North Carolina | State Map | Photos | About North Carolina

The economy of North Carolina was dominated by farming until the 1920s, when such manufacturing industries as those producing textiles, furniture and tobacco products began to provide the bulk of the state's annual income. Today, although the state remains the nation's leading tobacco producer, the industry faces an uncertain future, while imports have inflicted losses on textile mills. The major centers of economic and population growth are Charlotte, which has become an important hub for transportation and finance, and the metropolitan area encompassing Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Research Triangle Park, a region known for its educational facilities and high-technology industries. About half the population lives and works in urban areas.

Tourism plays a key role in the Tar Heel State's economy. Key attractions include Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout national seashores; the Great Smoky Mountains; Ft. Raleigh; Roanoke Island, where Virginia Dare, first child of English parents in the New World, was born in August, 1587; Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk; and the Biltmore House and Gardens in Asheville.

Famous North Carolinians include gospel singer Shirley Caesar, jazz musician John Coltrane, politicians Elizabeth Hanford Dole and John Edwards, evangelist Billy Graham, actor Andy Griffith, basketball legend Michael Jordan, First Lady Dolley Madison, race car driver Richard Petty, talk show host Charlie Rose, and writers O. Henry and Thomas Wolfe.