Stanly remains a Tier 2 county, though overall state ranking improves
North Carolina recently released its annual economic distress rankings, which measure the state’s 100 counties based on economic well-being and assign each a Tier designation. Stanly was ranked No. 73 and is in Tier 2. It was also in Tier 2 last year.
Of North Carolina’s 100 counties, the 40 most distressed counties are designated as Tier 1, the next 40 as Tier 2 and the 20 least distressed as Tier 3.
Stanly’s ranking improved nine spots from last year, when it was ranked No. 64 overall. Montgomery and Davidson are the only other nearby counties that are also in Tier 2. Montgomery is ranked No. 65 while Davidson is No. 53.
“Stanly County’s ranking improved for 2021, and while we remain a moderately distressed county in Tier 2 with a ranking of 73, this allows us to apply for state programs that are not available to Tier 3 counties,” EDC Director Candice Lowder said. “We appreciate the ongoing support of the NC Department of Commerce and Gov. Roy Cooper who administer the grant and incentive programs that enable us to be aggressive and competitive for projects that will create high-quality jobs and generate new investments for our community.”
County Manager Andy Lucas said Stanly has consistently been a Tier 2 county since he first arrived more than a decade ago.
While most nearby counties remained the same, Rowan was downgraded from a Tier 2 to a Tier 1 county, placing 38th in the state. Mecklenburg, Union and Cabarrus remained Tier 3 counties while Richmond and Anson are still in Tier 1.
County tiers are calculated using four factors: Average unemployment rate, median household income, percentage growth in population and adjusted property tax base per capita.
Besides seeing its adjusted property tax base per capita remain the same at N0. 28, Stanly County’s 2021 rankings were a significant improvement to that of the year prior. The county saw its population growth (currently at 4 percent) increase 10 places, from 71 to 81; it’s median household income ($51,491 for 2018) increase six places, from 67 to 73; and its 12-month average unemployment rate (5.55 percent) increase five places, from 77 to 82.
The county was above the state average for its population growth and unemployment rate. It was below state average for its median household income and adjusted property tax base.
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