Based on population, North Carolina is one of the country’s ten largest states and an important player along the east coast. The state is defined by its combination of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west and the Outer Banks and beaches to the east. The article below will explore more interesting North Carolina facts and stats.
From the Wright Brothers’ first flight to the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola, North Carolina has an interesting past and a promising future. There are more than ten Fortune 500 companies in North Carolina and almost 30 Fortune 1000 companies.
North Carolina Facts and Stats
We’ve organized these North Carolina facts and stats into five main categories plus one random category to understand what makes North Carolina special.
Facts about Geography:
North Carolina is a rare state with beautiful mountain ranges and miles of beaches. It’s one of the reasons that we chose to move to the Carolinas and call it home. Charlotte and other major cities sit between the mountains and beaches in the Piedmont region.
Here are more North Carolina facts and stats related to the state’s geography:
- North Carolina is the 28th largest state in the United States by area.
- The state’s highest point is Mount Mitchell, which stands at 6,684 feet above sea level.
- North Carolina has a coastline that stretches for 301 miles along the Atlantic Ocean.
- The state’s largest city is Charlotte, while its capital is Raleigh.
- The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which spans over 800 square miles, straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee.
Facts about History:
North Carolina has a long and proud history ranging from the Revolutionary War to the Wright Brothers’ first flight and more. North Carolina was the first state to call for British Independence on April 12, 1776.
In fact, Charlotte residents celebrate Meck Deck Day, which honors a legend that Mecklenburg county first called for Independence in May of 1775. The story only starts there. The state is still making history today.
Here are some North Carolina facts and stats related to the state’s history:
- North Carolina was one of the original 13 colonies that declared independence from Great Britain in 1776.
- The Wright Brothers achieved the first powered flight in history at Kitty Hawk on December 17, 1903.
- The first English child born in the American colonies was Virginia Dare, who was born on Roanoke Island in North Carolina in 1587.
- North Carolina was the second to last state to secede from the Union during the Civil War and the site of many key battles during the conflict.
- In 1960, four black students from North Carolina A&T State University staged a sit-in at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, sparking a wave of similar protests across the South.
Facts about the Economy:
While North Carolina is known for its mountains and beaches, the cities drive the economy. Charlotte is the largest city in the Carolinas and a major economic engine. There are nine Fortune 500 companies in Charlotte alone, and CLT airport is the sixth busiest airport in the country.
In comparing Charlotte to Raleigh, both cities are thriving. Charlotte is a little more business-centric, while the state government and educational institutions drive Raleigh. Of course, there is some crossover as well.
Here are some North Carolina facts and stats related to the state’s economy:
- North Carolina (Charlotte) is home to the largest banking center in the United States outside of New York City.
- The state is a major producer of textiles, furniture, and tobacco products. North Carolina exports nearly 20% of all U.S. textile exports.
- The Research Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill is one of the world’s largest and most successful research parks. The Triangle connects three Tier-1 research universities, and the Research Triangle Park spans 7,000 acres of innovative companies, agencies, and institutions.
- One of the state’s largest employers is the University of North Carolina system, which employs nearly 50,000 people. Advocate Health is another large employer in the state, headquartered in Charlotte. Advocate Health is the fifth-largest nonprofit health system in the United States.
- North Carolina is home to several major military installations, including Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune.
Facts about Culture:
North Carolina is intriguing because it has big cities like Charlotte and Raleigh, but it doesn’t take much of a drive to find yourself in rural areas. Then you also have a unique culture in mountain towns, like Asheville and Boone, and beach towns like Wilmington.
The result is an interesting melting pot of experiences. Here are more North Carolina facts and stats related to the state’s culture:
- North Carolina is known for its distinctive style of barbecue, which involves slow-cooking pork over wood coals and using a vinegar-based sauce.
- The state’s official state bird is the cardinal, and its official state flower is the dogwood.
- North Carolina has a rich tradition of bluegrass and old-time music, and is home to the annual MerleFest music festival. MerleFest is located in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, started in 1988, and attracts crowds consistently exceeding 75,000.
