NC State Economist Dr. Mike Walden – “North Carolina’s Urban-Rural Divide”


Mary:  This is Mary Walden with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at North Carolina’s urban-rural divide.  Mike, a legislative panel of the North Carolina General Assembly recently reviewed information about the different economic conditions in urban counties versus rural counties.  The bottom line is that urban counties are doing much better than rural counties on almost every economic measure.   Is this new, and what can be done about it?

Mike:  Summary Answer

  1. Not new – ongoing ever since I’ve been in the state, which is almost 40 years
  2. Result of big forces – transformation of the textile, furniture, and tobacco industries; rise of tech sector; increased importance of formal education; increased international competition
  3. Hard for state policy to lean against these forces
  4.  Best approach is have strategies for rural areas that go with the forces
  5. Agribusiness, tourism, retirement/vacation developments are three
  6. Means focus on animal waste issue, connections to foreign countries, and marketing of our beautiful rural areas to retiring baby boomers
  7. I’m MW

Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service