ECONOMY

Nov 18, 2019
Our purpose in studying the 32-county region wasn’t to merely document a Carolinas version of the familiar urban-rural divide. Instead, we sought to go beyond the conventional narrative of an irreversible split, and seek examples of connections –  either residual or new – between urban and rural communities. Connections that might provide opportunities for renewal in places still struggling to adapt to the changing economic landscape of the 21st century.
Nov 05, 2019
“Regionalism” has become something of a public policy bromide these days — an unwritten assumption that informs the planning, economic and growth decisions that supersede any one political jurisdiction. But what is easy to say can be hard to do. 
Oct 15, 2019
The Charlotte region rose to prosperity on the strength of ties between its rural areas and urban center, but those ties have frayed in recent decades, with the decline of the textile industry and Charlotte’s emergence as an independent finance center. The first annual Schul Forum Series, hosted by the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, will examine what remains of those economic, social and cultural connections, and how we can work to revive them.
Oct 14, 2019
The narrative around rural areas has often held that people need to leave for a better chance to find success, typically in the city. But for many, leaving the place they love and call home never really feels like an option. Here are seven stories of people who are turning that narrative on its head. 
Sep 26, 2019
Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are still facing a large gap between the supply of affordable housing and the number of residents who need it, as inreasing rents and a tight housing market are squeezing more families’ budgets and putting them at risk of housing instability, evicion and homelessness. 
Sep 24, 2019
To better understand commuter flows at select sites in the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection region down to the individual level, we studied anonymized cell phone tracking data. We sought to determine how commuter connections differ between types of business districts and types of firms. By mapping the residential location of workers at a broad range of employment locations, we were able to make some judgements about the local economic impact, and community-building abilities of specific business types. 
Sep 24, 2019
An array of environmental, cultural and economic connections together give rise to the interdependence of the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection study region.  But none of these connections are more economically significant than the flow of workers within our regional economy. Counties within the region relied on out-of-county commuters for their workforces more in 2015 than at any point in our history: nearly one-quarter of our region’s residents had jobs outside of their home county.
Sep 10, 2019
To move up the ladder of opportunity, there’s generally consensus that people need jobs that pay a living wage, where they can grow their earnings over time. But what’s the best way to get workers, especially low-income workers with barriers such as low educational attainment, connected to those jobs? That’s the focus of the ReCONNECT to Economic Opportunity Forum, scheduled for Oct. 15 in Charlotte. 
Aug 28, 2019
The city of Charlotte has a long reach. While this is certainly not a surprise, we don’t really know much about how Charlotte influences its surroundings and how far this reach extends.  That question helped us pick our 32-county study area. 
Aug 28, 2019
While Duke was building the world’s largest electrical network in the Western Piedmont, some Charlotte mill owners recognized that more money could be made loaning money to aspiring industrialists than making cloth themselves.
Aug 28, 2019
From an agrarian system to an economy based on rural mills and factories drawing workers from former farms and sending goods to Charlotte for distribution, the region undergoes rapid change. 
Aug 28, 2019
A growing web of infrastructure and physical connections - both within the wider region and between the region and the outside world - has had a profound effect on where growth went, and where it stayed away from. People and industries in the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection study area followed trading paths, railroads, highways and, now, air service.
Jul 30, 2019
Fifty out of 50: That’s where the Charlotte area ranked in Harvard economist Raj Chetty’s influential 2014 study of economic mobility. By now, that headline finding is well-known. It’s spawned task forces and soul-searching in Charlotte for half a decade, as leaders seek a way to change the city’s dynamic and increase upward mobility. So, it’s hard to move from the bottom to the top. But what about other, less dramatic moves that can still vastly improve a person’s circumstances - say, from the lowest one-fifth of the ladder to the middle fifth?
Jul 08, 2019
Almost one in six Mecklenburg residents were born outside the U.S., and immigrants make an outsized contribution to the local economy and many key industries.  That’s according to a new study that highlights the substantial role immigrants are playing in Charlotte’s booming growth. Immigrants make up big chunks of the local STEM, construction and manufacturing labor forces,. And they’re far from a monolithic group, hailing from countries around the world. 
