WCED Blog


Wake Most Prosperous County in North Carolina

report by The News and Observer regarding 2008 census data for North Carolina found that Wake County was the most prosperous of the state’s largest counties last year, meaning counties with more than 65,000 residents.

Our median household income of approximately $65,000 was nearly $20,000 greater than the state median income ($46,500). Another strong indicator was fewer than 13 percent of Wake County residents lacked health insurance in 2008, compared with nearly 16 percent statewide.

In terms of richest cities in North Carolina, two from Wake County made up the top three. Cary was at number one, with a median income of $91,947, while Raleigh finished third at $53,825, just a few thousand shy of Charlotte at number two.

This does not mean, of course, that you will strike it rich should you relocate to Wake County. However, it does point out the resiliency of the county amid tough times. Even with more people arriving every day, there is on average a better economic opportunity to succeed here than in the rest of the state, and we are talking considerably better than average, for that matter.

The reason is – and we have said it before and will say it again – diversity among employment opportunities. The county has never become too dependent on one single industry as its primary source of jobs. Because of that, a collapse of one market or considerably large employer will not devastate the county’s constantly positive trend of economic growth.

In a year where median income actually dropped in five states – Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana and Michigan – it is reassuring to know that people in North Carolina and particularly Wake County are able to weather the storm. When the storm ends, you can bet that Wake will emerge even stronger economically afterward.

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