Rural Counties

Charts and graphs of COVID-19 surveillance reports
Hertford County Government

Though COVID-19 struck North Carolina’s suburban and urban communities earliest, the virus has begun to sweep through the state’s rural communities at an alarming rate. 

A Grubhub delivery driver picks up two boxes of pizza
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

A report from UNC Chapel Hill says there's a higher probability of death from COVID-19 in some of North Carolina's rural counties.

Eastern Carolina Broadband

Lack of reliable high-speed internet access is a persistent problem in rural North Carolina, but small broadband companies are springing up across the state to meet the needs of underserved communities.

Several communities in rural North Carolina struggle with water infrastructure maintenance.
Courtesy of Flickr user mycieau

A number of North Carolina communities are struggling to access safe drinking water. A WRAL investigative team tracked two decades of data and uncovered high rates of water violations, which are most pervasive in rural areas including the towns of Carthage and Butner in central North Carolina. 

Photo of Carlton-LaNey teaching a class
Courtesy of Iris Carlton-LaNey

Iris Carlton-LaNey is often impressed by the resourcefulness and strength of those living in poor, underserved and rural communities. As a social worker, she has spent a career observing how many in those communities have a strong commitment to hard work, family and religion. And those are values she recognizes from her own upbringing on a tobacco farm in southeastern North Carolina, where education was valued above all. 

Image of tools in doctor's office
Morgan / Flickr/Creative Commons

Contrary to popular belief, statistics show that North Carolina does not have a doctor shortage problem; it has a doctor distribution problem.

Experts say the lack of funding for graduate medical education (GME) in rural areas is one reason that those communities have worse health outcomes.

Perils And Promise, Vance County Schools, Fire Academy
Leoneda Inge

Rural communities across North Carolina have been working hard to re-build their economies and prepare a future workforce.

In Vance County, the public school district has two career academies in place to provide professional development for students and help them focus early on a career.  Plus, academies have been proven to help with student attendance and dropout rates.

Vance County Schools, Rural Schools
Leoneda Inge

Western Vance High School near Henderson is not your traditional high school.  It’s a “second chance” school for students who could not find success at their home school.  That means they likely were not going to graduate.  And in these times, that also means it would be extremely hard to find a job.

In our series, Perils and Promise:  Educating North Carolina’s Rural Students, we talk with students at Western Vance as they move closer to getting a diploma.