Jun 25, 2019
There was a stir in town a few weeks ago, when the new Charlotte Regional Business Alliance CEO, Janet LaBar, commented to the Charlotte Observer, “I think Charlotte doesn’t have a brand. That’s not necessarily, today, good or bad. That just means that’s an opportunity for us to actually create one.”
Jun 05, 2019
Smaller cities and towns across North Carolina are hoping an old, familiar sound will spark new life in their downtowns: The crack of a bat. Four new downtown ballparks with capacity for about 5,000 fans are popping up in the state, and officials are counting on them to draw new residents, breweries, restaurants and vitality. 
May 30, 2019
“The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.” President John F. Kennedy To say that agriculture is important in North Carolina would be an obvious understatement. Agriculture and agribusiness, including...
May 28, 2019
It turns out you can see disparities on the map in Charlotte across way more dimensions than traditional measures like household income. 
May 21, 2019
With Charlotte’s population growing by more than 60 people a day, planners, politicians and many residents agree that denser development is inevitable in the city’s future. But just how dense - and where to build that extra density - remain thorny questions, especially when denser developments are proposed in single-family neighborhoods. 
Apr 02, 2019
The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute is excited to announce that Ely Portillo, longtime reporter for The Charlotte Observer, will join the institute as Assistant Director for Outreach & Strategic Partnerships, beginning April 15. 
Feb 19, 2019
Nearly five years ago, Amber Lineback bought a bungalow in Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood neighborhood not only to enjoy the eclectic community and its proximity to Uptown, but as a place where her parents might one day live too.
Feb 06, 2019
On February 4, 2019, the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and Lake Norman Economic Development Corporation released the 2018 North Mecklenburg Demographic and Housing Assessment. This report presents the findings from a demographics and housing assessment for the northern part of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (North Mecklenburg).
Aug 14, 2018
Two researchers conclude in a new article that many starter-home subdivisions in Charlotte, often built in industrial areas, saw neighborhood decline.
May 31, 2018
Recently released U.S. Census data shows continuing growth in almost all the towns and cities in the Charlotte region, and one factor driving growth appears to be proximity to Charlotte.  
May 23, 2018
The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and Mecklenburg County Community Support Services released “Charlotte-Mecklenburg Evictions Part 3: One-month Snapshot of Eviction Court Records” on Wednesday, May 23, 2018.  
Nov 29, 2017
In today’s knowledge-based economy, how can rural communities in the Charlotte area use and strengthen the traditional regional linkages? With a grant from The Duke Endowment, the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute will explore that question.
Jul 18, 2017
Today’s urban crisis, writes Richard Florida, is as bad as the era of white-flight suburbanization and central city decay of the ’50s and ’60s. Book review.
May 09, 2017
Each January volunteers fan out across Charlotte to try to count the number of people lacking a home. This year’s numbers point to reason for hope.
Dec 13, 2016
Over our 50-year history at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, we’ve been committed to looking at the whole Charlotte region. So a growing divide – real or perceived – among urban, suburban and rural areas is something we take seriously.
Dec 01, 2016
Are Millennials really so different from other generations? When it comes to housing preferences and opinions, the answer seems to be: Yes. And no.
Sep 19, 2016
Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents may be growing weary of the stagnated state of the economy, the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute’s Annual Survey showed.
Jul 11, 2016
A recent report finds that in the Mecklenburg County metro area, a minimum-wage worker must work 92 hours a week to afford rent and utilities for a basic two-bedroom apartment.
Mar 29, 2016
Although existing entrepreneurial companies in Charlotte are seeing substantial revenue and job growth, an in-depth study of the state of entrepreneurship in Charlotte finds the area dramatically lags benchmark cities in inventions, venture capital and research dollars
Sep 24, 2014
Recently the site FiveThirtyEight.com reported that of the largest U.S. metros, only Charlotte’s median income, “experienced a statistically significant decline” in 2013. What’s going on?
