12 Dec Our View: Tier 1
No need to shed a tear for our county’s revised tier. It may help us.
Still, it was hard to be anything but startled by the news that the state’s economic rating for Cumberland County had slipped from Tier 2 to Tier 1 — the designation for North Carolina’s most economically distressed counties. And we’re not barely a Tier 1 either — Cumberland is the 20th most economically distressed among the state’s 100 counties.
There are 40 counties — many of them rural — in Tier 1, 40 in slightly better-off Tier 2 and 20 in the wealthiest group, Tier 3. This county had been classified in Tier 2 for some time, but the state changed its rating formula. That triggered our plunge, along with 11 other counties, including Hoke and Sampson. The state’s formula considers the average unemployment rate, median household income, percentage growth in population and the adjusted property tax base per capita. Cumberland County ranked 21st worst in unemployment, 54th in median household income, 31st in population growth and 12th in tax base.