Greetings from North Carolina. The Just Vote No Blog just moved here. Therefore, the Blog now has a new page dedicated to the state. Here is an overview of JVN’s new home.
Population and Growth
North Carolina is one of the fastest-growing states, along with Texas and Florida. People are moving here seeking economic opportunities — especially in the expanding technology field — affordability, and open spaces. In 2020 there were 10.4 million people living in North Carolina, making it the ninth largest state in the nation, and one which gained an additional congressional seat in the 2020 census. Net migration in and around the state’s largest cities has been a key component of North Carolina’s growth.
The state’s most populous and best-known cities are,
- Charlotte, population 912,096, is a business and financial center. Bank of America headquarters are in Charlotte, and Wells Fargo Bank has a large presence in the city.
- Raleigh, population 483,579, is the state capital. The city is known for financial, educational and cultural facilities.
- Durham, population 283,506, is the principal city in North Carolina’s famous Research Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill). Duke University and Duke University Health System are Durham’s largest employers.
Despite growth, North Carolina’s rural population remains significant. In 2019, 40% of the state’s population lived in rural areas, and 85% of North Carolina’s municipalities had less than 10,000 residents. Residents of the more suburban areas enjoy tree-lined streets, large leafy backyards, and lots of open space.
North Carolina is home to 13 Fortune 500 companies. Major industries with headquarters or business presence in the state are:
Aerospace and defense: Lockheed Martin, Honeywell, GE Aviation and Spirit AeroSystems.
Automotive and heavy machinery: Bridgestone, Caterpillar, Borg Warner, Freightliner, and Thomas Built Buses.
Food processing and manufacturing: Campbell’s, Butterball, Smithfield, Sierra Nevada, Texas Pete (known for its Louisiana-style hot sauce) and Mt. Olive (known for its pickles).
Information Technology: Google, IBM, Cisco.
Biotechnology and pharmaceutical: Bayer, BASF, LabCorp and Novo Nordisk.
Furniture: Ethan Allen, Ashley Furniture, Lexington Home Brands and Sealy.
Income, Housing and Employment
Real median household income is $60,266 (U.S. $67,521; California $77,358).
Average listing price of homes is $513,120 (U.S. $710,321; California $1,554,478).
Unemployment rate is 4.1 (U.S. 4.6; California 7.3)
Note: When we speak of homes in North Carolina, especially in southern counties such as Holly Springs or Apex, we are talking about relatively large residences. Neighborhoods with few, if any, homes smaller than 3-bedrooms 3-baths are not uncommon.
Republicans outnumber Democrats in the state’s General Assembly, but do not have veto-proof majorities. Thus, Governor Roy Cooper, Democrat, uses his veto power prolifically. This arrangement satisfies the majority Democrat voters for now. Libertarians and Greens do not comprise a share of the voting public significant enough to affect political outcomes.
History and Culture
North Carolina was one of the original 13 British colonies. Despite hardships and disease, the colonies grew and prospered along the Atlantic coast during the 17th and 18th centuries. Growth was mostly the result of migration of free and indentured people fleeing war, persecution, or lack of opportunities in Europe; convicts sent to America by the European courts; and Africans sold to slave traders.
Climate, soil, natural resources, and proximity to the sea determined how the colonies developed. New England Colonies — New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut — flourished with fish, whale products, ships, timber products, and furs. The Middle Colonies — Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and New Jersey — with vast fertile ground, were the “breadbasket” of the colonies, where farmers produced corn, wheat, beef, and pork. The Southern Colonies — Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia – had hilly coastal plains with good soil to grow large tracks of cash crops like tobacco, rice, cotton, sugar cane and indigo.
The large, labor-intensive cash crop plantations of the Southern Colonies encouraged the adoption of cheap labor. Slavery was the cheapest form of labor. After the initial outlay for the purchase of a slave, a plantation owner spent little more in food and shelter, and garnered the benefit of subsequent generation of slaves. Slavery did exist in the Northeast and Middle Colonies, but not to the same extent, since the economies of those colonies did not depend on sizeable manual labor.
Slogan and Motto
On April 12, 1776, North Carolina’s Provincial Congress met in Halifax and passed a resolution calling for independence from Great Britain. The Halifax Resolves made North Carolina the first state to call for independence.
By that time, the colonies had developed some form of self-government. They also had developed sustaining trade both with one another and with Great Britain. So the time was ripe for independence, which formally came with the 1784 Treaty of Paris.
Today, North Carolina motorists can choose to have the official slogan “First in Freedom” on their license plates to commemorate the Halifax Resolves.
Obviously, that slogan did not come about without controversy, since antebellum North Carolina was heavily dependent on slave labor and joined the Confederacy in 1861. The state was not readmitted to the Union until 1868, after it agreed to ratify the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Given North Carolina’s slogan, the state’s motto seems almost chiding: Esse quam videri, “To be rather than to seem.” The phrase is from Cicero’s essay On Friendship chapter 98: Virtute enim ipsa non tam multi praediti sse quam videri volunt, “Few are those who wish to be endowed with virtue rather than to seem so.”
Skyline of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Fuquay-Varina is one of the fastest-growing towns in Wake County, North Carolina, but visiting Fuquay is like stepping into a quiet past. Fuquay’s Christmas Parade was on Sunday, December 5. It was a pretty relaxed, fun event, with lots of cheering for the marching local groups. Pictured is the enthusiastic brass band.
A parade always shows what is important to residents. This parade was led by police and firefighters in uniform. North Carolina is host to several military bases; thus, unsurprisingly the state National Guard and other military contingents rode their military vehicles or marched. The Fuquay Cruisers showed off their pre-1970s classic cars. High schoolers, home schoolers, ROTC, and Scouts were all there.
One had to wonder how many of the happy people lining up the parade route were transplants from California and other states.