Beaufort remains a Tier 2 county

Published 1:39 pm Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Beaufort County retained its Tier 2 designation in the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s annual county distress rankings released Tuesday.

The designations are mandated by state law and play a role in several programs that assist in economic development. The designations determine eligibility and guidelines for several different grant programs administered by the Department of Commerce, including the One North Carolina Fund, building reuse, water and sewer infrastructure, and the downtown revitalization Main Street program.

The 40 most distressed counties are designated as Tier 1, the next 40 as Tier 2, and the 20 least distressed as Tier 3. Tiers are calculated using four factors: average unemployment rate, median household income, percentage growth in population and adjusted property tax base per capita.

Eleven counties changed tier designations for 2022. Alexander, Brunswick, Buncombe, New Hanover, Randolph and Rowan counties moved to less distressed tier rankings. Chowan, Jones, Macon, Polk and Watauga counties moved to more distressed tier rankings.

According to the Department of Commerce, Beaufort County’s adjusted property tax base per capita for the fiscal year 2021-22 was $132,115, which ranks 67th among 100 counties; the population growth rate from July 2017 to July 2020 was -2%; and the 12-month average unemployment rate, from Oct. 2020 to Sept. 2021, was 4.98%. Beaufort County’s economic distress rank, with No. 1 being the most distressed county and No. 100 being the least distressed, is 47.