skip to Main Content

Hickory Metro County Moves To Less Economically Distressed Category According To Latest Rankings

The North Carolina Department of Commerce released the county tier designations for 2023 on Wednesday (November 30). The designations, which are mandated by state law, play a role in several programs that assist in economic development. A Hickory Metro county is moving to a less distressed tier in 2023.

The 2023 rankings comply with the methodology prescribed by the North Carolina General Assembly which identifies four economic factors to be compiled and calculated by N.C. Commerce and then used to analyze and rank each of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Each county is then assigned its tier designation ranking from one to three. Tier 1 counties are generally the most economically distressed and Tier 3 counties are generally the least economically distressed.

The rankings are based on an assessment of each county’s unemployment rate, median household income, population growth, and assessed property value per capita. The law calls for 40 counties to be designated as Tier 1, 40 counties to be designated as Tier 2, and 20 counties to be designated Tier 3.

Ten counties will change tier designations for 2023. Counties moving to a less distressed tier ranking include Caldwell County, which is moving to Tier 2. Other counties switching into a less distressed category are Avery, Cleveland, Pasquotank, and Swain. Counties moving to a more distressed tier ranking include Onslow, Pitt, Randolph, Surry, and Transylvania.

As far as the other Hickory Metro Counties rankings in 2023, Catawba and Alexander Counties will be in Tier 2 and Burke County will be in Tier 1. Tier designations determine eligibility and guidelines for several different grant programs that N.C. Commerce administers including the One North Carolina Fund, building reuse, and water and sewer infrastructure grants among others. For more information about the tier designation system visit: