Mar 1, 2024 - News

The Triangle's surrounding counties see jump in economic prosperity

Change in economic distress levels, by county
Data: Economic Innovation Group; Note: The Distressed Communities Index combines seven complementary economic indicators into a single summary statistic that conveys each community's standing relative to its peers; Map: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

The Southeast has become distinctly more prosperous in just a few years — part of a shift in the geography of economic distress in the U.S., according to new data reported first by Axios.

Why it matters: The latest update of the Distressed Community Index, out Wednesday from the Economic Innovation Group, shows large parts of the country becoming more vibrant, Axios' Neil Irwin writes.

  • That is especially true in the counties surrounding fast-growing cities, like Raleigh, Atlanta and Nashville.
  • Every county that touches Wake, Durham and Orange counties saw a decline in economic stress in the study.

How it works: The index is based on seven factors, pulled from U.S. census data, and aims to capture in a single number whether a given area is rich with economic opportunity or faltering.

  • Those factors include the share of adults not working, the housing vacancy rate and growth in the number of businesses.
  • The latest edition is based on data from 2017 to 2021.

Zoom in: The report found that 39.2% of residents in Raleigh have prosperous or comfortable economic situations — while 17.8% have distressed or at-risk economic situations.

  • In Durham, those numbers jumped to 45.4% and 23.8%, respectively.

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