Quick facts about N.C., a top-ranked state for Best Business Climate.

Quick Facts About North Carolina

9.8 million—ranked 10th in the United States
+18.5% growth, almost twice the national average (between 2000-2010)
66% net migration
196.1 persons per square mile

$455.9 billion—ranked 9th in the United States


48,710 square miles


Absolute Location: Between 33 degrees North and 37 degrees North latitude; between 75 degrees West and 85 degrees West longitude.

Relative Location: North Carolina is located in the Southeast region of the United States. The state is bordered by Virginia to the north, Tennessee to the west, South Carolina to the south and Georgia to the southwest. The Atlantic Ocean forms North Carolina’s eastern border.

Landforms: There are three distinct landforms of the Southeast and of North Carolina: the Coastal Plain, the Piedmont and the Appalachian Mountains. The Coastal Plain is low, flat to gently sloping land that extends along the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Much of the Southeast lies within the Coastal Plain. The Piedmont, characterized by hilly, rolling land, borders the Coastal Plain. The Piedmont extends from Virginia to Alabama. The Appalachian Mountains, the largest range in the eastern United States, stretch from Canada to northern Alabama.

Time Zone: North Carolina is located in the Eastern Time Zone (GMT -5, EST.  The state does observe Eastern Daylight Time).

Private nonfarm establishments (2010) 218,104
Private nonfarm employment (2010) 3,234,595
Private nonfarm employment, percent change (2000–2010) - 4.5%
Nonemployer establishments (2010) 640,686
Total number of firms (2007) 798,791
Black-owned firms, percent (2007) 10.5%
American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms, percent (2007) 1.0%
Asian-owned firms, percent (2007) 2.5%
Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned firms, percent (2007) 0.1%
Hispanic-owned firms, percent (2007) 2.7%
Women-owned firms, percent (2007) 28.2%
Manufacturer’s shipments, (2007) ($1,000) 205,867,299
Merchant wholesaler sales, (2007) ($1,000) 88,795,885
Retail sales, (2007) ($1,000) 114,578,173
Retail sales per capita (2007) $12,641
Accommodation and food services sales, (2007) ($1,000) 16,126,939
Building permits, (2011) 32,804
Federal spending, (2009) ($1,000) 85,843,896
Gross state product, (2012) $40,289 (per capita)
Percent change in state real GDP, 2011–12: +2.7%
Unemployment rate, August 2014: 6.8%

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis and N.C. Department of Commerce

County Government

Counties: 100
County Seat: Term for the town or city where county government conducts business (like a state’s capital city)
Governing Body: County Board of Commissioners—elected by citizens of the county; serve 2 to 4-year terms; 2 to 7 member board