It’s Official: This is North Carolina’s Poorest Town

Scotland Neck, a small town in eastern North Carolina, has been identified as the poorest town in the state as of 2023. The town’s economic challenges are reflected in several key statistics:

Economic and Demographic Data

  1. Median Household Income: The median household income in Scotland Neck is significantly low at $15,985, which is 73.6% less than the statewide median household income. This low income level is indicative of the town’s struggles with poverty​​​​.
  2. Poverty Rate: Scotland Neck has an alarming poverty rate. In 2021, the poverty rate was 47.4%, which increased to 48.8% by 2023. This rate is considerably higher than the statewide poverty rate of 13.7%​​​​.
  3. Median Property Value: The median property value in the town stands at $63,300, showing a 3.95% decline in recent years. This decline in property value could be reflective of broader economic issues within the community​​.

Community Challenges and Strengths

Despite the economic hardships, Scotland Neck is not solely defined by its poverty:

  1. Rich History and Natural Beauty: The town is known for its rich history and natural beauty, aspects that contribute positively to the community’s identity​​.
  2. Community Strengths: Amidst the economic struggles, Scotland Neck possesses strengths such as cultural heritage and a supportive community. These elements can play a crucial role in the town’s potential for recovery and growth​​.
  3. Statewide Context: North Carolina, a state celebrated for its rich history, diverse culture, and vibrant economy, also encompasses some of the nation’s poorest communities, with Scotland Neck being a stark example​​.


Scotland Neck’s situation is a poignant reminder of the socio-economic disparities that exist within states and the challenges faced by smaller communities in adapting to changing economic landscapes. The town’s high poverty rate and low median income highlight the need for targeted economic and social interventions to improve the living conditions of its residents.

At the same time, the town’s cultural heritage and natural beauty, coupled with a supportive community, offer a foundation for potential revitalization and development efforts.