Local News

N.C. household income down, poverty up, census shows

Posted September 29, 2009

— Newly released census figures show the median household income in North Carolina declined more than $3,500 over the past eight years and the percentage of households below the poverty line increased 2.3 percent.

The Office of Management and Budget defines the poverty threshold based on the Consumer Price Index. In 2008, the weighted average poverty threshold for a family of four was $22,025; for a family of three, $17,163; for a family of two, $14,051; and for unrelated individuals, $10,991. More than 12 percent of North Carolina residents are living in poverty, the figures show.

The U.S. Census Bureau's annual American Community Survey includes social, housing demographic and select economic data collected throughout 2008 for areas with populations of 65,000 or more.

The median household income statewide in 2008 was $46,549, down from $50,155 in 2000. Both figures are in 2008 dollars.

Wake County had the highest median income of $65,180, followed by Union County with $62,087. Wilkes County had the lowest – $29,705, followed by Robeson at $30,932.

Figures for other counties in central North Carolina and elsewhere are as follows:

  • Cleveland County – $36,748
  • Cumberland County – $44,786
  • Durham County – $51,028
  • Forsyth County – $46,912
  • Guilford County – $47,553
  • Harnett County – $43,547
  • Johnston County – $52,484
  • Mecklenburg County – $57,033
  • Moore County – $46,697
  • Nash County – $45,482
  • Orange County – $54,390
  • Pitt County – $40,025
  • Robeson County – $30,932
  • Rockingham County – $37,678
  • Wayne County – $39,388
  • Wilson County – $38,004

Data released also show about 5 percent of the population in Wake County receiving food stamps – the lowest rate in the state.

Robeson County had one of the highest, with 19 percent of the population receiving food stamps. Wilson County had the second highest with 17 percent, and Cleveland County in western North Carolina had 15 percent.

Figures for other counties in central North Carolina and elsewhere are as follows:

  • Cumberland County – 12 percent
  • Durham County – 9 percent
  • Forsyth County – 9 percent
  • Guilford County – 8 percent
  • Harnett County – 10 percent
  • Johnston County – 9 percent
  • Mecklenburg County – 7 percent
  • Moore County – 6 percent
  • Nash County – 13 percent
  • Orange County – 6 percent
  • Pitt County – 11 percent
  • Rockingham County – 13 percent
  • Wayne County – 12 percent
  • Wilson County – 17 percent

Other central North Carolina counties, including Chatham, Franklin, Edgecombe, Greene and Hoke counties were not included in the data.


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  • whatusay Sep 29, 2009

    Hey Barack, where's those jobs you promised us?

  • time4real Sep 29, 2009

    glad they didn't ask me, they'd have to adjust them once more!

  • readerman Sep 29, 2009

    "Wake County had the highest median income of $65,180". No surprise when that's where the majority of the state government is located.

  • lkanzig Sep 29, 2009

    what a waste of money and time!
    anyone that has a brain or a clue could tell you that when incomes drop,poverty rises!
    this is truly a crime and a waste!

  • Bill Brasky Sep 29, 2009


    So true. I've been laid off before, its great that there is a safety net, however, I was bored out of my mind and went out of my way to find a new job, but for the ones who take advantage of it, shame on them. Wish their was a better way to make sure that isn't happening.

  • working for deadbeats Sep 29, 2009

    Bill Brasky, I'm sorry. I should have been clearer. I was talking about people who have chosen to do nothing with their lives from day one. People who work at a company and it suddenly goes under should get some assistance for a while, not forever, a while. A while means whatever you think it should I guess.

  • Bill Brasky Sep 29, 2009

    "Those who didn't....too bad so sad. If your life choices turned out bad, you can only blame yourself. It's too bad we have people who listen and cater to them which only keeps them down and in poverty. That's where the welfare programs have failed!"

    Problem with this statement is major US companies made mad decisions and these bad decisions have trickled down on millions of innocent Americans, through layoffs, pay cuts, and benefit cuts. Meanwhile the decision makers that caused the fiasco are being paid millions in bonuses.

  • preston Sep 29, 2009


    Bill both of these stories are from the identical Census data.

    I was commenting on how WRAL was putting a Liberal spin on the same data instead of report the local news that the sky is no falling.

  • Caveman93 Sep 29, 2009

    This is why they call these depressions...just sad.

  • Bill Brasky Sep 29, 2009

    Preston, may want to read the article. This is a census not a survey, conducted from 2000-2008. Of course your #s are gonna be different.