Who made the 100 County Attainment Profiles?

These County Attainment Profiles were created by myFutureNC and Carolina Demography to highlight county-level educational attainment and key education and workforce performance metrics.

What is the purpose of the County Attainment Profiles?

County leaders can use these profiles to help facilitate conversations and decision-making on local priorities aimed at increasing education levels. Each County Attainment Profile contains specific “opportunities for growth” uniquely identified for your county.

What data are you using?

The County Attainment Profiles contain 57 indicators from 13 different state and federal data providers. Some indicators are direct downloads from data providers; some indicators were provided by special request; and other indicators were derived by Carolina Demography. Full documentation of data sources and methods is available here.

How can I learn more about the data presented here?

To learn more about the data, go to the individual indicator pages on the myFutureNC website. First, navigate to the page listing all performance indicators, then click the “Explore indicator details” link for the indicator of interest. Each detailed indicator page has a section with additional resources and websites that users can access. To find detailed definitions of the terms used to define and describe indicators, please visit the Glossary.

How can I find out about future updates?

Sign up here to receive MFNC Newsletter and other updates

How frequently will the County Attainment Profiles be updated?

The County Attainment Profiles will be updated annually.

Is the most recent year of data used for the County Attainment Profile indicators all from the same year?

No. The County Attainment Profile uses different data sources for each indicator and the most recent year in which that data was released differs. For example, the information on disconnected youth is from the 5-Year 2019 American Community Survey, whereas the NC Pre-K indicator was updated using 2021-22 school year data. The most recent year of data reflected on the dashboard depends on the source and release schedule. To find the year the data was released, see this County Attainment Profile documentation.

What is a Prosperity Zone sub-region?

The State of North Carolina operates eight administrative regions known as Prosperity Zones. Each Zone features a one-stop, physical location, providing citizens and businesses the ability to interact with representatives from multiple state agencies, as well as to encourage better collaboration between the agencies themselves.

A Prosperity Zone sub-region is a group of counties that represents a more detailed geography than an entire Prosperity Zone. These sub-regions align with existing commuting patterns and represent the smallest geography for which NC Commerce produces occupational projections.

How were peer counties identified?

The peer county definition was based on ongoing conversations with The Rural Center about how to best classify counties for comparison. We adopted their recommended definition, based on the following classifications:

  • Urban: population density of 750 people per square mile or higher
  • Suburban: population density between 250-749 people per square mile
  • Rural: population density of less than 250 people per square mile. Rural was further disaggregated by metropolitan status:
    • Rural metro: rural counties within a defined metropolitan statistical area
    • Rural non-metro: rural counties outside of a defined metropolitan statistical area

How should I interpret population projections for 2030?

Population projections through 2030 were produced by the State Demographer at the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management. These projections are based on the extrapolation of past trends in county population growth and the demographic components of change: births, deaths, and migration. These models account for county-specific variation by age, sex, race, and ethnicity.

Projections are not prophecy; instead, they should be seen as one potential future, based on a continuation of recent historical trends. Communities can work to plan for or try to change projected futures, whether that is by implementing mechanisms to slow down growth or pursuing economic development opportunities to encourage new growth to occur. This article from the Population Reference Bureau provides additional information on understanding and using population projections.

Does the information in this profile include charter school students?

Currently, outcomes for K-12 students presented in the main body of the profile are limited to students in the traditional public schools (Local Education Agencies) and does not include charter student outcomes. We are evaluating the best ways to incorporate this information in future versions of the profiles.


Opportunities for Growth

How were Opportunities for Growth identified?

Opportunities for growth were identified by examining county performance on specific indicators relative to its peers (e.g., rural non-metro, rural metro, suburban, and urban). The three largest gaps between the county and peer county average performance were used to identify opportunities for growth. If a county did not have three opportunity areas based on this evaluation, its performance was then compared to the state. If a county still did not have three opportunity areas, performance was then compared to the myFutureNC attainment goals for indicators with statewide goals.

The following indicators are the potential opportunities for growth:

  • Adult & Non-Traditional Learners
  • College & Career-Ready in Math
  • College & Career-Ready in Reading
  • Opportunity Youth
  • Earning College Credit in High School
  • FAFSA Completion
  • First-Year Persistence
  • NC Pre-K / Early Learning
  • School Counselors
  • Transition to Postsecondary (Enrollment)
  • High School Graduation

All 100 counties have three opportunities for growth.


Postsecondary Institutions

My community college serves this county, why isn’t it included in this list? / What about satellite campuses?

Our list of institutional locations and details on enrollments and student outcomes is derived from data provided by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), maintained by the National Center for Education Statistics. The data on institutional location provided in their directory is limited to main campus locations.

The list of postsecondary institutions is limited to the institutions physically located within the county’s Prosperity Zone sub-region. In some instances, community college service areas overlap Prosperity Zone sub-region boundaries. In these cases, community colleges that serve these counties may not be listed in the postsecondary institutions table.

Key Transition Points

North Carolina County Profiles

Click to view North Carolina County Educational Profiles

Alamance Alexander Alleghany Anson Ashe Avery Beaufort Bertie Bladen Brunswick Buncombe Burke Cabarrus Caldwell Camden Carteret Caswell Catawba Chatham Cherokee Chowan Clay Cleveland Columbus Craven Cumberland Currituck Dare Davidson Davie Duplin Durham Edgecombe Forsyth Franklin Gaston Gates Graham Granville Greene Guilford Halifax Harnett Haywood Henderson Hertford Hoke Hyde Iredell Jackson Johnston Jones Lee Lenoir Lincoln McDowell Macon Madison Martin Mecklenburg Mitchell Montgomery Moore Nash NewHanover Northampton Onslow Orange Pamlico Pasquotank Pender Perquimans Person Pitt Polk Randolph Richmond Robeson Rockingham Rowan Rutherford Sampson Scotland Stanly Stokes Surry Swain Transylvania Tyrrell Union Vance Wake Warren Washington Watauga Wayne Wilkes Wilson Yadkin Yancey

All County Attainment Profiles