Under the Dome

NC’s income inequality explained in one map

Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, economist Ted Abernathy shared a map of the state’s income gaps during a legislative committee meeting Thursday.
Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, economist Ted Abernathy shared a map of the state’s income gaps during a legislative committee meeting Thursday.

State legislators saw a jarring map of North Carolina’s income inequality during an economist’s presentation Thursday.

Ted Abernathy of Economic Leadership LLC showed a map of how the average annual pay in each of the state’s 100 counties compares to the overall state average of $44,969 in 2014.

It’s a sea of red (below average counties) with a few small pockets of green (the urban areas with above-average salaries).

Only five counties had annual pay above the statewide average, meaning that Wake, Durham, Mecklenburg, Orange and Forsyth counties have substantially higher incomes than the rest of the state.

Only five counties – Iredell, Guilford, Granville, Wilson and Pitt – are within 10 percent of the $44,969 average figure. The other 90 counties in the state have an average annual pay that’s at least 10 percent lower. The vast majority of counties posted figures that are at least 25 percent lower.

The map made the rounds on Twitter Thursday morning, with some voicing surprise at just how few counties are above average.

Legislators have been discussing the urban-rural divide in North Carolina for months, and those concerns continued after Abernathy’s presentation Thursday.

Legislative staff posted Abernathy’s slides, which include plenty more economic data and maps. View it here.

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