North Carolina offers numerous attractions, including stunning landscapes, a lively culture, and welcoming residents. However, not every part of the state experiences the same level of prosperity and well-being.
Based on the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Scotland Neck emerges as the poorest city in North Carolina.
What Makes Scotland Neck the Poorest City?
Scotland Neck, situated in Halifax County, is a small town with around 1,800 residents. According to the American Community Survey (ACS), the average household income in Scotland Neck is $15,985 per year, which is significantly lower than the state’s average by 73.6%.
The poverty situation in Scotland Neck is alarming, with over half of the population living below the federal poverty line, set at $12,760 for a single person in 2020. The town’s unemployment rate is also high, reaching 14.5%, in contrast to the state’s average of 6.2%.
Various factors contribute to the economic challenges in Scotland Neck, including limited access to education, infrastructure, and opportunities.
The town has a low level of educational attainment, with only 63.4% of adults holding a high school diploma or higher, and merely 7.9% possessing a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Additionally, Scotland Neck faces a shortage of essential public services like water, sewer, and broadband internet. Furthermore, the town lacks diverse industries and businesses, making it difficult for residents to secure jobs and income.
What Can Be Done to Improve the Situation?
While the situation in Scotland Neck may seem challenging, there are ongoing efforts to bring about positive change. Initiatives, such as grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Golden LEAF Foundation, are being used to enhance the town’s water and sewer systems.
Collaboration with the Roanoke Electric Cooperative is underway to expand broadband access for residents. Moreover, the town possesses assets that can attract both visitors and investors. For instance, the Sylvan Heights Bird Park, the largest bird park in North America, houses over 2,000 birds from around the world.
Scotland Neck’s rich history, dating back to its founding in 1722 as a thriving tobacco and cotton center, is reflected in its historic buildings and landmarks, including the Episcopal Church of the Saviour, the Scotland Neck Historic District, and the Scotland Neck Town Hall.
By focusing on improving infrastructure, education, and promoting tourism, Scotland Neck aims to overcome its challenges and create a more promising future for its residents.
While it may be the poorest town in North Carolina economically, its spirit remains resilient and hopeful.