- The state is home to several major sports teams, including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, the MLS’s Charlotte FC, and NASCAR’s Charlotte Motor Speedway. While these teams are located in Charlotte, Raleigh is home to the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.
- The Outer Banks, a string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, is a popular destination for tourists and beachgoers. More than 4 million people visit the Outer Banks National Park Service sites each year.
Facts about Education:
The Research Triangle in the Raleigh-Durham area is world-renowned for its research and unique because of the proximity of three major universities. Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill, and NC State are within 30 minutes of each other, creating the triangle. Wake Forest is nearby, too, and all of this is in a concentrated area.
There are great institutions away from the Research Triangle, and Wake Forest is partnering on a new medical school in Charlotte. UNC Charlotte is lesser known but still a regional powerhouse (with enrollment surpassing 30,000).
Here are more North Carolina facts and stats related to education:
- North Carolina has one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with 16 universities spread across the state.
- The state’s flagship university, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is one of the oldest and most prestigious public universities in the country. It was established in 1789.
- North Carolina is also home to several top-ranked private universities, including Duke University and Wake Forest University. Duke regularly accepts less than 5% of applicants.
- The state has a high school graduation rate of 86%, which is slightly above the national average.
- North Carolina has a long tradition of supporting historically black colleges and universities, including North Carolina A&T State University and Winston-Salem State University.
Random Fun Facts About North Carolina
Clearly, North Carolina is an interesting state with much to offer. Here is an additional list of North Carolina facts and stats that you might find intriguing:
- North Carolina is home to the largest privately owned residence in the United States, the Biltmore Estate, which is located in Asheville.
- The state has a population of more than 10.5 million people, making it the 9th most populous state in the United States.
- North Carolina is the largest producer of sweet potatoes in the country and produces about 60% of the nation’s crop.
- The state’s motto is “Esse quam videri,” which means “To be, rather than to seem.”
- North Carolina has over 500 miles of hiking trails in its state parks and natural areas.
- The state’s largest employer is the state government, which employs nearly 75,000 people.
- North Carolina is home to several major research institutions, including the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
- The state has a rich tradition of craft brewing, with over 380 breweries and brewpubs statewide.
- Two of the early United States presidents were born in the Charlotte region of North Carolina. Andrew Jackson, the 7th president of the United States, was born near Waxhaw, south of Charlotte, near the South Carolina border. James Polk, the 11th President, was born in Mecklenburg County.
- The state’s nickname is the “Tar Heel State,” which dates back to the early 19th century when North Carolina was a major producer of tar, pitch, and turpentine.
Fun Facts and Stats about North Carolina
The Office of State Budget and Management maintains a list of facts & figures, but hopefully, you found that the list above has a little more personality. North Carolina is a great state to visit or call home, and it deserves nuance beyond stats about the state demographics.
So, we hope you enjoyed our list of North Carolina facts and stats!
Is North Carolina a Good Place To Live?
North Carolina is a fantastic place to visit and an even better place to live. Choose a mountain town or beach community for an adventurous, outdoor lifestyle. We love hiking at places like Moses Cone Manor and Grandfather Mountain. We also love adventures like Hawksnest Snow Tubing and the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster.
Live in one of the bigger cities for career growth and opportunities. Plus, there are plenty of things to do in Charlotte. We especially love the Whitewater Center, and Carowinds is very popular. We recommend that you learn more about Raleigh and Durham, too.
What Things Are North Carolina Known For?
North Carolina is known for its beach, mountains, and major cities. Charlotte is the largest city in the Carolinas and home to professional sports, including the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte FC, and the NASCAR headquarters.
The ACC is also headquartered in Charlotte now, and it is worth noting that the state is also known for collegiate basketball. Historically, North Carolina is known as the birthplace of flight.
And don’t forget the food. The Carolinas are famous for multiple barbecue styles and great coastal cuisine, including seafood.
Our list of North Carolina facts and stats only tells part of the story, so we are glad to fill in a few of the details. North Carolina is a great state to visit or call home!