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The Chamber Hosts the 15th Annual State of the Community Report

The Chamber Hosts the 15th Annual State of the Community Report

Carrboro Business Alliance Member News Event Partnership for a Sustainable Community Connect Advocate

Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro is one of the healthiest, well-resourced, and most resilient communities in the state; but a lack of affordable housing, high job vacancies, and substantial racial disparities in school performance need attention. 

   Credit: Randy Young, Pierless Photography

Chapel Hill, NC:The Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro (The Chamber) delivered the 15th annual State of the Community Report, which tracks the well-being of the community across social, economic, and environmental indicators. With the support of six local data partners, the 2022 State of the Community Report found that Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro is one of the healthiest, well-resourced, and most resilient communities in the state; but a lack of affordable housing, difficulty finding talented workers, and substantial racial disparities in schools are key challenges that need to be addressed

Click Here for the September 1 State of the Community Presentation Deck (250 slides).  
Click Here for the complete 2022 State of the Community DataBook (420 slides).

Key takeaways from the State of the Community Report include:

- More housing is needed. Job growth is outpacing housing growth and Orange County now has 10,500 more jobs than people. Since 2010, Orange County has added the fewest new homes in the region. Low housing supply and high demand are causing for-sale and for-rent prices to rise dramatically.

- Affordable Housing and housing affordability are a top concern. Orange County median home sales price increased by $140,000 and Chatham has increased by more than $200,000 since 2019. As of June 2022, Orange County’s median home sale price was $456,115 in Orange and $600,000 in Chatham County. Rental housing in Orange County has seen a sharp increase with the average two-bedroom apartment increasing 19% to $1,629 and the average one-bedroom apartment by 24% to $1,444 over the last year.

- Local jobs and wage growth are strong. Orange County continues to be a great place to grow a business. In Orange County’s top industries, employers added 1,912 net new jobs, and Orange County employers paid $221 million more in wages in 2021 than they did in 2020.

- We are an increasingly diverse community. Orange County has never been more diverse than it is today with the 2020 census reporting the county population as 65% White, 10% Black, 11% Hispanic, 8% Asian, and 6% All Other Races. By comparison, 80% of residents identified as White in 1990 and 71%in 2010.

- Retail sales have never been higher. For the first time, Orange County taxable retail sales surpassed two billion dollars (FY2021) and are on pace to exceed that this year. Since May 2020, retail sales in Orange County have outperformed the same month of the previous year. Monthly retail sales have exceeded $180 million each month of 2022 (January-April) for the first time in Orange County's history.

- UNC-Chapel Hill enrollment, employment, and research funding mark new highs. In 2021, UNC-Chapel Hill’s total student population passed 31,000, employment topped 13,000, and research funding topped $1.07 billion, each for the first time.

- Local per-capita income leads the state. Chatham County has the highest per-capita income ($45,036) with Orange coming in 2nd ($42,872), and Wake 3rd ($42,721). For Black per-capita income, Chatham Ranks 14th ($25,478) and Orange 22nd ($23,245). For Hispanic per-capita income, Chatham ranks 1st ($32,558) and Orange ranks 12th ($20,849).  For Asian Per Capita Income, Chatham ranks 2nd ($86,641), and Orange ranks 12th ($44,706).

- Job vacancies continue to be a challenge for both large and small employers. Orange County employers advertised for more than 3,000 open positions in July 2022. 'Colleges, Universities, and Professional Studies' accounted for 1,230 of the job listing, while 'General Medical and Surgical Hospitals' advertised to fill an additional 1,152 vacancies. 'Registered Nurses' was the job position in highest demand with 897 open positions in July 2022.

- Local school students outperform neighbors and peers, though substantial racial disparities in test performance persist. For the 2020-21 school year (SY2021), Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) and Orange County Schools (OCS) led all neighbors in many performance measures including 3rd Grade Reading EOG scores, 8th Grade Science EOC scores, SAT Math, SAT English, and graduation rates.  Although leading the region in average scores, racial disparities grew in the pandemic. In CHCCS, 78% of White students were Grade Level Proficient in 3rd Grade reading, while only 34% of Hispanic and 30% of Black students were proficient. In OCS, 57% of White students, 15% of Hispanic, and 17% of Black students were Grade Level Proficient on 3rd Grade End of Grade Reading tests.

