Urban, Educational Level, Income, and Poverty Characteristics
This set of maps provides a socio-economic context for the patterns of mortality found in Eastern North Carolina. Geographic patterns of socio-economic environments frequently correspond to geographic patterns in mortality. Comparing socio-economic maps with mortality maps is useful for developing hypotheses about the relationships between the two classes of phenomena. The variables in this map set include urban, educational attainment, median family income, and percent personal and family poverty.
Urban:Individuals are considered urban if they live in a Census Block (the smallest geographic unit) that is defined as part of an urban area or urban cluster. Eastern North Carolina contains county populations that are completely non-urban and completely urban. Like many of the counties in the western portion of the state, several northeastern non-urban counties are peripheral to the Piedmont Urban Crescent.
Education: In this map, educational attainment is the percentage of population over twenty-five years of age who have less than a 9th grade education. This map shows coastal counties as having the lowest percentage of those with less than a 9th grade education. This may be attributed to the presence of retirement communities, large military bases, and universities. The region’s interior possesses the highest percentages of lower educational attainment.
Median Family Income: This measure is the family income value that divides the number of a county’s families into two halves: half of families have an income below this value, half are above. Compared to the state and nation, Eastern North Carolina has the lowest median family income value. Within this region, New Hanover County has the highest median family income at $50,861, which contrasts starkly to Bertie County’s value of $30,186—a 68% difference.
Personal Poverty: Eastern North Carolina’s level of personal poverty (US Census Bureau definition) is higher than both the nation and the state. The core of poverty for the region and the state is found in the northeast of the region, with a smaller county cluster located in the southern half. Almost a quarter (23.9%) of Halifax County’s population is below the poverty level while Dare, a coastal county, has only 8% of its population below the poverty level.
Family Poverty: The map for the percentage families below the poverty level is similar to the personal poverty map, but with more geographical differentiation between the coast and the region’s interior. Halifax County has the highest percentage (19.4%) of families below the poverty level and Dare County the least (5.5%). Poverty, family or personal, is the single most distinguishing characteristic of Eastern North Carolina.