These Are The 20 Places In North Carolina With The Fastest Wage Growth

by Ryan Morris
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North Carolina is on the rise, as far as American states go — major cities like Charlotte, Asheville, and Raleigh are all booming, and Durham’s influx of tech companies and start-ups are gradually turning the city into a sort of “Silicon Valley of the South.”

But with so much growth happening all across NC, you might be wondering which of all of North Carolina’s cities are growing at the fastest rates. We were curious too, so — using data from the American Community Survey — we put together a ranked list of the top NC cities with the fastest growing household income rates.

Here’s what we found:

And we know there are at least a few people out there who are going to ask this question as a follow-up, so here’s another chart showing the household income growth of the 20 largest cities in NC:

The breakdown of our top 20 list can be found below, but first, here’s how we got our information and created our rankings system.

How We Did It

We decided to look at income growth across North Carolina using the most recently available data — the 2010-2015 American Community Survey data from the US Census. Specifically, we looked at the following table: INCOME IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS (IN 2015 INFLATION-ADJUSTED DOLLARS), 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.

Looking at household data specifically, we looked at which cities had the highest income growth. Finally, we ranked each city based on this income growth.

You’ll find our breakdown of the top 20 below, but stick around afterward to see more articles from Zippia.

1. Farmville

Percentage of Household Income Growth: 22.8%
Description: In addition to being a thing that your dad won’t stop inviting you to play on Facebook, Farmville is also a city in the Inner Banks of NC that is a designated Tree City USA community, and its household income is the fastest growing in NC.

2. Wendell


Percentage of Household Income Growth: 22.6%
Description: Wendell is one of the many small towns orbiting NC’s capital city, Raleigh. Named after the poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, who pronounced his middle name “WHEN-dul.” Citizens of Wendell deliberately mispronounce the name “when-dell,” and seem weirdly proud of this fact.

3. Carrboro


Percentage of Household Income Growth: 20.5%
Description: Located just outside the city of Chapel Hill, Carrboro is home to the Carrboro Farmer’s Market, the popular music venue Cat’s Cradle, and — for reasons that are probably related to the second item — a whole heck of a lot of hipsters.

4. Kinston


Percentage of Household Income Growth: 18.8%
Description: Kinston is a two-time winner of the All-America City Award and home to the remains of a Confederate ironclad called the CSS Neuse (one of only four known Confederate ironclad wrecks). Despite all this history, it’s also pretty well-known as one of the places that Hurricanes Fran and Floyd buried almost completely under water.

5. Carolina Beach


Percentage of Household Income Growth: 18.7%
Description: Part of the larger Wilmington area, Carolina Beach is a great place to be when summer comes around. Unless of course, you’d like to actually do anything outside, in which case you might want to pick a less popular place, as thousands of visitors make their way here during the summer months and beyond.

6. Lake Norman of Catawba


Percentage of Household Income Growth: 17.8%
Description: Located (unsurprisingly) on the shores of Lake Norman, this town is another go-to place for summer vacationers as well as the destination of choice for a slew of rich old NC retirees. The lake was named after Norman Rockwell, probably.

7. Pinehurst


Percentage of Household Income Growth: 17.2%
Description: Home of the Pinehurst Resort and its world-famous golf course. The community was originally called “Tuftstown,” a.k.a. one of the dumbest town names I’ve ever heard, so you can thank early townspeople for that very fortunate change.

8. Porters Neck


Percentage of Household Income Growth: 15.4%
Description: Another place for rich people to golf and live out their golden years, Porters Neck actually wasn’t founded until 1989. Despite being less than 30 years old, Porters Neck has grown tremendously in size, no doubt thanks to a few of the aforementioned rich golfers.

9. Morehead City

Percentage of Household Income Growth: 15.1%
Description: Morehead City is a port town at the top of NC’s Crystal Coast, and is a destination for fishermen and scuba divers. The waters off the coast are known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” after the entrepreneur John Q. Atlantic was buried at sea there in 1898.

