What are the Key Facts of North Carolina? - Answers

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What are the Key Facts of North Carolina?

Map of North Carolina
Map of North Carolina which is situated in the southeastern front of the US


North Carolina

State Capital


Largest City



35.5°N 80°W


Old North State”, “Tar Heel State”

Postal Abbreviation



53,819 sq. mi (139,390 sq. km)

Highest Point

Mount Mitchell, 6,684 ft (2,037 m)

Number of Counties

100 (including one consolidated city-county)

Neighboring States

South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia


10,488,084 (2019)

Date of Entering the Union

November 21, 1789

State Anthem

The Old North State


Roy Cooper (Democratic Party)

Lieutenant Governor

Dan Forest (Republican)

U.S. Senators

Richard Burr (Republican), Thom Tillis (Republican)

U.S. House Delegation

10 Republicans, 3 Democrats

GDP (Millions of Dollars)



North Carolinian (official); Tar Heel (colloquial)

Time Zones

UTC−05:00(Eastern); Summer (DST), UTC−04:00 (EDT)


Where is North Carolina?

North Carolina (the 12th state of the United States that was admitted to the union on November 21, 1789) is located in the southeastern region of the USA. It shares its borders with four neighboring states: Tennessee (to the west), South Carolina and Georgia (to the south), and Virginia (to the north). The Atlantic Ocean borders North Carolina to the east.

What is the Geography of North Carolina?

North Carolina is spread across a total area of 53,819 sq. mi (139,391 sq. km), making it the 28th largest state out of the 50 US states. Out of the total area, the land area is spread across 48,711 sq. mi (126,161 sq. km), and the water area is spread across 1,972 sq. mi (5,108 sq. km).

The water bodies occupy around 9.7% of the total area in the state. The longest rivers in North Carolina are Roanoke River, New River, Neuse River, Pee Dee River, Catawba River, Tar River, Yadkin River, Dan River, French Broad River, Cape Fear River, and many more.

Some of the major lakes in the state are Kerr Lake, Lake Jocassee, Lake Waccamaw, Lake Norman, Fontana Lake, Lake Gaston, High Rock Lake, Lake Phelps, Jordan Lake, Lake Hiwassee, Lake Santeetlah, Lake Hickory, Nantahala Lake, Falls Lake, Lake Mattamuskeet, etc.

North Carolina’s mean elevation is 700 feet (213.4 m) above sea level. While Mount Mitchell is the highest elevation point in the state at 6,684 feet above sea level, the shore meeting the Atlantic Ocean at sea level at 0 ft (0 m) is the lowest elevation point.

The most prominent mountains in North Carolina are Mount Mitchell, Mount Craig, Balsam Cone, Mount Gibbes, Celo Knob (Black Mountain Range), Clingmans Dome, Mount Guyot, Mount Chapman, Old Black (Great Smoky Mountain Range), and Richland Balsam (Great Balsam Mountain Range).

North Carolina has three distinct geographical divisions: the Coastal Plains, the Piedmont Division, and the Mountain Division.

Around half of the landform in North Carolina is made up of the Coastal Plains. It consists of flat, swampy lands and gently sloping terrain. The Piedmont Division is mainly made up of hard rock as well as gently sloping hills having sporadic steep ranges, extending to the mountain base. The western part of the country consists of the Mountain Division, covering around 1/5th of the total area of North Carolina.

What is the Climate of North Carolina?

The climatic condition in North Carolina can be majorly categorized as humid subtropical. However, the high slopes of the Appalachian Mountains have a subtropical highland climate. While summer is hot and humid, the season of winter is wet and cold.

In the mountains (above 900 meters or 2,953 ft), the temperature during midsummer revolves within 80 °F (26.7 °C). The nights remain crisp and cool. In the lower valleys, the winter temperature during January revolves within 20 °F (-6.7 °C) and 45 °F (7.2 °C). During midsummer, the coastal regions remain cooler than the inland regions. The temperature of the ocean water remains below 80 °F (26.7 °C).

Precipitation takes place in the state throughout the year. The average precipitation level in the state revolves around 45 inches (1,143 mm). While autumn is the driest season, summer is the wettest season. Mid-April to mid-October is the best time to visit North Carolina.

What is the Economy of North Carolina?

North Carolina has a diverse economy, which is mainly dependent upon industries such as food processing, vehicle parts, technology, pharmaceuticals, and banking. Charlotte is not only one of the 15 metropolitan cities present in the economy but also the second-largest banking center in the US.

The largest research park in the United States is the Research Triangle Park (RTP), which is located in this state. The RTP houses more than 200 companies and is the major innovation hub of the economy.

Livestock products and crops contribute 50% each to the agricultural income of North Carolina. The leading most agricultural products of the state are hogs, broilers, tobacco, greenhouse & nursery products, and turkeys.

The total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for North Carolina has increased from US$413,363.3 million in 2008 to US$563,690.5 million. Over the years in the last two to three decades, the Per Capita Personal Income in the state increased continuously and reached a peak in 2008 to US$37,687. However, following the deep economic of 2007, it fell sharply to US$35,802 in 2009. However, in the last decade, it has improved continuously to reach a new peak of US$46,117 in 2018.

The Real Median Household Income in North Carolina has changed drastically over the years, with considerable fluctuations in the last decade. In 2008 it was US$50,191 but soon tumbled down to US$45,530 in 2012, in a span of just 4-years. However, the situation reversed again, and by 2016 the Real Median Household Income back reached US$56,259. However, in 2017, it tumbled down again to US$50,755 but soon increased to US$53,369 in 2018.

