State incentive programs favor urban areas

Cathy Martin - May 19, 2014 - 4:00:00 pm

State business incentive programs are fueling jobs growth in wealthier counties at the expense of poorer, rural counties, according to a new report.

The report from the North Carolina Justice Center, which advocates for low-income residents, states that since 2007, the Department of Commerce has awarded more than 70% of incentive grant dollars – $592 million of $840 million – to the state's 20 wealthiest counties. Durham, Mecklenburg and Wake counties received more than a third of the total.

The findings reflect a statewide population trend of migration toward urban areas. The most recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that only eight counties grew by 2% or more between 2010 and 2013, and all were clustered in the metropolitan areas of Charlotte, the Triangle and Wilmington. Almost half of the state's 100 counties lost population during the same time.

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