About the State
of North Carolina
State of North Carolina
Chambers of Commerce
North Carolina News Media
North Carolina, one of the 13 original colonies,
now is the 11th largest state in the Union with a
population of 7.6
million. The state’s 52,669 square miles encompasses
three distinct geographic areas: the Mountains in the west, the
Heartland, often called the Piedmont, in the center; and the Coast, in
the east. From Manteo in the east to Murphy in the west,
North Carolina is 560 miles long, making it the longest state east of
the Mississippi. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the east,
Tennessee on the west, Virginia to the north, and South Carolina and
Georgia to the south.
With a diverse, booming economy, North Carolina
has progressed from a predominately agricultural state to a major
industrial center, with about 25% of the workforce now employed in
manufacturing. It maintains a diverse,
The state's top industry is textiles, which date
back to 1813 when North Carolina's first cotton mill was built near
Lincolnton. Now the top textile manufacturing state in the union, its industry produces cotton
and synthetic fabrics, yarns, threads, knitted goods, apparel and
The Tar Heel State also leads the U.S. in the production of wooden
furniture. Some 60 percent of the furniture manufactured in the U.S. is
produced within a 200-mile radius of Hickory, home of a
nationally-known furniture outlet center and a furniture museum.
North Carolina's largest city, Charlotte, is the second largest
banking center in the U.S. Two of the country's biggest banks, Bank of
America and First Union National Bank, are headquartered there.
Charlotte is also home to a branch of the Federal Reserve.
High tech industries are primarily located in Research Triangle Park,
between Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. Now celebrating its 40th
anniversary, the park has become an international center for research,
development and cutting-edge technology by using the resources and
people available at North Carolina State University, Duke University
and the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. Duke University and UNC Chapel
Hill are also major national centers for medical research and the
latest in medical treatments.
Because of its central location along the East
Coast, excellent highway system, a good rail system and state ports,
North Carolina is also an important distribution center.
With its variety of scenic beauty, outdoor dramas and festivals,
historic sites, state parks, museums and other attractions, the travel
and tourism industry forms a large sector of the economy.
While the non-agricultural
sectors of the state’s economy have grown, agriculture is still a
critical part of the state’s economy.
Tobacco is North Carolina's major crop -- in fact the state's
farmers raise nearly 40% of the tobacco grown in the U.S., and North
Carolina is the country's top producer. The state is also the nation's
leader in the production of cigarettes and other tobacco products;
more than half of the nation's cigarettes are made here.
The state is also among the country's top producers of pork, peanuts,
pork, turkey, and sweet potatoes.