Inclusive Prosperity

Wake County is committed to lowering barriers to employment through job training, supporting access to childcare, enhancing broadband access, and helping individuals find jobs that meet their needs. Economic development fuels prosperity for everyone and supports a high quality of life.

The county identified three strategic goals in the Inclusive Prosperity focus area. We encourage you to explore each goal to understand our rationale, view community and key performance indicators, and find links to other comprehensive plans and resources.

Goal 1: By 2029, 5% more residents asked will indicate low barriers to employment, such as access to broadband, childcare, and transportation.


Reducing barriers to employment gives everyone a chance to succeed and participate in our local economy. Wake County is working to expand broadband access—which is fundamental for all residents to access job opportunities, online learning, and essential services. Digital equity programs develop the tools and skills necessary in a modern economy. Affordable childcare services empower parents, especially single parents, to pursue employment or education by offering safe, reliable care options for their children.

Wake County supports pathways to education, such as obtaining a diploma or GED, which opens doors to better job opportunities and economic advancement. Workforce development initiatives and social networking opportunities enable residents to acquire new skills and connect with potential employers. The County provides tailored support to those with unique challenges, including those who grew up in foster care or are justice-involved. Through these efforts, we help build a resilient, inclusive economy where everyone has the support necessary to secure and sustain employment. Regardless of background or circumstance, Wake County is where residents succeed and achieve upward mobility.

Supporting Indicators and Metrics:

Indicator CY 2020 CY 2021 CY 2022 CY 2023 Updated
Population over 25 years old who are a high school graduate or higher ---  93.8%  94.3% --- Mar 2024
Broadband availability, Population with fiber technology (NC Broadband Availability Index) 69.7% 81.2% --- --- Mar 2024
Number / Percent of Households with children under 18 years old --- 135,139 / 30.7% 136,545 / 30.7% --- Mar 2024
Percent of Workers 16 years of age and over in households with one or fewer vehicles available --- 21.7% 21.9% --- Mar 2024


Goal 2: By 2029, four out of five residents asked will say they have employment opportunities that are available and right for their needs.


As one of the nation's fastest-growing regions, Wake County has many businesses—from Fortune 500 household names to small and mid-sized companies. It is consistently rated as one of the best places in the country to live and work. Every resident deserves the opportunity to be a part of this success story.

Wake County attracts business investments and stimulates job creation across many sectors through economic development strategies and incentives. Local branding efforts highlight unique regional assets that attract a talented workforce. Promoting a living wage in our business community ensures that employment translates into workers who flourish rather than struggle to make ends meet. Initiatives focused on upward mobility provide pathways for individuals to advance their careers and improve their economic standing. Together, these approaches stimulate economic growth and build vibrant, thriving communities where businesses succeed and residents enjoy a higher standard of living.

Supporting Indicators and Metrics:

Inclusive Prosperity, Goal 2 Supporting Indicators
Indicator FY 2020 FY 2021 FY 2022 FY 2023 Updated
Wake County Living Wage (Adopted Budget) $15.76 $17.33 $18.20 $19.64 June 2023


Indicator CY 2020 CY 2021 CY 2022 CY 2023 Updated
Unemployment rate (annual) 6.3% 4.1% 3.1% 3.0% Nov 2023
Suicide rate per 100k population -- All Ages 8.5% 9.5% 7.5% --- Nov 2023


Goal 3: By 2029, nine out of ten residents asked will share that they can find and enjoy enriching experiences that support our community’s high quality of life.


Wake County believes in the power of place—the kind of spaces that don't just exist but enrich our lives, spark our creativity, and bring us together. It's about crafting a community where everyone, no matter their financial standing, can touch, feel, and live the vibrancy of life to its fullest.

Museums, theaters, and galleries stand as creative hubs, offering a canvas for imagination, a stage for dialogue, and a celebration of our cultural diversity. Then there are the parks and greenways, escapes offering fresh air, a moment of peace, and a connection to the natural world that rejuvenates our spirit and health.

But it's not just about leisure and culture. Wake County buzzes with the energy of thriving markets, eclectic shops, and restaurants, creating commerce centers that reflect our diverse community. These are where friendships are formed, ideas are exchanged, and the local economy grows with every interaction. Sports and entertainment venues are more than just buildings; they're where memories are made, where we come together as one, cheering, celebrating, and feeling the pulse of our community's heart.

A mix of private and public investments in such places reflects the local commitment to creating abundant, easy access to cultural, recreational, and economic opportunities. Wake County is a dynamic, inclusive community that values residents' well-being, happiness, and quality of life.

Supporting Indicators and Metrics:

Inclusive Prosperity, Goal 3 Supporting Indicators
Indicator FY 2020 FY 2021 FY 2022 FY 2023 Updated
Occupancy Tax Revenues $23.3m $15.7m $29.1m $36.5m Nov 2023
Prepared Food and Beverage Tax Revenues $28.5m $29.2m $38.0m $43.5m Nov 2023


Indicator CY 2020 CY 2021 CY 2022 CY 2023 Updated
Estimated Visitation (Tourism, Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau) 12.9m 15.8m 17.8m --- Nov 2023
Total Economic Impact of Visitors (Direct and Indirect Spending) $2.65b $3.56b $4.35b --- Nov 2023