The fourteen counties served by the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute comprise a diverse and complex region, one that has undergone dramatic economic and physical changes in recent decades, while still retaining a deep connection to its rich cultural and natural heritage. One of America’s fastest growing metropolitan areas, the Charlotte Region embodies both the promises and challenges historically associated with the emergence of great economic regions.
A sparkling skyline and a plethora of new cultural attractions reflect the growing affluence of an urban area that has literally transformed itself economically overnight. Meanwhile, abandoned factories and persistently high unemployment rates in surrounding counties reveal the uneven distribution of that new-found wealth.
Outside the urban core, the subtle beauty of the region’s varied landscape of farms, forests, and small towns is a physical reminder of the tenuous relationship between human progress and the stewardship of the Carolina Piedmont’s natural resources. From the Native Americans whose early trading paths formed the literal and figurative crossroads of the region (in what is today downtown Charlotte), to the early twentieth century capitalists who harnessed the region’s rivers for industrialization, the balance between economic growth and environmental responsibility has always been in flux.
To learn more about the counties that make up the greater Charlotte Region, and how each is wrestling with these complex economic, environmental and social challenges, explore the county profiles available on this page.