10. Rockingham

Percentage of Household Income Growth: 13.2%
Description: A southern NC town with a surprising amount of growth, Rockingham is the hometown of an impressive number of music stars including blues singer Blind Boy Fuller, producer and pop singer “The-Dream,” and — perhaps most famously — season 5 of American Idol’s 8th-place winner Bucky Covington.

11. Aberdeen


Percentage of Household Income Growth: 12.6%
Description: A small town just outside Southern Pines, Aberdeen’s progress was highly influenced by the local railroad and the strong golfing tradition in the region. Aberdeen was originally called Blue’s Crossing, a name which — while not as dumb as Tuftstown — I think we can all agree is still an aggressively stupid alternative to Aberdeen.

12. Waxhaw


Percentage of Household Income Growth: 11.4%
Description: Waxhaw, named for both the Waxhaw indigenous people as well as the NC region known as “the Waxhaws,” also holds the unique distinction of being the first place that gold was discovered in the United States. The railroad runs directly through the center of town, a decision that present-day commuters find extremely convenient and not at all in the way.

13. Clayton


Percentage of Household Income Growth: 10.8%
Description: Another NC railroad town, Clayton has grown dramatically in the last 15 years thanks in part to its closeness to the Research Triangle. The town itself is named after the villain from Disney’s 1999 animated classic “Tarzan.”

14. Morrisville


Percentage of Household Income Growth: 9.8%
Description: Originally a 3-acre plot of land donated by Jeremiah Morris for NC railroad buildings, Morrisville has grown exponentially since the 1990s, when it had little over a thousand people, to today’s population of around 25 thousand. There’s nothing funny about Morrisville, NC.

15. Mebane


Percentage of Household Income Growth: 9.8%
Description: A town located in northern NC, Mebane sits on the line between the Research Triangle and the Piedmont Triad, combining the two geographic zones into a larger region known colloquially as the “Researchmont Quadrangle.”

16. Apex

Percentage of Household Income Growth: 8.7%
Description: The perennial Pawnee to nearby Cary NC’s Eagleton, Apex has long been in the shadow of its more successful neighbor. But Apex has been growing in both popularity and household income in the years since its inception, and in 2015 it was awarded the title of “Best Place to Live” by Time Magazine. The fame has gone entirely to Apex’s head since then, and the area has become a major destination for successful careerists and unhappy millennials alike.

17. Chapel Hill


Percentage of Household Income Growth: 7.8%
Description: One of the most popular cities in NC, Chapel Hill has always been successful, but the fact that household income is still growing after all these years is telling of just what kind place Chapel Hill is to live. Chapel Hill is also home to UNC-Chapel Hill, and the school’s uneven red brick sidewalks have been tripping visitors to their deaths for decades.

18. Woodfin

Percentage of Household Income Growth: 7.5%
Description: Once a floundering mill town on the outskirts of the Asheville metropolitan area, Woodfin has been booming in recent years thanks to the arrival of plenty of new Western NC residents. It holds the distinction of being the only town in the United States named Woodfin, although that might be less due to uniqueness and more due to people being weirded out by the name.

19. Boone

Percentage of Household Income Growth: 6%
Description: Boone, NC, is the home of Appalachian State University and its popular college football team, the Mountaineers. The Mountaineers’ mascot is a weird gross old man in a hat named Yosef, and if you ever forget that fact, walking through any App State-affiliated building will quickly remind you.

20. Oak Island

Percentage of Household Income Growth: 5.8%
Description: Despite having been hit with dozens of catastrophic hurricanes since the 1940s, Oak Island has never stopped rebuilding itself. Like many other towns in the southeastern areas of NC, Oak Island has been growing tremendously in recent years, thanks in part to a new (larger) bridge that was built less than a decade ago. All in all, it’s doing surprisingly well for a town that the sea tries to eat every few years.

Wrapping Up

That’s all for this one, but there’s more to see here at Zippia.

Are you a sports fan? Find out how college football coach salaries affect your school’s graduation rates.

Or are you looking for more articles about NC? Check out which companies are the best to work for in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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