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 15.7%
--- #778 highest among all counties nationwide
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Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD // Wikimedia Commons

#36. Montgomery County

- Median household income: $45,147
--- 20.3% below state average, 30.5% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 12.0%
--- #2,865 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 14.6%
--- #748 highest among all counties nationwide

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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#35. Wilkes County

- Median household income: $44,980
--- 20.6% below state average, 30.8% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 14.4%
--- #2,603 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 13.2%
--- #732 highest among all counties nationwide
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G Keith Hall // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Surry County

- Median household income: $44,979
--- 20.6% below state average, 30.8% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 17.4%
--- #2,072 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 16.0%
--- #731 highest among all counties nationwide
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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Wilson County

- Median household income: $44,594
--- 21.3% below state average, 31.4% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 17.2%
--- #2,106 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 15.5%
--- #702 highest among all counties nationwide
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Shapard Wolf // Wikimedia Commons

#32. Yancey County

- Median household income: $44,554
--- 21.3% below state average, 31.4% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 15.3%
--- #2,463 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 15.1%
--- #700 highest among all counties nationwide
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Bethbrownebooks // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Chowan County

- Median household income: $44,050
--- 22.2% below state average, 32.2% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 15.8%
--- #2,377 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 17.8%
--- #651 highest among all counties nationwide

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Ron Reiring // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Burke County

- Median household income: $43,915
--- 22.5% below state average, 32.4% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 15.0%
--- #2,507 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 13.2%
--- #643 highest among all counties nationwide
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Greene County

- Median household income: $43,563
--- 23.1% below state average, 33.0% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 11.6%
--- #2,912 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 15.3%
--- #610 highest among all counties nationwide
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OptimumPx // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Cleveland County

- Median household income: $43,512
--- 23.2% below state average, 33.1% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 15.4%
--- #2,447 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 17.0%
--- #608 highest among all counties nationwide
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Duplin County

- Median household income: $43,422
--- 23.3% below state average, 33.2% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 14.4%
--- #2,591 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 14.3%
--- #601 highest among all counties nationwide
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Nolichuckyjake // Shutterstock

#26. Rutherford County

- Median household income: $43,183
--- 23.8% below state average, 33.6% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 13.1%
--- #2,744 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 15.4%
--- #587 highest among all counties nationwide

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Gary Rolband // Shutterstock

#25. Ashe County

- Median household income: $43,030
--- 24.0% below state average, 33.8% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 13.6%
--- #2,704 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 13.4%
--- #577 highest among all counties nationwide
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State Archives of North Carolina Raleigh, NC // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Sampson County

- Median household income: $42,914
--- 24.2% below state average, 34.0% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 15.5%
--- #2,430 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 14.0%
--- #568 highest among all counties nationwide
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Canva

#23. Avery County

- Median household income: $42,695
--- 24.6% below state average, 34.3% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 16.7%
--- #2,200 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 13.9%
--- #550 highest among all counties nationwide
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Boston Public Library // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Hertford County

- Median household income: $42,588
--- 24.8% below state average, 34.5% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 11.4%
--- #2,928 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 17.0%
--- #539 highest among all counties nationwide
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digidreamgrafix // Shutterstock

#21. Graham County

- Median household income: $42,207
--- 25.5% below state average, 35.1% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 14.3%
--- #2,606 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 17.5%
--- #508 highest among all counties nationwide

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George Dukin // Shutterstock

#20. Clay County

- Median household income: $42,160
--- 25.6% below state average, 35.1% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 18.3%
--- #1,902 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 17.2%
--- #503 highest among all counties nationwide
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KimWrenn // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Vance County

- Median household income: $41,827
--- 26.2% below state average, 35.6% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 14.0%
--- #2,643 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 18.0%
--- #472 highest among all counties nationwide
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James R Poston // Shutterstock

#18. Cherokee County

- Median household income: $40,793
--- 28.0% below state average, 37.2% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 13.2%
--- #2,733 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 14.8%
--- #402 highest among all counties nationwide
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State Archives of North Carolina // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Edgecombe County

- Median household income: $40,489
--- 28.5% below state average, 37.7% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 13.9%
--- #2,658 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 19.0%
--- #385 highest among all counties nationwide
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Lenoir County

- Median household income: $39,923
--- 29.5% below state average, 38.6% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 13.8%
--- #2,670 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 18.0%
--- #346 highest among all counties nationwide

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Alanteitleman // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Martin County

- Median household income: $39,909
--- 29.5% below state average, 38.6% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 9.1%
--- #3,059 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 16.9%
--- #345 highest among all counties nationwide
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Upstateherd // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Anson County

- Median household income: $39,799
--- 29.7% below state average, 38.8% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 13.1%
--- #2,747 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 14.7%
--- #340 highest among all counties nationwide
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Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Richmond County

- Median household income: $39,051
--- 31.1% below state average, 39.9% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 12.7%
--- #2,791 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 20.1%
--- #304 highest among all counties nationwide
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Indy beetle // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Northampton County

- Median household income: $38,969
--- 31.2% below state average, 40.0% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 12.1%
--- #2,852 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 19.6%
--- #298 highest among all counties nationwide
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gerrydincher // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Columbus County

- Median household income: $38,487
--- 32.1% below state average, 40.8% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 14.2%
--- #2,625 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 19.1%
--- #282 highest among all counties nationwide

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Tradewinds // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Jones County

- Median household income: $38,324
--- 32.3% below state average, 41.0% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 12.2%
--- #2,835 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 19.3%
--- #275 highest among all counties nationwide
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HarmonyReignPope // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Tyrrell County

- Median household income: $38,250
--- 32.5% below state average, 41.1% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 9.9%
--- #3,024 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 17.3%
--- #267 highest among all counties nationwide
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Doug Kerr from Albany, NY, United States // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Warren County

- Median household income: $37,476
--- 33.8% below state average, 42.3% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 14.5%
--- #2,579 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 18.4%
--- #234 highest among all counties nationwide
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ncwetlands.org// Wikimedia Commons

#7. Bladen County

- Median household income: $37,188
--- 34.3% below state average, 42.8% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 13.0%
--- #2,756 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 19.3%
--- #224 highest among all counties nationwide
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Canva

#6. Alleghany County

- Median household income: $37,158
--- 34.4% below state average, 42.8% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 12.5%
--- #2,809 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 15.9%
--- #222 highest among all counties nationwide

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Scotland County

- Median household income: $35,936
--- 36.6% below state average, 44.7% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 11.3%
--- #2,937 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 21.9%
--- #174 highest among all counties nationwide
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Cecouchman // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Halifax County

- Median household income: $35,904
--- 36.6% below state average, 44.8% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 11.9%
--- #2,887 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 23.0%
--- #173 highest among all counties nationwide
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Katangais // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Robeson County

- Median household income: $35,362
--- 37.6% below state average, 45.6% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 11.6%
--- #2,904 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 22.1%
--- #156 highest among all counties nationwide
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Theresaperry44 // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Bertie County

- Median household income: $35,042
--- 38.1% below state average, 46.1% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 12.3%
--- #2,829 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 23.0%
--- #143 highest among all counties nationwide
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Ymblanter // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Washington County

- Median household income: $30,941
--- 45.4% below state average, 52.4% below national average
- Households earning over $100k: 6.1%
--- #3,130 highest among all counties nationwide
- Households earning less than $15k: 24.1%
--- #54 highest among all counties nationwide

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