North Carolina’s Poorest Town Revealed – Eye-Opening Stats!

North Carolina is renowned for its varied landscapes, vibrant cultural heritage, and thriving economy. Nevertheless, not all regions within the state enjoy the same level of prosperity. As per a recent analysis conducted by 24/7 Wall St., Scotland Neck, a quaint coastal community with a population of around 1,000, is the most impoverished town in North Carolina.

Factors Contributing to Poverty in Scotland Neck

Scotland Neck, located in Brunswick County, is a town with a rich history that traces back to the colonial era. It was established by English and Scottish immigrants who sought new opportunities in this area. The town’s name is derived from the connecting land “neck” to the mainland.

Today, Scotland Neck’s economy primarily relies on tourism, fishing, and agriculture. However, these industries have encountered various challenges, including environmental concerns, competition from other destinations, and evolving consumer preferences. In addition to these economic hurdles, Scotland Neck also grapples with high crime rates, low educational attainment, and limited access to healthcare and transportation.

According to the American Community Survey (ACS), Scotland Neck had a median household income of only $15,985 in 2020, which was 73.6% lower than the state average. The poverty rate in the area skyrocketed to 46.9%, indicating that more than half of the residents lived below the federal poverty line. Additionally, the unemployment rate in Scotland Neck was 10.8%, surpassing the state’s average of 5.8%.

Comparisons with Other North Carolina Towns

Several other towns in North Carolina also face economic challenges similar to or even higher than Scotland Neck. These towns experience significant levels of poverty.

Selma: With a population of around 6,300, it ranks as the second poorest town in North Carolina, boasting an income of $25,421 and a poverty rate of 33.6%. Its unemployment rate of 22% surpasses the state average.

Boone: This town, with a population of approximately 18,000, holds the unenviable title of the poorest place in North Carolina. Its income is $24,756, with a poverty rate of 55.3% and an unemployment rate of 18%.

Roxboro: With a population of about 8,300, it stands as the fourth poorest town in North Carolina, reporting an income of $31,573, a poverty rate of 37.9%, and an unemployment rate of 21%.

North Wilkesboro: With a population of approximately 4,600, it claims the third spot among the poorest places in North Carolina, featuring an income of $32,000, a poverty rate of 45.5%, and an unemployment rate of 20%.

Potential Solutions for Scotland Neck’s Improvement

Poverty may present formidable challenges, but it is not an unbeatable obstacle. By coming together and working collaboratively, government agencies, businesses, nonprofits, and community members can effectively tackle the underlying factors that contribute to poverty.

Investing in Education and Training Programs

Allocating more resources to education, training, and employment programs can empower residents by providing them with new skills and qualifications.

Diversifying Economic Activities

Promoting diversification in tourism, fishing, and agriculture can create additional economic opportunities, income sources, and jobs for residents.

Enhancing Public Safety

Improving public safety, law enforcement, and justice systems can contribute to reducing crime rates, protecting residents’ rights, and deterring illegal activities.

Improving Healthcare and Social Services

Enhancing public healthcare, social services, and transportation systems can improve residents’ access to quality healthcare, social support, and mobility.

Encouraging Civic Engagement

Fostering civic engagement, volunteering, and community building can strengthen social cohesion, trust, and cooperation among residents.

With determination, innovation, and collaboration, Scotland Neck has the potential to overcome its economic challenges and achieve a brighter future.


Scotland Neck, a town in North Carolina, is faced with various challenges including low income levels, population decline, and economic struggles, making it one of the poorest towns in the state. Despite these difficulties, the town has its own unique strengths that can be harnessed for its benefit.

With its natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and a strong sense of community, Scotland Neck has the potential to overcome these obstacles and strive towards a more prosperous future. By implementing targeted solutions, addressing the existing problems, and leveraging its assets, the town can make significant progress in its journey towards prosperity.

Additional Resources

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MBS Staff
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