- COVID interrupts student growth as scores drop across Orange County districts for all students, with Black and Hispanic children seeing the largest declines. Between SY2019 and SY2021, the percent of students ‘Grade Level Proficient’ on 3rd grade reading tests dropped from 74% to 63% in CHCCS and from 52% to 39% in OCS. For Black students, performance on the same reading tests declined from 57% proficient to 30% in CHCCS and from 37% proficient to 17% in OCS. In 8th Grade End of Course Science tests, Hispanic students earning the designation ‘College and Career Ready” declined from 60% to 36% in OCS and from 61% to 51% in CHCCS.

- The commercial tax base is growing.  The local combined tax rates are high, but a 47% ($810 million) increase in Chapel Hill’s assessed commercial value between 2020 and 2022 will help reduce the government revenue reliance on the residential property taxpayer. The Orange County Commercial Assessed Value grew by $1.2 billion over the same period. Overall, in 2022, Chapel Hill’s Assessed Property Value is 32% commercial and 68% residential and Orange County’s is 24% commercial and 76% residential.

Leadership Chapel Hill-Carrboro Graduation

The Chamber held a special recognition ceremony at the start of the State of the Community Report to commemorate the graduation of the Leadership Chapel Hill-Carrboro (Leadership) Class of 2022.

"Leadership is an extensive program designed to inform, develop, connect, and engage committed and emerging leaders in Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro. Now in its 36th year, Leadership is a cohort-based professional development experience that features nearly a dozen sessions over the course of five months that cover critical community issues through presentations, tours, experiential learning activities, and facilitated dialogue.

I know that this group of graduates is dedicated to making those waves in this community. We’re so proud to be more informed, developed, connected, and engaged with this special place that we love,” said Ali Evans, President, Class of 2022.” I also know that the Chamber’s Leadership program is one of the most rewarding opportunities I’ve been given in my professional career.”

View photos from the private graduation ceremony at the Siena Hotel (credit: Trevor Holman Photography) and multiple sessions throughout the program.

Leadership Class of 2022


About the Event 
The Chamber’s 15th annual State of the Community Report was presented by PNC and Triangle Community Foundation. Over 300 participants engaged in the 90-minute data presentation and discussion. Featured speakers included Aaron Nelson, President and CEO of The Chamber; Janet Hadar, President, UNC Hospitals; and Matt Gladdek, Executive Director, Downtown Partnership.    

Photography by Randy B. Young, Pierless Photography.

Event Sponsors
The State of the Community Report was Presented by PNC Bank and Triangle Community Foundation.

Program sponsors: A Plus Test Prep, Durham Tech, Enitech, Piedmont Health

Contributing sponsors: Go Triangle, Chapel Hill Economic Development, Identify Yourself, Piedmont Electric Cooperative, Trinsic Residential Group – who help underwrite this event.

Data Partners: Carolina Demography, Orange County, Partnership for a Sustainable Community, Town of Chapel Hill, Town of Carrboro and Town of Hillsborough.

Chamber's 2022 Major Investors
Community Champions: BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, UNC Health, The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Community Investors: Chapel Hill Media Group, Atma Hotel Group, Chapel Hill Magazine, Hendrick Southpoint Automall, PNC

Platinum Sponsors: AT&T, The Carolina Inn, The Daily Tar Heel, Duke Energy, Eller Capital Partners, Enitech, Orange County, TSI Healthcare, Wells Fargo

Gold Sponsors: AICPA, Barrister Commercial Group, Brooks Pierce, Carolina Athletics, Carraway Village, Chapel Hill Tire, Coastal Credit Union, CommunityWorx, Curtis Media Group, Durham Tech, East West Partners, Fearrington Village, Fidelity Bank, First Horizon, Glen Lennox, Google, Governor’s Club, Graduate Chapel Hill, Longfellow, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Prestige Associates, RTP, UNC Student Stores, Top of the Hill, Trinsic Residential Group, Truist, University Place

About The Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro:  The Chamber is a membership organization that serves and advances the business interests of Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro, including the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro as well as southern Orange, northern Chatham, and southwest Durham counties. The Chamber's network includes 2,000 business owners and managers, more than 600-member enterprises that employ more than 95,000 workers throughout the region. Together with its network, The Chamber is committed to building a resilient community where business thrives.

Contact: Aury St. Germain, Communications Manager, 828-674-8982 (cell),

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