Sep 11, 2014
Since the 1970s, the plight of the American middle class has been worsening. UNC Charlotte sociologist Scott Fitzgerald's most recent book details many of the causes and consequences. He'll speak publicly on Sept. 18. An interview.
May 15, 2014
Interactive data dashboards track Gaston County trends in demographics, economy, education, health and quality of life. (Graph: ui.uncc.edu)
May 01, 2014
Charlotte never experienced the dramatic housing bubble seen in other places in the country, but the local market is still under its August 2007 peak as measured by the Case-Shiller Index. Explore our data dashboard to see Charlotte's highs and lows compared with places like Atlanta and Denver. (Graphic: UNC Charlotte Urban Institute)
Mar 13, 2014
Charlotte's metro has one of the fastest-growing college-educated populations in the U.S. Where exactly do the educated live in Charlotte? As people with college degrees cluster in metros, what does that mean for rural areas? (Graphic: John Chesser)
Feb 06, 2014
Cabarrus County commissioners heard a presentation on demographic trends in Cabarrus County and the Charlotte region as the kickoff for their annual board retreat Jan. 24. John Chesser, senior analyst at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, was the presenter. To download a copy of that...
Dec 16, 2013
All three of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute’s most recent directors came, not from large urban centers, but from small, rural communities. But what we may have lacked in urban sophistication we made up for in our conviction that great metro regions are a healthy mix of urban, suburban and rural communities. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Oct 17, 2013
People in Mecklenburg County are feeling the effects of the economic recovery, according to results from the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute’s 2013 Annual Survey. Most people surveyed said their economic situation is getting better, more than at any time since 2010. (Photo: John Chesser)
Oct 03, 2013
Population growth in Charlotte has always come with plenty of costs, but rising incomes and prosperity were part of the expected returns. Yet during the recent economic downturn, as population growth continued, economic growth sputtered. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Sep 05, 2013
We are finally seeing the long-awaited economic recovery slowly build momentum in the Charlotte region. What can we do to better position our area for sustained economic growth and positive change? We must work to actively attract capital, entrepreneurs, and innovators from around the world. (Photo: Mary Newsom)
May 16, 2013
Below are more specific details about the differing tax-restructuring proposals from two N.C. senators. Neither proposal is likely to be adopted exactly as presented, because amendments and changes are likely as the measures move through will the N.C. General Assembly. Clodfelter proposal...
May 16, 2013
As N.C. legislators debate whether or how to reform the state’s tax system, it’s worth taking a look at the principles that should underlie any sound taxation system – and at how two key proposals for change stack up against those principles. (Photo: John Chesser)
Mar 06, 2013
Recently approved unemployment benefit changes in N.C. are structured in a way that will cause additional federal cuts to kick in – reducing by 74 percent the maximum number of weeks that jobless North Carolinians can receive unemployment checks. (Photo:Jmturner via Wikimedia Commons)
Feb 28, 2013
Local perceptions may not have caught up with the new reality in the Charlotte region’s manufacturing economy. Even before the recession began in 2007, declines in the textile and furniture industries were changing the structure of local employment. As the downturn continued, counties that depended less on textile and furniture manufacturing lost fewer jobs. The result: Several counties traditionally considered centers of manufacturing employment, such as Gaston, now have a smaller percentage of jobs in manufacturing than fast-growing Union.
Feb 28, 2013
North Carolina's young people are increasingly steered away from manufacturing jobs. But many people now believe manufacturing has more promise than the low-wage service jobs that dominate the limited options for young people outside the state’s urban areas. (Photo: GMI)
Feb 14, 2013
Times have been tough in the local economy, but it looks as if we’ve finally turned the corner. If growth is starting to make a comeback, exactly where will it be? Is your county ready? (Photo:  U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office)
Feb 04, 2013
New single-family residential building permits in Mecklenburg County have been on a roller coaster ride since 2003. But preliminary numbers show a promising upswing heading into 2013. Using U.S. Census Bureau data1 to examine the previous decade's trends tracking back to 2003, what can we expect for new construction as we move forward in 2013?