Building an Infrastructure of Opportunity in NC April 6, 2016

A new study commissioned by the John M. Belk Endowment finds that economic mobility in every region of North Carolina ranks well below the national average, and unless communities create better opportunities, the limited chances of success for a growing portion of the population could jeopardize the state’s economic future.MDC Report Cover

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Upward mobility in 22 of North Carolina’s 24 regions called “commuting zones” ranks within the bottom quarter nationally – and Charlotte, Raleigh, Fayetteville and Greensboro rank in the bottom 10 of the nation’s 100 largest commuting zones.
  • While mobility varies depending on where people live, only about one-third of children born into North Carolina families making less than $25,000 annually manage to climb into middle and upper income levels as adults.
  • Latinos and African Americans are more likely than whites to be in poverty and attain lower levels of education, leaving them less prepared for today’s high-skill jobs – and those disparities will increasingly affect North Carolina’s economy as these populations grow to make up a larger proportion of the population.
  • A family of one parent and one child needs an income of $21 an hour to cover basic living expenses in North Carolina, yet only 26 percent of full-time jobs pay median earnings of that amount.

State and regional analysis is paired with a close look at eight localities across the state—Guilford County, Wilkes County, Fayetteville, Vance/Granville/Franklin/Warren counties, Monroe, Wilmington, Western North Carolina, and Pitt County— and sketches out a series of actions that communities across the state can take to strengthen and align these critical systems.

Click Here to download the report or its executive summary