The rate of unemployment was hovering around 4.5% in October 2007. Due to the economic recession of 2007-08, it increased sharply to 10.7% in January 2009 and peaked at 12% in February 2010. With the improvement in the economy, the unemployment rate came down steadily to 3.3% in December 2019.

The income and poverty data released by the US Census Bureau in September 2019 shows that in 2018 there were 1.4 million poor living in poverty in North Carolina, giving it the 15th rank among the 50 US States in terms of the highest poverty rate. Though the poverty rate (the poverty is defined as a family of four living on less than $25,100 per year) in 2018 decreased by 0.7 since 2017, the rate in 2018 was still hovering around 14%.

What is the Transportation System of North Carolina?

The transportation system in North Carolina includes roadways, airways, waterways, and railways. On the east coast, North Carolina has the largest ferry system in the USA.

The public transportation includes Amtrak-run intercity rail and light rail called Lynx in Charlotte. Charlotte Douglas International Airport became the 23rd busiest airport in the world in 2013, and it was also the 2nd busiest hub for American Airlines.

The major airports in North Carolina are Charlotte/Douglas International Airport (in Charlotte), Raleigh-Durham International Airport (in Raleigh), Piedmont Triad International Airport (in Greensboro), Asheville Regional Airport (in Asheville), Wilmington International Airport (in Wilmington), Fayetteville Regional Airport or Grannis Field (in Fayetteville), Albert J. Ellis Airport (in Jacksonville), Coastal Carolina Regional Airport (in New Bern), Concord Regional Airport (in Concord), Pitt-Greenville Airport (in Greenville), and many more.

The major Amtrak-operated passenger railways in North Carolina are the Carolinian between New York and Charlotte, Piedmont between Raleigh and Charlotte, the Crescent between New York and New Orleans, the Palmetto between New York and Savannah, the Silver Meteor between New York and Miami, and the Silver Star between New York and Tampa.

In the state, there are 19 Interstate Highways that is around 1,296 miles (2,086 km) long. Around 70 miles (110 km) of interstate business routes are also present in the state. Some of the longest interstate highways are I-40, I-85, I-95, I-77, I-73, and I-74.

In North Carolina, 36 US Highways are there, which is around 5,588.28 mi (8,993.46 km) long. The longest US Highways in the state are US 64, US 70, US 74, US 158, US 421, US 17, US 321, US 264, US 301, US 13, US 1, US 401, etc.

The 2nd largest state highway system is present in North Carolina, which is around 79,328 mi (127,666 km) long. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) maintains the state highways. The longest of them are NC 24, NC 87, NC 42, NC 903, NC 27, NC 210, NC 11, NC 55, NC 150, NC 49, and many more.

How did North Carolina get its name?

Britain’s King Charles I had granted his Attorney General Sir Robert Heath in 1629 to create a province in the American territory from Albemarle Sound on the north to St. John’s River to the south (“the Ocean upon the east side and soe to the west and soe fare as the Continent extends itself….”). King Charles I had also asked Sir Robert Heath to name the province as Carolina. The word Carolina originated from “Carolus”, which is the Latin form of “Charles”. In 1710, the territory of Carolina was divided. While the southern part was known as South Carolina, the northern part is known as North Carolina.

Why is North Carolina called the “The Tar Heel State” and “The Old North State”?

North Carolina has two most popular nicknames: “The Tar Heel State” and “The Old North State”.

The Old North State

When the Carolina province was divided in 1710 into two parts While the southern part was called South Carolina, the older northern settlement as North Carolina. The nickname “Old North State” originated from the older northern settlement. This phrase was first used in the book “Defence of the Revolutionary History of the State of North Carolina from the Aspersions of Mr. Jefferson” by Joseph Seawell Jones.

The Tar Heel State

The origin of the nickname “The Tar Heel State” is not clear. However, most historians believe that North Carolina had a long history of producing naval stores (such as tar, turpentine, rosin, and pitch) from the extensive pine forests of the state. From around 1720 to 1870, North Carolina was a leader in the production of naval stores.

Though there are many theories regarding the nickname “The Tar Heel State”, the most popular theory is based upon the book edited by Walter Clark: “Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War 1861-1865”.

In the 376th page of the book’s Vol-3, it was mentioned that during one of the fiercest state battles, the column supporting the North Carolina troops was driven from the field. The passing derelict regiment greeted the North Carolinians (who had fought it out alone successfully) after the battle with a question whether they have any tar left. The answer that came quickly said: “No, not a bit; old Jeff’s bought it all up.” They again asked: “Is that so; what is he going to do with it?” The answer came: “He’s going to put on you-un’s heels to make you stick better in the next fight.”

R.B. Creecy’s “Grandfather’s Tales of North Carolina History” (1901) related this story with the statement given by General Robert Edward Lee upon hearing this incident. General Lee said: “God bless the Tar Heel boys.” That’s how North Carolina got its nickname, “The Tar Heel State.”

What are the Popular Tourist Attractions in North Carolina?

The most popular attractions in North Carolina are Blue Ridge Parkway, The Biltmore Estate, Morehead Planetarium, and Science Center, Linville Gorge and Falls, Battleship North Carolina, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina Aquarium, North Carolina Zoo, Outer Banks, Cape Hatteras, Chimney Rock State Park, and Grandfather Mountain.

Related Link:

Related Maps:
Map of USA Depicting Location of North Carolina
Location of North Carolina
North Carolina County Map
North Carolina County Map
Map of the United States

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